Friday, November 26, 2010


Gamelan Gong Kebyar                 The Art Ensemble of Chicago
19" x 26"                                                18" x 26"
ink on paper, 2010                              ink on paper, 2010

Thanksgiving turned out to be a dreary stay at home day. I had just recovered from a long frustrating week at work while Maria slept all day to recover from days without sleep to make her deadlines. Needless to say I could focus once again on this passion of mine. I cleared off the table in the nice, warm, cozy living room (in stead of my cold studio) and lined the surface of it with drawing paper. The result, featured above, are two large scale ink drawings depicting the two newest entries in the list. First I drew an impression from a vintage photograph depicting the Gamelan Gong Kebyar orchestra then I drew the five members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago with their characteristic face paint. The Gamelan Gong Kebyar depicts a track called Lagu Kebiar, recorded in 1928 Bali. It's the second gamelan tune in the list and a third from the new old-music compilation Sprigs of Time: 78s from the EMI Archive. The Art Ensemble's tune with a title Thème de l’Amour Universal was an appropriate choice for thanksgiving. Their face paint unlike the likes of Blooddawn, Vampyre Corpse, Trelldom, and Tsjuder (idealizing the Walpurgisnight, a different holiday all together, with its plunder, rape, and burning) is to represent everyone, all makes. all types, all races. The spiritual aspect of the Ensemble is an echo from ceremonial music of past worlds. Gamelan music being one of those. In my youth I was exposed to this kind of music and it rang magical and mysterious. My upbringing was devoid of spirituality and my introduction to at least the idea of it comes from Indonesian lore. Stories in the 1980s from second generation Indonesian immigrants in the Netherlands contained spirits and ghosts inspiring fear and awe (and respect) in this pliable, susceptible, teenage brain of mine.

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