which gamelan is the craziest? some performers of the javanese style told me (and would no doubt tell you) that balinese gamelan is noisy, rough and too fast. great. (de)-tuned drums, 88 and more.

Balinese Legong / from

…and the dance. watch the eyes. “I was a bit hesitant to upload this video because I find the dancers’ movements to be somewhat unrefined and a bit too frenetic.


london’s 23 Skidoo started out in the late 70s playing industrial/post-punk and moved into dub and breaks before forming ronin records (one of the best UK hiphop labels). inbetween this, the band spent a lot of time in indonesia… and released a record called urban gamelan. wot u call it? police cars with gongs on the roof rack clang across the intersection.

23 Skidoo – Sirens



  1. most performers of javanese gamelan focus on the central javanese styles of yogyakarta and solo (surakarta), which are strictly speaking, classical styles. they are typically reserved. however, in the 300-400 miles in between solo and bali exist a plethora of folk style gamelans mixing the slow, sometimes sludgy pace of central javanese classical gamelan with incredibly frenetic balinese-paced bridges. not too much recorded east javanese gamelan material out there, as far as I know. this piece is awesome, and almost reminds me of squarepusher’s “budakhan mindphone,” which in some ways exemplifies the tempo changes and calm/craziness that I associate with gamelans from Malang and Jember, East Java.

  2. Got to see Javanese “b2b” w/ Balinese in SF years ago. Although there’s tons of styles, the general difference was clear. Balinese is the original speed metal!

  3. we will have a few records out that might interest you if you like gamelan based music : an LP by Kraig Grady (Anaphoria) with metallophones, and soon recontextualised gamelan and indonesian field recordings by Francisco L√≥pez [oct?], d’incise [dec?] and probably in 2010 Freiband :)

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