Nerv — Ragam
(PRS 520496.2, 2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01
Since Discus first unleashed itself on the world in ’99, it seems like there’s a limitless number of Indonesian prog rock bands coming out in their wake, and this six-piece mostly-instrumental outfit from Bandung is certainly one of the best this writer has heard. Instrumentation featuring dual guitars (one doubling on keyboards), bass, drums, viola, Indonesian percussion, bamboo flute, and kecapi (traditional Balinese zither) brings together a modern sounding symphonic fusion of styles with touches of the ancient and traditional. Their sound shifts around seamlessly, incorporating a number of diverse ideas, but not in any extreme or jarring way, with the viola or flute typically assuming the lead roles while guitars and keys provide additional melodic support, coloration and texture. The rhythm section, augmented by the hand drums provides a brilliant complexity that supports the effort superbly. There are elements of jazz, classical, rock, symphonic prog, and traditional all working together here in varying degrees from track to track. Comparisons elude, but one might find in their highly spirited instrumental ferocity, something akin to an Indonesian Kenso or KBB. Vocals are used sparingly and mostly in a supportive melodic role, except on the twelve-minute “Karuhun,” where they explore various traditional themes along with a variation of the traditional kecac where voices are layered in a circular percussive order. Beginning to end, this is an outstanding release that just gets better with each listen.
Related artist(s): Nerv
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more