July 25, 2012

Review: Tohpati Bertiga-Riot

Tohpati begin playing classical guitar at the age of ten. By his twenties he was playing in an Indoneisan jazz band, simakDialog a band well known for their musical prowess and extended solos. He continues to expand his playing adding new tools to his already overcrowded toolbox.
His new album Riot was recorded live in the studio, with his trio which consists of:  Tohpati (guitars, guitar synth), Indro Hardjodikoro (bass) and Aditya Wibowo (drums).

Riot has an open easy going feel with a lot of the band interaction caught on the microphone in-between tracks. The first track, “Upload” sounds like it starts off with the band just messing around while warming up and then gets into some serious playing.  The rhythm sounds very complex; it has an analytical feel to it. All the instruments playing in perfect time with each other despite the varied time changes.

“I Feel Great” is a funky little number that rocks out in its own funky little way. There are plenty of heavy guitar riffs in this one, but it seems to have a lot more jazz licks on it as well. Then there are a handful of things in it that I don’t even know how to classify.

The title track, “Riot” is exactly what the title would suggest. The song starts very intense with the bass and guitar playing the same fast part that seems to keep climbing up into the ether, but I think my favorite parts are the more open, flowing bits where Tohpati lays down endless rivers of legato and two handed tapping phrases that seem to float you back down to the ground like a feather.

“Middle East” satisfies that part of me that is always looking for something different. I love the complex rhythms, the groove of the bass, all the great snare work and cymbals. That alone makes the song great, but the movement of the guitar on top of it makes it the kind of song that you have to get up and move to.

There is a lot of amazing stuff on Riot, but what I really appreciate about the album is that despite its complexity, the songs come first. They are very fun to listen to and there are even parts you can hum along with.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Upload, Riot, Middle East

Kirk Bullough

July 25, 2012


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