Various Artists

Explorer Series: Java - Court Gamelan, Vol. 2

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AllMusic Review by

This second volume of Javanese court gamelan music, recorded in the 1970s in Surakarta, isn't always for the faint-hearted. There are periods of great beauty, but also times that seem like cacophony, like the opening of "Ketawang Puspawarna," which sounds more like a clash between instruments. It's not, of course -- that's merely an imposition of Western values. And the two long pieces have the grace and power Western ears usually associate with gamelan. They move slowly and quite majestically, each charting a course through more than 20 minutes. At times, "Gending Ela-Ela Kalibeber" takes on a dream-like quality from the resonance of the metallophones, and it's only as it finishes that the intensity of the music and performance becomes fully apparent. After that, the short joy of "Ayak-Ayakan Kaloran" comes in like a breath of light air. It's worth remembering that these are field recordings (although the sound quality is superb throughout), played live, and keeping an ancient tradition alive. Wonderful stuff indeed.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
4:13 Amazon
2
21:23
3
22:44 Amazon
4
3:41 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick