As one of the world’s largest metropolises, Jakarta’s music landscape is as diverse as its population, with dedicated sub-cultures from noise to trap.
By Nisa Kreems
In between all of that is a breed of electronic artists whose groovy house and disco-infused techno have helped breathe new life into the city’s dance scene. Producer Jonathan (Ojon) Kusuma is one of them.
While Ojon now resides in Singapore, Jakarta’s vibrancy is very much present in his tribal, psychedelic 4/4 sound. As an artist on European labels I’m a Cliche and Cocktail d’Amore, he regularly gigs around the euro zone, having recently returned from Berlin, Barcelona, and Bilbao, where he took over the decks at the famed Guggenheim museum.
Despite all the traveling, he remains a heavy-hitter at home. “I’m running a new party in Jakarta called Dekadenz with my friends Aditya Permana and Ridwan Susanto, which is turning out to be really exciting,” he says.
While Jakarta’s electronic music scene has grown in recent years amid new parties and promising new talent from the younger crowd, fundamental issues still remain, he explains. “It’s very corrupt and it’s hard to find support in this field.”
In between his busy schedule – he’s just finished a track for the next Correspondant compilation while plugging away on a new album for Cocktail d’Amore – Ojon was kind enough to share a few gems from his home country.
Senyawa – Di Kalah Sudah
Hailing from Yogyakarta, Senyawa is part hardcore, part experimental, and all genius. With releases on Europe’s Morphine Records and Cejero, the duo has gained international acclaim for their Javanese influence and powerful live performances.
A Fine Tuning Creation – 100 million years late for work
Self-described ‘keyboard adventurist’ Aryo Adhianto produces exquisite instrumentals that fuse jazz and classical in a nod to Indonesia’s aural traditions. Following the release of ‘Pentatonik variation 2’ on Jakarta’s Double Deer Records last year, the progressive artist also recently performed at the Java Jazz Festival.
Komodo – Make it Scream
Gerhan Ferdinal, aka Komodo, is one of the founders of Akamady Records alongside Ojon himself. A key figure in the Jakarta scene, Komodo is known for cosmic tracks that range from dub to house and always keeps listeners moving – his work can also be found on the Berlin-based imprint Cocktail d’Amore.
KimoKal – Adiamo (swarsaktya remix)
This track combines two heavy forces in Indonesia’s underground scene: KimoKal, consisting of Kimo Rizky and Kallula Harsynta Esterlita, as well as swarsaktya, aka Dimas Saktya. Kimokal’s sound incorporates everything from nu-disco to pop, while swarsaktya, a known vinyl collector, churns out deep, time-transporting electronica.
Midnight Savari – Take Mine
Producer Ken Adhitya delivers high-octane dance tracks tinged with dark techno and Balearic moods. His first EP PINISI (DSR002) was released on Sydney imprint Death Strobe Records and subsequently shot to #1 on Juno Download. After working with international labels such as Kitsune, he released his second EP on Indonesian collective Turn on Plastic.
Nisa Kreems is a contributor to Straatosphere and a cunning linguist. Coming to write about a city/scene near you.