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Explorer Series: Bali, Gamelan & Kecak
Various Artists
Explorer Series: Bali, Gamelan & Kecak
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Recorded by David Lewiston in 1987, these are fine recordings of both famous and little-heard strains of Indonesian music. In a series of recordings that include both large gamelan orchestras and small ensembles, he has...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Explorer Series: Bali, Gamelan & Kecak
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Nonesuch
Release Date: 5/11/1989
Genres: World Music, Pop
Style: Far East & Asia
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 075597920420, 075597920413, 075597920444, 081227775261

Recorded by David Lewiston in 1987, these are fine recordings of both famous and little-heard strains of Indonesian music. In a series of recordings that include both large gamelan orchestras and small ensembles, he has captured the wide scope of the music of Bali. In addition to the gamelan works we are offered some very unique sounds: a palm bark version of the Jew's harp; a reed instrument with a distinctly "Hendrix on the bagpipes" sound. Perhaps most enjoyable is a recording of a passing parade, with various instruments, rhythms, and melodies drifting by in the sort of cacophony associated with Charles Ive's marching band works. Lewiston's offering is invaluable. -- Louis Gibson

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CD Reviews

Ancient modern music
philip kaffen | seattle, wa USA | 08/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In his amazing book Ocean of Sound, David Toop opens with a chapter on the meeting of western composers (especially Debussy) with the sounds of the Indonesian Gamelan (which are essentially orchestras of various sizes). Situating the nexus of much modern music in this meeting by finding strains of these sounds in minimalists like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and John Cage, but also stretching into the filmic realms of Ryuchi Sakamoto, the electronics of Loop Guru, and the Free Jazz of Don Cherry, just to name a few he cites, Toop indicates the range of influence of this amazing music. David Lewiston's 1987 recordings on this compilation jubiliantly reflect this diversity, even in the fascinating opening track of various ensembles passing by in a parade showcasing the sounds of cymbals, gongs, drums, flutes, metallophones, wooden cowbells, and countless other mostly percussive sounds. The rest of the tracks on the CD are equally varied. The third track, for example, Genggong Duet, takes place with the Balinese Jew's Harp, and could almost sound like the electronic squiggles of some electronic outfits like mouse on mars or matmos; the fourth track, a Frog Song which is produced through a piece of palm bark and sounds like a reed instrument, could pass for a free-jazz improvisation. Another exciting highlight would be the 8th track, a Kecak piece that tells the Indian Legend of Hanuman. Familiar to anyone whose seen the film Baraka, this is a piece where a large group sits in a circle, moving, swaying, and chanting, tjak tjak tajk, in furious rhythm. Like the Master Musicians of Jajouka, whom William Burroughs called a "2000 year old rock band," this music sounds both ancient and progressive at the same time. An excellent introduction based on variety alone, but with digital recording, these sounds are surprisingly clean. For anyone curious about Balinese music, this would be a great place to start."
Balinese anthology
David Bonesteel | Fresno, CA United States | 04/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This disc is a very clean recording of a variety of Balinese musical styles. I bought the disc because I enjoy gamelan music, but it includes much more than that. The liner notes provide comprehensive information on the musical styles represented and make interesting and instructive reading for a dilettante like myself. Some tracks are peaceful and contemplative, others are frenetic and energizing, but all are fascinating to hear. Highly recommended."
Great recording and music
Kean Chhay Chang | Vic, Australia | 10/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This cd Music of Bali/Gamelan & Kecak is a pretty good cd for sure. There are different collection of musical styles from the very popular kebyar style which sprung up a few years after the puputan "mass suicide" by the royal families of Bali who opposed the Dutch for taking over the whole island, right through to the slow and mellow style of the Bali Aga's metallophones in track 5 which was pretty light and subtle in many aspects showing the diference between the well known Balinese gamelan. Also in this recording it also features the flute ensemble which was pretty mellow and beautiful however the style is pretty Balinese and sometimes reminding me of flute music from Cambodia. Kecak or Monkey chant also features in this album as well re-enacting stories from the Ramayana between the Monkey god Hanuman who has help Prince Rama rescue is wife Sita from the evil Ravana (Rawana). The Frog Song was a pretty enjoyable track because it mimic the frogs and shows how clever the Balinese are when it comes to nature. Gender Wayan used to accompany shadow theatre was pretty light, hazy and full of drive with the metallic ringing and shimmer of the metal bars as they are being struck creating a beautiful sound. The marching band in the first track sounded like the Chinese Lion dance orchestra used to celebrate Chinese New Year. The track nine was the Baris dance a warrior dance that is packed with sudden outburst of energy and style for sure. The cd also contains a booklet packed with information about the music and it's orchestra and as well as it's purpose. This cd is a good cd for sure... it has everything jam packed with different music styles from the well known kebyar to the rare and gamelan orchestra from Tenganan with the Bali Aga's metallophones. Pack with goodies I recommend it for anyone and for those who couldn't get enough of Balinese music... then this is for you..."