Boomkat Product Review:
Singular, groundbreaking Indonesian duo Senyawa alloy with a unit of heads led by Room 40 capo Lawrence English for a mighty exorcism of lockdown energies.
After the rhizomic dissemination of Senyawa’s ‘Alkisah’ album via some 41 labels in ’21, the pairing of Wukir Suryadi & Rully Shabara test out a battery of new, custom-built instruments to potently psychedelic effect on ‘The Prey And The Ruler’. Overdubbed and recombined with chops by Lawrence English (organ, electronics), Helen Svoboda (double bass & voice), Peter Knight (trumpet, Revox B77 tape), Joe Talia (drums), and Aviva Endean (clarinets & harmonic flute), the recordings open Senyawa’s practice along new vectors of investigation and into new spaces of the febrile imagination, with the expanded assortment of Australian counterparts reacting to the unusual tonalities of the duo’s self-built instrumentation in fascinating, intensive ways.
Centring on Wukir Suryadi’s industrial mutant instrument, and possessed by Rully’s incantations, Senyawa’s mystic votives achieve new depth and space at the hands of their collaborators. The four parts scale in range and intensity from resounding atmospheric space and industrial jazz impulses on the first track, to the astonishing 20 minute sprawl of the 2nd, coming off like an imaginary adjunct to Scott Walker & Sunn 0))) soundtracking ‘Hard to Be a God’.
A process of sharing phone video clips of the new instruments being forged, and the reaction of the English-instigated ensemble, results in a shared noumenal space somewhere above the Timor Sea and Indian Ocean: traversing the skyborne alien tones of ‘Mangsa Dan Penguasa (The Prey and the Rulers)’; jungle canopy-stepping spirits in ‘Perburan (The Hunt); and a sort of thrumming goth-rock kosmiche animism in ‘Perjamuan (The Supper)’, before the gobsmacking B-side ‘Memangsa Penguasa (The Prey on Rulers)’ renders Rully like an uncanny familiar of Jhonn Balance set amid forests of metallic clangour and gnawing, spectralist, phantom presences conjured by the attuned mass.