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SIMAKDIALOG

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Indonesia


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simakDialog biography
SIMAKDIALOG is another pleasant surprise from Indonesia. This Jakarta-based combo was formed in 1993 by Riza Arshad (keyboards) and Tohpati (guitars).

The band plays an unique blend of musical styles: with jazz-rock/fusion in its core, heavily influenced with Gamelan music, as well as another Indonesian musical forms, to electronica, psychedelia and various aspects of rock.

This bizarre yet highly enjoyable, elaborated and smart music fusioning is mostly written by Arshad, who's the brainchild behind the band. The band members, aside already mentioned guitarist Tohpati, are: Adhithya Pratama (bass), Endang Ramdan and Erlan Suwardana (both managing the percussion and vocal duties, percussion being mostly Sundanese kendang).

The band released six albums so far (last two being international releases), and they had been awarded several times.

simakDialog official website

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Buy SIMAKDIALOG Music


The 6th StoryThe 6th Story
Moonjune Records 2013
Audio CD$2.00
$1.31 (used)
Live At OrionLive At Orion
Moonjune Records 2015
Audio CD$7.99
$4.88 (used)
Demi MasaDemi Masa
Moonjune Records 2009
Audio CD$11.96
$3.99 (used)
Patahan by Simakdialog (2007-08-21)Patahan by Simakdialog (2007-08-21)
Moonjune
Audio CD$80.10
The 6th Story by SimakdialogThe 6th Story by Simakdialog
Moonjune
Audio CD$85.58
Live At Orion by Moonjune RecordsLive At Orion by Moonjune Records
Moonjune Records
Audio CD$42.42
Demi Masa by simakDialog (2009-06-16)Demi Masa by simakDialog (2009-06-16)
Moonjune Records
Audio CD$41.09
Simakdialog 6th Story Other SwingSimakdialog 6th Story Other Swing
Records
Audio CD$31.70
Simakdialog Patahan Other SwingSimakdialog Patahan Other Swing
Records
Audio CD$27.72
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SIMAKDIALOG discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SIMAKDIALOG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.62 | 4 ratings
Lukisan
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Baur
1999
4.34 | 4 ratings
Trance/Mission
2002
3.86 | 16 ratings
Demi Masa
2009
3.98 | 12 ratings
The 6th Story
2013

SIMAKDIALOG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 10 ratings
Patahan
2005
4.03 | 7 ratings
Live at Orion
2014

SIMAKDIALOG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SIMAKDIALOG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SIMAKDIALOG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SIMAKDIALOG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Trance/Mission by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.34 | 4 ratings

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Trance/Mission
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars The Indonesian underground music scene is one that has gained quite the momentum over the last few decades. Of course what is played isn't restricted to a certain genre, but it should be noted that progressive music was heavily emphasized. Groups like Imanissimo and Discus emerged in the early 2000's, but one group came even earlier, one under the moniker simakDialog, in 1993. Of course Indonesia had experimented with progressive music much earlier such as with the diversity of Guruh Gipsy back in 1977, and I'm sure there's other examples that I can't name off the top of my head, but simakDialog was perhaps the first moderately-popular jazz/fusion act to arise from the country. Jakarta, Indonesia specifically was were they came from, a place which was and still is a potent breeding ground for aspiring artists, and simakDialog were a bright bunch even amongst their peers. Like any obscure band their history is hard to uncover, but from the looks of it simak began their studio ventures in 1995 with Lukisan, but started to gain more traction in 1999 with their sophomore album Baur. Now, those albums are all well and good, but what I believe to be the crowning achievement of the early days of simakDialog is their 2002 effort, cleverly titled Trance/Mission.

I'd hate to be that guy, but I just gotta do it -- if the band's mission was to put me in a trance, it worked (I am so, so sorry). Trance/Mission is less traditional jazz fusion as you might expect, less in the vein of Return to Forever or Santana, and closer to a more traditionalist viewpoint of what exactly the genre entails in South-Asia. Elements of new age, prog-electronic, ambiance, latin-jazz, and progressive rock are all present, and collapse in on one another in an almost surrealistically well-put-together mess. The long, sprawling run-times of the more adventurous tracks like 'All In A Day' and 'Throwing Words' are testaments to true eclecticism, often divulging into numerous different pathways which never fail to lose their sense of intrigue. Now, with all these observations you might expect that this particular album is likely hard-to-swallow, or just too avant-garde for one's tastes. Funnily enough though, that's not the case. simakDialog's way of doing things may sound exuberant to say the least, but the way the band presents it is almost sophisticated in it's laidback approach. If I were to give a visual summary of what this album represents, it would be of a beach-house, front-window view of the sunset, albeit a sunset that lasts almost an hour and ten minutes. The instruments do more than just interact, they collide off of each-other and split off, not exactly in a zany way per-say, but they do tend to make their own marks separately. This could be kind of overwhelming, such as on the last track 'Sampan' where a bit too much can be happening at once and tonal shifts can be thrust in at off- kilter places, but more often than not it is very effective.

The independence is not only where the album thrives, as cohesion is the yin of the yin-yang that it invariably is. The aforementioned 'All In a Day' is likely where I found myself at my most comfortable, not only with the fantastic guitar-solo-work by Tohpati Hutomo, but also by the soft amateurish keyboard of Riza Arshad and of course the wonderful and colorful percussion section led by Endang Ramdan, Erlan Swardana, and Jalu Patidina. On that note, it would be good to mention how fantastic the percussion section really is, as it isn't exactly similar to many other bands. Instead of relying on a single classic rock / jazz drum-set, simakDialog uses a smattering of kendangs (a Southeast Asian two-headed drum), as well as a few other native instruments like the kethuk (a Javanese mini metal-gong). Fear not though, you of conservative-natures (such as myself, honestly), because there is often use of the jazzist's pride and joy, the hi-hat, which makes several appearances in faster sections. If this diverse cacophony of instruments appeals to you in any way, then this is exactly what you're looking for.

I've always maintained that some of the best albums are those that are shrouded in obscurity, and simakDialog further reinforces that. Indonesia has produced one of the most fun-loving bands of the last 20 years. Check it out. (4.5 rounded to a 5)

 Live at Orion by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Live, 2014
4.03 | 7 ratings

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Live at Orion
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

Recorded live on September 7, 2013, at The Orion, Baltimore, MD, this was to be the final release for simakDialog. Looking back to their previous live album from 2005, Ravid, Tohpati and Endang were still there, with bassist Rudy Zulkarnaen and additional percussionists in Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia. This release is a double CD, and again none of the songs are less than eleven minutes in length, and the band are determined to stretch their wings. "Throwing Words" is very different in the live environment to when it was released some ten plus years earlier, with Tohpati demanding centre stage and taking firm control. The band had been together for twenty years by this point, and the way that Tohpati and Ravid swap roles and bounce off each other in superb.

Here is a band where everyone is a master of their instrument and knows exactly where each of them needs to be musically, but the coming together of Western and Indonesian styles and sounds allows them to sound both incredibly tight and loose at the same time. Just listen to the combined runs of Tohpati and Ravid at the beginning of "Stepping In" to see what I mean, as while they are hitting each note in perfect unison at great speed, the percussionists are creating a sound storm beneath them. This album is a perfect introduction to a great band, who never really gained the kudos they deserved outside their native country. Discover this, and then go back and listen to their other releases to see why I am such a fan.

 Patahan by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Live, 2005
3.82 | 10 ratings

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Patahan
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

'Patahan' was their first live album, released in 2005, and there had been quite a change in line-up between this and the last studio album, 'Trance/Mission', with just Ravid and Tohpati plus percussionist Endang Ramdan still involved. When one first starts playing this it is hard to realise that this is a 'live' album as the audience is so quiet, and there is no introduction or announcement, but straight into 'One Has To Be', which is a piano tour-de-force. This is all about Ravid, a maestro in total control of his instrument, with the rest of the guys happy to provide the gentle percussive background which is all that is needed. When Tohpati finally takes centre stage, it is restrained, almost as if he is having to pull the notes up from great depth, showing great control and sustain, Hackett combining with McLaughlin.

There are just five songs on the album, but with the shortest at eleven and the longest at nearly twenty there is plenty here to enjoy. It isn't always gentle and reflective, and there are times when the band feels far more menacing, such as on 'Kemarau', where the riffs give way to repeated piano motifs while the percussionists build the scene ready for Tohpati to take it to another level. We've gone from the delight of bands such as Santana into something that could almost be from 'The Exorcist', albeit with a tribal background. Here is a band made up of consummate musicians, working together to produce something that is very special indeed. Fusion in it its truest sense, this is indispensable.

 Trance/Mission by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.34 | 4 ratings

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Trance/Mission
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

Formed in 1993, simakDIALOG were an Indonesian fusion band who released their first album as along ago as 1995, with 'Trance/Mission' being their third in 2002. Throughout their career their music centred around the soloing and fluidity of the keyboard player Ravid Arshad and guitarist Tohpati, combined with local Gamelan music to create something that was incredibly accessible to Western ears, yet also stayed very true to their roots. The fluidity and melody of Ravid and Tohpati is incredible, relying far more on intricate runs than the use of chords, with each both being prepared to take the lead, duet with the other, or even take a total break from the music altogether. It isn't unusual to find one of them totally absent for long periods of time, just to give the other more space to move and breathe. Tohpati always makes me think of John McLaughlin, and strangely so does Ravid although he is playing keyboards, which is probably why they work so well together.

Ravid uses an electric organ to great effect on this album, with my favourite number probably 'Throwing Words' where Tohpati lets Ravid get on with it, until he comes back with a slightly distorted guitar which is totally at odds with what has been going on before, really shifting the timbre and style of music. Indro Hardjodikoro has a delicate touch on the bass, providing warmth and filling the gaps between the melody makers and the percussion. There are three guys playing a variety of Indonesian instruments that provide an authenticity and realism to the music, a total fusion not just of jazz and rock, but world music and the west.

 Live at Orion by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Live, 2014
4.03 | 7 ratings

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Live at Orion
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian band SIMAKDIALOG has been a going entity for more than 20 years, and ever since 1995 they have steadily released new music. A grand total of five studio productions and 2 live albums carry their name so far, and the most recent of these is the double feature "Live at Orion", released through Moonjune Records in early 2015.

A tight and elegant harmonic performance is what SimakDialog delivers on their live album "Live at Orion", with a good balance between tightly controlled performances and material that has room for a more loose and expressive delivery. All instrumentalists are in good form, and the recording quality doesn't leave anything to be desired either. A strong live double feature, one that should be of interest to existing fans first and foremost, I guess, and apart from them I'd estimate that those who find music described as instrumental jazz rock or fusion with a distinct world music touch to it to be of interest should find this double CD to be a rewarding listen.

 Live at Orion by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Live, 2014
4.03 | 7 ratings

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Live at Orion
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Releasing a double album is always a risk, being that sometimes you have to add some fillers to make the time required for such large enterprise, fillers that lower the overall quality of the album and rest merits from the great songs, but a live double disk is also an opportunity to demonstrate real versatility, being that you are not limited by the studio engineers and the capacity of a disk, allowing the band to add some features that don't appear in the original records.

Despite this is not the case of Live at Orion because all the tracks are superb in quality, the first album seems to lose that naive folksy sound from the original releases, probably because an American audience want to listen more traditional arrangements. The Kendang percussion ceases to be the center of the Indonesian style to be more an enhancement for traditional virtuoso performances by Tohpati and Riza Arshad.

But this is good, because it demonstrates the ability of the band to adapt themselves to the circumstances and shows a great degree of versatility that few bands can't achieve. Even when I already commented most of the tracks in their original studio environment, I appreciated some of the new arrangements, especially in tracks as Throwing Words in which the band tries to keep the original atmosphere but manage to create a more sober sound ideal for a public performance, and the solid bass provided by Rudy Zulkarnaen is simply impressive.

Another track that impressed me is the extended version of For Once and Ever, which allows Riza and Tohpati to create some magical moments with the Fender Rhodes and guitar, even more impressive than the studio version.

Also Lain Parantina and the sober arrangements plus the vibrant keyboard solos (that remind me of Chick Corea) show a great degree of virtuosity and adaptation capability for a band playing in front of people from another country.

In Disk 2 the guys of DIMAK DIALOG take more risks and are rewarded by the obvious excitement of the audience.

I always said that we discover the music in the studio albums, but can only find the real capacity of the musicians when they play outside of their comfort zone and in an uncontrolled environment where you don't have a second take to repair a false note or a mistake, and SIMAK DIALOG passed the test with excellent grade?Four solid stars in my opinion.

 The 6th Story by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.98 | 12 ratings

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The 6th Story
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Indonesian band SIMAKDIALOG has to be described as a veteran band at this point I guess, with a history stretching back 21 years at the time of writing. They have been releasing albums steadily from 1995 and onwards, and their most recent production is "The 6th Story". As the title indicates, this is their sixth album; it was issued through Moonjune Records in 2013.

Harmonic melodies in smooth, soft and elegant arrangements planned and executed by an instrumental jazz rock band should summarize SimakDialog's fifth studio album and sixth release "The 6th Story" quite nicely. A production that should appeal to those who enjoy instrumental jazz rock of the elegant kind, without many rough edges, but with extensive and fairly elaborate percussion as a key ingredient.

 The 6th Story by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.98 | 12 ratings

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The 6th Story
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars SimakDialog, have been displaying their wares for twenty years, having been formed in Jakarta in 1993 by keyboard player and composer Riza Arshad. Since then the band have been bringing together many musical influences in a style that can truly be described as fusion, with classic jazz, psychedelia, world music and Indonesian influences all coming together in a musical form that is uniquely their own. At Riza's right hand is guitarist Tohpati, a band leader in his own right, and the two of them take the main melodic leads, sometimes sharing and at others just happily giving way to the others. But, while they are at the forefront of the sound, there is a great deal happening underneath the lead melody that makes the band what they are. Huge kudos must be given to bassist Adhithya Pratama as he provides warm support to what is happening, either by playing just the odd single not or complementing the melody with some complex runs of his own. But his main role is that of the bridge between the melody and the percussion, which gives simakDialog such a unique sound.

The band has not one or two percusionnist, but three, Endang Ramdan, Erlan Suwardana, and newest member, Cucu Kurnia, who combine together to provide complex rhythms and sounds that lift the melodies and structures of Riza and Tohpati to new heights. The more one plays this album, the more one realises just how important they are to the overall structure and arrangement, and while Riza's Fender Rhodes electric piano does sound strangely dated, it also fits in perfectly with what these guys are creating. This is music that somehow is incredibly immediate and welcoming, while at the same time being complex and heavily layered. I would love to see these guys play live as there is a real feeling of togetherness and ideas being bounced from each other, while at the same time there is a rigidity as they move along the piece, freedom within framework.

There are some great bands coming out of Indonesia, and simakDialog are one of the best of these. Yet again this is a wonderfully solid and enjoyable album, and one that can be recommended wholeheartedly. www.moonjune.com

 Demi Masa by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.86 | 16 ratings

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Demi Masa
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars To be honest, I'm not as au fait with Indonesian music as maybe I should be based on the evidence of this. It is worth listing the musicians and their instruments as it may just give an idea of what they are doing. The band was formed in Jakarta in 1993 by Riza Arshad (electric piano, acoustic grand piano, synths), and he is joined by Tohpati (electric and acoustic guitar), Adhithya Pratama (bass), Endang Ramdan (lead Sundanese kendang percussion, tambourine, claps, toys, vocals) and Erlan Suwardana (Sundanese kendang percussion, claps, toys, vocals) with a few guests. I have been listening much more to jazz in recent years and the breadth and passion of this album is just breathtaking. At times it is very melodic, with either the keys or guitar being the lead, yet at others it is much more 'free'.

This could never be considered background music as it demands close attention to what is going on. Of course a major part of this music is the percussion which provides a very different flavour to that from many jazz albums. Tohpati provides some stunning guitar, but it is the way that he combines with Riza that is the highlight. Take "Tak Jauh Pertama" for example where Riza provides most of the melodic lead with fairly simple chords, but what makes the song work is the note density and sheer bravado playing of Tohpati. At times his guitarwork reminds me of John McLaughlin, and if I was to pick just one act to compare Simak Dialog with it would be when McLaughlin and Carols Santana combined together for a few albums but it would be justifiable to mention Pat Metheny or Return To Forever, yet none of these tags do this justice.

If you enjoy jazz and fusion then this is an essential purchase. www.moonjune.com

 Patahan by SIMAKDIALOG album cover Live, 2005
3.82 | 10 ratings

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Patahan
simakDialog Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars About 2 months ago I reviewed "Demi Masa" by this excellent Indonesian band SIMAK DIALOG, and rated it with 4 stars due to the surprising combination of sounds, flavours and styles, so when I placed "Patahan" in the CD player, they surprised me again but for different reasons.

If "Demi Masa" was an ode to the unexpected, "Patahan" is more what I would expect from a Fusion band (at least during the first two tracks), with excellent piano performance, splendid guitar by virtuoso musician "Tohpati Ario Hutomo" and a solid rhythm section, in this case with the peculiarity of not using drums but Indonesian Kendang percussion.

The general mood is calm, relaxing and fluid with an audience so respectful that there's almost no "Live feeling", but this doesn't stop the band from improvising and giving the best of them.

As I said before, the album is very relaxing, mainly during the first two tracks "One Has to Be" and "Spur of the Moment" in which "Riza Arshad" carries the weight of the band with an amazing piano performance in the vein of "Chick Corea".

But after that everything starts to change "Kemarau" is a vibrant experimental track with radical changes from martial to peaceful and some haunting chorals, but the really complex material comes with "Worthseein", almost frenetic jam session where all the musicians allow themselves to shine and demonstrate how skilful they are.

The closer "Kain Sigli" begins with a simultaneous narration in two languages, "Emi Tata" in Bahasa language and "Marla Stukenberg" in German, after which an incredibly beautiful acoustic guitar solo captured my attention.

The rest of the track is more experimentation and jamming with "Nyak Ina Raseuki - Ubiet" singing and scatting with a background of guitar percussion and synths....Frenetic and delightful.

Even when Jazz is not my passion, it's obvious for me that the performance and composition is amazing and that would be extremely unfair to rate "Patahan" with less than 4 stars.

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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