Various – Mepalu Sari

· par Rupert Bottenberg

For a half-decade now, Indonesia’s Insitu Recordings have been releasing a steady stream of items, consistently demonstrate just how many fresh and original ideas remain to be cultivated out of the fertile terrain of the archipelago’s distinctive and expansive musical culture. The latest is a hefty collection of 29 tracks, the fruit of a collaboration between producers, coordinators, educators, engaged students and above all skilled and inventive musicians. Mepalu Sari, which translates to “essence of a collision”, is a project that might be qualified as pedagogical-plus – the label connected in 2019 with British Columbian arts hub Western Front, and through them a group of students from Burnaby North Secondary School. The intended destination was a live event, unfortunately cancelled for covidious reasons, but this compensatory compilation is a welcome substitute. The contents find exploratory electronics and Balinese gamelan intersecting in all sorts of interesting ways, and while none of them truly transcend, musically, the sense of delighted discovery is palpable throughout.

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