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Eberhard Schoener - Bali-Agúng CD (album) cover


Eberhard Schoener


Progressive Electronic

3.53 | 15 ratings

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3 stars Eggs & Liquorice

Ever thought about bringing all of your synthesizers to Bali and collaborating with the local tribe's musicians? Well that's sorta what happened on Bali-Agúng. You can call it whatever you want to - weird, insane, cuckoo, but you gotta hand it to the man, this is without a doubt one of the most progressive records you'll ever come across. Progressive meaning to push forth already existing music into new unexplored venues, making it develop it's own language and expression.

This album is unsurpassed in a lot of areas, and I guess that's down to the risks involved with pairing something as bonkers and stylistically far from each other as progressive electronic and endemic Balinese music. You won't find anything remotely like it out there, that's for damn sure! Schoener here collaborates with the Gamelan Orchestra Of Saba And Pinda Of Agúng Raka, who weave their alien tribal sounds in between the main man's lush ambient soundscapes.

Schoener plays the moog along with his trusty mellotron, and whether he emphasises smooth liquidy ambiances, or creates lavishing counterpointing effects in the face of the surrounding proto world music, the outcome always manages to feel both serene and strangely alluring. Be advised though, these two unlikely bed mates only rarely collide and when they finally do, it really does leave a bizarre impression.

Supported by drummer Pete York and Siegfried Schwab on guitar, the more electronic laden sections from Schoener sometimes take on this semi-acoustic quality that complements the cornucopia of colours coming from the swinging Balinese orchestra.

Did I forget to mention the rare moments where this record dives into space rock - or that you additionally get some exotic and insanely original vocals from real life Ketjak singers? Maybe I also neglected to mention the last track Gong-Gede, that throws Gamelan metallophones together with sticky bubbly electronics and some unhinged drumming - all of which somehow gets channelled into one seemingly together tune by way of some rather prodigal studio montage work.

The fact of the matter is, that Schoener never jammed with the Balinese people. He travelled all over the Eastern continent making field recordings of whatever intriguing obscure music mysteries he came across. The end result amounts to one of the strangest, and for some reason uplifting, albums you're ever likely to stumble over. This is basically the essence of Florian Fricke's esoteric notion behind Popol Vuh, only conveyed in a completely different manner.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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