This is a fascinating document from the experimental side of this vast nation's music, and great credit must go to End Of The Alphabet Records for providing us with access to these works.
Favorite track: Ngayau.
Spanning 20 years and lord knows how many islands and cultures, Pekak! is curated by well known musician and promoter, Indra Menus. He has spent the last five years compiling a massive collection of noise and experimental music from all over the archipelago of Indonesia and this tape is a smalll sampler of that collection. Hailing from Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and spots in between, these 18 tracks chart a huge and exciting scene from the most densely populated place on earth.
The Wire: "Pekak! attempts the . . . task of sampling the long simmering noise and experimental scenes of Indonesia's scattered islands. Curated by the Java based promoter/musician Indra Menus, 18 tracks details a wildly unpredictable scene where smatterings of Euro-American noise cassette culture fuse with shapes and textures from local gamelan and vocal traditions. Javan duo Senyawa provide a self-titled contradiction of harsh yells over tribal percussion and the gentle plucking of Wukir Suryadi's zither like homemade instrument, the bambuwukir, while noisemaker Grindtabachan whips up a hyperactive three minute collage of brutalised field recordings and samples. Other acts opt to blend industrial and traditional timbre, often with mind boggling results. Melcyd for example sculpt the spacious outline of a gamelan ensemble piece before launching into serrated rock band free forms. But the stars of the tape are outright sonic terrorists like Borneo's solo artists Theo Nugraha and Sumatran noise duo Apocalyptcore. Each provides tracks of harsh tones and brutalised samples that treat the ear like a Brillo pad."
The Quietus: "The long simmering noise and experimental music scenes of Indonesia’s scattered islands is put centre stage on this tape curated by the Java-based promoter/musician Indra Menus. The dozen and half tracks detail the wildly unpredictable scene where smatterings of Euro-American noise cassette culture fuse with shapes and textures from local gamelan and vocal traditions. Javan duo Senyawa provide a self-titled contradiction of harsh yells over hand, noisemaker Grindtabachan whips up a hyperactive three minute collage, Melcyd sculpt the spacious outline of a gamelan ensemble piece before launching into serrated rock band free forms. The stars of the tape however are the outright sonic terrorists. Bornean solo artist Theo Nugraha and Sumatran noise duo Apocalyptcore, each provide tracks of harsh tones and brutalised samples that treat the human ear like a Brillo pad, and in much the way modern fuzz addicts are used to, but the colour and shape of these assaults is often somehow more welcoming than that of its Western counterparts."
SixNoises: "Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015 is the latest tape and digital release from acclaimed New Zealand label End of the Alphabet Records. Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015 has been curated and compiled by Indonesian musician Indra Menus––who is probably best known to extreme music fans outside Indonesia as a member of noisecore crew To Die––and the album features a striking cover and artwork by Wedhar Riyadi. Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015 kicks off with a gnarled roar from opening band Worldhate, before blasting into the far reaches via 18 tracks that draw from the past two decades of left-field and experimental Indonesian music. There’s a huge assortment of frequently dissonant and always explorative sounds on offer. You’ll encounter Senyawa’s percussive tribal tumult. Hissing horrortronics courtesy of Electrocore. Burrowing-under-your-skin noise by Seek Six Sick. Glitchy cut-and-paste pandemonium from SKM. And Black Ribbon provides some acid for your ear canals as well. Elsewhere, there are twisted beeps and blips from Satan Loves Nintendo. Fittingly cacophonous endtimes thunder from Apocalyptcore. Sci-fi grind by Sound of Human Pollution. To Die’s always corrosive commotion. And Melcyd melds nose-bleeding frequencies with gentler sounds too. I could go on, but you get the point. There are plenty of different strains of harsh noise, feedback and electronic dementedness to be found. In fact, with artists hailing from “Java, Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and spots in between”, Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015 not only highlights the exploration of plenty of raucous musical ideas, it also shines a light on a lot of differing musical interpretations and accents. Personally, I’ve got zero complaints about Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015. I think it’s a fascinating and altogether eye-opening compilation . . . these 18 tracks provide a excellent survey of 20 years of unconventional Indonesian music. Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015 is a first-rate introduction to––and illumination of––Indonesia’s offbeat-music history. An essay printed on the tape’s inner cover provides plenty of additional details too. And for anyone unfamiliar with the depth or backstory of Indonesian avant-garde music, this is the perfect release to spark an interest in the scene, and to open the door to a new realm of noise. Ultimately, Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995–2015 is yet another superb release from End of the Alphabet Records. Like the best compilations do, it’ll definitely leave you feeling like you want to explore further. For anyone curious about strident and mind-melting music, it’s a goldmine of gloriously grotesque and idiosyncratic delights drawn from across Indonesia’s maverick musical history. Highly recommended for both long-term noiseniks and fans new to outré musical mayhem."