Music of Indonesia
Folkways | LP | £21.99
STUNNING set of 1950s recordings from Indonesia, originally released on Moses Asch’s Folkways Records - a brief but insightful window into the region’s somewhat 13,000 islands and their traditional musics, as well as touching on the many foreign influences that the islands have encountered / endured.
Such is the gravity of the task set, there is so much variance in these recordings - although prominence is given to the spatial, rhythmic shadow-plays of Javanese and Balinese Gamelan, which operate on regional tone scales - such as the “Salendro” from Surakarta and the “Pelok” from Jogjakarta, which is played with seven tones to the octave (a good time to mention / confess that this edition comes with some VERY informative liner notes). These elemental teachings sit alongside sorrowful songs of a loved ones absence, joyous ceremonies of ancestral worship and throughly transportive dream-directions, delicately and intricately played on a host of bronze and bamboo forged instruments and primed to thoroughly spanner yer emotional mechanics.
Black Truffle | LP | £21.99
Brittle, beautiful, bonce-rearranging alien jazz geometries… poised yet playful and liable to completely dish your understanding of linear time…like a 3D chess match with some future-folkloric trickster/daemon you’ve bugger-all chance of beating (literally none) yet feel compelled in your earthly arrogance to take on again and again and again. Yeah this is the real stuff. Born 1948, Ruedi Häusermann calls the medieval Swiss town of Lenzburg home. His primary allegiance throughout his prolific and distinguished career has been to absurdist music-theatre – presumably this is how you pass the time in the medieval Swiss town of Lenzburg - and an impish, volkish, very Germanic sense of humour comes across even in these formal, ultra-symmetrical instrumental pieces. But he’s not just pissing about – or if he is, the effect is serious, and substantial, and lasting. Galerie Randolph, originally released on Unit CD in '95 and named after Häusermann’s rehearsal room, is a masterpiece of latterday minimal music. Each piece begins with the same two elements: a scatter of bass-like tones played on a home-built instrument Häusermann made by stretching two guitar strings between the top of his alto sax and an amplified cup; and a series of block chords played on accordion and reeds. This base motif recurs throughout, but on each track different elements are layered on top of it: fractious free sax, modal-melancholic flute and clarinet parts, one-fingered piano melodies, distorted vocals, metal percussion, bells...and a whole array of scrapes and drones and unidentified electroacoustic phenomena. All, it should be noted, played by Häusermann himself, and deftly multitracked. The cumulative intensity of these sequences is incredible. Traditional notions of beginning, middle and end no longer hold water. For the first time in god knows how long you feel LOST. You're up scheiss creek with only an amplified cup for a paddle, and it's exhilarating. Give it the attention it deserves and trust us, Galerie Randolph's strange patternings of repetition, addition and subtraction will alter your spatial relationship to music FOREVER. Fark. Highest possible recommendation.