Here’s a great and short video outlining some of the ways this incredible music has influenced western classical composition. There are other ways of considering how this music has been opened up to the outside, but the Gamelan has such a unique and extraordinary sonic presence that it is hard not to fall in love with its sounds and the pristine, shining eerieness of its effect.
Though my real introduction to Gamelan was the first Javanese Court Gamelan album on the Nonesuch Explorer series. There are two further albums in this series.
Though from all over the Indonesian islands, the music and its own traditions and subtle differeneces have found resonance with a pristine kind of impact.
Some traditions feature flute /reed and string sections among the Gamelan which while unique, touch on other indigenous forms and engender a wild sense of play and release and feeling. When after one such break the Gamelan throbs as a bass presence, it is a very real sense of the alien and the immanent and of a real achievement for the humans around this time and place, through whom this music has been arriving. A very real gift.
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