Senyawa are a pioneering duo from Java, Indonesia that have helped bring global attention to their homeland’s fertile experimental music scene. Contemporary Southeast Asian music doesn’t often reach the ears of Western listeners but in recent years, acts like Senyawa, along with Gabber Modus Operandi and Saphy Vong’s CHINABOT label, have gained more widespread notoriety for their innovative, contemporary take on traditional Southeast Asian folk music.
Senyawa, in particular, exhibit an intriguing blend of neo-tribal instrumentation, doom metal atmospherics and avant-garde vocal techniques. Their upcoming album, Alkisah, is not only radical in terms of sonics but also distribution method. As a reaction to ever-growing precarity for independent artists and labels worldwide, Senyawa are co-releasing their new album with 30+ different independent record labels across the globe. This de-centralized approach to music distribution poses a challenge to models of proprietary ownership while helping to bolster a sense of interdependence amongst disparate music scenes, offering a hopeful vision for the future of experimental music and the music industry as a whole.
One of the labels co-releasing Alkisah is SOFT/BRUTE, a new collective based out of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Their release of Alkisah will be accompanied by several remixes of Senyawa’s original tracks, courtesy of eight different artists from various Indonesian cities. Today, we premiere Yogyakarta-based producer Sanjonas‘ reinterpretation of “Alkisah I.” The experimental club-adjacent artist, who has previously released music on FunctionLab, heightens the murky tension of the original, situating Rully Shabara’s arresting vocal performance amidst a swarm of noise and jungle sound effects. Around the halfway mark, a distorted synth punctuates the mix before the track launches into a cacophony of reedy instrumentation, vocal chants and breakneck club rhythms. Stream below.
Alkisah + Remixes is out 22/02/21 on SOFT/BRUTE et al. Pre-order it here.