Album art for “Those Shocking Shaking Days” by Now-Again Records
Today is Indonesia’s National Music Day, so we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you (or reintroduce you) to one of the most obscure but awesome aspects of our nation’s musical history – Indonesian psychedelic rock from the 1970s.
If you didn’t know that Indonesia had an amazing progressive music scene back in the 1970s, don’t feel like you’re out of the loop. During that time, such scandalous sounds had to stay way underground to avoid the strict censorship of Suharto’s regime. As a consequence, a ton of great music from that era was lost and forgotten.
Until recently that is. After being rediscovered by music lovers in the new millenium (after the fall of Suharto), archives were uncovered, old records were dusted off and now a whole catalog of old-school cool Indonesian rock can be enjoyed by all.
The best compilation of this music that we’ve heard is an album called “Those Shocking Shaking Days,” released by Now-Again Records. Here’s the album’s official description:
“The progressive music scenes in 1970s Indonesia were largely underground as a result of strict censorship imposed by the dictator Suharto. Those who performed music marked by relentless fuzz, over the top, politically charged lyrics, strong rhythms and a cranky low-fidelity were truly rebellious.”
“The resulting output has been largely outside of the confines of this island nation unheard or ignored. Indonesia, based in large part on the restrictions imposed by Suharto, is better known for the coffee it exports than the music it creates. This situation hasn’t been remedied by the rough-hewn Indonesian bootlegs that dotted the psychedelic landscape over the past five years.”
“Thanks now to the tireless and expensive research of Canadian hip hop producer and Southeast Asian music specialist Jason Moss Connoy – and the trust that Indonesian rock legend Benny Soebardja placed in Now-Again Records as he traversed his homeland’s islands securing the rights necessary for us to offer you this anthology – we feel like we can, in good spirits and conscience, shine the light on some of the most impressive organizations to offer their take on the psychedelic and progressive rock and funk sounds during the early shocking, shaking days of Suharto’s regime.”
H/T to Reddit user Flotack on r/Indonesia for the great find!