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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tohpati

Tohpati Bertiga – Riot

Review by Gary Hill

Previously I thought that Tohpati’s name was “Tohpati Ethnomission” because of a previous release, but since this one came out under the name “Tohpati Bertiga,” I’m guessing it’s just “Tohpati.”  He’s best known as the guitarist in the band Simak Dialog. There’s a lot of fusion and plenty of other elements built into this. Unlike that previous disc, there’s not a lot of world music here. It’s another strong release from this guy, no matter what you think his name is.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
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With a short intro that feels like a jam session, this powers out into some off-kilter, killer jamming that’s very cool. It’s rather metallic, but also has a lot of King Crimson built into it. There are a number of changes and alterations here. It’s a cool tune. Some of the guitar sounds and soloing here are really exceptional.

I Feel Great
Bouncy and cool, this has more of a real fusion texture to it. It’s got some funk and some rock and roll and this thing is awesome. It works out to some jam band like music later. This is awesome. It’s very dynamic and yet organic. I really like the funky section that comes in late.  
Riot
Drums open this. Then a jamming guitar joins and this feels like a garage band for a short time. Then they launch out into a fast paced and technical progression that’s part metal and part King Crimson. The overall effect is a metallic fusion. Still, there is some RIO here and even a bit of old school Rush. They take it out into a killer psychedelic movement at one point, too.
Middle East
While there is a bit of the Middle Eastern element suggested by the title here, this cut really fits pretty well into a guitar dominated fusion sound. It’s one of the more straightforward and accessible numbers here. Still, it does make its way out into something that’s closer to jam band territory later. This is a real standout.
Pay Attention
Another cut with more of a melodic fusion turned jam band sound, this is good, but not exceptional. That said, this does have some of the tastiest guitar soloing of the whole set. There is also some killer bass work on this, and it has some funk at times.
Rock Camp
This is more of a straightforward rock and roll tune. There’s a lot of jam band music. At times this calls to mind the Dixie Dregs. At other times, it almost works out into something like Herbie Hancock’s electronic phase.
Absurd
More freeform in nature, this thing teeters between fusion and rock music. It’s got some RIO-like moments. Dixie Dregs also make a valid reference here.
Disco Robot
As one might guess from the title, this is rather electronic and weird. It gets pretty heavy and is quite fusion-like. It also has some of the most crazed jamming of the whole set. King Crimson certainly comes to mind.
Lost In Space
This is a lot more melodic and quite Dixie Dregs like. There is definitely plenty of fusion built into this beast. It drops to atmospheric territory later, earning the space part of the title. From there it rises back out.
Bertiga
Fusion and jam band music are merged with some soulful sounds on this cut. It’s certainly the most mainstream number here. That said, it does work out to some noisy, seemingly randomized space sounds.
 
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