Upon receiving the album in the mail from MoonJune... I was skeptical, a prog band from Indonesia? Well Ligro is the real deal, and are as slick and creative as `mainstream prog fusion bands such as Helmet of Gnats or Canada's Spaced Out. Formed in 2004 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Ligro is a guitar, bass, and drum trio that creates a welcome diversity within the jazz-fusion genre, but please be forewarned, this isn't your father's jazz-fusion, You will not hear any new age references, or Pat Methany or Chick Corea influences.
The band states- `We play the music as what the heart says. Music is fun and the creation is limitless. Ligro defines ourselves perfectly, we are ORGIL (= crazy people in Bahasa), because we just listen to our hearts in turning the noise into music where the exploration is endless and the transformation is rich.'
Though the opening track- Paradox, features Holdsworth/Hendrix influenced axeman Agam Hamzah, who blisters through some very impressive fret work, the next track Stravinsky, blew my mind. `Borrowing' from Stravinsky’s “An Easy Piece Using Five Notes,” the bass work by Adi Darmawan (who reminds me slightly of Percy Jones), is phenomenal. In a nutshell, this man should be placed in the inner-circle of the upper tier of prog bassists.
Drummer- Gusti Hendi, is a brilliant drummer who holds down the drums and percussion with the right flair without overpowering the featured instruments (ala Tony Williams).
Many fusion bands can start to repeat and drag after the hour-mark on a recording. The songs, with references to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis, etc. vary from classical-influences, to loose-jam pieces, killer riffs/displaying their talents, to experimentation, to space-funk. Of course this trio can shred and percolate (Bliker 3), , but they also understand the subtle nuances of building layers, as well as creating refreshing time and stylistic changes within their compositions. And though I have mentioned Gusti, and Adi's playing, it is Agam Hamzah's rich diverse guitar work technical mastery holds the album together.
Etude Indiana, is the only track that hints that the band is not rooted in familiar prog-geography, but also portrays the band's different cultural backgrounds. Adi is originally from Madura, Hendi is from South Kalimantan and Agam is a mix of Aceh and West Java.
The word fusion can mean a lot of things, but Ligro is a `fused' group that simply works perfectly in harmony. What impressed me the most was that these gents are just as good at playing loose subtle fusion as they are in killer shredding, and their writing skills are mature beyond their years. This band has all the tools. And besides Helmet of Gnats, there hasn't been a fusion group that has knocked my socks off in a long while, until I first heard Dictionary 2.
Dictionary 2? I can't wait to hear Dictionary 3,4,5,6... etc.
Highly recommended, especialy to the prog jazz/fusion fan. Highest recommendation. Buy this album from this special band.
Cover artwork is technically very well-made but aesthetically weak.