Exposé Online banner

Kantata — Samsara
(Airo Swadaya Stupa , 1996, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1999-01-01

Samsara Cover artFor background information, go dig up a copy of Expose #14, and find the review where I spent half a page trying to describe a CD by Iwan Fals. Here, the XTC/Sting/Cat Stevens-influenced singer/songwriter turns up as a member of an eight-piece Indonesian rock band. Western rock — guitars, keyboards, drums, the whole nine yards. Not to cop-out, but I think some comparisons are in order. The problem is I can't think of any! Uriah Heep? Procol Harum? Traffic? Certainly the very early 70s is where Kantata is coming from, a time when this kind of hard rock (with unmistakable prog elements) was common radio fare. Organ, guitar, and singing dominate the arrangements. That timeless 70s sound that most Euro-American groups abandoned after say 1978. A time when an album by even Alice Cooper would whisk you through a myriad different moods and stylistic approaches. The sole 80s element I hear is an extra slab of distorted sludge on the electric guitar. Instantly though, the listener can sense the most unique trait in Kantata's sound, something that markedly distinguishes them from anyone else: their vocals, which regularly find three or more rambunctious testosterone-pumped men in chorus, all growling and barking out the lyrics with an exuberance like a fight song at a war rally. What they are singing about is an Indonesian's guess but I imagine given the unrest their country has faced that some heavy social commentary is all over this CD. ("Demokrasi" shows up in one song). How much of the appeal to Samsara is sheer novelty is often tough to discern, but Samsara is as good as probably half the albums I review in this magazine. If I ever happen to be in Jakarta I'll check the local CD outlet for some Kantata titles.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Kantata

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ground Zero - Consume Red – One could say without stretching the truth too far, that Consume Red (part one of the three part Project Consume) is basically an hour of pure thrash / noise experimentation, delivered piping hot by...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues