Asmat Dream

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Indonesia is an archpalego of 13,667 islands with 300 ethnic groups and 365 languages and dialects. Best known for its gamelan music tradition, the area has recently spawned a number of highly imaginative,…
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Artist Biography by

Indonesia is an archpalego of 13,667 islands with 300 ethnic groups and 365 languages and dialects. Best known for its gamelan music tradition, the area has recently spawned a number of highly imaginative, contemporary, composers. Many of these composers were brought together, beginning in 1992, as Asmat Dream for the first of a three cd set, "New Music Of Indonesia" by Jody Diamond, a composer, scholar, gamelan musician, instructor of Indonesian music at U.C. Berkeley, Mills College and Dartmouth College and the director of the American Gamelan Institute.

"Asmat Dream" features nine compositions, commissioned by the composers' collective, Frog Peak Music, and the American Gamelan Institute, by four composers from Indonesia's Sundra region-Dody Satya Ekkagusediman, Harry Roelsi, Nano S. and SuhendiAfryanto. The result is a showcase for the diversity of Indonesia's modern composers. While Ekkagusediman incorporates such sounds as the clucking of a chicken, sandpaper and motorcycle helmets, Roesli paints an electronic soundscape that includes tape looped crickets, keyboards and sampled voices and Afryanto displays an affinity for sounds previously unheard. While the classical and folk music is Indonesia remains at the core of each track, the composers create a fresh, exciting, new sound. According to "The Village Voice", "the whole disc has a deliciously complex, ever-changing atmosphere, exotic in its tunings and timbres, comfortably loose in its constructions".

The second volume of "New Indonesian Music", "Mana 689" was released in the summer of 1993 and the third volume, which featured compsoitions by Wayan Sandra, was released the following fall.