Indonesia’s intense, vital experimental duo Senyawa release their newest album Alkisah via Phantom Limb. An explosive, exploratory trip through Senyawa’s unique sonics, Alkisah represents masters of unpredictable experimental music pushing their own boundaries.
Instrumentalist Wukir Suryadi performs on homemade instruments, created from bamboo and other natural material, offering a rarely explored link between the ancient, traditional, mystical musics of South-East Asia and the contemporary avant-garde. Vocalist Rully Shabara (who has collaborated with Phantom Limb as a solo artist before Alkisah) mines the human voice for its strangest and most challenging sounds, chanting, yowling and throat-singing like a chorus of demons in one song and an arcane, chattering machine in the next. About them, rhythms skitter and crash around like gamelan, punctuated with trashcan drums here or bulging plumbing percussion there, while the doomier moments (such as “Istana”) crush with seething waves of distortion and Shabara’s mesmeric growls (a mix of Javanese, Bahasa, and other Indonesian languages). The record lurches from urgency to apocalypsis, twisting and twining fervorous Ramayana chant with animist mythology and hellish atmospherics.