Korea. After the formation of Add4 by Shin Jung-Hyun in 1962, Korea saw the development of Rock music, obviously thanks to the world entrance of The Beatles. 1964 would mark the very birth of K-rock, bands like Key Boys and He 5 turned into a national success, the images seen in A Hard Day’s Night became a common point between these bands. The ’60s was presented with dozens of records, tours, television appearances and mass hysteria by the legion of fans avid for the Korean Beatles!
The leader and guitarist of He 5 was Kim Hong-Tak, one of the predecessors of the electric guitar alongside Shin Jung-Hyun; after the triumph of Merry Christmas Psychedelic Sound in 1969, including famous covers and versions of traditional songs, with the turn of the decade, the group decided to add flute and clarinet to their sound, thus He 6 was formed. Predicting this success formula, Korea would saw a definitive entrance of psych, garage, and soul in its musical charts.
Let’s go to our history:
Since the late ’60s they played hard psychedelic songs on live shows (At Seven Club in I-Tae-Won, a small quarter of Seoul which is now well known even internationally for its diverse markets, restaurants, and bars) but they couldn’t make this music style on albums because of record company’s pressures. They gave them some discretionary power to have them created the results which they had first on Merry Christmas Psychedelic Album and later on (fabulous)He 6 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.
But most their fans couldn’t understand the tracks of these albums, so they were forced to change to more popular styles, like trots and romantic ballads. (!)
At least they had their chances to make some albums with the music style they wanted after they became a nationally recognized pop-rock group. The band throughout their career launches only 8 albums, with the aforementioned difficulty to moving on after 1975(second last Lp) and the definitive end in 1980.
Let’s go to our album:
This amazing set shows an excellent mixture of psychedelic, blues-oriented hard rock and soul in a very laid back improvisation feeling. Kim Hong-Tak’s heavy fuzz guitar all-over the set with best funky rhythm set (Cho Yong-Nam and Kwon Yong-Nam, later entered in SJH & Yup Juns!) and beautiful flute passages.
The ‘IM’ highlights are Running Man, a furious 9-minute track coming out of a Blaxploitation movie, with tons of fuzz, swinging guitars, breakbeats, percussion and flutes in a variety of moods. A psychedelic shell! And In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the cover from Iron Butterfly’s megaton hit stands out to be a better version than Shin Joong Hyun’s live album, including the whole drum solo! Kim Hong-Tak’s abilities at guitar must be heard, this is no ordinary beat sound and deserves respect.
Presently, there is a great demand and worldwide interest on foreign Latin-rock releases, these obscure gems, made with crude recording equipment, amateur techniques, and with pressings done, most of the time were on recycled vinyl.
The Peruvian Rock music scene (Inca Rock), initially was basically influenced by Rockabilly and later on by the tidal waves created by Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Peruvians groups played in the musical styles of Elvis, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, throughout the ’50s and early ’60s. Later on, the mid-sixties saw the influence of Surf, Go-Go, The Beatles and some of the first Mersey Sound groups inspired the new generation of rock musicians. During the unrest cauldron that Latin America was, over the period, the country would face two subsequent military coups and its losses.
The first, led by Juan Velasco Alvarado in 1968, self-proclaimed the Armed Forces Revolution, tried and managed to overthrow the aristocratic republic with nationalist and anti-imperialist ethos. Infamous actions as the confiscation and prohibition of rock music through the national broadcasting services, the increased price for importing sound equipments and instruments and its pinnacle on the cancellation of Santana’s concert, in 1971, who was already at the Airport, in Lima; the government alleged the possession of marijuana by its band members and the fear of crescent youth riots, merged with a discourse of alienation music and maintained order. (!)
The imminent economic fiasco, made the military junta exchange its key figure, thus, Francisco Morales Bermúdez inaugurated the second phase government in early 1975. With more conservative guidance, opening Peru to foreign capital and multinationals, the Inca inheritors would only saw a new constitution in 1979 and their first elections after thirty years in 1980.
By the end of the decade, the psychedelic scene and its bands changed to the ‘new’Progressive, Punk Rock and Heavy Metal aesthetics.
Let’s go to their history:
Peru. The year of 1969 saw the development of the most interesting era from the Lima musical scene, groups like Laghonia, Traffic Sound, Black Sugar, Pax, El Alamo, Gerardo Manuel & El Humo, Tarkus and Telegraph Avenue popped through a context of repression, poor technical conditions and radio boycotts. Peruvian rock only stands behind by Brazilian and Argentine scenes, with beautiful melodic textures and balanced blends of folklore and western influences!
Special note by the legendary Mag label, they recorded 80% of the material from all these bands and certainly deserves a dedicated post.
In the mid-’70s, Telegraph Avenue was formed after the lead guitarist Bo Ichikawa returned to Peru, after having stayed half a year in San Francisco, he had been exposed to the vivid local hippie rock culture. The crazy chain of events from the ’60s and ’70s had made Telegraph(a real avenue), as well as Berkeley, a symbol of the Countercultureof an era, attracting a diverse audience of visitors, including college students, tourists, artists, street punks, eccentrics, and homeless.
There are some brilliant photos from that era by Nacio Jan Brown and Joe Samberg, for you to understand the outlook of an epoch, check it!
On its return, he assembled all kinds of American influences, in a very powerful way, with English lyrics, and unlike ideas for the main arrangements. The band was finally formed with Bo Ichikawa and Chachi Luján on the guitars, Alex Nathanson on bass, and Walo Carrillo on drums and percussion; the only four-piece band that included melodic vocals and a mixture of psychedelic rock with Latin rhythms. An interesting fact is the multi-instrumental ability of all its members, too.
Later, the band would see a two-year hiatus after their first release, with Carrillo and Nathanson forming Tarkus on 1972. Then, the group reunited for its second and final release Telegraph Avenue Vol. 2 in late 74′ early 75′, shortly after, they were disbanded andthe album became one of the lasts from the Peruvian psychedelic scene, much persecuted by the military dictatorship(sic).
Nevertheless, since 2008 the band gather togetheronce again, much influenced by the rediscovered and re-press of their first album. As if not enough, they also released a third Lp with inedited material on 2011, called Telegraph Avenue III!
Let’s go to our record:
Before publishing its first album, the group was known from playing at parties in Pueblo Libre, the majority of these being graduation parties. There were also appearances at celebrations for the Club de Leones, Club Yugoslavo, Club Hebraica, and the Galaxy Discotheque, including a time were Telegraph Avenue played in the interior of an empty swimming pool! One of the most exciting concerts was at the University of Lima in November of 1970, the group was asked to play every weekend, and had bookings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday almost all year round.
In June 1971, the band published their first self-titled Lp, which contained eight songs, it reached great sales during that year, and was well recognized throughout Peru. With more than 50 performances, they decided to take a break at the year’s end.
With styles very varied, ranging from Californian feelings, soul, blues, and sixties flavored rock styles, the psychedelic element is rather unique and can only be heard in other Peruvian acts, such as Black Sugar. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Happy, an ultimate ballad that makes me long for a time that I didn’t live, with heavenly guitars, tuned chorus, and sweet naïve lyrics. An instant hit! And Let Me Start, a hard punch one with colorful fuzz, swinging bassline and nice uptempo mood. If on one hand, the band doesn’t have much-engaged lyrics, the harmonic parts are over the psych average, don’t miss this Inca Rock memento. Yaxşı Səyahət!
Shin Joong Hyun’s musicon the last couple of years, began to be very widespread across the western world, thanks (once again) to Light In The Attic who even brought him to play its first show on American soil! Re-discovered and re-launched by Lion Productions, this is their last effort on the 70’s Korean musical scene.
With only two albums recorded, and its dissolution in 1975, the Yup Juns didn’t succeed at the time, much caused by military repression and boycott,that would last until the turn of the decade. With the coming 80’s Shin returned with other projects and began its upswing again. Its versatility and influence throughout decades assure him as a Korean answer to Hendrix or Brian Wilson’s work, as the godfather of Korean rock (K-Rock), we will return its biography along with other posts and records!
Let’s go to our artist:
Korea. Born in Seoul in 1938, Shin spent several years living with his father and stepmother in both Japan and Manchuria. After becoming orphaned at age 15, he returned to its birth city and slowly began plotting a career in rock and roll.
It was in 1957, at the spring variety show at the 8th US Army base in Seoul, that Shin Joong Hyun gave his first public performance. The 19-year-old had lived through Japanese rule, the subsequent division of Korea into two warring states, and the US police action that followed. The Harmony guitar he strummed had been paid for by many hours toil at a relative’s pharmaceutical factory! At the variety show, as girl dancers gyrated for the entertainment of American GLS, Shin played standards and showed tunes, a tame material for a boy who worshiped Elvis and Charlie Parker.
Shortly after, he became the first rock star South Korea had ever seen, and its first prominent band, Add 4, was the first native rock band. The following year, Shin cast his first records, covers of Korean pop, beat, and garage. His own tastes remained attuned to the west, however. He pioneered style after style for Korean-speaking audiences, embodying the rebellious rock and roll attitude, too. The year, 1964.
Shin: ‘I remember the first time I heard the Beatles. I was mesmerized by their sound: it was blissful. I tried to mimic them with my four-piece, Add 4‘
AFKN(American Forces Korea Network) had also guided him into psychedelic sounds, then emanating live from the US, such as Jefferson Airplane:
Shin: ‘I mimicked their music, visuals, and sounds without fully understanding what it was. Later, I was playing a psychedelic song and some American hippies – antiwar protesters – came to listen. I became friends with them, and they taught me what psychedelic music really was. They also gave me LSD.’
In 1972, at the height of his career, the South Korean government requested him to pen an ode to (infamous) President Park Chung-Hee and his ruling Republican Party(sic). Shin refused the dictatorship’s request; soon, he was blacklisted within South Korea’s music industry and his songs banned. The final descent happened some years later, arrested for possession of marijuana in 1975, he then was tortured in prison and incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital (check Kim Choo Ja post). (!)
Shin: ‘It was all, ‘Let’s work hard’ and ‘Let’s be happy’ kind of stuff. It was completely physical, with no spirit, no mentality, no humanity. That trend has carried over all the way to today. When I was arrested, I was so miserable, had any motivation to continue, that time I really reached rock bottom.’
Let’s go to our record:
Originally recorded in 1974 as a very limited-edition, intended only for radio stations, the record failed to catch fire at its release, Shin’s Korean record label (Jigu Records) dropped it, and the band had to re-cut the whole material. The original version was, until now, almost impossible to find in both the East and the West.
Shin earned renown for his guitar playing, he is only the sixth guitarist in history to earn recognition from the Fender guitar company’s Custom Shop Tribute Series. His performance pushes ahead of the beat and then lags behind it, creating suspense, urgency, and at times, reggae-style upbeat emphasis, in such unique flow!
Shin: ‘In the spring of 1974, I named my 3-piece group Shin Joong Hyun & Yupjuns. We got a room at the Tower Hotel and started writing songs. We wanted to write and create a Korean style rock album. It took us six months to write 10 songs and Beautiful Woman was one of them, this song became extremely popular.
In Korean, yupjun literally means a brass coin, however, during that time it was used as slang to describe a sense of unpleasantness and dislike. Since I was so unpleasant and dissatisfied (in my career), I told myself, Ok, fine, I am just a yupjun!’
This is without the slightest doubt its best work, my favorite too, a truly Korean rock masterpiece, with psychedelic, hard, soul and groove influences that permeate the album. Kim Jung Mi’s1975 Lp has a similar mood, probably Shin’s collaboration too.
The ‘IM’ highlights are: Think, a fuzzy bullet with a swinging pace and short time length, but do not underestimate it, Shin’s voice catches and invites you to sing all along! And The Rising Sun, the only instrumental one, with a very laid back feeling, this improvisation got brilliant guitar solos, sound effects, and an eerie atmosphere.
A1 Beautiful Woman
A3 I Think There Was Someone Else
A4 Long, Long Night
A5 I Love You
B3 I’ve Got Nothing To Say
B4 I Do Not Know
B5 The Rising Sun (Instrumental)
Vocals, Guitar, Composer, and Arrangements: Shin Joong Hyun
Seattle, 1988. Before the worldwide mass exposure created on the so-called grunge scene and its characters, a genre that suddenly was self-proclaimed the soundtrack of Generation X (sic), there was a short-lived band who certainly opened the gates of stardom to all, this band was Mother Love Bone!
The first one to draw national media attention to the region, a contract with a major record company (PolyGram), putting the early Seattle scene definitely on the map. Alongside with Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, this prominent quintet had only a two-year living, with a full length (posthumous) album and an Ep. With no more than 20 shows held, one west-side mini-tour, two videoclips and a lot of hype around them, MLB was a comet of love.
Led by a flamboyant Andrew Patrick Wood(January 8, 1966 – March 19th, 1990), who previously created with its first band Malfunkshun, an alter-ego stage persona called, L’andrew the Love Child, a response to the Satan worship metal cliché, Love Rock 333 (their sound) was the title that Andy glimpse, much based on its personal rock faves: Kiss, Queen, Elton John, and Marc Bolan. Andy’s exuberant personality, outlandish clothes, and funny lyrics helped bring attention to the band.
But the path the band was predestined to follow was subtly interrupted by Andy’s od on March 19th, 1990. He had historical problems with cocaine and heroin since 1985(its first rehab), after the tour opening for The Dogs D’Amour, on mid’s 89, he checked himself into rehab and passed the last four months of the year sober. Their full-length album was recorded during this time. With the turn of the decade, high expectations on Apple began to arise, as its three remixes and a certain pressure.
A righteous future was broken when its fiancée Xana la Fuente, found him on a comatose state lying on the bed of their apartment. After three days in Harborview Hospital, living on life support, Andy was diagnosed with hemorrhage aneurysm; together with it’s family and band members, with A Night At The Opera playing, holding hands around the bed, they decided to plug out the life support and let him go.
Six months later the basis for Pearl Jam was formed and started to rehearse. Temple of The Dog was recorded on the end of the year, with two songs made directly to Andy (Say Hello 2 Heaven and Reach Down) it was Chris Cornell’s last homage to his friend, they also lived together for six months. Both Ten and TOTD releases happened in early 1991 and hits the musical charts in different ways, yet Seattle’s scene had already been paved by Andy, the love child. (RIP)
Let’s go to their history:
We will let Malfunkshun and Andy’s complete story to a dedicated post on the future, however, there is a very nice documentary about them directed by Scot Barbour.
By 1987, Andrew was living in Seattle and hanging out with Jeff Ament(bass) and Stone Gossard(guitar), members of Green River. It wasn’t long before the three of them were writing together, and as time went by they became closer. In late 87, early 88, Lords of the Wasteland started playing occasional shows, with the inclusion of Bruce Fairweather(guitar), though the repertoire was composed of covers.
By the time of their last show, Andy, anxious for success, left Malfunkshun and started to dedicate all his time for the new band. Stupid names like Dum Dum Boys or Daddy Long Legs were suggested, but it was from Andy’s mind that the band would be recognized: Mother Love Bone.
Regan Hagar (Malfunkshun’s drummer) was replaced by Greg Gilmore(10 Minute Warning) and the band changed their name, after a week of persuasion. They got into the studio as soon as possible and recorded 10 songs including, Holly Roller, Stargazer, Lady Godiva Blues and Capricorn Sister. The demo was received by Kelly Curtis (later the manager of Pearl Jam). Kelly made it possible for the band to record another demo, this one was sent to Geffen records who paid for them to make a third demo. With songs like Bone China, Crown of Thorns and Captain Hi-Top.
The demos made it out to a bunch of different companies, so the band waited through the summer and it paid off; they got a lot of calls from labels that heard the demo and they finally decided to signed with Polygram. They even got there on label on the company, Stardog Label. This process took place during February / August 1988.
They returned home and signed Kelly Curtis as their manager. In early 1989 starts the process to their debut album Shine.The band went on tour for the album and then took a few months to break, by September they were recording their next album.
In 1990 they had played around Seattle and gained much respect from local bands like Soundgarden and Melvins. The band had finished making their upcoming album Apple when Andy checked himself into a rehab program to deal with his addiction.
They were set to make their debut, when Wood died of a heroin od on March 16th.
Temple of the Dog was formed in Andy’s memory. The band included Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Soundgarden’sMatt Cameron, and Chris Cornell, and the new guyEddie Vedder! After Temple of the Dog, Stone and Jeff got together with Eddie, Mike McCready, and Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam. Bruce Fairweather joined Love Battery and Greg played with Blind Horse and Endino’s Earthworm.
Let’s go to our record:
Andy Wood, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard passed through the early’80s in Seattle with punk, hard, glam, arena rock bands, gigs, friends, shows and a whole scene of musicians. They’re one of the founders from the so-called grunge scene and it’s here that this record gets something special and reveals us another side. It doesn’t resemble anything from the heaviness or angst-filled lyrics and moods like Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, NirvanaorAlice in Chains.
With a heavy-tenor(like Robert Plant) sung by Andy, its lyrics, persona and a sharp band, they got all bases from the American Hard / Glam, with some mellow ballads on piano and funky uptempo. These ego imaginary dreamy lyrics ruled the short production of the band, yet they made also some mordacious, happy humor criticism, especially about catholicism, freedom of love, and the myth of commercial rockstar.
This is a small 5-track release, there are some proto-grunge, hard rock, funk, an epic ballad, and a blues. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Crown of Thorns, their most famous song, much covered by Pearl Jam, got an 8-minute piece, here with Chloe Dancerintroduction, the touching preamble reveals us some brute biographical lyrics based on choices, love, death, and addiction. An almost forgot classic from a modern rock!
Cameron Crowe’s film about love on the early ’90s, Singles, was set in Seattle. On the very beginning of the film, we’re shown to a wall with Mother Love Bone name’s on it, still, Andy’s death interrupted any chance of a sequel or international recognition.
And Capricorn Sister: One of the first made, a nice blues with an over the top performance by Andy, remembering us those old blues singers from the South. This song also appears on Apple, but Shine’s version is much better, on the very final there’s a little funny hidden-track, Zanzibar, check it!
The Ep was recorded in November 1988, during ten days (or five?). Lastly, there is a revealing excerpt of Scot Barbour’s interview about Andy’s final moments:
Scot: ‘Andy was allergic to everything, well not everything. But a lot of different prescription drugs & foods. In fact, that’s the REAL theory of how Andy REALLY died. Andy actually survived the heroin overdose and it looked like he was going to pull it off and live. When he was in a coma he was given a few different drugs to help him come back from the coma. The back of his brain swelled up so badly that the top his spinal cord actually protruded his brain causing him to be brain dead.
That is when they decided to take him off Life Support. The belief is that his brain swelling was the result of an allergic reaction to at least one of the drugs that were administered to him during that time. Coincidentally, the patient records for the last 24 hours of Andy’s life are missing and have yet to be located. And Virginia Mason (?) Hospital in downtown Seattle has made no statement. (!)
He wasn’t into drugs as much as people are lead to believe. Andy had just gotten out of rehab recently. And the heroin dose he overdosed on was extremely small. Another very coincidental thing was the Hospital had reported four other heroin od’s that evening Andy was brought to the hospital, it was definitely a ‘bad batch’ that had hit the streets and wound up in Andy’s arm.’ (!) Drum Bun!
1 Thru Fade Away
2 Mindshaker Meltdown
3 Half Ass Monkey Boy
4 Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns
5 Capricorn Sister / Zanzibar
Released: March 20, 1989
Bass: Jeff Ament
Drums: Greg Gilmore
Guitar: Bruce Fairweather, Stone Gossard
Photography: Charles Peterson
Producer: Mark Dearnley
Vocals, Piano, Lyrics: Andrew Wood
Recorded at London Bridge Studios, Seattle. //// Mixed at London Bridge Studio, Seattle.
Indonesia. Fossilized remains of Homo Erectus and his tools, popularly known as the Java Man, suggest the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by at least 1.5 million years ago. Austronesian People who form the majority of the modern population, are thought to have originally been from Taiwan and arrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE. The earliest evidence of Islamised populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra; for the most part, Islam is overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and (curious tolerant)multiple religious influences.
Europeans arrived in Indonesia from the 16th century seeking to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. In 1602 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was established and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the Netherlands government created the Dutch East Indies under government control. (sic)
By the early 20th century, Dutch dominance extended to the current boundaries. The Japanese invasion and subsequent occupations in 1942-45 during WWII ended Dutch rule and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement. Two days after the surrender of Japan on August 1945, nationalist leader (future leader), Sukarno, declared independence and became president.
While the West and many other western-styled democratic countries reveled in rock music, the left-leaning government of Sukarno took a dim view of western influence in the early days of the Indonesian Republic,restricting the purchase and sale of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones,as well as those of homegrown artists performing western-style rock music. This could be accredited to a rejection of Western culture after three centuries under Dutch colonial rule and was argued to help Indonesian artists create their own form of Indonesian pop music. (!)
Sukarno’s government insisted on Indonesia producing its own brand of pop music, yet many of these groups still showed western musical influences in their arrangements shown either by the crooner styled vocals or R&B flavored guitars for rhythm. Indonesia’s more popular groups, most notably Koes Bersaudara, later renamed Koes Plus found life increasingly difficult under Sukarno frequent queries from the authorities for performing western rock, while other Indonesian rock n’ roll pioneers like the Tielman Brothers had to make their name in Europe.
These were the early beat, garage and pop scene.
Let’s go to our history:
Sukarno’s anti-imperial ideology saw Indonesia increasingly dependent on Soviet and then communist China. By 1965, the PKI was the largest communist party, outside the Soviet Union or China. Penetrating all levels of government, the party increasingly gained influence at the large expense of the army.
On September 30, 1965, six of the most senior generals within the military and other officers were executed in an attempted coup. This fact prompted a violent army-led communist purge, aided by CIA and British Foreign Office, over a million people were killed in a year, a year and a half, throughout the country. (!!)
General Suharto politically outmaneuvered President Sukarno, and became president in March 1968. When he finally opened the floodgates for western culture, Suharto’s new order regime’s friendly stance towards western powers allowed the emerging rock music scene to flourish. With the country entering open relations with the western, many Anglo-American artists like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Genesis, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, King Crimson, Janis Joplin and Black Sabbath flooded Indonesia’s radio waves while its fresh new sound helped create many of Indonesia’s best-known artists of the ’70s, be it directly or indirectly. The decade also provided numerous bands and household rock starsstill active on today’s musical charts.
Thanks to Now Again’s fantastic compilation (2011) of Indonesian rock, Those Shocking Shaking Days, people worldwide were able to taste the greatest bands from the Indorock scene. With a tumultuous historical background, led by a 33-year dictatorship, Rock music was a real exhaust valve in a land of fear, death, and corruption. We’re talking about a place where a right-wing paramilitary organization Pemuda Pancasila grew out of the death squads to reach maximum popularity as national heroes! They got strictly bonds with the government and more than 3 million members throughout Indonesia! With no trials or official recognition, this frightening aspect it’s shown on Joshua Oppenheimer documentary, The Act of Killing.
Let’s go to our mixtape:
A Mixtape it’s a personal choice that usually ranges a certain time or era, serving as a gateway for new listeners. Today we’ll focus on 70’s scene, therefore, some brilliant Indonesian bands will be out of our first selection, such as Koes Plus, AKA, Shark Move, Super Kid, Panbers, Duo Kribo, etc. Their complete biography and developments will be left for an exclusively dedicated post, there will be many, don’t worry! This is just warming for Indonesian rock, phew, let’s to them!?
Dara Puspita ~ Tabah & Cobalah (1971)
Harapan Kosong /// Did You Know That?
Dara Puspita(Flower Girls) was Indonesia’s most successful girl band of the 1960s. The girls were one of the few groups who actually played their own music. Hailed from the city of Surabaya in East Java and first formed in 1964, on 1965 the band relocated to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, and soon gained a reputation as a sensational live act, bashing away their instruments, jumping and screaming out their songs.
Riding on the beat garage, in 1968 they took the almost unprecedented move for an Indonesian band of trying their luck in Europe and spent the next few years touring in England, Holland, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and Hungary. They even played in Turkey and Iran! In late 1971 the girls returned to Indonesia and played a number of concerts, and on April 1972 they played their last show.
The selected songs are from their last era, a real psychedelic issue with less girlie posture, serious fuzz, and organ. Words in English and Indonesian, some soul swing and no political themes on lyrics. By the way, the band was much used in Suharto’s years as a nationalist flag of Indonesia’s greatness (sic). Their 71′ released are also on Hans Pokora’s book, that’s why is so difficult to find any good transfer.
Harry Roesli Gang ~ Philosophy Gang (1973)
Peacock Dog //// Roda Angin
Harry Roesli has been a well-known artist in Indonesia, who pioneered contemporary music with consistent delivery of social and humanity critics in a straight forward and transparent way. He was born in Bandung and passed away on December 11, 2004.
During early’70s, Harry formed a band called Gang of Harry Roesliwith his friends: Albert Warnerin, Indra Rivai, and Iwan A Rachman. Five years later the group was disbanded. Harry was then granted a scholarship by Cultuur, Recreatie en Maatschapelijk Werk (CRM), to study in Rotterdam Conservatorium, Netherlands. To support his life while studying and expressing his musical talent, he played piano at Indonesian restaurants, achieving Ph.D. in Music (1981) and then lecturing at the department of music at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI).
This is his first release, words in English and Indonesian, fabulous keys timbres, small Latin accent with a pop-psych overall. Harry lyrics suffered constant boycotts and a blacklist agenda by the military government. He’s certainly the most restless author from all, with dozens of records and few acknowledgments worldwide.
The Indonesian Hendrix, the self-proclaimed founder of the private press scene, Benny Soebardja is one of the most important figures from the Indonesian music industry. Having been a member of three of the biggest bands in Indonesia: The Peels, Shark Move and Giant Step. Backed by the almost unknown Lizard band.
He got some problems due to its first solo release, with a banned cover and government intimidation who saw too much freedom of speech on its lyrics. The words in English were made with the help of British poet Bob Dook. With psychedelic nature, organ, reeds, light/heavy guitar work, and harmonic soulful chorus, some social criticism themes are included. He’s still on the run!
God Bless ~ God Bless (1976)
Sesat /// Eleanor Rigby
God Bless pioneered the birth of rock music in Indonesia dated back in early ’70s. The band’s central figure vocalist Ahmad Albar, previously formed Take Five (1966-1967), and later Clover Leaf (1967-1972). When he returned to Indonesia, Fuad Hassan (drums), Donny Fatah (bass) and Deddy Dores (keyboard) were invited to form with him, God Bless. They dominated rock music performance during the decade, even though they did cover versions of Deep Purple, Genesis, Kin Ping Meh, Queen.
God Bless also performed as the opening act for a spectacular show (with 120,000 crowds!) featuring Deep Purple live in Stadion Utama, Jakarta, 1975. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1976, by Indonesian label Pramaqua. With a major hit: Huma di Atas Bukit the album remarked the birth of Indo rock scene.
Classic Rock at it’s the best definition, words in Indonesian with a tuned rock band. They’re the best selling rock band from Indonesia history and are still on the run!
Giant Step ~ Kukuh Nan Teguh (1977)
Mekar //// Alam Bebas
One of the legendary Indonesian progressive rock acts of the ’70s, with influences from the American/British prog legends, they established their own sound with great originality. They went through a series of line-up changes with the omnipresent figure of Benny Soebardja, plus the best musicians from Bandung: Deddy Stanzah(Rollies), Deddy Dores(Freedom of Rhapsodia), Albert Warnerin(Philosophy Gang).
They managed to release several albums with great commercial success before finally breaking up in 1986. Sung in Indonesian, strong moogs and synths, nice guitars, flutes, broken signature, and beautiful rock ballads. Altogether, you can call them true prog heroes, with no influences from traditional music or social criticism themes.
Guruh Gipsy ~ Guruh Gipsy (1977)
Janger 1897 Saka /// Geger Gelgel
The only album released by the band (with Chrisye), it’s the second greatest from all time according to Rolling Stone Indonesia (!). We’ll make a complete post with biography and info members in the near future, this is no ordinary record! After sixteen months of production, as the two musical elements have different spectrum in terms of notes and chords progression, Guruh spent a lot of time outside the studio to learn the subtleties of western music as well as Bali traditional music. They strived to find the harmony that blended prog rock withBali traditional gamelan music.
With a rock combo (guitar, bass, drums, organ), orchestra, female backing vocals, heavy moogs, and traditional instruments, this is probably the greatest mix between traditional and modern anglo music I’ve ever seen, at least in Indonesia!
A symphonic prog with outstanding arrangements, full-length songs, heavenly chorus and many different climates throughout the record, a must-see.