Country : Indonesia Label : La Munai Genres and styles : Psych-Rock Year : 2020

Fairytale of Megabiodiversity

· by Rupert Bottenberg

Indonesia tends to be a bit overlooked in the global retrospective vis à vis vintage psychedelic rock, pop, and funk. It’s a shame, because there’s some great stuff there from back in the day (a big thumbs-up to Koes Plus and Dara Puspita, for starters). Jakarta’s La Munai Records have done their part, resurrecting the Harry Roesli Gang’s mid-’70s discography for its wealth of groovy, gamelan-inflected prog-folk-rock-jazz-funk.

The label also showcases a lot of current acts, some psych-rock proper, others of adjacent sounds like dub reggae, surf, or the graveyard doo-wop of Sundancer. Fairytale of Megabiodiversity, La Munai’s recent compilation of Indo neo-psych, honours the implications of its title with an impressive variety of imaginative music. Several bands wear their 1960s inspirations openly, others draw on wider ideas. 

Freedom of Choice’s “Madiba” goes to town on a Saharan guitar riff, metallic percussion, and some opinionated sax. Aksan Sjuman & The Committee of the Fest’s “World as Festival” is a strange and wonderful jazz-like something-or-other, and Astrolab’s space-rocker “S.Y” is a solid chunk of cosmic debris hurtling in through the stratosphere. Ray Magus’ “Rhymes of Adorer” is the most polished piece of work here, a grandiose wedding cake of glorious über-pop – soon followed by the far less formal final track, Dawai Batu Gajah’s “Ramayana Soul”, a ramshackle, acoustic bonfire sing-along with more than a hint of Hindu benediction.

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