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Musicians unite in Nusasonic festival

Bambang Muryanto

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Thu, October 11, 2018  /  08:57 am
Musicians unite in Nusasonic festival

Collaboration: Musicians of different countries gather at the Wayang Ukur Studio in Yogyakarta to create new sounds and music for the Nusasonic experimental music festival. (The Jakarta Post/Bambang Muryanto)

A multinational experimental music festival is gracing Yogyakarta this October to entertain the city’s hipsters with lots of obscure music and talent from bands you might have never heard of before.

The festival, dubbed Nusasonic, Crossing Aural Geographies, was organized by German cultural center Goethe-Institute along with Germany’s CTM Festival for Adventurous Music and Art, Indonesia’s Yes No Klub, the Philippines’ WSK Festival of the Recently Possible and Singapore’s Playfreely.

“To my knowledge, this is the biggest experimental music festival ever to be held in Indonesia,” Yes No Klub curator FX Woto Wibowo told The Jakarta Post last week.

Woto, better known as Wok The Rock, said Nusasonic was meant to acquaint the public with non-mainstream music so that they could familiarize themselves with the latest developments in experimental music and the art of sound.

Nusasonic involves around 50 artists from Europe, Southeast Asia, Iran and Egypt. They will collaborate in creating experimental music from Oct. 10 to 13 in several places in Yogyakarta and the Wanurejo tourist village in Magelang, Central Java.

“They’re now here as artists in residence to get to know each other and explore compatible areas for the creation of experimental works of art,” added Wok, referring to their period of residence from Oct. 2 to 6.

The artists will work on four themes for the festival by “hacking” musical instruments and objects to produce sounds. Sonic Wilderness, for example, will create sounds that blend in with nature and public space, Kombo will come up with improvised music and Jogja Noise Bombing will allow Yogyakarta’s noise artists to generate sounds from graffiti-bombing activities on the road.

Finding the right tune: Musicians and sound engineers try to “hack” musical instruments and objects to create unique sounds that will be presented during Nusasonic.Finding the right tune: Musicians and sound engineers try to “hack” musical instruments and objects to create unique sounds that will be presented during Nusasonic. (The Jakarta Post/Bambang Muryanto)

“There’s also a series of discussions from Oct. 7 to 10 to deal with the role of female musicians and their networks, the relations between musical art and politics and how musicians are distributing their works through social media,” Wok said.

Maya, a project officer from the Goethe-Institute, said the institute’s Nusasonic was inspired by the public’s growing interest in experimental music.

She said the festival would give exposure to experimental music and, in addition, give musicians a common platform through which they could develop their networks and learn from each other about various topical issues in music and social affairs.

Goethe previously held the same art events in Siberia and Tehran.

“This time, we wish to present it with a broader scope that involves artists from Europe and Southeast Asia,” Maya said.

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