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Ligro - 2015 - "Dictionary 3"

(63:47, Moonjune Records)


1.  Bliker 4 14:46
2.  Pentagonal Krisis 15:11
3.  Tragic Hero 13:50
4.  The 20th Century Collaseu 11:40
5.  Lonely Planet 8:20


Agam Hamzah  guitar 
Adi Darmawan  bass 
Gusti Hendy  drums 
Ade Irawan  keyboards 

Prolusion. The Indonesian trio LIGRO was formed back in 2004, and four years later, they released their debut album "Dictionary 1". They have since released new material every three to four years. "Dictionary 3" is their third studio album, and was released through the US label Moonjune Records in 2015.

Analysis. While Moonjune Records is known for their emphasis on bands exploring various kinds of jazz, jazz rock and related genres, Ligro isn't quite the typical representative of bands of that nature. While they do have a foot inside of jazz and jazz rock, their material is one that tends to focus on untypical instrumental movements for bands of that kind, those fond of a jazz or jazz rock band with the archetypical traits heralding a jazz association might have to work a bit to be able to enjoy this production, as this threesome doesn't follow the most common traditions all that much. Opening number Bliker 4 is probably the most traditional creation at hand, the one instance where those fond of traditional jazz rock will find quite a few familiar sounding passages. The interplay with guest musician Irawan is probablyy the reason for this, with a nice set of guitar and piano duels alternating with guitar and organ dominated excursions. From then on this CD gets ever more expressive, with elongated compositions that tend to open fairly calmly, then developing into quite the adventurous items with plenty of loud guitar riffs, atypical guitar soloing and a liberal amount of twisted guitar details to boot, all along with quality support by a bassist and drummer, equally skilled at providing careful and deliberate supplemental details as they are in creating booming, thundering foundations for the guitar to play upon. It's not all loud and vibrant though, as the compositions tend to open with more of a careful touch, and there's room for interludes of a more delicate nature also, as the various compositions develop, but the most memorable sequences are the ones that are more in your face, especially when the guitar sound is distorted, the drums are hammering, and the bass guitar is booming. For those keen on jazz rock associations, there's a certain improvised feel in most of the more loud, vibrant and expressive sections, for me, this is the most jazz-tinged aspect of these compositions as a whole. That there's a fair degree of avant-garde tendencies at hand should interest quite a few beyond the regular jazz rock crowd presumably, and that guitarist Hamzah is willing and able to provide some textures and motifs that bring good, old Robert Fripp to mind another detail of note. Personally I found these compositions to be generally enjoyable, albeit at times with something of a roller-coaster tendency, especially in the final two creations, where what I experience as numerous fake endings made the final phases of those songs a tad unsatisfying, kind of like the concluding half hour in the final of The Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies. Still, it's also one of these compositions, The 20th Century Collaseu, I would point to as the most interesting. This due to an intense, hammering elongated mid section there, where the guitar, bass and drums assemble in an intense, powerful run that really grabs your attention, a vibrant and dark run that is truly beautiful in its intense darkness.

Conclusion. Instrumental, expressive and vibrant jazz rock with a stronger emphasis on rock than jazz is what the Indonesian trio provides on their third CD "Dictionary 3". An adventurous creation with improvisational tendencies, loud guitars and distorted effects aplenty, this is a production that should appeal to those who enjoy vibrant and wild instrumental music in general. A certain taste for adventurous and challenging escapades is needed, as is an affection for a band employing avant-garde touches. But for those, who find this description alluring within a jazz rock general context, Ligro is a band that merits an inspection.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: August 2, 2015
The Rating Room

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