Indonesia’s intense, vital experimental duo Senyawa release their newest album Alkisah via a decentralised worldwide co-operative effort. An explosive, exploratory trip through Senyawa’s unique sonics, Alkisah represents these masters of unpredictable experimental music pushing their own boundaries.
Instrumentalist Wukir Suryadi performs on his homemade instruments, created from bamboo and other natural materials, offering a rarely explored link between the ancient, traditional, mystical music of South-East Asia and the contemporary avant-garde.
Vocalist Rully Shabara (also of tenzenmen recording artists Zoo) mines the human voice for its strangest and most challenging sounds, chanting, yowling and throat-singing like a chorus of demons in one song and an arcane, chattering machine in the next.
Rhythms skitter and crash around like gamelan, punctuated with trashcan drums or bulging plumbing percussion, while doomier moments (such as “Istana”) crush with seething waves of distortion and Rully’s mesmeric growls (a mix of Javanese, Bahasa, and other Indonesian languages). The record lurches from urgency to apocalypse, a twisting and twining story with animist mythology and hellish atmospherics.
ALKISAH can be translated as ONCE UPON A TIME.
This is that time.
Wukir Suryadi: Custom Instruments
Rully Shabara: Lyrics, Vocals
Recorded and Mixed by Iwan Karak
At Eloprogo, September 2020
Soundscape of Eloprogo recorded by tesaran
Artworks by Sopeng
Minang proverbs on “Kabau” compiled by Taufik Adam