Poe is a collaboration between Melody As Truth founder, Jonny Nash, and Indonesian musician, Teguh Permana. Their fingers jointly stroking, coaxing, and caressing strings. With Jonny on guitar – and keys – and Teguh demonstrating his dexterity on the Tarawangsa – a traditional, sacred Sundanese instrument. Incredibly expressive and used in ceremonies similar to Java’s gamelan, the Tarawangsa is effectively a 2-string violin. It makes a music exquisitely Asian – buzzing and humming, moving from a melancholy bowed ache to a sound that could be a breath or a sigh. Its voice almost human, or animal.
I read somewhere that music began as mans` attempts to mimic the elements – four of the tracks on Poe are named as such – those 2 strings emitting a raw, hoarse roar. Like a sad, wounded predator singing a lament, an unrequited love song. Mournful, close to weeping. Like the Sufi longing captured on Peter Gabriel’s score for Martin Scorsese`s The Last Temptation Of Christ. Multiple melodies mirrored in its under and overtones. Melody Of Truth here picking up ECM`s musical baton – blurring the boundaries between jazz, classical, and new age, with Stephan Micus-esque fusions of yesterday, today and tomorrow – recasting the ancient in surroundings more modern. Reflecting the album’s theme, of the passing of time, the changing of seasons. As with most MAT releases, ideas seem to converge around a central piece, and on Poe that’s the near 13 minute Duan (“Leaf”) – where the improvised introspective atmospheres and airs solidify in a slow march, a winter`s walk. Piano notes falling like snow on isolated, quiet, contemplative, scenes.
There are 5 tracks on the vinyl, plus 2 digital bonuses. The latter in contrast suggesting spring, and the promise that blossom brings. New beginnings, and fresh starts. Optimism, hope, and lighter hearts.
You can order a copy of Jonny Nash & Teguh Permana`s Poe directly from Melody As Truth.