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Gamelan from Central Java


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  • Liner Note Author: John Noise Manis.
  • Photographer: John Noise Manis.
  • Translator: Diz Heller.
  • Javanese gamelan is perhaps one of the better exposed, and most stereotypically exotic, of the various traditional musics available. This collection of gamelan attempts to expose a number of smaller regional styles and the like. The album starts with a piece from the wayang kulit shadow play repertoire before moving into an item associated with the Bedaya trance dances. A small Italian gamelan group takes a turn, followed soon after by a particular old three-note melody. Some vocal accompaniment continues the variety, as well as a couple of ceremonial numbers. One of the most interesting items here is the percussive "Goa Tabuhan," played on a series of stone stalagmites and stalactites within a singing cave near Surakarta. There are plenty of gamelan albums out there, some better than others. This one probably fits right into the middle of the spectrum in quality, but the variety of style should give it extra points with new listeners to the genre. ~ Adam Greenberg
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