Hive Mind Records and Javasounds collect iconic Indonesian recordings from Java – by Idjah Hadidjah and Jugala Jaipongan – with additional reworks project

Hive Mind Records’ latest release is a collaboration with Kai Riedl of Javasounds and collects recordings of one of Indonesia’s most famed music styles of the ’70s and ’80s – Jaipongan of West Java.  The album was recorded at the famed Jugala Studios in Bandung, Java, in 2007, featuring the incredible vocals of Idjah Hadidjah – the country’s most iconic singer of the genre and backed by members of the Jugala Studio’s house band – Jugala Jaipongan.

Known for its rapid gamelan (gongs and metallophones) playing, angular and dynamic drumming, and erotically charged dancing, Jaipongan was invented by composer and choreographer Gugum Gumbira (1945 – 2020) in reaction to the Indonesian government’s ban on rock and roll.

Marc Teare of the label explains: “As a form of rebellion, Gumbira took the core elements of a local, erotically charged harvesting ritual music and contemporised the sound by adding the gamelan instruments, dynamic drumming, the speed and urbanised subject matter of rock ‘n’ roll, and sensual dance moves that the dictatorship found just barely acceptable.

“The fresh instrumentation, romantic working class lyrical content and the promise of intimacy between men and women dancing to the music all helped Jaipongan sweep the country, uniting low and high culture on the dance floor and across the radio waves.”

The album also comes with a second disc of reworks of the original tracks by boundary pushing electronic musicians from around the world, each offering a unique individual interpretation of the sounds they discovered in the original recordings.

Idjah Hadidjah was a professional singer with Sundanese Shadow Puppet Theatres and was approached by Gugum Gumbira in the early ’80s and asked to sing with his Jugala Orchestra. Their collaboration was to last through the decade as she quickly became one of the country’s most beloved Jaipongan singers. The Javasounds recordings saw her reunited with both Bandung’s famous Jugala studio, and members of its famed house orchestra for the first time in a number of years.

Marc adds: “In the late 2000’s, Kai Riedl (of the Indonesian influenced band Macha), and engineer Suny Lyons, made multiple recording trips to Java, travelling across the island capturing everything from solo string players to full 30-member gamelan orchestras, and recording everywhere from darkly-lit nightclubs in bustling cities to bamboo huts way, way off the grid. Their love of sound waves (and a little luck) had them tracking everyone, from the country’s beloved stars to virtually unknown street musicians.

“For the past few years Kai Riedl was executive producer and curator of Moogfest, the annual celebration of experimental electronic music and of the work of Bob Moog. As a musician himself, Riedl wanted to connect the musicians in Java with others around the world, and he was keen to make multitrack recordings in Java so that other musicians could have access to high quality recordings of individual instruments to work with. For +Reworks he gave a number of artists from around the world, working at the boundaries of the experimental electronic music scene, access to the original multitrack recordings with the understanding they had free reign to work with them in an intuitive and open-ended way.  The results are an exciting collision of ideas and testimony to the opportunities for collaboration opened up in a connected world.”

Their ground breaking recordings are available at the Javasounds Bandcamp page.

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