Vocalist Rully Shabara and “modern-primitive” instrumentalist Wukir Suryadi make-up Senyawa, which translates to “chemical compound”. Their music was born out of an “anxiety about music” and “merges popular heavy metal they grew up with, the traditional Indonesian music of their heritage,” and “the experimental scene they have found themselves acclaimed by—theirs remains a heterogeneous mix, at once fusion and fission”.
Suryadi’s primary instrument, the Bambuwukir or Bamboo Spear —A thick stem of bamboo strung up with percussive strips of animal skin alongside steel strings —unites elements of traditional Indonesian instrumentation with raw guitar distortion when amplified. The instrument can be rhythmic, melodic, and percussive. Shabara’s voice is “versatile, capable of verbal gymnastics that can shift from guttural death metal growl to vertiginous glossolalia at the drop of a dime”.
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I.U.D. ‘The Proper Sex’ (2009). Album cover. Courtesy the artists.