Mari Njungkel bersama Cosa Brava “The Letter”

Akhirnya …saya bisa menulis musik aneh yang bikin jiwa njungkel ini! terima kasih ke mas Edi Apple Santoso. kalau gak karena beliau, mana saya tahu band aneh ini … Review saya di PA banyak menyebut nama Mas Edi plus kejadian nuansamatik di Apple Cafe pada tanggal 19 September 2014 yang lalu …


Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Soul of the Machine (2:12)
2. The Eyjafjallaj?kull Tango (6:48)
3. Drowning (4:04)
4. The Wedding (6:08)
5. The Letter (3:41)
6. Slings and Arrows (7:23)
7. Jitters (5:13)
8. For Lars Hollmer (8:03)
9. Emigrants (4:06)
10. Nobody Told Me (4:10)
11. Common Sense (7:15)
12. Soul of the Machine (reprise) (2:05)

Total Time 61:01

Line-up / Musicians

– Fred Frith / guitar, voice
– Carla Kihlstedt / violin, bass harmonica, voice
– Zeena Parkins / accordion, keyboards, Foley objects, voice
– Shahzad Ismaily / bass, voice
– Matthias Bossi / drums, percussion, mayhem, voice, whistling
– The Norman Conquest / sound manipulation

– Michael Elrod / tambura (track 4)
– William Winant / concert bass drum (track 10), crotales (track 2)

The Letter
Cosa Brava RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Wonderfully unstructured, unpredictable. But … It’s nice!Commemorating the ProgRing (Progressive Gathering) at Apple Cafe, Jombang, September 19, 2014

The Context

This review would never happen without the important event held at Apple cafe in Jombang, East Java, Indonesia on the evening of September 19, 2014 (Friday). That was the first time I knew the name Cosa Brava from my prog mate Edi Santoso (usually I call him with “Mas Edi”). Well, actually mas Edi owns the cafe and he invited me to have a wonderful chat on progressive music PLUS. I say plus because we did not talk only about progressive music but also anything related to progressive life. So we agreed that PROG is not just the music but it’s a PHILOSOPHY because it goes beyond prog. Take a good example of Mas Edi. yes, he is the die hard core fan of prog music especially in the area of RIO or he call it as “rock mbeling” (local words that mean: “naughty rock”) which essentially depicts the description of what the RIO/Avant-garde music is all about. Of course he also loves things like Birdfish, The Flower Kings as well as Opeth and also legends like Genesis. In fact his Apple Cafe is a true prog cafe in a real sense: you can find many prog artwork like Genesis’ Selling England By The Pound or King Crimson’s In The Court repainted nicely at the walls of the cafe. Do not tak about copy act right ya … But it’s really prog nuances built inside the cafe. If you are real prog person, you would love the cafe – I guarantee ! So ..come to Indonesia mates! I will show you great prog places around ….

Mas Edi has taken prog spirit to the next level, applied in real life not as musician as both of us are not musicians and our friendship so far has been based on our shared taste of prog music plus prog spirit of course. What I mean here is that his decision to carry on his life by taking care his own mother who also live with him in that prog cafe. According to Islamic teaching, taking care of your own parents is number one priority after worshipping only ONE God – Allah subhanahu wa taala. So, has taken life progressively from serving only his own family (wife and two sons) and now to include taking care his own mother who is old and sometimes getting sick. So …you can now imagin how deep our PROG discussion on that ProgRing event ….

The Music

I might send you big apology to describe the novel long context as part of this review because to me prog music is not just music …it goes beyond music … it’s about friendship and long lasting relation with others. You can use the spirit of PROG in day to day life and you will find PROG with joy. Yes, initially I met people like mas Edi because of the need to form coalition of people who share similar taste in music. But after that we talk many things that go beyond the limits of musical taste.

I was very lucky meeting with him at that event where we discussed about prog at one corner of the cafe where the poster of Beardfish bassist was put on the wall. The first thing asked him was: “Who plays this music” when I heard the loudspeaker sounded the music that I never heard before, packed with violin sounds. He said it humbly : “Cosa Brava”. And then I said “What? How do you spell it?”. That indicates how new the name came into my mind, really! Yeah …finally I got it right after he spelled it out for me: COSA BRAVA. What a great name!

You know …what was the first impression about the music of Cosa Brava? Very unstructured …and very unpredictable! When I listened to the violin of Haggard, I could sort of predict where the music would go. Or with Jean Luc Ponty or Didier Lockwood …generally I can get an overall sense on where the music is going. But definitely not for Cosa Brava. But …even though unstructered, I really enjoy how the music flew while Mas Edi talked with me. Of course, as senior prog head he has abundant knowledge about who’s who in Cosa Brava as well as other RIO music. It was quite hard for me to understand the music as everything was unpredictable. But … in enjoying music, do I need to understand? I thought about it quite sometime and posted that question to Mas Edi. His answer was really simple: “The composition must be excellent because the musicians are all talented persons … The only thing is because we do not get used to it …”. WOW! What a wise prog words for me really …. I made a long pause from the discussion and I remember vividly I was hearing the sounds of mechanical typewriter we typically had in the past ….you know the Brother or IBM trade mark of typewriter. What really a great nuance created from the sound!

We continued the prog discussion while letting the stereo set played this album by Cosa Brava. In some segments I requested some pause for a while to discuss the subtleties of the particular segment. Then I noticed that the beauty of enjoying RIO (rock mbeling) music is by letting the music flow as it is and enjoy any segment the music gives to me; do not ever try to predict what is going to happen … Do not expect nice melody that plays across all segments in longer duration. The melody is at every segment. It’s kind like disjointed at first experience. But as time passes by it will definitely grow on you. At first I could only enjoy the section with drums on second track titled strangely as “The Eyjafjallajkull Tango” (6:48). The combined drums and violin work is really stunning!

In this kind of music, I think the most important thing to understand the music, if we want to, is putting ourselves as the musician. This music must have been created for a reason, possibly to support the acts of certain story plot. In this case, of course it revolves around The Letter. Honestly, in this particular album, I know nothing about the plot but it must be something to do with a series of acts that depicts certain life situation where Letter becomes one of the critical point of the story – and then you have other events like Drowning, The Wedding, Nobody Told Me as well as Common Sense. How can I find my joy listening to this album? Through a series of segments that in themselves provide provide a profound experience for me, personally. One thing that makes me happy with this album is its sound quality which I consider as top class! You can hear all subtleties of the music throughout the tracks presented in this album. All the detailed work of each musician can be enjoyed in its utmost clarity especially if you play it at the decent stereo set using at least B&W speakers, or other high end sound system.

Judging from musical composition point of view, I would opt to say that “For Lars Hollmer”, “The Eyjafjallajkull Tango”, “The Letter”, and “Common Sense” are favorite tracks. But the problem is then the track cannot be played its own as it must be placed on sequential basis … So this kind of album can only be enjoyed if I play it in its entirety from start to end. I can find the brilliance of the musicians creating this intelligently crafted music for us. High salute to all musicians involved in this album!

What do you expect from me with the above novel-long elaboration? It’s a FULL five star rating! Keep on proggin’ …!

Thanks to Mas Edi who showed me the hill of finding this kind of music.

Peace on earth and mercy mild – GW


9 Responses to “Mari Njungkel bersama Cosa Brava “The Letter””

  1. apec Says:

    Ilmu baru yang kudu dilalap dan dicerna oleh hati dan otak, karena Pak Edi ndak salah jika ngasih arahan apa yg kudu didengar…

    • Gatot Widayanto Says:

      Cara penyampaian mas Edi agar kita menyukai band tertentu tuh mbuois tenan! Sambil nenggk es limun temu lawak …

  2. Edi Apple Santoso Says:

    wis ….. wong sak ndiwek bancakan bubur abang …..

  3. Budi Putra Says:

    Wah mantabs jaya, nJombang rek…..jd kiblat prog mbeling…hehehe.

  4. andria h8 Says:

    saya ingin juga ke tempat pak Edi, mmg enaknya malam hari. masalahnya nggak ada yg mabrengi saya dari Magetan 🙂

    • Edi Apple Santoso Says:

      silahken, nginep ndhik nggenku sama keluarga juga gpp, besoknya acara bisa dianjutkan ke jatim park ( kira kira 2 jam dari jombang ) .. nek bengi perjalanan maospati – jombang cuma sak jam setengah. monggo dab, waktu dan tempat kami haturken ….
      Majulah Prog!! ….

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