Released: 8 December 2017
The Belgian exotica producer has constructed an audial narrative that rings with mystery in a foreign land
Published in Crash
Kudos to Flemish producer and composer Dijf Sanders for immersing himself (and his field recorder) deep within the pulsating heart of Indonesia’s musical and ceremonial culture, as the fruits of his latest labour are a bizarrely balanced cocktail, laced with jazz, electronica, and a liberal dose of psychedelia.
He fuses the natural and digital worlds to a mystical and often haunting degree. Tracks Calunpung and Bandung hypnotize with their alluring woodwind, jangling chimes, and metronome percussion; the latter sprinkles in teardrop notes of electro, which evokes the synthetic seduction of Vangelis, as if we are being led through a South Asian remake of Blade Runner.
This cinematic edge persists throughout the album to great success. The overarching sense of narrative unfolds from the intro, Akim, with a steady reveal of its cast of instruments as though characters in an Agatha Christie mystery. Onward, it leads us through weaving streets of intrigue and menace by way of Cibeusi, which gives way to the doom riddled denouement, Teguh — its melancholic pizzicato coupled with long drawn strings suggests that in the end, our hero does not prevail.
The journey through this foreign locale does suffer from a few snagging tangents, with a couple of tracks, and sections of others, failing to fit the overall flow. In otherwise a tightly told tale, these incoherences can make our trip to the Asian island feel more like a smash-and-grab guided tour than a truly enveloping expedition.
However, the first release from the album, Jaipong, is a crackingly accessible number —within and out with the confines of Java — with a pounding DJ Shadow-esque beat and an 8-bit-akin electronic organ, the combination produces a mysterious yet momentous rhythm that would accompany a foot chase through a bustling market in a spy flick to the tee.