It's the little things. Yesterday at the volcano, Made andTomi were talking to two women from Malaysia. They seemed nice, so I gave them a card, and Julia and I sat around by ourselves for a bit. Today I went to film Borobudur temple, and upon walking up the steps, it was them. What are the odds? Cosmic stuff. This is Ana, she rules instagram, and runs a successful online shop, which I'm finding many people do here. Borobudur was great. Tonight, a show I've been looking forward to for weeks! See you tonight, Jogja. Three nights left in Indonesia!
I know I say this every time, but those who got an Indonesia record pack from the fundraiser are in for a treat, and I'm not even done collecting yet. Serious jams by ZOO, Warmouth, Senyawa, Cloudburst, Arc Yellow, rare collections of SETE STAR SEPT. Just tons of good stuff. We just bought another suitcase so I can not lose my arms by the time we finish. Lord help me when I hit Japan and Korea again. Thanks so much to everyone who has made these super great so far. For those who got one, it's going to be a few months yet, and it'll be coming from China, somehow, but be ready.
Seahoarse. Chilled out pop in a sea of brutal noise, punk, and grind-core. You'll dig it. Today we shot secondary footage to compliment an already formed scene. Did some interviews. Thanks for having us, folks! Six days left in Indonesia.
Tomorrow : Prambanan, attempt #2.
Solo was great. A long day, finished by nearly a dozen sets of noise ranging from a dude in a metal cage, hand made wooden instruments that look more fit to bludgeon someone to death, and some nightmare inducing dolls hanging from a tree. Thanks a bunch, Solo. Japan, be on the lookout for this guy. He's coming for Mizutama / FIGYA, and more.
Indonesia, getting the kids involved again. Day one back in Jogja. Kedai Kebun hosts the "Sonic Art Showcase", a brain burner of live electronics byAndreas Siagian, visual coding from Budi Prakosa, a guitar crafted from a piece of railroad track via Iqbal Ethnictro. Wooden instruments being flicked, forced to echo as bells chime. Mind melting visual witchcraft noise from Patrick Gunawan Hartono.
Lintang Radittya bringing his little girl to twist the knobs on his "Javanese Modular". Another inspiring night. Some great gigs lined up in the next few weeks, all the way up until the night we leave. For now, it's good to be back. Cheers, Jogja.
KLEPTO OPERA. Surabaya "Bawah Tanah" (Underground).
We only have 4 days before we head back to Jogja, so we made it count. I don't even know how many bands I just filmed. Fifteen? I stopped counting after the tenth time a kid under the age of 10 jumped on stage and hardcore danced as their dad rocked out. One of them sang backup vocals. So good. Children get involved here unlike any place I've ever seen. It's amazing. Another all day rager in the books. Thank You, Surabaya!
See you up north in a bit, sir! For now, back to Surabaya. Another trip nearly ending where we began. Klepto Opera and the Bawah Tanah festival await.
Two days ago was Indonesia's 70th independence day. I was running on zero sleep, because we're trying to finally get back on a "normal" schedule. There was a parade right outside of our place, and the sounds went in one ear and out the other. It totally eluded me until I looked outside. Shit!
I ran downstairs in my pajamas and tried to get some good video. Wrong shutter speed. It's crap. I was pissed. So when Indra told me there was a parade today to kick off Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta, I beamed. I spent half the day mailing our Chinese VISA forms to Chicago via the only FedEx in Jogja. That was fun. Got home, grabbed my gear, and headed out early. Redeemed! Video should look amazing. Great day. Tomorrow : Jogja Noise Bombinghit the festival with Junichi.
Back into the woods. Behind Wangi Artroom // Kedai Koppi Bell, Kombo 8 began.
Junichi Usui from Tokyo joined in this time. He played a Shō, which if my research is correct, is derived from the Chinese 笙 (Sheng). Each musician played a set of their own, and then they melded together to form an improvised collaboration.
The final performer was a bit late, but got there, then taking the concrete space near the cafe. The sun was down then, so only the lanterns lit the electronics as Junichi came in with improv claps, metal clanks, his violin, the call to prayer over the loudspeaker and the crickets adding even more layers to it all. Another wildly imaginative day organized byJimi, Satya, and crew. Excellent.
Death to wussy hardcore. These kids get it, and they're not messing around. Last night's show was a nice mix, and they took over a dusty concrete parking garage near the university to do it. Skate punk. Psyche. I raised a few eyebrows at Energy Nuclear, who refreshingly went from tapping to doom in a few seconds. It was Cloudburst who started the circle pit. Gnarly, vicious, and even though there were just a few dozen kids, they got spinning quickly. A serious breath of fresh air to have Indra and Made grab the mic, scream along like they need it to keep breathing.
Focused mostly on video, though dual wielding long enough to snap this. The fear though, man. Flailing limbs and concrete. Always careful. A great night. Hell of a few weeks coming. Good to be back.
It didn't seem crazy, to go clear across Java for one show. We needed a good spot to fly to Malaysia anyways. Arc Yellow, the only band I knew of the 27 or so playing, picked me up. It was a birthday party for a baby named Nirvana. The venue, a gigantic event hall. Huge. Sound bounced everywhere as 50 kids sat on the side of the stage. It wasn't until these ladies got on stage that the crowd got more involved. Members of Fleur / Sugar Kane. "Paranoid Android" and Silverchair covers.
Dilla Sugar Sun brought some guitar abuse with their own tunes that reminded me of Alex White or Marissa from Screaming Females. So fun. Local booze flowed, and a clear local favorite were up. With that, finally kids launched themselves off the stage, into themselves, and the hard tiled floor. Nirvana covers aplenty. Dave Grohl should bring Foo Fighters for a few DIY shows in Indonesia. These kids seriously deserve it. What a great night. Thanks, Bogor folks. You're all too kind.
A full day in Jakarta proper, and we head to Malaysia for some hard noise.
You gotta roll with the punches. We were scheduled to fly into Padang, Sumatra, for a multiple day "island punk festival". That was the plan for a long time. It just moved dates to November. While that is a bummer, word is also that there is about 400 gigs happening back in central Java, so, back to Jogja we go. This definitely isn't a bad thing. Yogyakarta. Surabaya. Solo. We're coming for you. I even cleaned up a bit in Malaysia. One more day here, and round 2 begins.
"TO DIE." Jogja. Indra Menus' collaborative noise project. Supposedly constantly changing form, members, and sound. It's all an experiment. A show with Made Dharma 's hardcore / grind jam Warmouth, who played last because they're "too loud" and were cut short near the end due to neighborhood complaints. Happens everywhere.
We trekked clear across Java, south of Jakarta, to a city called Bogor. Saturday, there's a 12 band bill. A birthday party, for a baby...named Nirvana.
Nobody thinks this is as funny as we do.
Halo, Bogor. I like you already
With a motorbike crew, we head north. Jimi Mahardikka runs a ridiculously beautiful residency area, cafe, and art space, the Wangi Art Room, in a village above Jogja. This series, Kombo, is a collaboration between musicians. The series today had drums, wood-winds, saxophone, keyboard...and there was Rully Shabara Herman.
Leader of Yogyakarta's ZOO and Senyawa, he added layers of throat singing, gasps and microphone manipulation, pops and gags. It reminded me a bit of Ken Ueno meets Chicago's Sweep The Leg Johnny, screaming free jazz, in a jungle. They've done 7 of these, and document each one. Can't wait to dive in.
Oh, and the noise kids brought us swimming. Hell of a day. Tomorrow : "TO DIE."
Jogja Noise Bombing. A tight knit collective of creators, noise makers, instrument builders, illustrators. Inspiring. They grab us on motorbikes and we head to a university district with an amp, a mess of cables and extension cords. Multiple sets. It was great.
We move to an underpass. Taufiqq Aribowo starts his set with a Christmas song, and belts into noise. These dudes are the real deal. Later, we hit an indie rock show in another beautiful cafe. Some seriously killer video today. Nearing the half-way point. This thing's getting insanely good.
Jogja. Indra Menus and Hendra pick me up, and it's a short motorbike ride south to Kasongan Village. Our first stop, the Kenalirangkai Pakai headquarters, where Lintang Radittya crafts "Javanese Modulars".
We chat about Javanese culture and Islam as his little girl curiously runs around. The synth building crew in Java has strong bonds, and seriously unique, intense, inspiring creations. Afterwards, we zip to Andreas and Budi's lab called lifepatch. They screw around with 8-bit synths built out of Nintendo cartridges, tin containers. Indra adds the names of collaborators on these machines, right next to the dials.
Java's crafting of these is a lot more clean lines, less of the insane mutant meat-grinder stuff in Surabaya. They all watch each other, though. Thanks for a rad day, all! Tomorrow : Noise bombing the street.
Belkastrelka. Jogja. Indra Menus pick us up and brings us to the Malioboro area by motorbike. Tonight was a meet-up for Yogyakarta's chapter of Soundcloud users. Oxen Bar. A beautiful out-door patio stage. After a few low-key acoustic acts, Asa Rahmanabrings some heavy Bjork / CocoRosie vibes while her husband Yennu busts on a guitar plugged into a spread of pedals.
A fitting soundtrack to this city. Noise is a concern in this area, like many. You could tell they were turned way, way down. Perhaps we can organize a louder round two upon our return in September. Tomorrow : Electronics labs and synthesizer discussions.
Yogyakarta. Jogja. Whatever you choose to call it, I already like it here. It's the only region in Indonesia headed by a monarchy. Indra Menus meets up with me. He's an archival nerd after my own heart, compiling a backlog of recordings I know all too well.
This is another important hub of noise kids, building synths out of Nintendo's, found and made objects, whatever they can make work. We walk around the central market area, and end at a coffee shop ran by his friend. The amount of dark spaces here that house expertly crafted products amazes me. You just have to know where to look. I finally meet Lintang Radittya, who makes something he calls the "Javanese Modular". Great conversations. Heavy week coming.
Anca Hcs Manimau. In a tour diary last year, 大担 said it best : "This is his life. He has no home, no job, nothing besides his bands, an iPhone and backpack full of tees. When he’s not on tour he stays with friends and screens shirts, but mostly he’s on tour. While hardcore has begun to be more commercialized in Indonesia with big companies looking to sponsor events and booking agents carving out profit margins, Anca stays in the underground, DIY to the end, shows in practice rooms and skateparks, living off merch sales and appreciation for his hard work. Think of a really nice version of GG Allin, that’s Anca."
A few days left in Surabaya, and we head to Yogyakarta to see Indra Menus and crew. After that, Anca will take us around, tour style, on our way to Jakarta.