Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Contemporary Composer Harry Roesli (2)

While talking about Indonesian composer Harry Roesli, let me to republish my essay which was published by Koran tempo, December 18, 2004. This essay is revised and is still subject to be reedited. For non-Indonesians, I beg your pardon because I don’t translate it yet into English.

Harry Roesli dan Musik Kontemporer

Oleh Kelik M Nugroho

Apa kontribusi Harry Roesli untuk perkembangan musik kontemporer Indonesia? Pertanyaan itu penting untuk diajukan, karena Harry Roesli –komposer dan penyanyi asal Bandung — belakangan ini menjadi seterkenal para selebritas–salah satunya berkat keterlibatannya sebagai juri dalam Akademi Fantasi Indosiar, sebagai bagian dari gemuruh industri budaya pop. Banyak ulasan di media–setelah dia meninggal pada 11 Desember 2004 pada usia 53 tahun, yang lebih menonjolkan sisi kehidupan pribadinya dan aspek budaya pop yang melekat pada Harry Roesli.

Padahal Harry Roesli sejatinya seniman yang mampu bergelimang di glamoritas budaya pop, seraya tetap bisa menjaga roh kreativitas seniman murni. Tulisan ini ingin mencatat sumbangan Harry Roesli untuk musik kontemporer Indonesia. Komponis musik kontemporer dan pengamat seni Suka Hardjana menilai, Harry Roesli merupakan salah satu ikon di dalam musik kontemporer yang hebat. Harry Roesli, kata Suka seperti dikutip sebuah media, pernah mengatakan bahwa musiknya bukan hanya harus didengar dan harus ditonton, tapi juga harus dipikirkan.

Dieter Mack, komponis musik kontemporer, profesor teori musik dan peneliti dari Belanda, pernah menyebut dalam artikelnya bahwa Harry Roesli merupakan salah satu “kemeleoan musikal” dalam arti positif (Jurnal Masyarakat Seni Pertunjukan Indonesia, tahun VI/1995). Istilah “Frank Zappa dari Indonesia” terasa juga cukup tepat. Namun, tidak dalam pengertian imitasi musik Frank Zappa, melainkan hanya menjelaskan salah satu sikap tertentu. Maksudnya, kecenderungan bermain-main dalam bermusik.

Karya Harry Roesli, menurut Dieter Mack, juga dinilai senantiasa mampu bermain di tengah segala aliran dan gaya musik dengan cara yang amat kreatif, unik, penuh dengan imajinasi, dan musik fungsional yang mengadaptasi diri dengan selera yang sedang ngetren. Selain itu, Depot Kreasi Seni Bandung (DKSB) dinilai merupakan playground untuk semua eksperimen dan perwujudan konsep-konsep Harry Roesli. Terasa bahwa konsep Harry adalah suatu ide kerja sama antarorang dalam bentuk yang unik, tetapi sekaligus sesuai dengan salah satu ciri khas budaya Indonesia.

Dalam bahasa Suka Hardjana, yang mengamati karya Harry sejak opera Ken Arok pada pertengahan 1970-an, Harry selalu konsisten dengan jalurnya, dan bahwa di dalam karya-karyanya selalu muncul semacam “tanda” yang paralel dengan watak ungkap musik untuk teater lenong. “Musik Harry bukan musik kontemporer yang gimana gitu, tetapi punya kedekatan juga dengan tradisi kita,” kata Suka.

Dieter Mack juga mengamati bahwa dalam rangka perwujudan musik Harry, alat-alat elektronik mutakhir rata-rata diutamakan. Maka pada karya berjudul Asmat Dream (dengan pengolahan vokal dari sebuah suku di Irian Jaya) mula-mula kesan “kerja sama suatu kelompok” tidak tampak. Dalam karya ini, Harry memakai medium tape. Namun, setelah mendengarkan musik itu, jika cerita latar belakangnya diketahui, apalagi kalau akrab bersama Harry sendiri, jelas sekali bahwa tape ini hanya merupakan sebuah medium. Kemudian, medium ini ingin dia hidupkan untuk mewujudkan suatu musik yang tidak dapat diproduksi dengan cara yang lain.

Karya musik kontemporer Harry Roesli, seperti Musik Rumah Sakit (1979) dan Musik Sikat Gigi (1982) juga dikomentari komponis musik kontemporer terkemuka Indonesia, Slamet Abdul Sjukur. Karya yang berupa musik ingar-bingar itu di mata Slamet, “Seperti orang bertapa di tengah pasar. Godaannya lebih hebat daripada di tempat sunyi,” demikian seperti dikutip sebuah media.

Pada 1997, Harry Roesli pernah menggelar komposisi berjudul Musik Jantung di panggung festival perkusi Pekan Raya Jakarta, Kemayoran, Jakarta. Festival itu juga menampilkan kelompok musik kontemporer From Scratch, Franki Raden, dan lain-lain. Karya berdurasi tujuh menit itu menampilkan suara detak jantung, yang diubah secara digital dengan menggunakan suatu perangkat musik elektronik modern, dan kemudian menghasilkan bunyi-bunyian seperti drum besar. Dari sisi ide untuk mengolah sumber bunyi yang tak lazim berupa detak jantung menjadi musik, Harry tak sendirian. Di AS, komponis musik kontemporer Alvin Lucier pernah juga bereksperimen menciptakan musik space yang bersumber dari gelombang otak.

Di masa rezim otoritarian Orde Baru masih berkuasa, Harry Roesli menggelar konser musik tak lazim untuk memprotes kondisi politik yang represif waktu itu. Bertempat di Teater Utan Kayu Jakarta, Harry dengan membawa seperangkat keyboard dan alat musik elektonik lain menyajikan permainan musik tanpa henti selama 25 jam 10 menit. Mengantisipasi kemungkinan penonton kecapekan, Harry menaruh kasur-kasur untuk tempat duduk penonton. “Kami ingin memprotes, menyuarakan keprihatinan dengan cara sedikit menyiksa diri–tak tidur lebih sehari penuh,” kata Harry seperti ditulis majalah D&R.

Pertunjukan tak lazim itu pernah dilakukan Harry sebelumnya. Pada 1996, di Jakarta Harry menggelar pertunjukan selama 25 jam 3 menit, dan di Bandung pada 1997, pertunjukan selama 25 jam 4 menit. Dari sisi ide durasi, gagasan Harry itu tak sepenuhnya orisinal. Pemusik seperti John Cage pernah membacakan Ulysses karya James Joyce selama 36 jam, dan di Indonesia, Sapto Raharjo pernah bermusik selama tiga hari tiga malam nonstop pada 1992.

Sumbangan Harry yang lain berupa upaya eksperimen penggabungan musik karawitan Sunda dan musik modern yang berbasis rock-progresif. Karya-karya itu bisa disimak dari album-album lama, antara lain Titik Api. Dalam sebuah acara musik di Jakarta pada 1997, Harry pernah menyatakan dengan bangga bahwa dialah yang merintis eksperimen penggabungan musik pentatonis dan diatonis, jauh sebelum Jadug Ferianto dengan kelompok Kua-Etnika sukses meluncurkan album Nang-ning-nung.

Ada beberapa karya eksperimental Harry yang menyelip dalam album Harry Roesli dan DKSB (1983). Di album tersebut, ada dua karya berupa permainan drum dan piano, karya lain memakai instrumen peluit, timpani, dan drum, yang dimainkan berdasarkan pola inter-locking. Muncul di antara lagu-lagu pop progresif–dengan ciri permainan bas, drum, dan keyboard yang diketuk secara bersamaan–dua karya tersebut menjadi nilai lebih album tersebut.

Sayangnya, kebanyakan karya eksperimental Harry tak direkam. Kalaupun toh direkam dalam bentuk kaset, karya-karya tersebut sulit dibeli di toko-toko kaset besar. Bagi yang ingin melacak karya-karya Harry, mereka harus bersedia masuk ke kios-kios barang loak seperti di Taman Puring, Jakarta Selatan. Catatan ini sekadar upaya untuk melacak sebagian karya Harry Roesli, ikon musik kontemporer Indonesia yang karya-karyanya kurang diterima pasar. *

Diskografi:
(Catatan diskografi ini dikutip dari buku Musisiku, terbitan KPMI dan Republika, 2007)

1. Philosophy Gang (1971)
2. Harry Roesli Solo 1 (Diamond, 1972)
3. Harry Roesli Solo 2 (Diamond, 1973)
4. Harry Roesli Solo 3 (Diamond, 1974)
5. Harry Roesli Solo 4 (Diamond, 1975)
6. Titik Api (Aktuil Musicollection, 1976)
7. Ken Arok (Eterna, 1977)
8. Tiga Bendera (Musica Studio’s, 1978)
9. Gadis Plastik (Chandra recording, 1977)
10. LTO (Musica studio, 1978)
11. Harry Roesli dan Vocal Group Kharisma volume I (Aneka Nada, 1977)
12. Harry Roesli dan Vocal Group Kharisma volume II (Aaneka Nada, 1978)
13. Jika Hari Tak Berangin (Aneka Nada, 1978)
14. Daun (SM Recording, 1978)
15. Ode dan Ode (Berlian record, 1978)
16. Kota Gelap (Purnama record, 1979)
17. Harry Roesli dan DKSB (1984)
18. Kuda Rock ‘n Roll (Billboard, 1985)
19. Asmat Dream (Frogpeak, 1990)
20. Orang Basah (Frogpeak, 1991)
21. Cuaca Buruk (Frogpeak, 1992)
22. Cas Cis Cus (Hemagita Swara, 1992)
23. Si Cantik (Gema Nada Pertiwi, 1997)
*

The Contemporary Composer Harry Roesli (1)

This album is likely to be the best album of Harry Roesli for some music lovers who like avant garde and melodious-progressive-rock. For me, all compositions are likable because it’s melody, smart arrangement, and still sounded fresh for it’s originality. And what must be noticed, is in this album there are two compositions (Kereta dan Api, and Konser Ganda) which can be categorized as contemporary (or avant garde) music. *

Track list:

Album : Harry Roesli dan DKSB
Artist : Harry Roesli and DKSB
Publisher : Prosound record, 1980

Contents
Side A:
1. Zaman
2. Aku Cinta Kau
3. Lagu Rimba
4. Keringat
5. Halimun
6. Empat Persegi
7. Kereta dan Api

Side B:
1. Konser Ganda
2. Fajar Doa Timur Raya
3. Taring
4. Anak Desa
5. Dia Cinta Kau
6. Nada Penutup

Note: The songs were played by DKSB, STIPS, Chrone, Elly Djajusman

From Oration to Music

Bung Karno, a former Indonesia President, was an ideologist, a thinker, as well as a stylist orator. His orations mostly on nationalism were well documented and recorded. Look at this album entitled Pidato Bung Karno “Nasionalisme” (Bung Karno Speech on Nationalism) which was published by Yayasan Pendidikan Sukarno, Jakarta, with no date of releasing.

His orations was mostly recognized as rythmical or even musical. So that when his orations used to fill partly in a such song, that song will be heard more dramatic. Look at an album entitled Bung Karno Milik Rakyat Indonesia by Bram Kampungan (Musica, 1999). This album was a repackaging from the original version of Kelompok Kampungan album. There is one song entitled Bung Karno which used Bung Karno’s speech on Indonesia and Utara Kuru.  The rythm of oration did match to the rythm of the song. *

Harry Roesli: Don’t Cry, Indonesia

August is the moment for Indonesians to reflect their live relating to the wealth of nation. Unfortunately, that economic condition in Indonesia now under Yudhoyono administration is not good enough — with it’s high inflation, and bad oil pricing. So, it is not time for Indonesians to celebrate “the day of Indonesia freedom” with such glamour and hyper-happy party. Indonesians still have to cry on their economic condition.

Relating to such condition, song Jangan Menangis, Indonesia (Don’t Cry, Indonesia) from album entitled LTO (Musica, 1978) is a proper anthem to sung by Indonesians. This song was composed by Harry Roesli (September 1951-Desember 2004), a prominet Indonesian composer, singer, writer, lecturer, and activist. He was graduated from Rotterdam Conservatorium, Netherland (1981). Harry live in time of otoritarian politics under New Order regime. His works mostly criticize on social and economic condition in Indonesia, especially against New Order regime.

With his band Depot Kreasi Seni Bandung, as well as his solo career, Harry ever released 23 albums (according to book Musisiku, KPMI, Republika, 2007). His music is mostly progressive-rock, some of them such blended music gamelan-rock. Although his albums were not succes commercially, but later become collector’ items. One of his best album according to this blog is Harry Roesli & DKSB (Prosound, 1984). The reason is because this album contains two compositions which are likely to categorized as contemporary music in term of Slamet Abdul Sjukur, a thinker-philosopher-composer from Indonesia.

In this August moment, please listen to song Jangan Menangis, Indonesia, and read it’s lyric:

Jangan menangis, Indonesia.
Jangan bersedih, Indonesia.
Kami berdiri membelamu pertiwi.
Janganlah menangis, Indonesia.
Apakah kau sepi, Indonesia.
Kami berjajar menjagamu Negara

Refrain:
Merembang air matanya, persada tercinta.
Menitik satu per satu, tandanya berduka dia sedang lara.
Kelapa yang merayu dulu, tak lagi merdu, tak terasa sejuk.
Tuhan yang Maha Kuasa.
Hentikan tangisannya.

*

The Prototype of Dangdut

Thank God for bringing me these two albums Kafilah and Ya Mahmud of Kelana Ria directed by musician Adi Karso, and interpretated by legend singer Mashabi, Munif, Djuhana Sattar, and Adi Karso himself, in a single cassete. It was produced by Media and Disco record, with no date of releasing and with no appropriate image and title Keluhan Anak Tiri. Despite a bad cover and packaging of this cassete, these two albums are rare and valuable matter for Indonesian music history especially dangdut, or Melayu folk music. But for this post, let me talk an other aspect of album Kafilah.

The album Kafilah consists of 12 songs. This album actually consists of various genres, not only dangdut, even cross over. Musthafa is gambus-folk, Gelang Sipaku Gelang is chachacha-pop-with ketimpring percusions. Ja Gadzibny is gambus-Melayu-chachacha. Hati yang Luka is Melayu-Indian. Tong Sampah is pop-chachacha.

But what I want to talk is this album may be such prototype for dangdut music. Since this album consists of various genres, so the arranger and composer Adi Karso actually made any prototype for various kinds of dangdut-Melayu music. Song Termenung which interpretated by singer Ellya Agus is such a mellow-Melayu-Indian which supposed to be a prototype of mellow-dangdut for the next musicians.

Just check it to albums which released later entitled Penyakit Asmara by singer A. Rafiq (Naviri, DD record, no date). This album is about Melayu-Indian music, and song Hilang Tak Berkesan is likely prototype for Lirikan Matamu, a big hit of A. Rafiq.  Or album by Ida Laila and S. Achmadi the seventh edition (Indra, Golden Hand record, no date). This album is about a mellow-Melayu-pop-dangdut with it’s two hits Khayalan Masa Lalu, and Dip Dip. Is there critic dangdut music out there who can explain this?.  *

A Praise for Bang Ali Sadikin

Ali Sadikin, former governor of province (DKI) Jakarta, who passed away on 20 May, 2008, was ever praised by singer Melky Goeslaw thru his song entitled Bang Ali Sadikin. Check out the first album of Melky Goeslaw, produced by Remaco, with no date releasing. There at least threes songs which are memorable, such as Satu Jumpa Satu (composed by Titik Puspa), dan Malam yang Dingin (composed by Minggus Tahitu. Bang Ali Sadikin song is soft pop with catchy melodies and blended by gambang kromong beat, an ethnic rythm.

To know more about Ali Sadikin, please read this following copied texts from daily The Jakarta Post. Ali was born in Sumedang, West Java, on July 7, 1927. He was a navy lieutenant general until president Sukarno appointed him Jakarta’s seventh governor in 1966. Popularly known as Bang Ali, he coordinated many development projects in Jakarta including the building of Taman Ismail Marzuki, Ragunan Zoo, Proyek Senen, Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, Taman Ria Monas, Taman Ria Remaja, the satellite city in Pluit, North Jakarta, and the Betawi culture preservation project in Condet.

He was responsible for the controversial policy providing nightclubs with greater freedom, allowing gambling and the construction of Kramat Tunggak for prostitution. He finished his term in 1977 and was replaced by Lt. Gen. Tjokropranolo. He received a number of awards including the Philippines’ Ramon Magsaysay. Along with a number of military retirees and businessmen, he signed a petition against Soeharto in 1980 known as the Petition of 50. *

Machicha Mochtar: From Pop to Dangdut

Jumping from pop music to dangdut is not only singer Machicha Mochtar’s choice. There are several Indonesian singers who sing pop as well as dangdut, even diversived from ethnic keroncong to dangdut. To mention examples:

1. Hetty Koes Endang on album entitled “Astaga” (lagu-lagu melayu dangdut volume 2) produced by Musica, 1974.

2. Album entitled “Pop Melayu Pilihan” by various artists such as Grace Simon, Eddy Silitonga, and A Riyanto, produced by Remaco, no date.

3. Even ethnic keroncong singer Waljinah sang dangdut in album Merem Melek by Waljinah and Mamik Slamet (pop Jawa jaipong dan dangdut bahasa Jawa), produced by Dian record, no date.

So when Makassar singer Machicha Mochtar who released a pop album entitled Oke Punya Nich (MSC record, Bali Connection, December 1993), then release dangdut album ILALANG (?) and became hit, it is not something bizarre. This dangdut album by Machicha should be recognized better than Oke Punya Nich, especially it’s melodies. But actually album Oke Punya Nich is still better then ILALANG in arrangement. There is some thing new and fresh in it’s arrangement actually, because it was blended various genres techno, rap, rock, melayu, and pop.

This such experimental approach is because there are several creative artists behind this album, such as  Yongky Suwarno (musician from progressive pop genre), Ayu Weda (rock singer from Denpasar who then devoted herself for sufism), and even kiai Hamim Jazuli (a.k.a. Gus Mik, a spiritualist like Hazrat Inayat Khan). But unfortunately, this album is not succes commercially. *

Gombloh is Also Human

For (singer and composer) Gombloh’ admirers, they may be up set if they listen to these two albums. First, album entitled Jangan Bodoh Sayang by singer Tyas Drastitiana (Slide record, no date). In this album there are three songs composed by Gombloh: Jawaban Kugadaikan Cintaku; 1/2 Gila; Memori Sedih. The first two songs are still closed to Gombloh style as presented in Lemon Trees albums. But song Memori Sedih is very different from that Gombloh’s style. It is soft pop, if not to say poor pop.

Second album is Untukmu Kekasih by singer Vicky Vendy (Nirwana record, 1982). In this album, there are two songs composed by Gombloh: Untukmu Kekasih, and Yang Lalu Biarlah Berlalu. The first song is a soft pop with litle bit catchy melodies, but the second is such poor pop. Are these songs really composed by the Giant Gombloh? May be yes, may be not. May be yes, because Gombloh as composer actually can compose any kind of songs, including these such items. It is very easy. But why? The answer is simple: money. May be Gombloh composed those such poor songs to earn additional fee for his daily needs. Is Gombloh also human (Bukankah Gombloh juga Manusia) — quoting title song of Seurius band. *

Appreciation from Maverick Indonesia

This blog piringanhitam.wordpress.com was nominated by Maverick Indonesia as one of five best blogs managed by journalists on middle July 2008. And the winner as Click of The Year Award is Irawan Santoso. This blog support such effort to enhance quality of blog’ contents managed by Indonesian bloggers.  To know more about that event, I copy part of the news written by Maverick Indonesia (maverickid.com).

Click of The Week has become our new racing game, where Maverick kids compete to spot journalists blogs over the net and have it being reviewed in our blog. Each year, during Maverick’s Media Gathering, we crowned a journalist as the recipient of our Click of The Year Award.

Judged by the Mavericks (cat-fight involved), this award is given to the most outstanding journalist blog from our 2008 Click of The Week list, and convey these following qualities:

1. Attractiveness of the issues covered (read: what’s attractive and sexy enough for Maverick kids)

2. Writing styles

3. Clarity in presenting opinion – this matters because we believe the differentiator of blogs compared to conventional media is the ablity of blog to capture the writer’s personal opinion.

4. Blog design and layout

From 15 journalist blogs featured in our Click of The Week, 5 nominees were selected by Maverick kids. They are:
1. Manda La Mendol who writes about culinary adventure—and we love food!

2. Robert Adhi Kusumaputra who writes about current issues and regularly reviewing others’ blogs

3. Merry Magdalena who writes about feminism issues (no wonder, most of the associates here in Maverick are women; sassy ones)

4. Irawan Santoso who writes about law and high-profile court cases

5. Kelik M. Nugroho who writes about his vintage collections of LP records

Once the nominees were selected, Maverick kids were cat-fighting with each other to ensure that the blog they nominate would win the award. This is done by highlighting and “selling” the quality of the blog they’ve selected to other Mavericks; debating on certain criteria, and raising our hands up high when disagreeing upon something (of course, this is done while munching a bowl of cakue and sipping cups of coffee).

After spending more than 2 hours debating on who should win this year’s Click of The Year Award, the Mavericks decided that the award goes to Irawan Santoso and his blog, RECHSTAAT (interesting, turn out that the Mavericks just love to read about law—or is it about the lawyers?).

Once the nominees were selected, Maverick kids were cat-fighting with each other to ensure that the blog they nominate would win the award. This is done by highlighting and “selling” the quality of the blog they’ve selected to other Mavericks; debating on certain criteria, and raising our hands up high when disagreeing upon something (of course, this is done while munching a bowl of cakue and sipping cups of coffee).

After spending more than 2 hours debating on who should win this year’s Click of The Year Award, the Mavericks decided that the award goes to Irawan Santoso and his blog, RECHSTAAT (interesting, turn out that the Mavericks just love to read about law—or is it about the lawyers?

On Maverick Night Fever last Thursday, we officially crowned Irawan as the winner of 2008 Maverick Click of The Year (last year, Andreas Harsono from Pantau received this award). Irawan is not a new to some of the Mavericks, because he is also the winner of 2006 and 2007’s Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna journalism award in law category.

Congratulations! Keep blogging! Blog on!.*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 880 other followers