A. Butler

Helpful votes received on reviews: 83% (111 of 134)
Location: UK, Norwich


Top Reviewer Ranking: 48,605 - Total Helpful Votes: 111 of 134
Malam Minggu-Saturday Night in Sunda (1991) ~ Mingu Malam
First thing you hear on this album is very Westernised pop, with electric guitar. Not a problem as such, but there's a lot Indonesian pop about that goes for that sound and just sounds tacky. Even that track recovers a bit after the intro, and it's not so bad really, but things improve once it's over.
The rest of the album is dominated by acoustic instruments, almost all of them Javanese. Don't expect field recordings though, this is all studio production (with what sounds like a 70's equpment), and don't expect traditional music, although if you're familiar with Sundanese genres such as Tembang Sunda you'll recognise the influence.
So this is a pop music that's not obviously… Read more
Music for the Balinese Shadowplay - The Mahabharat&hellip ~ Gender Wayang Pemarwan
An excellent quality recording of a quartet of metallophones play some of the most intricate music you ever heard.
If that's not enough of a review for you then read on...
Most compilations of Balinese music have a track of gender wayang. A quartet of 'gender' playing in deliberately slightly out of tune unison, and complex interlocking patterns whereby two players combine to produce a complex ripple of notes.
So if you already have such a compilation do you need this, a whole album of the stuff? Well, at first listen the tracks here might all blend into one, but enter the world of this ensemble and you'll start to pick out a lot of difference. At least one piece here which… Read more
Mukunguni New Recordings From Coast Province Kenya ~ Various Artists
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a surprise from Kenya, 19 Nov 2013
Sometimes I resort to rather bizarre tactic to source new music. Go to Songlines magazine, find a two star review of a field recording with scathing comments, and order it right away.
A techniques that has never disappointed, and in this case turned up a gem.
The Kenyan ensemble featured on the disc have their own distinctive and different approach to rhythm, with the unusual 'metal tray' instrument adding an unexpected contemporary edge and with a 5/4 time signature thrown in for good measure. Groove wise good enough to get my partner shuffling round the room even at the end of a hard day.
There's also some unusual instruments on display here, a shawm that sounds something… Read more

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