In the era of Guitar Gods, there have been a lot of virtuoso's that have taken the ultra-mile by going further like a speeding NASCAR. People like Robert Fripp, Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, and Steve Howe have been giving us a lot of mind-blowing work and their guitar lines, rhythm, and solos have blown us away from beginning, middle, and end. And now, there’s a newcomer from the land of Indonesia and as hearing his other project with Ethnopassion’s Save The Planet, Tohpati is one of the most up-and-coming guitarist (his real name is Tohpati Ario Hutomo) to come out of the Jazz Rock scene and creates this wonderful magic on his style of playing that is out of this world.
He has been a very busy man and his other project called, Tohpati Bertiga, which is a trio featuring Indro Hardjodikoro (Ethnopassion), and Drummer Adityo Wibowo in which they are almost this combination of Jazz-Prog-Funk-Metal with a fast time driven beat that is a wonderful “WOW!” factor from the moment you play Riot in its entirety. Beginning with the thumping overdrive on Upload, you could tell that Tohapti is paying tribute to Steve Hackett and Pat Metheny that has this hard rocking edge with a lot of explosive drum work as Tohpati just goes to town with these wonderful lines on the guitar that it’s almost like a road trip to see where the notes will land on the frets that can be an amazing journey.
Elsewhere, it feels that he’s back on the Bullet Train to go on this dangerous ride with the title track in where he does his Mahavishnu Orchestra inspiration for the first few minutes before it becomes this laid-back psychedelic bluesy groove for the last three minutes to give the engine to cool down. Then you have Absurd in which Tohpati gives Indro a moment to shine with his Stanley Clarke bass line as he lays down the funk/soul bass work to show how much amazement he has with his fingers while Middle East has this layered calmness that sees the band go into some difficult changes that I really get a kick out of when a RIO or Jazz Rock band go into that movement.
The guitar structures, the powder keg drums, and the bass lines makes it like a dance-like atmosphere to really get you going. Lost in Space is very atmospheric and warm as the trio go into this calm after the storm after a huge loud and thumping movements in their compositions as Tohpati takes the listener into the Milky Way and soaring into the Solar Systems going into different planets with different chord-lines.
Riot is a knock-out album and something that would make me understand about how Jazz Rock has been revived in its retrospective feel of the 1970s in the golden-era and they understand where it comes from. Tohpati Bertiga album is a spectacular adventure that would make you wish and understand how real good music isn’t dead, but coming back out of the blue to give you a good jump.