Various Artists

Gamelan Music of Bali [Lyrichord]

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AllMusic Review by

A good bit of gamelan music. This is perhaps one of the most widespread of world music genres, but new entries into the field often lack something. This compilation of sounds spans the majority of the gamelan-based sub-genres within the space of a single disc. Both the angklung (lighter-weight orchestras) and gong kebjar (more traditional) styles are represented. The album opens with an angklung standard dance piece, "The Topeng." From there, it moves into "Kebjar Teruna," a piece in which a dancer generally interprets the gamelan orchestra's sound as movement in a stylized fashion. A piece from the Djoged repertoire follows in slendro scaling, and "Segera Madu" shows a closer link to the original bamboo angklung orchestras, adding in a group with the gongs of the gamelan ensemble. "Gamelan Angklung" continues this look back, and "Gambang Suling" provides a look at the suling-based (flute) composition style in the pelog scaling. The album finishes on the omnipresent "Udan Mas," a full, grandiose piece for the kebjar ensemble. The only major omission here would be the kecak vocal genre, which fits into the main heading of gamelan but is rarely represented alongside the gong forms. For a basic look at gamelan, this album does quite well, competing admirably with a number of similar albums. Give it a listen as a newcomer to the genre, but pick out more narrowly focused albums as a veteran of gamelan.

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