Indonesian spirits flow from vinyl grooves that run deeper than time itself. Menjadi is an hypnotic piece of tribal rhythms and magical drones, accompanied by near-transcendental vocals. Senyawa’s attempt at a recording to equal their normally energetic live performances will be an experience to say the very least.
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- Menjadi by Senyawa
8/10 Robin Staff review, 08 April 2015
Indonesian math outfit Zoo have a few more experimental tricks up their sleeve if you’re willing, and Senyawa is one: this collaboration seeks out band frontman Rully Shabara and friend Wukir Suryadi for a record of intense and often terrifying progressive improvisation. Speaking trembling phrases and intonations in Javanese -- often sounding like he’s shivering thoughts out of his body -- Shabara creates a claustrophobic soundscape for Suryadi to sharpen with folk music (on bamboo zither) stranded in a drone discipline.
Despite Shabara’s cracked vocals, ‘Menjadi’ can often be a driving, forceful record, moulding itself into a firm percussive march on “Gaib”, which implements wiry strumming patterns occasionally but is mainly reverent to its rhythmic beat and tongue-rolled howls. It continues into “Hadirlah Sudi”, in which his voice, retreats to a gruelling whisper in which his vocals hiss and growl under drums that fluctuate in volume.
‘Menjadi’ is adept at merging its desire for these percussive, rapidfire creations with starker, more wondering sounds, and the violin-based drone fog of “Bekal Ilmu” is matched well with occasional streaks of drumming, the type of percussion that sounds like it’s simply been dropped from a great height. ‘Menjadi’ is ultimately about extremities of acoustic sound, whether it’s Shabara’s diverse, fascinating vocal work or Suryadi’s scorched folk noise. It’s a tragic and often beautiful record.
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