Dwiki Dharmawan is a name you’ll probably may or may not recognize. He is one of the most mind-blowing keyboardist from Indonesia that has come a long way since starting back in his career in music thirty-one years ago. He is a composer, arranger, peace activist, and not to mention an ambassador of his own country. Dwiki also performed with bands/artists from the MoonJune label including; Dewa Budjana, simakDialog, Tohpati, Tesla Manaf, and one of my favorites, I Know You Well Miss Clara.
He’s been doing music from day one and there is no stop sign for him. This year, this is his international debut on the MoonJune label entitled So Far So Close in which it is dedicated to his late mother, Yuniarti Sugatin Safiyudin. Alongside Dwiki, he brought along some help including Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa, Steven Wilson) on Drums, Jimmy Haslip (Blackjack) on Bass, Dewa Budjana on Guitar, Tohpati on Guitar, I Nyoman Windha on Gamelan Jegog, Balinese Kendang, Suling (Bamboo Flute), and Vocals, and Mahavishnu Orchestra’s violinist Jerry Goodman on Violin.
The debut is a mixture of Jazz Rock, Symphonic Music, Prog, and Chamber Music flown into one. And the combinations blend in well with an interesting taste that my ears sprinkle with delight. Four centerpieces on here, shows how Dwiki and his friends bring the sparkling electrical voltage, brightened up with amazing results to have eyebrows lightening up at the right momentum.
The Dark of the Light is Symphonic Jazz Rock at its best. Epic time changes and sounds of both Rick Wakeman, Flavio Premoli (Premiata Forneria Marconi), and Keith Emerson, it sees Dwiki going into an orchestral rock sound as he improvises on his synths to ascend up into heavens. Tohpati helps him out with his guitar work out and the solos he brings, nails to a crunch. Jazz and Bluesy, it’s all there whilst he ascends to the heavens followed by Chad Wackerman’s laid-back tempo on the drums.
The ominous 9-minute Jembrana’s Fantasy sends chills down my spine. Dwiki goes into the deep darker cavernous places of the sounds of middle-eastern music, chamber music, avant-garde, and the RIO (Rock In Opposition) movement into the mix. I can hear the sounds of Univers Zero, Agitation Free’s Malesch-era, King Crimson, and Art Zoyd thrown into the blender of the interesting sounds of mind-boggling music.
The mourning upwards advantage composition of Bromo, it starts off with a hymn-Organ introduction, vocalizations followed by the melodic guitar intro by Dewa Budjana virtuosic power. It has a climbing sound that Dwiki does between the synth and organ as he up into the heavenly sky that sees him paying tribute to the late great of Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright.
Since I’ve mentioned Jerry Goodman from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the opening track Arafura kicks the album off with a big bang. Jerry’s electric violin sends you into another infinite world with beauty and hypnotic melodic solos that he carries with a jaw-dropping moment. Alongside the band I’ve mentioned, I can hear some of the Hot Rats-era of Zappa thrown in there and the skills from Dwiki’s keyboards on the Fender Rhodes, shows he is pulling no punches.
This is my fourth time listening to Dwiki Dharmawan’s So Far So Close. And MoonJune Records have never disappointed me with their releases this year. Dwiki has really come a long way of his keyboard and piano playing. Dwiki is also a busy man working with the World Peace Trio featuring Saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and Guitarist Kamal Musallam which is a new project by Dwiki that launched back in October of this year.
But all in all, So Far So Close is a home run. So sit back in your chair, put it on your CD player with your headphones and close your eyes and listen to the sounds of Dwiki Dharmawan.