Collections of themed recordings curated by John Noise Manis

Ketawang PANGKUR DHUDHA KASMARAN slendro sanga, gadhon ensemble ISI


1 – 3:00 Macapat PANGKUR PARIPURNA  slendro sanga
2 – 17:09 Ladrang PANGKUR  slendro manyura, gadhon ensemble ISI Surakarta
3 – 7:04 Ladrang PANGKUR  slendro, pesindhen unknown, gadhon ensemble Pak Prapto,  Sahid Garden Yogyakarta  June ‘95
4 – 8:40 Ketawang PANGKUR PARIPURNA  slendro sanga, gadhon ensemble ISI

5 – 3:03 Macapat PANGKUR KASMARAN  pelog nem
6 – 12:33 Ketawang PANGKUR NGRENAS  pelog lima, gadhon ensemble ISI

7 – 3:17 Macapat PANGKUR DHUDHA KASMARAN  slendro sanga miring
8 – 9:31 Ketawang PANGKUR DHUDHA KASMARAN  slendro sanga, gadhon ensemble ISI

9 – 3:07 Macapat PANGKUR NYAMAT MAS  pelog nem
10 – 5:48 Ketawang PANGKUR NYAMAT MAS  pelog nem, gadhon ensemble ISI


XIII. Pangkur Two

Collection: Gamelan of Central Java, Original Series

Pangkur Two features what the back text calls “side dishes” — shorter pieces played by a reduced ensemble. Call it “chamber music.” The feeling is the same throughout the disc — intimate, with greater transparency in the textures and more prominence given to the singing. I have to say, I’m very glad that my ear has finally tuned itself to the singing styles of Asia. I found these works, out of all the gamelan I’ve listened to in recent years, the most enchanting. Mind you, this is coming someone who’s always had a special love for sonatas, string quartets, and the like, and the selections on this disc fit right into that mold.

Among my favorites here are the opening track; track 3, Ladrang Pangkur (with an unknown soloist who does a bang-up job); track 7, Macapat Pangkur Dhudha Kasmaran, again with a stellar vocal; and track 10, the final selection, that has a magical quality to it that I can’t quite pin down, but it’s very special.

To go back to my opening remarks, Pangkur Two, even more than Pangkur One, displays the malleability of this type, all in a series of smaller scale pieces that make the music immediate and engaging in a way that I don’t think larger ensembles can. It really is the difference between a full orchestra and a string quartet, in many ways, and it’s quite refreshing.

Robert M. Tilendis, Sleeping Hedgehog


The second disc of Pangkur settings focuses on smaller ensembles and includes sung versions of the macapat poetry on which they are based. This is easily one of the most interesting releases of this series. This disc cannot be recommended highly enough.

Todd M. McComb, Traditional World Music Recordings (on the web)


L’esecuzione dei musicisti dell’Institut Seni Indonesia (Institute of the Arts) di Surakarta è al solito impeccabile e ricca di sottigliezze. Pangkur Two è di immediata ricezione, poiché presenta brani mediamente corti e prossimi a un’estetica cameristica occidentale.

Piercarlo Poggio, Blow Up


There’s more than enough expressive variation to counteract any lingering sense that gamelan is just the unchanging soundtrack to a golden age. It remains, nonetheless, strikingly beautiful music.

Julian Cowley, The Wire


This is the musical equivalent of academic publishing, aimed at devotees and completists more than someone who wanders into a record shop with a £20 note.

John Whitfield, Songlines


La collana curata da John Noise Manis si arricchisce di due titoli ruotanti attorno al ‘Pangkur’, tema del repertorio classico giavanese, esplorato nel secondo CD in una sorta di sottosezioni degli organici strumentali. Ne deriva una lettura più minuziosa, come quintessenziata, in qualche modo ‘cameristica’, fino a ridurre tutto il processo all’osso, all’interpretazione unicamente vocale, laddove l’intersecarsi tra voci e apparato strumentale è nelle restanti tracce costantemente al centro del discorso musicale.

Alberto Bazzurro, all-about-jazz