Titik Api

12/08/2020Jakarta’s La Munai Records Completes Reissue Trilogy Of Indonesia’s Extraordinary Harry Roesli Gang

Reissue alert! Earlier this year, about the time the pandemic became a global reality, Jakarta's La Munai Records re-released the second opus of the late Indonesian master Harry Roesli and his rocking jazzfunk outfit, alias the Harry Roesli Gang. Harry Roesli was born alias Djauhar Zaharsjah Fachruddin Roesli in Bandung, West Java, in 1951. He was a political activist and a prominent member of the Tradisi Baru Movement (New Tradition), "a term used to describe works of art produced by directors, playwrights, choreographers and writers, who use aspects of the many traditional cultures of Indonesia and present them in innovative and experimental ways in order to address contemporary society." 

In the early 1970s Harry Roesli formed The Gang of Harry Roesli and in 1973 he released his debut solo album "Philosophy Gang". In 1975 he followed that up with "Titik Api", an equally extraordinary yet slightly more experimental record than its predecessor, that brilliantly fuses heavy rock tones and roaring acid guitars with keyboards, drums and the more organic sounds of gamelan, fiddle, angklung or even a bicycle bell, all stirred to perfection by Roesli and his Gang. As the album description reads, "'Titik Api' is another successful effort to blend Indonesia's traditional instruments, such as gamelan, with Western music, from progressive to funky, hypnotic grooves." Finally, in 1977, the Harry Roesli Gang released album number three, the rock opera "Ken Arok", thus completing its trilogy.

Over the course of his career, as part of his involvement with Tradisi Baru, Harry Roesli worked with musicians, poets and playwrights, commited to experimenting with traditional Indonesian culture. For decades, these popular albums, being an explemplary cross of eastern and western rock music, were highly coveted and almost impossible to find. Thanks to La Munai Records though, all three albums have meanwhile been reissued and made available for a new generation of listeners eager to dig into these mind-blowing sounds from the Indonesian archipelago, created by one of its most visionary figures. You can now stream a selection of the album's tracks via the player below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom