SimakDialog is one of those very unique jazz bands that manage to incorporate the Jazz musings of the genre while obtaining a leg up on the usual fare. Maybe it’s the dual Sudanese Kendang percussion that seems effortlessly fluid and complex between Endang Ramdan and Erlan Suwardan or the butterfly fingers of band leader Riza Arshad on Fender Rhodes Electric Piano. Honestly, it’s the combination of all the masterful playing that seems to be everywhere, but comes together in such a way that it can be looked at either as an abstract work of art or a master craft of concepts.
I spent most of the day listening to Live at Orion. This was not a simple task. Though the double album only contains nine songs every track in the collection was a drawn out jam session building and ebbing and then building again, sometimes going on for near twenty minutes. That right there is what blew my mind.
There is such a complicated groove among every track on the album and a seemingly endless amount of movements from each musician. At times I found myself focused in on the wild percussion, imagining the arms and hands of the players as they put out a perplexing backbone for each track. I thought to myself often, “These guys are about to mess up, I just know it.” It only seemed probable that the outrageous momentum in each track, going on for as long as they do, there had to be an inevitable break in concentration by one or all involved. Nope.
I think that’s where the magic of this live album really comes from. It’s like being able to admire a wonderful piece of art. It’s already finished and you can see the complicated strokes of a paint brush or the smooth groove of a hand over clay made alive, but this album is a living breathing piece of art that no matter how many times to listen to it and tell yourself it’s a set performance carved in stone, the passion and skill coming from your speakers, the magnificent capturing of sound on an immaculate level, it just tricks your mind into being caught up in the moment.
There’s really no one way to explain how magnificent Live at Orion is. It’s simply something you have to experience, and seeing that it’s Jazz, you’re going to find new avenues to pursue every time you listen. I highly recommend checking it out. Enjoy.