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Album review: Auretté and The Polska Seeking Carnival makes return with ‘Bloom’

Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, February 21, 2019  /  11:54 am
Album review: Auretté and The Polska Seeking Carnival makes return with ‘Bloom’

Guess who's back: Auretté and The Polska Seeking Carnival reunite to add some electronic flourish to their pop character. (Courtesy of Auretté and The Polska Seeking Carnival /-)

Folk pop group Auretté and The Polska Seeking Carnival broke up in 2014 after having released their debut album a year before.

Now, a little over four years later, they have decided to reunite for Bloom, a decidedly more electronic-sounding album that is not necessarily devoid of their folk pop character, though it trims it down.

Using the album title to announce how they have “bloomed”, the Yogyakarta band aims to have a more “relevant” sound for the current music scene. The result certainly sounds like they had the audience on their mind.

Aside from the prevalence of electronic nuances throughout the album, the fivesome also used Indonesian lyrics. Whereas their debut album comprised songs in English from top to bottom, Bloom divides equal time between English and Indonesian lyrics for its 12 tracks.

The band hopes the new record will be embraced as positively by the music crowd as their self-titled debut album was.

It is not just those elements that have changed. To fully capture the band's lively shows, they also decided to utilize a “real” studio this time.

“The first album was produced in a very simple fashion, working with what we had at the time in a studio in Bantul, Yogyakarta, in just about two weeks,” drummer Aris Setyawan said.

Visual trip: The album cover is the work of Yogyakarta illustrator Edwin Prasetyo.Visual trip: The album cover is the work of Yogyakarta illustrator Edwin Prasetyo. (Courtesy of Auretté and The Polska Seeking Carnival /-)

Meanwhile, Bloom took four months of recording in an actual recording studio and a lot of discussion regarding arrangements within the band and with the collaborators and guest musicians involved in the creation.

The collaborators include pianist Gardika Gigih who, aside from providing piano flourishes on a few tracks, also added some reverse sampling. The YK Brass Ensemble filled in with brass sounds.

While the debut album focused on the partnership between Aris (who handled the lyrics) and vocalist Dhima Christian Datu, Bloom features more musical ideas from the rest of the band: Aurelia Marshal (keyboard, synthesizer, vocoder), Danny Rachman (bass, guitar), Ahmad Mursid (trumpet, guitar) and Bayu Atmojo (trombone).

“We felt like it was a big obvious shift,” Dhima said, speaking about the changes in the creative process.

Lyrically, Aris wanted to expand the humanity-themed ideas he had presented in the first album.

In “Melerai Lara” (To Dissolve the Pain), he talks about how transgender people are still discriminated against, while “Lullaby Wondering Why” focuses on “the relationship between God and man”.

“Tamasya” (Holiday) has him touching on how tourists are often a source of natural pollution, while “The Bell Jar” is about mental health.

He said all those things also fit in with the theme of “blooming”, which he along with the rest of the band have experienced since they formed in 2012.

“We've all undergone a lot personal changes and growth since then.”

The album was supposed to come out in 2018, but duplication issues meant that Bloom will be released on digital format first (it can be streamed now through most of the usual digital services), with the planned CD version coming “very soon”, according to the band.

The album's colorful art features an album cover created by Yogyakarta illustrator Edwin Prasetyo.

Aris said the cover perfectly encapsulated a character they dubbed “Bloom”, who is “a woman who is surrounded by these blooming flowers. She is taking in all those blooming flowers with delight, as if she is as moved by the music on the album”.

Having rested for a few years, the band is eager to come back strong. They have a video plan and a launch party prepared to celebrate the CD release.

Aris said he and his bandmates were also very much into the idea of touring – something that most independent bands are busy doing these days.

“Who knows, we might even fly around to play shows around Indonesia soon.” (ste)

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