Suarasama Fajar Di Atas Awan

Suarsama’s deliciously languid summer evening sound has aptly led Drag City to reissue their debut album. These North Sumatrans’ use of acoustic instrumentation and modal song structures resemble, even trump, the work of some of their acclaimed now label-mates. Contrasting much of other popular music found in Indonesia, Suarasama play in an ethereal, folk-tinged idiom that also builds on their day jobs as ethnomusicologists. Various Asian and Middle Eastern classical styles are brought into the fold. The clever and relaxed rhythms allow for the Indian classical-informed male/female vocals to unfurl and intertwine with the delicate string and percussion work performed on various Indonesian, Arabic and Indian instruments. It may seem tempting to dismiss them as another world fusion ensemble but superior craft and vision prevail. Lucid production values also bolster their unpretentious eclecticism, distancing them from the reverb-y excesses of many world music recordings. Their thorough understanding of the timing and inflection of classical music is reflected in a crisp, spacious aesthetic and well-defined gestures. These nuances are seldom found amongst their would-be peers in either the world music or neo-folk camp. (Drag City)