I have to praise the people of record label Moonjune Records for their open minds when it comes to new releases. They not only give fairly unknown musicians a chance to present themselves to a wider audience, but they also explore the boundaries of different musical styles. Sometimes this results in very interesting albums, real gems, while others are hard to digest and difficult to review for a prog rock website. Recently I had the pleasure to review Films (see review) by the acoustic project Yagull that I really liked, and Riot (see review), an album by the Indonesian band Tohpati Bertiga. This time Ligro, another Indonesian band, get the chance to impress me with their album Dictionary 2. Ligro, founded in 2004, consist of guitarist Agam Hamzah, bassist Adi Darmawan and drummer Gusti Hendy.
Since both Tohpati Bertiga and Ligro hail from Indonesia and both play instrumental music as a fusion power trio, similarities with are easily to be found in the music. However, Ligro's compositions have a much more free structure than Topathi's. This means that their music is slightly harder to comprehend and therefore it should appeal more to diehard fusion fans rather than prog rock devotees.
From the first three songs on the album I got a nice and warm feeling. Paradox, Future and the classically influenced Stravinsky contain influences of John McLaughlin, Dave Fiucynski and a lot of the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Terje Rypdal. However, halfway the album the music gets a bit freakish, perhaps too freakish for me. Bliker 3 starts promising, but has a too long middle section that doesn't keep my attention to the music. That also applies to Etude Indienne and Transparansi which starts with a Jeff Beck sounding guitar, but ends up as guitaristic chaos. Don't get me wrong; these musicians really master their instruments, but to me it all sounds a bit over the top. Being a guitar freak I hear something in Agam Hamza's guitar sound that I don't like. It sounds as if he's constantly holding his guitar vibrator.
Ligro made a good start at the beginning of the album, but along the way they have kind of lost me with their freakish musical style. Like I wrote above, the guitar sound isn't quite the sound I like to listen to for over seventy minutes, so Ligro is a tough job to review. However, if you like guitar fusion, without boundaries or limitations Dictionary 2 definitely is your album; for me it's all too quirky.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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