Francesco Inglima 16-Dec-2010 The Evolution Ethnic (Slebar Slebor)

Indonesia is a land that keeps on suprising us. Even if with many troubles, over the last 40 years it has been producing small and big gems of progressive rock music. Above all shines the Guruh Gipsy omonimous album from '77, that is able to join in a sublime way the Gamelan (South Java folk music) with the jazz rock and the most avangardist prog. Anane's "The Evolution Ethnic" is the umpteenth gift from the Indonesian Progressive Society (see Discus, Makara, Imanissimo) and it's surely the work that more than else wants to follow the Guruh Gipsy path, taking with arms spread from the huge heritage of indonesian musical traditions, creating an Ethno-Avant-Jazz-Prog explosive mix. Each of the six tracks starts with a popular song from one of the indonesian archipelago's area (mostly from the Aceh region at Sumatra) and it's relaborated into an incredible mix of sounds and colours, where charmy melodies melt with weird solos. The lineup is composed of 7 musicians, playing electronic and traditional acoustic instruments.

The album starts with the driving rythym of a "children's song"; Tung Alung-Alung with a unique way of singing, whispering loudly, then it dives into the wonderful Kekeberen Ni Pejuan where the typical chanting melodies of raga music join greatly with complex RIO parts. The album's level comes down with the third track Perueren. It's the most eccentric and maybe kitch piece, it took inspiration from a melodic song and is quite dull for going on with a flamenco and waltz part. Any doubts about the album's value disappears with the following track: Ho ho hi heh, maybe the disc's peak, a hypnotic piece on the bases of something that seems a wizard ritual, evolves into a tortuos instrumental path hanging in the balance between Cantebury and Avant Prog.

Dansa Gayo starts with a little march shaped part lead by a flute, then starts song and choir that bring us into a rural athmosphere. The album ends worthily with Slebar Slebor (the only non-gayonese track) that carries us among the Suwalesi island's tribes with nursery rhyme recolling a pagan rite.

Totally unexpected the bonus track, with the song Ho ho hi heh remixed in a techno house version, the arrangement of the piece is not signed but the band and maybe it's only a proposal to be accepted with a good dose of humour. On the whole the result a very nifty and marbled disc, where modern and ancient melt perfectly together, able to satisfy a wide range of progressive rock listeners.

Originally posted in Italian at

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