Boomkat Product Review:
Killer comp of traditional gong musics ranging from the central highlands of Vietnam and NE Cambodia to variants from the Philippines, Borneo, Sulawesi and Indonesia, with an introduction by David Toop.
As the venerable Toop opines, Gongs have played an integral role in the mythogeography of Asia, and this comp is a great example of the instrument’s potential to induce unusual feelings thru tonality and rhythm. Normally used for ritual purposes, encouraging unity or trancelike states of mind, the recordings impart heady sensations, and, for those who can join the dots, form a sort of distant echo of other far-flung rhythmelodic traditions from outernational techno to other regional folk traditions from African to Native American, as well as c.20th minimalism and free jazz.
Initiated by Japanese sound artist Yasuhiro Morinaga, the project documents recordings of over 50 different groups spanning the South East Asian mainland and along its thousands of miles of archipelago into the Pacific. We’re particularly struck by the clashing overtone play of Isneg Group’s clangorous ‘Rooster Dance’ from the Philippines, and likewise the mesmerising melancholy of ‘Music for Funeral Ceremony’ from the Sumba Island, Indonesia, which both contrast with the transfixingly monotone, woodcut techno-like trample of ‘Duet Gongs by Coho’ from Vietnam, and again the gently hypnotic rhythmelody of ‘Buffalo Sacrifice by Jarai’ again from Vietnam.
Again, we can’t disagree with Toop’s description of the music as “simple yet mysterious and enveloping, a sound world in which to disappear. A theory exists but this is not explained" and urge lovers of anything from Don’t DJ to Ka Baird, Harry Bertoia to Sleazy or Kode 9 to give it whirl.