Gamelan Son Of Lion The Complete Gamelan Son Of Lion

Barbara Benary's gamelan ensemble doesn't seek to uphold Javanese gamelan tradition. As the well-written liner notes explain, Benary and her fellow Gamelanians were interested in linking the ideas of serialists and John Cage to the tonal possibilities of these beautiful, mostly home made instruments. At a time when world folk musics were considered incompatible and inferior to insular and rigid notions of "new music,” this ensemble’s use of repetitive pulses and forms anchored in the prescribed metallic orchestra that is a gamelan was very controversial. Fortunately this collection of the ensemble's work for Folkways Records during the ’70s gives us a second chance to experience these intriguing ideas. These explorations unfold slowly, and would certainly appeal to anyone who loves slower, trancier electronics or even fans of neo-prog rock: the beautiful tones produced by hubcaps are worth savouring as sounds and as delicately mutating etudes. There are some surprising pieces such as "Machine Shop" which imitates the sounds of a factory — this would intrigue fans of Andrew Cyrille, who was going for this kind of thing from an entirely different milieu. This may still be too static for some, and it certainly isn't meant to stand with thrilling examples of Gamelan music from Java, but it does have its considerable charms. (Locust)