Ash with the Pandai Besi CD.
Just received Bandung folk trio Tigapagi’s ‘Roekmana’s Repertoire’. I need to be careful so I don’t ruin the elaborate artwork and packaging by Obscura Oddities. And apparently they really want you to listen to the entire album in its proper order, because all the songs are in one file. You can’t skip tracks when you listen to the CD. Not that that’s going to stop me, mwahahaha.
Anyway, if you’ve seen any recent Sore shows, that’s Tigapagi lead singer Sigit Pramudita on backing vocals and guitar. Sore’s Ade Paloh produced the Tigapagi album, and there are guest appearances by Cholil Mahmud from Efek Rumah Kaca and Themilo’s Ajie Gergaji.
You can order the album from the label Helat Tubruk at email@example.com or +6281294649159. Follow the band at twitter.com/tigapagi. – View on Path.
I saw Efek Rumah Kaca at Jaya Pub last night, and it was a special performance. Actually any Efek Rumah Kaca show is a special performance, because they’re that good. But this was extra special, because they expanded from the usual trio into a sextet and rearranged their old songs. They were billed as “Pandai Besi” apparently to provide a psychological edge; according to frontman Cholil Mahmud, it would enable them to do whatever they wanted with those Efek Rumah Kaca songs without having to fulfill any preconceptions that come with the Efek Rumah Kaca name.
This was the second time this line-up performed after their headlining set at the Joyland festival in June. I attended that show, and was quite impressed with the rearrangements. But last night took things to the next level, with the songs departing even further from the originals than when they were performed at Joyland, occasionally being barely recognisable apart from the lyrics. Definitely not a show to be at if you were expecting Efek Rumah Kaca to just crank out the hits. But if you wanted to see the closest thing this country has to its own Radiohead - and I’m not just referring to both bands being led by a diminutive guy with a high-pitched voice - then last night was beyond amazing, as everyone in the audience was mesmerised at all the twists and turns the band put those familiar songs through. There are plans to record these new arrangements at the legendary Lokananta studio in Solo, so there’s a possibility the songs might mutate even further before then.
But until they record in Solo, you can hear the new arrangements in this bootleg below.
Cholil Mahmud: vocals, guitar
Akbar Bagus Sudibyo: drums, vocals
Poppie Airil: bass, vocals
Andi Hans Sabarudin: guitar
Muhammad Asranur: keyboards
Agustinus Panji Mardika: trumpet
By the time you read this I should be on the way to the airport to board a plane for Tokyo, Japan. Not on holiday, not even on assignment. At least, not the kind of the assignment I’m used to. Basically, I’ve been invited by the Tokyo Culture Creation Project, which “undertakes a variety of programs to establish Tokyo as a global culture creation city and plays the leading role in fulfilling the objectives of the cultural policy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government”. I’m one of ten invitees from across the world for the International Visitors Program, and we will spend the next week visiting various contemporary cultural events in Tokyo. I’ve spent quite a few moments thinking that they must have invited me by mistake. But I’ve got the plane ticket and visa, so I might as well go along with it. I have to admit it’s quite exciting, not to mention daunting for reasons I’ll keep to myself for now.
This will be my second trip to Tokyo. I still have fond memories of that previous visit back in 2006 to cover Muse at the Summer Sonic festival, which I consider one of the highlights of my career as a music magazine drone, mostly because record companies could still afford to send members of the press to faraway exotic lands to cover their artists.
What I remember from that first trip: standing with a blank expression at the train station trying to figure out how to get to Makuhari Messe; being amazed by the automatic arse sprayer on my hotel room’s toilet; waiting for Muse to show up at Summer Sonic’s press area while seeing the Arctic Monkeys pass me by; watching Muse in a stadium full of people who clapped politely after every song and promptly fell into eerie silence; heading backstage to interview Muse’s Matt Bellamy while passing by Linkin Park who were on there way out to perform; getting strangled by Matt Bellamy. Good times.
Anyway, there won’t be any concert coverage this time around. In fact, there won’t be any concerts I’m interested in going to while I’m there. There’s Paul Weller, but I’m not sure the program’s schedule will be able to accommodate that. So for me this will be more like a holiday that involves lots of culture absorption. It will also be the longest time I’ve been away from Jakarta since…1999? I’ve never had any reason to be away for that long, so it’ll be an interesting experience. It should be a good opportunity to get away from my life for a bit and maybe do some deep thinking for a change. And try not to commit hara kiri in my hotel room, though this would be the perfect place to do so…
So I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the next week. But I’m slightly bummed out because there are a lot of cool events that I’m going to miss while I’m gone. Here’s what I would go to if I could:
1. The Upstairs Katalika album launch at [at]Demajors, Sunday October 21st 16:00.
Why I wanted to go: the new Upstairs album rocks. One of my favourite Indonesian albums of the year.
Why I wanted to go: I have more appreciation of their music long after their heyday. A lot of cougars will probably show up.And this song from their last album is awesome.
3. Naif 17th AnNAIFersary at Hard Rock Cafe, Monday October 22nd 21:00.
Why I wanted to go: the worst Naif gig is still miles better than most bands’ shows. And since it’s an anniversary, you know they’ll bust out songs they rarely play.
Why I wanted to go: I liked Dzeek’s last album and I’m curious as to what their new stuff sounds like with their new singer. If they have any more new stuff since the last time I saw them. Also Pai the bassist’s JKT48 worship amuses me.
And you might remember Mesa from Holy City Rollers.
His solo album The Beauty Of It has been in stores for a month, as I discovered last week.
Why I wanted to go: having problems writing Indonesian lyrics? Learn from the best. And you get to see Sir Dandy’s art exhibition as well.
Why I wanted to go: it’s a killer line-up, no further explanation necessary.
So this is what I’m going to miss when I’m away. Feel free to make me feel less bad about what I’ll be missing by voting for my blog here.
Have fun, you lucky bastards. There better be more great gigs when I get back.
Ten Minute Mixtapes Volume 4: Priscilla Jamail (Monday Math Class)
Ten minutes to make a playlist chosen from songs on my 160GB iPod Classic. That’s the concept behind Ten Minute Mixtapes, in which I get people to make them for me. It’s really simple, all they have to do is browse my iPod’s library and just select the tracks they want. The ten-minute time limit gives it an added adrenaline edge, so they don’t have too much time to think when picking their songs. It’s so easy that I can just ask anyone I find to make one without having to make a prior appointment.
This mixtape was curated by Priscilla Jamail, to whom I indirectly owe my current delusions of being a musician.
I first met her on Sunday, August 26th 2007. By then I was in my second year working for Rolling Stone Indonesia, and had pretty much forgotten about being in a band. Not that I had any burning desire to do so, even though I had dabble a bit back in high school. But I suppose a lack of talent prevented me from pursuing it with any real intent, and so by the time I was with Rolling Stone Indonesia, I was content to just write about bands instead of actually being in one.
Anyway, one of the bands I wrote about was The Adams, and as things go, I ended up doing a lot of hanging out with the band and going to their gigs. That was the case on that particular day, when they were at Ancol to play at the inaugural Urban Fest. This time around, their entourage included a teenage girl. Didn’t talk much, because I didn’t really know how to talk to random teenage girls I just met.
A few months later, I learned from The Adams’ lead singer Ario Hendarwan that he had a side project called Monday Math Class in which he only wrote the music and didn’t sing. So who was singing? Do you really have to ask? I still don’t know how it came about, so maybe I have some asking to do.
Eventually word got around about Monday Math Class, and they were invited to play a gig. Ario didn’t think just the two of them would work, and so he decided to fill out the live line-up. Prisci got her friend Ghyan to sing backing vocals, while the rest of the music would be via laptop sequencer. I happened to drop by the studio when they were rehearsing, when Ario asked if I’d like to help out with the sequencer. “What do I do?” I asked, bearing in mind the lack of talent I mentioned above. “Just press the space bar,” said Ario. Easy enough. Deal!
You can read about the rest of my band exploits here. As for Prisci, I feel less weird about being a twenty-something (now thirty-something) dude in a band with a teenage girl because…actually she’s still a teenager, and will be until March of next year. But I’ve known her for so long, so eventually most of the weirdness just went away and now she’s one of my best friends whom I am quite protective of. If it weren’t for music, there really wouldn’t be any good, non-creepy reason for me to know her. So here’s to music!
This mix was curated on April 29th 2012 at Monday Math Class drummer Ildo Hasman’s house, where the band rehearses and have a home-cooked lunch. Lately it’s mostly been lunch.
Oh, and look out for Monday Math Class' debut EP. Coming soon!
1. Arctic Monkeys - “505”
2. Bon Iver - “Roslyn” [with St. Vincent]
3. Efek Rumah Kaca - “Tubuhmu Membiru…Tragis”
4. Fleet Foxes - “Blue Ridge Mountains”
5. She & Him - “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
6. Sore - “Pergi Tanpa Pesan”
7. Warpaint - “Billie Holiday”
8. Feist - “The Bad In Each Other”
9. The Black Keys - “Gold On The Ceiling”
10. Anda - “Biru”
11. Amy Winehouse - “The Girl From Ipanema”
12. The Beatles - “Michelle” [Mono Remaster]
13. Gorillaz - “Empire Ants”
14. The Trees & The Wild - “Kata”
Penggalian: Jilid 1: A Mixtape
For me, part of the fun of mixtapes is that sense of discovery. For the compiler, that involves going through your music collection and finding songs that other people might not necessarily know because they’ve never been played on TV or the radio, then turning other people on to them.
That’s the rationale behind this particular mixtape. There’s no overriding connection between the songs other than they just happen to be on my iPod, and they’re not the respective artists’ singles. If you own the albums, you’ll have heard the songs, but there’s also a good chance they’ve slipped under your radar in favour of more immediate fare. I’ve seen all of these artists live, and for the most part these aren’t songs that often get played or requested, if at all. They’re also all in Indonesian, because I just like it better when I hear the language being successfully put to artistic use. And as far as I know Zooey Deschanel isn’t Indonesian, but I wanted to keep the artwork theme from my previous mixtapes going. Plus there’s a lot of red and white in this photo, so it’s all good, right?
I wouldn’t necessarily say these are my all-time favourite songs from each artist, but I like them more than enough to put them on here. Maybe you’ll end up liking these songs too, and even ask for them when you see the bands play.
1. Naif - “Takkan Pernah Melupakanmu”
2. Monkey To Millionaire - “Kembali Tenggelam”
(Strange Is The Song In Our Conversation EP, 2010)
3. Tika And The Dissidents - “Tentang Petang”
(The Headless Songstress, 2009)
4. Twentyfirst Night - “Bicara”
(Dreams Of Youth, 2011)
5. Pure Saturday - “Sajak Melawan Waktu”
6. The Brandals - “Surat Seorang Proletar Buat Para Elit Borjuis”
7. Peterpan - “Membebaniku”
(OST Alexandria, 2005)
8. Efek Rumah Kaca - “Sebelah Mata”
(Efek Rumah Kaca, 2007)
9. The Adams - “Lega”
10. Nidji - “Jatuh”
11. White Shoes & The Couples Company - “Roman Ketiga”
(Skenario Masa Muda, 2007)
12. Maliq & D’essentials - “Berbeda”
(The Beginning Of A Beautiful Life, 2010)
13. Sore - “Senyum Dari Selatan”
(Ports Of Lima, 2008)
14. Anda - “Biru”
(In Medio, 2008)
15. Sheila On 7 - “Ingin Pulang”
16. Homogenic - “Sampai Jumpa”
(Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom, 2010)