2 Hyang Guru, seeking a way to call upon the gods, invented the Gamelan in AD 230. The deep Gong was designed to summon the gods, but for more complex communication he created other components, thus forming the first Gamelan orchestra. The idea of sound evoking the gods can still be sensed in the timbre of the deep Gong. Its slow, complex vibrations act as an anchor for the overtones of the smaller instruments. There are two Indonesian Gamelan music styles: Balinese and Javanese. Balinese is more courtly and frenetic, with a loud, sharp style. Javanese is a more meditative, softer style. The latter is the configuration used on Campursari.
3 I first heard Gamelan in Bali, when travelling overland from New Zealand to New York in It was a revelation. I had never heard anything like it. I stayed at Kuta Beach, a simple village with no high-rise hotels or tourists. I spent the evenings listening to this unusual, beautifully evocative music in the village, or going to the temples to watch more refined performances with dance. Arriving in NYC, I immediately bought an LP of Balinese Gamelan, and played it over and over again. The following year, I included a section for Gamelan in an early symphonic work called Dharti ka Sar (1973), which was based on my travels. Εκεί που η διάφανη σιωπή σου μαθαίνει τη μουσική 26 years και τα later, πάντα I had είναι the pleasure ευγενικά, of ταπεινά reconnecting και with these άγρια experiences μαζί. Τίποτα through επίπλαστο collaborations και ψεύτικο with δεν a very special ηχεί musician, εκεί. Πνίγεται. violinist Μόνο Miranda ό,τι Adams. έχει πνοή Miranda -πνεύμα is the assistant δηλαδή- Concert όπως Master μία φλογέρα, of the Auckland ένα κλαρίνο Philharmonia ή ένα Orchestra, a σουραύλι highly και accomplished κάθε τι μοναδικό orchestral που musician, είναι ο εαυτός and an improvising του. violinist Εκεί ο αέρας with extraordinary είναι ο μουσικοπαιδαγωγός instincts. She is a leading σου exponent και η of σιωπή Gamelan η αρμονία in New Zealand, σου. and has a full traditionally carved Αυτή Javanese τη μυρωδιά Gamelan του set φωτός installed και της in her πνοής rural από West Auckland ψηλά, house. προσπαθεί After studying να γευτεί Gamelan το μοναχικό in Indonesia, κλαρίνο she returned to μου, New αυτή Zealand την αλήθεια and assembled κουβαλάει a group και παλεύει of enthusiastic να players. χρωματίσει She commissioned και να σμιλέψει various με works την for πίστη them, ότι one τα of which was εντός a και piece τα I wrote πέραν entitled επικοινωνούν, Fossil Bay ο (based έξω κόσμος on a sung poem by και ο Sarah μέσα Guppy). μας λειτουργούν The piece ο was ένας performed για τον άλλον, at the Asia Pacific και είναι Festival ο ένας in Wellington, έκφραση του άλλου. Ας μου συγχωρεθεί λοιπόν όποια κηλίδα και ας χρεωθεί I ve στην worked κοινή with προσφορά Miranda s όποια Gamelan φωταψία in numerous δική improvisational μου ή ιριδισμός. settings Ευχαριστώ since. Some από of καρδιάς these performances όλους were τους recorded, σπουδαίους and are συνθέτες, loosely entitled μουσικούς Gamjams. και A few have ενορχηστρωτές been included ασχολήθηκαν on Bravura CDs, με particularly εμένα και Music το for Peace παίξιμό (Atoll, μου 2003), ομολογώ Turn (Rattle, τόσο 2006) δημιουργικά and Ecstasy και (Attar, με 2007). ακρίβεια. Ιδιαίτερη μνεία στον John Psathas τον γλυκύτατο άνθρωπο και αγωνιστή της μουσικής. Μάνος Αχαλινωτόπουλος, Ιανουάριος του 2010
4 In 2009, I set about writing a series of compositions that would explore the possibilities of combining Gamelan and Western instruments. For this project, my intention was to write specifically for Gamelan rather than using it (as had been my practice to that point) in a strictly improvisational fashion. The pieces were composed using the 5 note Pentatonic scale of Gamelan, combined with the 12 note European harmonic system. Conceptually, this was a new and exciting musical topography for me, where musical motifs and shapes became highly textural landscapes. The melodies were harmonised using the Slendro-Anhemitonic Pentatonic scale (C#, D#, F#, G#, A#) with chordal ideas based on the Western Chromatic scale (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B). Combining musical systems in this fashion gave the music a uniquely layered sound. Gamelan instruments are tuned differently to Western instruments, but the differences in pitch add an intriguing and dynamic component. While all of the compositions on Campursari are conceptually and musically related, not all of them incorporate Gamelan. These tracks are based on a Hemitonic Pentatonic scale, and their timbre and emotional complexity is derived from the use of European colours such as accordion and pedal steel. Campursari is an Indonesian musical term used to describe music that incorporates Gamelan and Western instrumentation. The instruments used on the album are: Slentem, Bonang, Kenong, Rebab, Gender, Gongs, Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Bass Guitar, Soprano Saxophone, Violin, Viola, Voice, Accordion, Drums, various Flutes, and (most crucially) Vibraphone, an instrument that links the two instrumental systems. With this CD, Rattle and I set out to produce music with an open, atmospheric spaciousness, subtle pulses and layers of deep, complex resonance. The vision and encouragement of Keith Hill (of Attar Media) was pivotal to the early development of the project..
5 My rough pencil sketches for the initial compositions caught the eye of New York based artist Max Gimblett. Max expounds the All Mind, No Mind approach to creativity (to work unimpeded and in the moment), and he recognised this quality in my musical notation. Max asked for mixes of the music, and while listening to them he created the many paintings that form the basis of the book, the green bicycle. Peter Simpson of Holloway Press encouraged the idea of a limited edition hand printed book of these paintings, which also includes a CD of the Gamelan-specific tracks from Campursari, and poems specially written by Wellington poet and musician, Chris Price. In addition to the title poem, the book also features a sequence of shorter pieces, collectively titled Gam sketches, which are reproduced here. Jonathan Besser, August 2011 P r e p a r a t o r y Five tender little lidded casseroles. Small candle-boats on a night ocean. The buoys that hold up fishing nets. Glowing scallopini on their dish of blue. A wine-dark sea tosses them gently in its salty dressing. Wind in the palms, shifting clatter of approval for the fishermen whose metallic catch shimmers on the deck each morning, who spend their days at mending to remake the night for fish.
6 F r e e h a n d But what does that mean? Axons, dendrites, neurons well-drilled into liberty? All mind or none? And what about the rule of thumb? T r a n s l a t i o n How this precipitous and choppy shorthand cues calm swells and balmy airs remains mysterious to me. I am not native here, I go without language, but in some inarticulate corner the old translator works his magic. F i v e f i n g e r e x e r c i s e To be transparent as that leaf the music shines through is why the work, which one day becomes just what you are the natural action, four fingers in fruitful opposition to a thumb.
7 D e x t e r i t y Design and build a house that fits the climate and the site. That knows in its bones which way the sun comes up how water does its level best with what it s got, how much simpler it is to love the wind than fight. And to welcome the light. V i r t u o s i t y Can break the builder, make the house unlivable. Fall short of it, always. This is the way to live long and prosper.
8 W h e e l i n g b i r d s It s all recycling. Seagulls and swallows make their nightly enso while the sun draws up a faint wash of pink F e a t h e r l e s s w i n g s The poem from out of the water. Later the frogs on the hillsides will start up their chanting. leaps then clings and glides clings and glides. Seeds and skin drop to the forest floor to feed other lives. The soprano saxophone alone aspires to the thinnest tip of the highest twig, shins up the trunk to pierce heaven s canopy and prick the prophet s conscience.
9 Featherless Wings (23:31) Campursari (23:56) 01. The sweet perfume, the mysterious air (12:42) Miranda Adams violin, gamelan Andrew Pask soprano saxophone Soprano saxophone recorded by Wayne Peet 02. Five candle boats (6:03) Miranda Adams violin, gamelan Jim Langabeer flute 03. Forever, unrequited (5:11) Nigel Gavin Miranda Adams Tatiana Lanchtchikova guitar violin accordion 04. The mourning tree (6:13) Nigel Gavin guitar Miranda Adams violin, gamelan, rebab Robert Ashworth viola 05. Longing for the near horizon (5:46) Miranda Adams violin Jonathan Besser electric piano Jim Langabeer flute 06. The day becomes what you are (4:50) Nigel Gavin guitar Miranda Adams violin, gamelan, vocals Robert Ashworth viola 07. and the hills will start their chanting (6:35) Miranda Adams violin, gamelan Robert Ashworth viola Tatiana Lanchtchikova accordion Andrew Pask soprano saxophone Soprano saxophone recorded by Wayne Peet Secretos (29:26) 08. Shine (4:57) Nigel Gavin guitar Miranda Adams violin John Segovia pedal steel Jim Langabeer flute 09. Miriam s dance (4:48) Nigel Gavin guitar Miranda Adams violin, gamelan, rebab Robert Ashworth viola Jim Langabeer flute 10. We go without language (7:19) Miranda Adams violin Robert Ashworth viola Tatiana Lanchtchikova accordion Caroline Lynn voice 11. To remake the night for fish (12:22) Miranda Adams violin, gamelan Total running time 77:00
10 I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such highly creative individuals on this project, and I sincerely thank everyone for their generosity and openness. - JB