For those of you who haven't forgotten Tohpati's electrifying emergence as a freshman bandleader in 2010 -- catapulting onto the global stage with the critically acclaimed initial offering of Tohpati Ethnomission, "Save The Planet" -- "Mata Hati" will come as a most welcomed follow-up.
Although six years is a lengthy gap between recordings, it is obvious that the players involved have been doing anything but resting. On the contrary, the proceedings are highlighted by a vibrant, cohesive group dynamic where powerful individual performances are subtlety interwoven into the exotic fabrics of its nine acute, ambitious and amazingly diverse musical tapestries. The power and authority of its improvisational content doesn't steal the show, but works as a perfect compliment to the ingenious underlying framework; this is truly a group effort, and a most potent delivery.
Featuring all the six-string acrobatics one would expect from a guitarist of Tohpati's considerable scope and creative brilliance, equally on display here is his mastery of western harmony and his uncanny melodic sense as both a player and a composer. Ethnomission rocks with authority; they slither through the grass, unnoticed; they provide enticing glimpses of a rich, mystical music culture, begging to be further revealed ... and they dance on air.
Besides being one of Indonesia’s most well known and celebrated guitarists, Tohpati is also one of its busiest session men. In a career which has seen him work as both a band leader and support player for many of his country's most celebrated popular artists -- in addition to seven albums with simakDialog (spanning more than 20 years), and three previous marquee projects for MoonJune -- his chameleon-like ability to tailor his playing to suit a variety of diverse styles has always served him well. But on this particular outing, he reveals even further depths of both his dexterity and his creative genius.
This potent, engaging set features masterful work by: veteran Indo Hardjodikoro, on bass guitar; Diki Suwarjiki, on suling bamboo flute and tarompet (Indonesian clarinet); and is propelled by the flowing rhythmic combination of Endang Ramdan, on kendang percussion, and; Demas Narawangsa, on drums. (The opening tune, "Janger," also features the Czech Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michaela Ruzickova.)
This is music which transcends boundaries, genre and expectations, capturing some of Tohpati's finest, most profound musical statements to date – this is one you certainly won't want to miss!