Indonesian guitarist virtuoso Tohapti is back and may have unleashed something special and a mind-blowing experience. He has been a very busy man with his work with Bertiga and Ethnomission and of course, SimakDialog and there is no stop sign for him. This year, he released Tribal Dance featuring Bassist Jimmy Haslip (Donald Fagen, Jeff Beck, Blackjack and Yellowjackets) and Zappa alumni drummer Chad Wackerman. It shows Tohpati, Wackerman, and Haslip, going through various motions in the styles of music and intense workout from the trio to go into a heavier overdrive, into experimentation's, and atmospheric/ambient beauty to go along with it.
And yet with these three motions of the music along with the sound of Jazz Fusion come into place, it shows how Tohpati can really take you into different areas with his Guitar. And throughout his projects and of course with SimakDialog, he can take it to a whole new level and help get the sounds of World Music and Jazz a big push and here on his new album, he takes the steps further and soars into the blue skies into amazement.
Opener, Rahwana, is an up-tempo driven yet experimental piece that starts the album off with a bang as the trio go into town and Tohpati goes through the McLaughlin and Holdsworth phrase with rhythm and the riffs to capture the speeding train going 600 miles per hour but mellowing down and then heading into the electronic void while getting back into the rhythm. Elsewhere, Spirit of Jawa, rides through the ominous tones of the sinister/haunting reminiscent of the Red-era of King Crimson, early Sabbath, and the Rock-in-Opposition sounds of Belgium group, Present.
And then, after the first couple of minutes, they go through a shuffle-like Fusion sound as they have a lot of intense vibes as Wackerman and Tohpati try to duel one another between drum and guitar solo as Chad goes all over the place before heading back into the haunting tones to close the piece while the title track which Tohpati is using his Guitar of going through a synthesizer of the sample-and-hold touch, goes through a mellowing relaxation and at times its bluesy and mid-fast, but know which direction the time changes goes through.
Savana is a short little atmospheric/ambient guitar introduction before it segues into the soaring yet uplifting skies on Run. Here, Tohpati is getting the jams going through his instrument with the shuffling touches as he gives Jimmy Haslip a chance to breathe in with his bass exercise. You could tell there are moments in which he is paying homage to Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius as Red Mask goes through a nice tribute to the Duke-era of Genesis by reminiscing the song, Turn it On Again and bits of the ‘90s-era of Pink Floyd from the sessions of The Division Bell.
Supernatural begins with a mourning Tuvan throat-singing before it goes into a Post-Rock touch as it becomes an adventurous momentum with some Fripp-esque touches to capture that electrical voltage on where the trio would go next as the closer, Midnight Rain, is an experimental finale. Tohpati creates these mysterious and strange yet surreal beauty on the instrument to have this rain pouring down on the streets with his Gilmour-like sound for a chance to see a clear blue sky and hopefully to see the dawn settling in and the sun to come up at the right moment at the right time.
Tribal Dance is very much a big out of the blue jaw-dropping album from Tohpati. And here, this is an album that is a wonderful adventure for the listener to experience. And with help from Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, it shows that Tohpati offers a chance to relax and after listening of over seven times on here, his new album released by the good people from Moonjune Records, is a must have album for 2014.