In 2011 a young guitarist originally from Bekasi, West Java but then lives in Bandung released an album titled Tesla Manaf feat Mahagotra Ganesha. He made and distributed it totally independently without having any labels to support and without anyone sponsored him. Think of it. How many of us dare to keep going in that condition? But hey, it’s Tesla, a real die-hard fighter type of person. If he’s a boxer, he’d keep on standing back after being knocked several times, until all the blood being drained from his body, and until his brain stops working, until his very last breath. It wasn’t his first album, but proofed to be the most successful one to date. The fact is, this album is phenomenal, both in quality and acceptance. This album which is titled “It’s All Yours” established him as one of the most brilliant (jazz) guitarists in Indonesia that everyone should seriously keep their eyes on.
Perhaps it’s important to see a brief biorgraphy of him first. The little Tesla showed his interest in music since he was still at the 5th grade of elementary school. It wasn’t guitar but classical piano. He switched to guitar, still classical at the junior high school. He got many achievements as a classical player, but later he found some obstacles, especially since the patterns and rules of classical made him unable to have freedom in doing his work. In Bandung he finally found his ultimate peace in jazz, the music that’s actually already familiar to him. It was his father who made him familiar with wide variety of genres, fusion from Gentle Giant, Mahavisnu Orchestra, Soft Machine, ELP (Emerson Lake & Palmer) and Pat Metheny, from Brad Mehldau, Dream Theatre, Nirvana, Slipnot to Hans Zimmer, Debussy, Bella Bartok and Krzystof Penderecki. These later names have given him inspirations especially in terms of composing something with odd melodies.
He made some albums like Grace & Tesla (with Grace Sahertian) and Ivan & Tesla (with Ivan ‘AJ TheReal’). Another album was in the making but failed to meet the market with G/E/T (with Galang Perdhana Dalimunthe an Edward Manurung). Then he ended up with this album which became a breakthrough in his career.
It’s actually not a surprise and definitely not about luck. In this album he utilized everything he has inside. His passion, feeling, ability, brain, taste and skill to create a masterpiece. It’s unique, grand, magical and mystical. If you listen throughout the tracks which speaks about the relationship between human and nature, the disaster that could happen by human’s unfairness in treating all beautiful things God has given us. Having this as the elementary idea, he developed it into a long duration song divided into 6 parts. Just like watching a movie, the storyline has a beginning, conflict, climax and closing. It’s intense, full of drama and connected. If you want to understand the whole idea, you should listen to it in order from the first track to the end without any break. Along with some of his closest fellow musicians he opened up a connection with Mahagotra Ganesha, an art unit of ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology), and the rest is history.
The combination of modern, Western instruments and traditional, Eastern (in this case Balinese) instruments (gangsa, ceng ceng, kantil, jublag-Balinese gamelan, gong, kemplug) can be found in it. all has their own role, sharing each room in balanced portion. You can clearly hear the progressive jazz, but at the same time you will get the pure, mystical Balinese music. Not to mention the special segment where Jauk Keras (the Red-face Masked dancer) appear and walks around the audiences. Calling this ensemble as Tesla Manaf feat Mahagotra Ganesha, they all open up a new musical world as well as proving how jazz could blended perfectly with just about any kind of music, including the traditional Balinese music and using it to send an important, positive message to everyone. (Read our review on the album here: http://jazzuality.com/album-reviews/tesla-manaf-feat-mahagotra-ganesha-its-all-yours-2011/).
The album was produced only 1000 copies. Amazingly, only in 3 months he managed to sell 800 copies. The good response didn’t only come from Indonesia but also received from US, Japan and Germany. “It’s really unbelievable”, he said.
As Tesla’s already go international with MoonJune Records, we are waiting for that CD to complete. Surprisingly, Tesla just informed us that he’s going to release the Reissue edition of “It’s All Yours” through Demajors which now has two new songs inside. The official release is set to come on May 23, 2014. If you haven’t got the chance to buy the album, it’s the time for you to have it. But even if you have bought it, the new two additional tracks is more than enough to purchase it.
It’s All Yours (Reissue) involved many musiians inside. Dani Irjayana is back behind the drums, Mumuh on soprano saxophone and YD Nafis on keyboard, also the acting co-producer Gega Nesywara on bass. Zaki 4 Peniti is in charge on vocal, Desy Magdalena as backing vocal and of course, the whole Mahagotra Ganesha.
We know that the first 6 parts tells the story about human’s connection with nature. So what are the 7th and 8th tracks about? Well, from what we heard, these two new songs are the aftermath, after, positively thinking, human has made peace with the nature. A lot of feelings can be found in both tracks.
Now here’s a good news: Tesla is kindly giving away his single for free! You can simply download it by clicking the link below. If you wonder why he chose to give you the 6th part, it’s because this one is the sweetest track that can give calm and peaceful feelings to whoever listen to it. What you’re going to get in this free single is a shorter version, but don’t worry because all the essences are still there.
Before Tesla goes to USA to sign his contract with MoonJune Records, he wishes to release this reissue edition through Demajors. Let’s congratulate Tesla and the whole ensemble, wish them luck and don’t forget to get a copy.
(The album will be availabe in our online store: http://store.jazzuality.com/. Stay tune!