01. My Life
04. Evil War
- Benny Soebardja / vocals, lead guitar, sings on "My Life" and "Butterfly"
- Soman Loebis / vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion, sings on "Bingung"
- Janto Diablo / vocals, bass, flute, sings on "Harga", "Madat", "My Life", "Butterfly"
- Sammy Zakaria / drums, sings on "Insan"
- Bhagu Ramchand / promotion, sings on "Evil War"
Sharkmove was established in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia in 1970 by Benny Soebardja (lead guitarist and vocals) who also wrote songs titled "My Life", "Butterfly", "Evil War", and "Insan". Benny, at that time was
registered as student at the Faculty of Agriculture, Padjadjaran University. He invited his best friend, Soman Loebis, a student at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) to join Sharkmove as keyboard player as well as percussion. He then contributed writing one song "Bingung" for the band's debut and only album "Ghede Chokra's".
They then recruited one of the best bassists in Bandung, Janto and also drummer: Sammy. Janto wrote two songs: "Harga" and "Madat". The music of the band was then recorded in the Musica Studio, one of the well-known label in Indonesia until today, and sponsored by Bhagu Ramchand, an Indian with Indonesian nationality. The contribution of Bhagu was significant as he contributed financial support as well as ideas to make the one and only album of Sharkmove "Ghede Chokra's" became a reality. The band was considered as pioneer in Indonesian rock scene by combining rock music with traditional harmonies and progressive sounds.
Some songs in the album were written using English lyrics while at that time most of Indonesian played sweet music and Indonesian lyrics. It was considered as "experimental" in the way the album was made. Right after the release of this album in 1970, the band performed frequent gigs in Indonesian big cities like Bandung, Jakarta (capital city), Palembang, and others.
At the end of 1970, a tragic event occurred when Soman Loebis passed away due to traffic accident in Jakarta and Benny Soebardja decided to stop the band and all of its related activities because at that time it was quite difficult to find Soman's replacement who could play keyboards as good as him.
My Life (9:04) starts mellow in ambient mood with traditional texture through the sound of flute played by Janto Diablo. Benny's vocal line enters beautifully in catchy and memorable notes. The song moves beautifully with excellent melody through vocal line and it then flows in crescendo as drum work by Sammy Zakaria enters. Beny's vocal quality is crispy and powerful and it reminds me to the vocal of David Byron (whom later formed a band called Uriah Heep). This song is to me very emotional because the overall tagline melody is very catchy, memorable, and it touches my emotion - deeply. Composition-wise, this is a masterpiece symphonic progressive rock offering which successfully blends excellent melody with challenging arrangement, especially knowing that it was written those days in 1970 when music was not that complicated and challenging in nature. (This is not to undermine a great album by King Crimson "In the court of The Crimson King" which is really masterpiece with its "21st Century of Schizoid Man").
"My Life" also moves dynamically through its passages with changing styles and tempo from a mellow one at opening part and to heavy part with music riffs and vocal shouting (beautifully) by Benny Soebardja. One thing peculiar is the way Sammy played his drum (at approx. minute 2:01) which then being followed by Guruh Gipsy through its "Indonesia Mahardhikka" composition. Guitar work by Benny is stunning especially when it's augmented by Soman Loebis' hovering organ work that represents truly the 70s sound! The guitar solo during interlude that starts at 3:13 is really top notch! For sure, this is a masterpiece song that all of you, prog warriors, would definitely enjoy! AT the later part of the song, when the song in mellow passage, flute work makes its mark beautifully.
Butterfly (4:28) cools down the music a bit through an ambient organ sound played by Soman Loebis. This song can be considered pop with some progressive touches like Procol Harum even though there is no such thing similar, musically, between the two. Throughout the song, Benny sings nicely, backed by organ sound that characterizes this song, augmented by acoustic guitar rhythm section. Again, this song is strong in melody-line and it's enjoyable for many ears, I believe.
Harga (2:51) is a mellow track with acoustic guitar serves as main rhythm section followed by organ in jazzy mood, augmented beautifully by flutework. This song features Janto Diablo on vocal as well as maintaining his role as flute player. The interlude part offers nice flute passages with acoustic guitar as rhythm section. This song is simple but it has a nice composition that makes it enjoyable listening to it.
Evil War (5:42) is another beautifully crafted song that features Bhagu Rhamchand on vocal. The unique characteristic of this song is its energy cast by Bhagu's vocal line combined with its composition that comprises classic rock style of music plus some musical jamming (well, at least it sounds like "jamming"). From the start of the song, Janto has demonstrated his virtuosity in playing bass guitar which serves as main rhythm section throughout the song. The most challenging part of this song is during the jam session part that starts at minute 1:43 where Janto gives his bass guitar solo augmented by Sammy's drum for approximately 1 minute, followed by Benny's stunning guitar solo.
The remaining three songs are basically ballad with unique texture through flute work. "Bingung" starts with piano followed with guitar fills to accompany vocal by Soman Loebis. "Insan" features Sammy on vocal while Benny focuses on guitar and Janto provides nice flute work. "Madat" starts with nice piano work followed by vocal line performed by Janto Diablo. The lyrics contain social protest and the heroic spirit to fight against its enemies.
Overall, this is an excellent vintage progressive rock - classic rock music that successfully blended the elements of progressive music, traditional harmonies and nice melodies throughout the songs it offers. One thing I need to mention here is that this album is quite original in musical ideas as you can see from the music. It's not totally a prog album as some songs are just ballads but the prog elements are quite significant. This album was a landmark and foundation of Indonesian progressive rock scene. It's truly a gem. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!