Discus Reviews

Also see: Baja Prog 2001  ~ Indonesia Progressive Festival 2001

From: "Surjorimba Suroto" <>
> ...release by the Indonesian band Discus. Have you heard their CD Suryo?
Yep, of course. The leader, Iwan Hasan, is a very good friend of mine. The band Discus, created music and explore many genre (incl. jazz). Perhaps because half of the members were jazz musicians and the rest were known as progressive rock musicians (incl. imitators to Yes/ ELP/ Genesis). Their first album, Discus 1st, was released internationally by Mellow. The first track, Lamentation and Fantasia Gamelantronique, is a very interesting song. The influence of King Crimson is there, blend with traditional/ ethnic Indonesian instruments. I remember another prog rock track, but I forgot. The rest are more jazz influenced. I watched them live once, last Dec. There are very talented musicians. Together with Iwan Hasan and several prog headers, we made a weekly progressive rock program on a local radio station. Three hours a week. I also heard that this Discus album was claimed in the Best Selling Progressive Rock Album of the year in Belgium, ranking #5. Anybody can confirm? They're also invited to ProgDay 2000. Now they're practicing and preparing the 2nd album.

From: Gamantyo Hendrantoro <>
The other one in the same breath is Contrasts, which features variations of a Javanese traditional theme Gambang Suling. The best aspect of Discus' music is probably the diversity of their styles. Beside the above two symphonic/prog fusion tracks, they also have some strong classical, ambient, and fusion pieces, all in one album. I used to have a problem with the more jazzy tracks, but now I think it only proves further their versatility in composing their music. And the Lamentation and Fantasia Gamelantronique track is as intense as anything by Deus Ex Machina, with the additional winning tinge of Balinese gamelan music. While we're at this subject, I would suggest everyone who likes Discus' music to try the gamelan music of Bali. While it is played on traditional instruments, the music itself shows many aspects that commonly characterize progressive rock music, e.g. the very dynamic music with unusual time meters, the presence of quiet moments interspersed between the dynamic parts, the epic nature of the pieces that sometimes consist of multiple sections with different themes, and the beautiful melody (only now it's played in pentatonic scale, which makes it more interesting).

From: Mike De Lang <> Has anyone heard Discus 1st yet? A Fantastic prog/jazz fusion band from Indonesia. Very good musicians who draw their influences from artists and bands such as Frank Zappa, John Coltrain, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, National Health, Happy the Man, Alan Holdsworth, Bruford's solo stuff, Al DiMiola and perhaps a host of others yet sounding very unique. Besides bass, guitars, drums, keys and electronics, they also use a 21-string harpguitar, Balinese percussion, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, Sax and violin. Very good male and female vocals in both English and Indonesian. I understand that the release on Mellow Records is a re-issue and it doesn't say anywhere on the cd when it was originally released. Does anyone know? Are they still together? Perhaps Suyro knows. Are we gonna hear Discus 2nd?

From: Gamantyo Hendrantoro <> doesn't say anywhere on the cd when it was originally released. Does > anyone know? According to my copy, it was released on cassette in Indonesia in the same year as the Mellow CD release. The cassette sleeve even mentions Mellow as its worldwide distributor. > Are they still together? Yes they are, although in their own country they are as obscure as internationally they are. Their leader/multi-instrumentalist, Iwan Hasan, struggles hard to make their music heard by local people. > Are we gonna hear Discus 2nd? Yes, as far as I understand they are currently rehearsing for their second album. Also watch out for their would-be first international appearance at ProgDay 2000. That is if they succeed in finding a sponsor to financially support their travel to the US, which sadly I've heard they haven't been able to find. There is also an article on Discus in the latest edition of Expose, featuring an interview with Iwan Hasan.

From: "Surjorimba Suroto" <>  Discus 1st is a 1998/1999 release and is distributed internationally by Mellow. Unfortunately, there's no CD format by the local label. Only cassette. Most songs were written by the leader/guitarist Iwan Hasan. The personnels came from various backgrounds jazz, rock, etc). That's the reason why you hear many influences in the album. Iwan himself studied in the US (forgot the university), also have classical music backgrounds, also able to play harpguitar, and a diehard fan of Yes and Kansas. I'm sure you can hear Kansas' influences in the prog-rock tracks. They're invited to ProgDay 2000, but Iwan said they're still looking for funds. Meanwhile they practice, rehearse and write songs for their next album. According to plans, they'll promote the 2nd album in ProgDay. My friend Andy Julias, the host of our Prog Rock radio show (who was also a musician and producer), is going to be the producer. Starting May, Iwan Hasan opens a music/ art shop and he also stocks lots of prog rock CDs. There's another work by Iwan called Transcultural Echoes on 33 Strings, where he demonstrates his harpguitar followd by electric guitar. Complete with bass, drums, keys etc. Instrumental, something like After Crying. Very progressive rock. I think he played all instruments. This song was featured on Gitar Klinik (Guitar Clinique) compilation album. I asked Iwan if there's a CD, but he said the label only released it on cassette. I'm trying to transfer it to CDR later. Thanks to him, I also able to read Progression # 34 and perhaps future issues. Anybody wish to contact him can e-mail him: iwanh@cbn.net.id.

From: "Surjorimba Suroto" <> Subject: Re: BAJA PROG 2001 Newsletter No. 8
Luna Negra, S.C. wrote: >BAJA PROG 2001 Newsletter No. 8 >Saturday, March 3, 2001 > >Teatro del Estado@ 3:00pm >Three performing bands - us$15: >-PRIAM (France) mageos.ifrance.com/FrogProg/progsud_priam_GB.html >-DISCUS (Indonesia) www.matonline.com/discus/ >-LE ORME (Italy) www.leorme.alma.it/eng/english.htm
I'm very happy that Discus finally got the opportunity for a gig in BajaProg. Iwan Hasan told me, when we were in John Myung's bass guitar clinic & workshop last Tuesday, that they still haven't enough funds to go to Mexico. Only a few thousand $ left and they'll wait until Friday. On Monday I heard that they're ready to go. The band will of course perform their songs from the first album. Another new track, Anne, from the upcoming new album will definitely be played. Will this BajaProg be released in CD this year?

From: "Gamantyo" <> Date: Wed Feb 28, 2001 Subject: Re: BAJA PROG 2001 Newsletter No. 8
Just to add to Suryo's great news, here's an excerpt of what we heard from Iwan Hasan: For this Baja performance Discus' percussions will be handled by a real traditional percussionist, Gusti Kompiang Raka, who has been known in Indonesia as a maestro in Balinese gamelan. He has worked with, among others, Guruh Gypsy, an Indonesian prog band from the 70's whose sound also incorporated Balinese gamelan. The setlist will include songs from their debut album, rearranged to include new elements of Raka's Balinese percussions (kendang, cengceng and gender), "Anne", the new epic that was played at ProgDay, and a new piece jointly composed by Discus and Raka.

From: "Surjorimba Suroto" <>
Mike Prete wrote: >Our new auction features another ProgDay alumnus, Discus. Their >unique style is a blending of progressive rock, jazz and traditional >Indonesian music. Their set at ProgDay 2000 was one of the highlights >of the weekend. This hard to find CD is signed by all 8 members in >the liners!
More info about Discus: Discus is planning to release their 2nd album this year. Several tracks are completed, including the outstanding song Anne which were performed at ProgDay 2000 and BajaProg. I'm hoping the BajaProg version will be included in the forthcoming album. But latest news said that a newly studio version will be the one to be in the album. Another 2 new tracks are also ready. Both were performed in local show by several members (not under the name Discus). One is a composition similar with Condissonance (a chamber music with sax-violin-harpguitar). The new album will be a more rockier album. Especially in the guitar parts. Other members also involved more in songwriting. So it will be interesting.

From: David Levkovitz <> Date: Wed Mar 31, 2004
I can't believe you didn't recommend the second Discus CD, ...Tot Licht (you being from Indonesia) ! This is a monumental CD. The way that progressive, jazz, Gamalon, modern classical and metal are woven into unique whole is impressive, to say the least! And the musicianship is at such a high level it's scary.

From: "suryo_anglagard" <> Date: Fri, 02 Apr 2004
thx for listening to Discus 2nd CD. As for not recommending that CD, actually I did. I even posted their progress from 1.5 year before its official release date. At the time it finally released (they took more than 1.5 year for mixing, mastering, struggling with the label, etc etc etc), I was inactive in E-Prog. They had sooooo many constrains in releasing Tot Licht! I'm glad the result is more than 'very good'. I took several hours watching their recording process. I knew their problems, especially when their saved data (of final mastering) crashed. They tried to recover the data, unfortunately.... But things get well afterwards. I confess that during its release I was missing from E-Prog. Perhaps that's why you didn't find me talking/ promoting that album. In case you don't know, there are two versions of the album: the normal one and the exclusive Japanese version. As usual, the latter has one bonus track. Our local release didn't include that bonus either. However the exclusive version is available for Indonesian Progressive Society members. Andre (E-Prog member from Netherlands) visited Indonesia early this year and he got both versions. I know some Discus members are also here in E-Prog. C'mon guys! Speak up :) Anyway, thanks for reminding me :). For those who haven't listened to Discus' Tot Licht album, you better get it now. I'd vote this album for Best Album 2003. Not because it's from Indonesia, but it's really (IMHO) simply the best release in that year.