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Feb 09

Indie-Nesia: Slight Return

FT • 101 views

As we are naval gazing here at FT, with our ten years celebrations, I though I would have a little trip through the related links on the sidebar. A magical mystery tour which took me to an article I wrote back in 2006 regarding the oddness of the physical location of our readers. Though the mystery of Indonesia was finally partially solved, the article Indie-nesia is still interesting.

More interesting is the final comment from andraaaaa

since the rise of aksara records, ffwd records and the such…the ‘indie scene’ in indonesian seems to be bigger (especially for kids 15 to 20something) than the mainstream itself

a last.fm group I made: http://www.last.fm/group/Indonesian+Indie

Well, I though, Indie-nesian radio here I come. And a gentle little Friday afternoon liveblog ensues.

Efek Rumah Kaca: First track, definately indie, and 80′s sounding indie at that. A ballad, soft sounding with wobbly guitars, it shows that Indonesian indie is no stranger to the heartfelt album filler. Didn’t get track name.

Hold on, this isn’t Indonesian. Its in French (not that they can’t sing in French but further investigation shows the band playing were Belgian). Followed by Swedish, Finnish and US low-fi, mumblecore indie. Hmm, andraaaa has shown a scene which consists of the Indonesian Trashcan Sinatra’s.

Bunga Citra Lestari : Must write down track name: Aku Tak Mai Sindiri. But INDIE? This is a kind of Katie Melua vibe, or the kind of (ballad again) track that a film star making an album might have made in the early nineties. Delicate torch song stuff. But indie? Never.

More Finnish, Swedish and – oh my Lord a US singer songwriter called Michael Heart with We Will Not Go Down (GAZA) which has some truly uncomfortable lyrics (“As the bombs rain down like acid rain”) and what sounds like a bouzouki solo… Neither Indonesian or Palestinian.
(Note, FT ate the rest of this post from here, so all that remains is a reconstruction of the tracks I remember the most – which turns out to be one as I can’t recall the name of the Indonesian Manic Street Preachers).

Goodnight Electric: Am I Robot? This is good. It sounds like a song with the word Robot in the titles should sound, ie a bit like Kraftwerk with a hoarse Barney Sumner singing over it. So perhaps a missing Electronic single or some kind of retro-fitted Human League. Anyway its not jangle indie by any stretch of the imagination, but it is not bad. The picture above, was sourced by putting Indie-nesia into Google Image Search, and it spat out a picture of Goodnight Electric as the first image.

You can listen to their Myspace here.
And here’s the video to Am I Robot.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=78nGkD3-0kU

(There is also a video of them doing a pretty faithful live cover of Pulp’s Babies on YouTube too, which shows some of the scenes influences more clearly).

Unfortunately due to computer problems and excessive amounts of twee-core Scando-pop on the Last FM radio station, I am unable to report more on the Indonesian scene, but hopefully this article will pick up a few drifting commenters with suggestions. For more info on the size of the scene, take a gander at this Time magazine article.

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