RELEASE DATE: 15 July 2015
2LP - (Comes with CD and DL)
Black - (Limited to 250)
CD - (Limited to 200)
DL - All digital formats
“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are
being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of
mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man
who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political
party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
These recordings feature Balinese gamelan-inspired bronze instruments we built based on a 6-tone scale of our own devising. A pair of jegogan and pemade, one cengceng, and a reyong set with acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, synths, drums and vocals.
The initial sketches of Continuum began in Bali, on reyong. Interlocking kotekans were composed and assigned to different instruments like the jegogan, pemade and drums. Despite the brief time spent with composer Dewa Alit (Gamelan Salukat), his compositional ideas and thoughts left a deep impression on all of us. He reminds us that culture is not a museum, it is ever changing. This is apparent in a number of Dewa’s compositions as he mixes instruments of different scales, traditionally not meant to be played together, incorporating extended techniques and contemporary compositional concepts into an overall sound that marks a new era for original Balinese music.
Superimposing this frame of mind onto the multi-cultural identity of Singapore, we took the inevitable step to combine influences both old and new into a more inclusive sonic sphere that accepts differences as they are.
The six note scale we devised may seem limited, but we found ourselves liberated and able to explore intricate rhythms with the economy of simple melodic ideas. Not too concerned about whether the composition would be for a large or small ensemble, parts were developed through improvisation upon a nucleus idea and recorded simply onto a laptop. These were fleshed out and arranged into the five parts that make up this piece.
After tracking the rest of the gamelan instruments back at our studio in Goodman, we created parts for guitar, bass, synth and drums, and even vocals. As much as we respect and embrace the spirit of gamelan and its traditions, we always hope to incorporate new developments into our compositions, as seamlessly as possible. We borrowed heavily from music we were listening to, drawing inspiration from Balinese and African rhythms, early electronic music from Norway, the symmetry and shape of mirror images in kotekans, and the trance element in repetitive structures. The music remains dark, picking up from where we left off on our fifth album, Catacombs.
When the demos were written and recorded, we made copies for fellow musicians who were into what we were working on. It became one of Lasse’s favourite pieces of music and he has been bugging us to release it. So the album now ends with Part 6 by Lasse Marhaug, an apt closing piece by a friend and collaborator who encouraged us to get this out in the first place.
Mankind came out on a split 12" single with MoE, a noise-rock band from Norway. The same track has been tweaked a little for this release.
Dharma - guitar, bass
Bani Haykal - guitar, reyong, cengceng
Vivian Wang - synth, voice
Leslie Low - Acoustic guitar, bass, drums, voice, pemade, jegogan, reyong