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Neonomora: Fresh blood on the music scene

  • Felix Dass

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, January 17, 2014 | 11:46 am
Neonomora: Fresh blood on the music scene (Courtesy of Advan Matthew)

(Courtesy of Advan Matthew)

Neonomora is the alter ego of Ratih Suryahutamy '€” a young Indonesian woman who has just released a very interesting self-titled debut record.

'€œNeonomora to me is a reflection of myself and my music. The music that I hope can brighten up the lives of others. Just like the moon and the sun, they are there day and night to bring you the light,'€ she explains.

'€œYou know that when you listen to certain music it gives you that '€˜light'€™. That is the kind of music I want people to receive.'€

The 18-minute-long EP is Neonomora'€™s first '€œofficial'€ introduction after releasing a couple of singles in the past year.

Neonomora'€™s self titled album is available nationwide on CD. It will also be available on iTunes soon.

'€œWe were actually preparing for a full-length album, but had to go for an EP because we saw there was no reason for us to rush,'€ she says.

She said when she started recording '€œYou Want My Love'€ in November 2012, a month later she '€” alongside her brother Bam and her music director Adhe Arrio '€” locked themselves in the studio to record nine songs.

The final version of the album only features 5 tracks. '€œYou Want My Love'€, the first single, was released in digital format. Following the song, the same method was applied with the release of '€œFight'€, her other single.

Both songs are included on the EP with three other enticing songs.

'€œAfter all, what we want to deliver is satisfaction, especially to the ears of our listeners,'€ she says.
The self-titled EP delivers quite a signature sound for a debutant.

The songs on this album can be danced to and mix well with Neonomora'€™s beautiful voice, which is rare on the local music scene.

'€œI want the whole package of my music to be something different. I want my music to represent my generation. A generation that I believe has more freedom of expression, not oppressed by merely one'€™s opinion.'€

She speaks the truth. The local music scene has probably never heard the rich music she presents on this record. For an instant comparison, her voice may come across as similar to that of Florence and the Machine, Cat Power, Beth Orton or a more melodius version of Bjork.

The mixture of her music choices comes from various backgrounds.

'€œ[On the record] we used traditional instruments, such as banjo, mandolin, exotic Middle-Eastern percussion, oriental instruments and many more to deliver the richness of the sound,'€ she says.

'€œIt'€™s important for us to deliver a great quality of sound. Each song stands as pretty bold and forceful.'€

She attributed her strong musical influences to the time she was living abroad, such as in Australia, China and the US.

'€œI remember one Christmas Eve when I lived in the US, I was asked to sing. Since then I just haven'€™t been able to stop singing. My mother taught me how to sing. So music was in my blood early on in my life,'€ Neonomora says.

She then followed moved with her family to China in 2005, where she confessed that she fell madly in love with Chinese culture and traditional music. After three years there, her family again moved, this time to Australia.

'€œ[There], I started listening to contemporary music. I hung out with local musicians who introduced me to music like Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Angus and Julia Stone, Anya Marina, Death Cab for Cutie, Coco Rosie, Blackbird Blackbird and so much more,'€ she recalled.

'€œI learned about them. I learned by myself and discovered where my soul really belonged.'€

Her rich music is interesting to listen to. At a glimpse, it sounds like it is from foreign band, not a local one.

She said she hoped her record could serve as a start to conquer the big gap between local and foreign acts in Indonesia.

'€œWhat'€™s so ironic is that we adore foreign music but we don'€™t give a chance to our own music scene to grow bigger. I want a change so I'€™ve allowed myself be that change,'€ she says.

'€œI came to realize that in almost every discussion I'€™ve had, everybody seems to whine about how our music industry is slowly crashing down. I still have faith that we can still fix this situation.'€

Indonesia, she said, is the home of great musicians, songwriters, singers, music arrangers, composers and industrialists.

'€œThey should one day get the recognition and reward they deserve,'€ she went on.

And Neonomora, along with her young angst, has started the journey. The strong energy as shown by her work is definitely a good start.

'€œMy expectation [with the album] is simple. I hope it brings the '€˜change'€™ that many people in this beautiful nation has been hoping for,'€ she said.

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