Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 1970-1978

Those Shocking Shaking Days
Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 1970-1978
(Stones Throw)

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Born of the love and dedication that only lifelong crate diggers can sustain, this monster comp is another coup for Stones Throw.  These 20 tracks span almost a full decade of Indonesian rock, pop, psych and prog, all oozing under a thick veneer of jungle funk.  As opposed to many other international rockers, the artists from the archipelago sing in near-perfect english, except when they choose to sing in their mother tongue, which carries with it its own power. “Anti-Gandga,” a song rallying against drug use, and “Jeritan Cinta,” an aching, psychy wailer, both in Indonesian, get an unnameable forcefulness from the directness of the language.

Those Shocking Shaking Days start in 1970– just two years after the murderous Sukarno regime ended, and the country began edging into more and more democratic tendencies. Capturing the artistic side of the nascent days of Indonesian economic growth, several tracks ride the wave of a new feeling of being able to express oneself.  “Freedom,” by the aptly-named Freedom of Rhapsalia, and Shark Move’s “Evil War” are epic prog excursions with strong political overtones. Meanwhile, “Don’t Talk About Freedom” is a meandering 8-minute soul jam, with tight production.  Surely, garage enthusiasts will love the underground sound of many of the songs, though it’s impressive how well some of these bands were able to record such pristine tracks.  This serves the funkier ones especially well (like the Black Brothers’ “Saman Doye”).  But the glorious and consistent use of fuzz and the reverbed tone of self-recording give many of the tracks a delicious Funkadelic-thick glaze and haze.

The comp is a document both of a musical fascination with the West, as well an ability to subsume these Western modes into authentic and, truly, shocking pieces of folk music.  Ariesta Birawa Group’s “Didunia Yang Lain” is an exemplar of this. Reverse-engineering the eastern sounds of Revolver, the trio uses indigenous instruments amidst advanced tape and electronics manipulation.  The song’s sublimity– and severe rarity of the LP– make it an original and a $1400 find.  Nothing fails to get either your ass shaking with the groove, or your head shaking over how deep the music is, though another standout is the most well-known of the lot, AKA (the only band with two tracks), whose James Brown-style workouts anchor the heavier half of the record.

And, signaling that “the product” isn’t a dead art yet, it’s recommended to spring for the packaging in this case– the CD has a thick booklet with lots of photos and tons of info; the vinyl is done up gorgeously.

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About Alex Stimmel

Educator, musician, writer. Teach K-8 music in an East Harlem PS; guitarist/songwriter for Apothecary Hymns (Locust); have written for Mojo, NY Times Mag, Rolling Stone, Resonance & more.
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