Three LA based singers, songwriters, musicians – namely, Denise Bonis, Eric Frost, and Mark Mastppiertro -- came together to form a band called Jakarta Skyscraper in 2003. Their debut release, self-titled, is exotic. The only genre I could possibly categorize it in would be experimental jazz as the myriad of instruments played by the trio ranges from guitar to clarinet.  Now when was the last time you heard a clarinet? 


Why the name?  No answer is provided. But Jakarta is the capitol of Indonesia and home to over 10 million people who live in skyscrapers and shanties alike.  This CD evokes the energy of a bustling international city and the extreme diversity that can only co-exist in such an environment. 


The amazing music is the perfect accompaniment to the outstanding vocals.  Denise Bonis’s voice is rich and dark like an excellent cup of espresso. The haunting vocals on “Stars Are Down” catch your stomach unaware and make you gasp and breath synchronizing with the beat of the Eric’s drums.  The lyrics are pure poetry and full of raw emotion.  The instrumental “Jakarta Skyscraper” is sensual and could easily lead to a trance or very erotic dance. 


Jakarta Skyscraper is one of those CD’s that you’ll pull out for friends who really appreciate the unique musical experience. I can’t recommend this CD highly enough. The final song on the short CD (only eight recordings) ends with the soft laughter of Bonis.  You might do the same, acknowledging that you’ve been seduced by three incredible artists.


~review by Denise Bell

Artist: Jakarta Skyscraper
CDBaby, 2005