Boomkat Product Review:
Indonesia’s Fahmi Mursyid sublimates recordings of native instrumentation and a 1950s Rösler Piano for Grand River’s One Instrument label
Stepping up to the label’s challenge to make music on a single piece of kit, Mursyid yields six works each produced with one instrument and recorded via a single condenser mic. Using a mixture of computer and electro-acoustic processing, the artist transforms various percussions of a gamelan ensemble - saron, kendang, and bonang - as well as pan flute and traditional Sundanese karinding (a sort of jew’s harp made from bamboo that sounds like “a big frog in the middle of rice fields) into a series of delightfully sweet and slippery creations that sound like gamelan played in a parallel dimension.
The results are at once tenebrous and tintinnabulous, with pointillist chimes rendered in gently spiralling designs that perfuse stark, negative spaces. In opener ‘Hening’ the flighty peals and metallic strokes of Fahmi’s saron appears to resonate in a melting hall of mirrors, contrasting with the hollow kendang drums that ripple under sighing atmospheres in the deep jungle scenes of ‘Wirama’, and again with the airy detachment of chord clusters from a Rösler piano that skit around ‘Denting’. But the most radical transformations are saved for the ‘Halaman’, where the jew’s harp-like karinding is smudged into a mind-bending wormhole of gurgles and dissonance, along with the Anthony Manning-esque lather of bonang percussion in ‘Dentum’, and the diffused pan flute that opens out into the most beguiling choral drift and martian melody on ‘Alunan.’
Add strong hallucinogenics, remove the cost of a flight and 18 hours travelling time to Indonesia, and you have a lush nano-break for your head.