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TRACK LIST: 1. System Manipulation 12:18 2. Breathe 8:34 3. PESAN 5:32 4. Verso Kartini 9:20 5. Music for Five Players 7:40 6. Anne 19:23 All music & lyrics: by Discus. LINE-UP: Iwan Hasan - vocals; electric & classical guitars, harp, violin; keyboards Fadhil Indra - vocals; keyboards; acoustic & electronic percussion Anto Praboe - vocals; woodwinds, flute, clarinet, saxophone Eko Partitur - vocals; violin Kiki Caloh - bass; vocals Hayunaji - drums; vocals Krisna Prameswara - keyboards; vocals Nonnie - vocals Produced by A. Julias & Hasan. Engineered by R. Ilyas & R. Zr at "Mosaic", Jakarta.
Prolusion. I don't know what "Tot Licht!" means in German, but this is the title of the second album by DISCUS, and these amazing Indonesians sing in English. Perfect mess! Sorry, perfect message!
Synopsis. Like some of you dear readers, I didn't have the opportunity to hear their first album, titled simply "1st" (2001). But even judging only by "Tot Licht", it's clear that Discus is just one of the very best contemporary music outfits! This album is a real killer and even more than that! It very rarely occurs today that I can be so much impressed by music as in this case. Have a look at the lineup above, and you'll get some idea of what the sound here might be about. It's wonderfully rich and colorful, but this is not all, of course. Don't even try to imagine the band's music without hearing it. Even the most impossible comparisons would be pointless regarding it, as it's really one of a kind - both instrumentally and vocally. The predominant stylistics is a pronounced Fifth Element, absorbed all four of the classic progressive genres: RIO, Prog-Metal, Art-Rock, and Jazz-Fusion, and, of course, something new, so far indescribable, but distinctly perceptible. In approximately equal proportions, all of the said constituents of this music are presented on the two longest and most eclectic compositions here: System Manipulations (1) and Anne (6), located on the album's anti-pole. Both of these are also rich in elements of the Oriental music and Balinese folklore, while the latter is the only track here, which, in addition, contains the arrangements that are distinctly related to classical academic music. There are plenty of those concerning avant-garde academic music on the album, but these aren't immediately evident, being usually intermixed with the features of the other genres forming Discus's overall, especial stylistics. The music is highly intricate and intriguing everywhere on the CD, but is especially diverse and eccentric on those two. Nevertheless, I wouldn't mark some tracks out as the best, because the album is brilliant from the first note to the last. Overall, Breathe and Verso Kartini (2 & 4) remain within the framework of the album's predominant style, but are, respectively, heavier and softer (and more symphonic) than any of the other tracks. Both of them are notable for the lesser quantity of elements of the Oriental and Balinese music, especially in the instrumental parts. Each of the members of this astonishing octet is a truly profound and virtuosi musician, and not only. Surprisingly, I take the presence of a few different, male and female, lead vocalists here just as a matter of course and regardless of whether they sing separately or in chorus. The vocal palette of the album is outstandingly original and is rich in various vocal colors, including those close to brutal ones. These can be heard on most tracks, because the Metal-related constituent of Discus's music has rather much in common with so-called extreme manifestations of the genre. Yeah, this is a very surprising band! (Long live nonconformity!) Both of the remaining tracks: Pesan and Music for Five Players (3 & 5), the latter of which is the only instrumental on the album, were performed without the rhythm section and consist exclusively of acoustic textures woven of the parts of violins, woodwinds, brasses, acoustic and classical guitars, plus harp and marimba on the latter. The music, respectively, is the European kind of Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion and classic RIO and is pure magic.
Conclusion. If I were an inveterate romantic, I would say that with the release of Discus's second outing one of the most cherished dreams of many profound Prog-heads has come true. Yet, it seems I've done it anyway. In any case, I am ready to take a bet that "Tot Licht" will be at the head of my Top-20 albums of 2004.
VM: May 13, 2004
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