A truly integral part of the Indonesian identity, Gamelan music has long been a subject of curiosity and wonder for the occidental world, never quite parting with its undecipherable mystic aura and own complex codes. As with all the ‘exotic’ trends we’ve been largely hosed with for centuries of unshared world domination, distorting and recycling the cultures of others to fit our leading order’s most shameless artsy vacationist fancies, Gamelan has experienced its lot of fruitful cultural cross-pollination but also, and sadly, an untold number of post-orientalistic buffooneries and mix-ups.
Seeing a new generation of artists emerge from Indonesia with the steely determination to make the sound of their ancestors live past the temporary appeal of the wild has something entirely salutary to it; even more when their releases actually breathe a new life and spirit to the genres they tackle – with no fear to throw western music tropes into their own equation. Established in 2016 out of Jakarta, DIVISI62 has been at the spearhead of this crucial movement of artistic reclaim, “aiming to reach new heights in the continual construction of the Indonesian identity” and pushing for a “cross-wiring of world heritage” with impressive maturity and insight.
Freshly out in both vinyl and digital formats, their latest release in collaboration with newborn imprint Linear Perspective is certainly one of their most accomplished records to date. According to the label, Uwalmassa ‘Bumi Uthiri‘ is aimed to “provide an alternative study on Javanese Gamelan composition and to experiment with its known and unknown structures“, forging in its wake “a deconstructed interpretation of a musical tradition that aims to stretch boundaries, but nevertheless, adhere to its core essence.” And this is pretty much exactly what you can hear on our premiere pick, ‘Untitled 02‘, which brings together the trance-inducing percussive drive of Java’s traditional music with digitally-processed FXs and alterations that make it a nice fit for all techno DJs desirous of shelling genuine jungle vibrations on the dancefloor. Killer record all the way – don’t sleep!
Bumi Uthiri is out now via DIVISI62, order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Untitled 01
2. Untitled 02
3. Untitled 03
4. Untitled 05
5. Untitled 07