Connections Through Culture is an arts initiative from the British Council in East Asia. Their now decade long programme in China has supported a great number of arts professionals, and this new open call was launched in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Pararatronic, our submission with Indonesian artist Kuntari – aka Tesla Manaf – was selected, an electronic music project preserving elements of traditional Indonesian music. The name refers to the historic Pararaton, the ancient Indonesian book of kings and its stories of legacy, contradiction and the legends of Ken Arok.
In early 2020, we recorded traditional musicians in Indonesia with Kuntari, in the cities of Surakarta and Bandung. He was to later travel to the UK to perform Pararatronic at our Plugged event in London, but as the pandemic shut down the world, plans were halted and changed to an online performance from his Bandung studio as part of an evening of streamed concerts. (watch below, at approx 1 hour 5 minutes into the video).
Pararatronic was released by Dutch label Audiomaze on February 11th 2022, with the project weaving together contemporary electronic music and traditional folkloric sounds. The release features four idiosyncratic tracks, two from each artist, with both featuring field recordings made in Indonesia with traditional singer Nur Handayani. Our tracks also feature samples recorded with Gondrong Gunarto in Surakarta, Indonesia and many others.