Monday, 7 September 2009

The Pura Paku Alaman - 'Javanese Court Gamelan From Jogyakarta'

Here's a big difference between this mp3 blog and its vinyl/cd counterparts over there on the sidebar - due to the absence of liner notes and artwork, I'm forcing myself to use the Internet to actually find out a bit of info about each of these records. Whereas I think with the vinyl, I try to rely on the intrinsic elements of the artwork and packaging to tell me everything I need to know. So I'm being a bit inconsistent here, but Rasterised Illegible Divided Cornucopia Fear is all about being the black sheep of the family. And that's good because I'm going to end up actually learning about all of this music that I never listen to.

So, Google tells me that this record was "Recorded on January 10, 1971 in the great reception hall, or pendopo, of the Pura Paku Alaman in Jogyakarta, by kind permission of His Highness Paku Alam VIII. The occasion was a radio broadcast in honor of his birthday, celebrated every thirty-five days according to the Javanese calendar." And a good birthday it would be for Paku Alam cause the vocalising on 'Ladrang Sem' is some of the most beautiful I have ever heard. Chilling, ringing throat vibrations perfectly mix with the gamelan instruments, and plus you can really hear the air even through the digital compression. The picture above is actually the instruments on this record, probably. A lot of hardcore American gamelanheads used to tell me that Java was where it was at, but I used to think I preferred the rainshimmer of the Balinese falvour. I dunno now; I mean that's like picking ketchup over mustard or vice-versa, cause it's all good.

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