Warning: mysql_get_server_info(): Access denied for user 'indiamee'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /home/indiamee/public_html/e-music/wp-content/plugins/gigs-calendar/gigs-calendar.php on line 872

Warning: mysql_get_server_info(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/indiamee/public_html/e-music/wp-content/plugins/gigs-calendar/gigs-calendar.php on line 872
Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » August » 07

FCC Adopts Incubator Program To Assist New Radio Owners – What Does it Provide?

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 10:20 pm

At its meeting last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order creating an incubator program to incentivize existing broadcasters to assist new entrants to get into broadcast ownership. The FCC in its order last year relaxing TV local ownership rules and abolishing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule had agreed to adopt an incubator program (see our articles here and here). In fact, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which is reviewing the FCC’s ownership order, stayed the processing of that appeal to await the rules on the incubator program (see our article here), as the Court has previously indicated that considerations of how changes in the ownership rules affect new entrants is part of its analysis of the justification for such changes. What rules did the FCC adopt?

The FCC will encourage an existing broadcaster who successfully incubates a new entrant into broadcasting by giving them a “presumptive waiver” of the ownership rules. To understand what this means requires looking at several questions including (1) what services does the existing broadcaster have to provide to qualify for the credit; (2) which new entrants qualify for incubation; (3) what is a successful incubation; and (4) what does the presumptive waiver provide to the broadcaster providing the incubation services. Let’s look at each of these questions.

What services qualify as incubation? The FCC did not lay down hard and fast rules as to exactly what constitutes an incubation of an entrant. But it did say that incubation will likely consist of either financial assistance or management and operational services and training, or a combination of both. Any incubation plan needs to be submitted to the FCC for approval either with an application by the new entrant to acquire the station or in a petition for declaratory ruling if the new entrant already owns the station and is seeking incubation to help make it a success. As part of the plan, a written contract setting out the relationship between the parties must be submitted for FCC review.

The FCC did, however, put limits on the incubation. If the existing station provides financing by taking an equity interest in the company that is being incubated, the new entrant must retain voting control of the licensee of the incubated station. In addition to control, the new entrant will have to have at least a 15% equity interest in the company, and that interest will need to be at least 30% if some other entity (such as the broadcaster providing the incubation services) has more than 25% of the entity.

The new entrant must also have an option to buy back any interest that the existing station takes in the incubated station at the end of three years, at no more than fair market value. The new entrant may decide not to exercise the option at the end of three years, or it may decide to sell the incubated station – but the incubation will only be considered successful if the new entrant holds on to control of the incubated station or sells it and turns around and uses its proceeds to buy another radio station.

The new entrant must at all times maintain control of the licensee of the incubated station. The existing station cannot provide programming services to the new entrant through an LMA. It can do a JSA or Shared Services Agreement but, as the goal of the program is to end up with a successful, independent operation, the JSA or SSA must end after two years.

Who qualifies to be incubated? Initially, this program will only apply to radio stations. The FCC decided that radio offers the best opportunity for new entrants to get into the broadcasting business, though it may reevaluate that conclusion in the new Quadrennial Review to determine if incubation should be extended to television as well. While we have termed the entity being assisted by the incubator program as a “new entrant,” in fact that entity can have up to three other radio stations in addition to the station being incubated. So this program is also designed to assist small owners become more successful.

In addition to having no more than three existing radio ownership interests, any party being incubated must also meet Small Business Administration standards for being a small business. To be a small business under SBA rules, an entity must have less than $38.5 million in revenue. Note that the SBA rules attribute revenue from some affiliates of the entity being evaluated, so a big company can’t set up a shell corporation to be incubated. The FCC will also require certifications that the entity being incubated could not have acquired the incubated station or operated it successfully without the assistance of the company providing the incubation assistance. The new entrant will also be required to disclose all family broadcast interests to show that the entity is independent. The FCC reserves the right to investigate these certifications, and notes that it will revoke permission for an incubation program if it finds that the company being incubated in fact had access to a source of funds that made the incubation unnecessary (e.g., a “trust fund” in the example given by the FCC).

The existing station can help to incubate no more than one station in any given market. If it seeks to incubate stations in multiple markets, it will need to demonstrate that it has the capacity to do so.

When is an Incubation Successful? The incubation is normally to be for a period of three years. However, an incubated entity can ask for early termination if things take off, or one extension of up to three years. As noted above, the incubation will be successful if, at the end of three years, the incubated station can stand on its own, or if it has been sold with the new entrant buying another AM or FM station with the proceeds.

At the end of the incubation period, the parties must file a joint certified statement setting out the results of the incubation, and describing how the incubation assisted the new entrant to become a stable operation. If the FCC’s Media Bureau does not conclude that the incubation was unsuccessful within 120 days (or any longer period that the Bureau determines is necessary to review the final certifications), the station that provided the incubation services will get a presumptive waiver allowing it to exceed the multiple ownership rules in any comparably sized market.

What is the benefit of a Presumptive Waiver? The entity providing the incubation services will receive a Presumptive Waiver allowing it to acquire one station more than is allowed under the current FCC radio ownership rules. That waiver can be used for an acquisition of any station in a comparably sized market, i.e. one that has the same limits on the number of stations that can be owned in the market where the incubated station is located. So if an entity incubates a station in a market where one owner is allowed to own up to 6 stations, no more than 4 of which can be FM stations, that entity can acquire a 7th station in any market subject to the same ownership limits. The waiver can also be used in the same market as the incubated station. Once acquired, that additional station can be sold as part of the cluster of stations in the same market without any need for divestiture.

However, there are limits on the use of the waiver. The waiver cannot be used if the entity using the waiver would end up with more than 50% of the stations in the market. In addition, the market must have at least the same number of independent radio owners as the market in which the incubation occurred (at the time of the start of the incubation). Thus, if there were six independent radio station owners in the market where the incubation occurs, there must be at least 6 independent owners in the comparable market for the waiver to be used. The waiver must be used within 3 years of the end of the successful incubation.


There are many additional nuances to the incubator program, so if you are interested in taking advantage of the program, either to incubate a station to get a possible waiver of the radio ownership limits, or to help assure the success of a new station, read the Order and accompanying rules carefully, and seek assistance of an attorney familiar with FCC practice. These rules will become effective after they are approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, and after the necessary changes to the FCC forms have been made.

Vectors are getting their own festival: lasers and oscilloscopes, go!

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 4:47 pm

It’s definitely an underground subculture of audiovisual media, but lovers of graphics made with vintage displays, analog oscilloscopes, and lasers are getting their own fall festival to share performances and techniques.

Vector Hack claims to be “the first ever international festival of experimental vector graphics” – a claim that is, uh, probably fair. And it’ll span two cities, starting in Zagreb, Croatia, but wrapping up in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.

Why vectors? Well, I’m sure the festival organizers could come up with various answers to that, but let’s go with because they look damned cool. And the organizers behind this particular effort have been spitting out eyeball-dazzling artwork that’s precise, expressive, and unique to this visceral electric medium.

Unconvinced? Fine. Strap in for the best. Festival. Trailer. Ever.

Here’s how they describe the project:

Vector Hack is the first ever international festival of experimental vector graphics. The festival brings together artists, academics, hackers and performers for a week-long program beginning in Zagreb on 01/10/18 and ending in Ljubljana on 07/10/18.

Vector Hack will allow artists creating experimental audio-visual work for oscilloscopes and lasers to share ideas and develop their work together alongside a program of open workshops, talks and performances aimed at allowing young people and a wider audience to learn more about creating their own vector based audio-visual works.

We have gathered a group of fifteen participants all working in the field from a diverse range of locations including the EU, USA and Canada. Each participant brings a unique approach to this exiting field and it will be a rare chance to see all their works together in a single program.

Vector Hack festival is an artist lead initiative organised with
support from Radiona.org/Zagreb Makerspace as a collaborative international project alongside Ljubljana’s Ljudmila Art and Science Laboratory and Projekt Atol Institute. It was conceived and initiated by Ivan Marušić Klif and Derek Holzer with assistance from Chris King.

Robert Henke is featured, naturally – the Berlin-based artist and co-founder of Ableton and Monolake has spent the last years refining his skills in spinning his own code to control ultra-fine-tuned laser displays. But maybe what’s most exciting about this scene is discovering a whole network of people hacking into supposedly outmoded display technologies to find new expressive possibilities.

One person who has helped lead that direction is festival initiator Derek Holzer. He’s finishing a thesis on the topic, so we’ll get some more detail soon, but anyone interested in this practice may want to check out his open source Pure Data library. The Vector Synthesis library “allows the creation and manipulation of vector shapes using audio signals sent directly to oscilloscopes, hacked CRT monitors, Vectrex game consoles, ILDA laser displays, and oscilloscope emulation software using the Pure Data programming environment.”


The results are entrancing – organic and synthetic all at once, with sound and sight intertwined (both in terms of control signal and resulting sensory impression). That is itself perhaps significant, as neurological research reveals that these media are experienced simultaneously in our perception. Here are just two recent sketches for a taste:

They’re produced by hacking into a Vectrax console – an early 80s consumer game console that used vector signals to manipulate a cathode ray screen. From Wikipedia, here’s how it works:

The vector generator is an all-analog design using two integrators: X and Y. The computer sets the integration rates using a digital-to-analog converter. The computer controls the integration time by momentarily closing electronic analog switches within the operational-amplifier based integrator circuits. Voltage ramps are produced that the monitor uses to steer the electron beam over the face of the phosphor screen of the cathode ray tube. Another signal is generated that controls the brightness of the line.

Ted Davis is working to make these technologies accessible to artists, too, by developing a library for coding-for-artists tool Processing.


Oscilloscopes, ready for interaction with a library by Ted Davis.

Ted Davis.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the other artists in the festival, too. It’s wonderful to watch new developments in the post digital age, as artists produce work that innovates through deeper excavation of technologies of the past.

Akiras Rebirth.

Alberto Novell.

Vanda Kreutz.

Stefanie Bräuer.

Jerobeam Fenderson.

Hrvoslava Brkušić.

Andrew Duff.

More on the festival:


The post Vectors are getting their own festival: lasers and oscilloscopes, go! appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Blimps, runes and latte mummies: how Aphex Twin keeps fans guessing

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 3:21 pm

The Cornish producer has released his first new music since 2016, and has been preceded by a typically twisted rabbit hole of clues for fans to decipher

You know where you are with pop fandom: construct homemade banner, queue up outside hotel or TV studio, scream, return home. But if you’re an Aphex Twin fan, this seems positively ascetic in its simplicity: the Cornish producer sends his fans down labyrinthine rabbit holes full of clues and in-jokes.

He has just released his first new material since 2016: the high-tempo stuttering electro groove of T69 Collapse. The first sign of it was the appearance of his rune-like “A” symbol in London’s Elephant and Castle tube station – perhaps a nod to the rumour that he bought up the silvery structure in the middle of the area’s roundabout – followed by the same 3D design printed amid the greenery on a wall of an Los Angeles record shop. Then there was an announcement of sorts, a distorted press release promising an EP called Collapse.

Continue reading...

50 great tracks for August from Travis Scott, Robyn, Halestorm and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 10:13 am

From Future’s cry for help to Jlin’s brutally funky footwork, here is the best of the month’s music – read about our 10 favourites and subscribe to all 50 via our playlist

Continue reading...

TonalEnergy is so much more than just a tuner and metronome

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 6:31 am

TonalEnergy could easily be overlooked as just a tuner and metronome app. That would be a real oversight. TonalEnergy can do much much more. In fact, it’s an all-in-one app, with a truly state-of-the-art tuner, an advanced metronome, dedicated orchestral strings and guitar tuning page, a piano keyboard, sound analysis pages, and audio/visual recording capabilities. See what I mean?

In version 1.6 this huge app gets a huge update and even more features, tweaks, and of course the obligatory bug fixes.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Added new Note Staff view on analysis page for viewing your tuning in a standard music notation format
  • Improved immediate history scroll back on Analysis waveform plot, can now see previous 60 seconds of audio when freezing and play it back (with loop points). Can pinch to zoom, or set the playhead by tapping/dragging near top of plot. This also works when playing back previously recorded audio files.
  • Added support for remote control via AirTurn pedals and bluetooth (qwerty) keyboards, as well as MIDI controllers sending CC or PC events. See the new options in the Prefs.
  • Added German, French, Spanish, Chinese translations (along with updated Japanese)
  • Added 8/8, 11/8, and 4/8 meters
  • Added Viola da Gamba tunings
  • Added Mountatin Dulcimer tunings
  • Now record in stereo if there is a stereo input attached.
  • Added options in Prefs to show Smiley and Thinking faces


  • New accelerando/ritardando support in metronome presets. See the revised tempo section in the preset editor. New modes for tempo include No Change, Fixed, Gradual (which lets you set start and end tempo), and Relative (which adjusts it +/- a specific BPM from previous).
  • Added additional preset sequencing option “Single”. The toggle button for sequencing the met is now 3-way. Off, Sequence All, and Sequence Single. The new mode stays on the current preset but executes the bar count and any tempo changes, then if looping is off it will stop, or if looping is on it will repeat, including any tempo changes.
  • Now has ability to set a preset start and end for sequencing over (instead of just the whole list), long press on a preset button (when in sequence mode) for options.
  • Added preset number and measure number to metronome preset lists, to ease creating sequences or set lists
  • Tapping on metronome “list” button on main met page now brings up the preset groups list on iPhone. Long-pressing it brings up the current group (what it used to do when pressed normally).
  • Double-tap on presets on main page brings up popup editor all the time, long-press when in auto-advance mode brings up menu to set that preset as the range start or end, or clear the range (or edit).
  • Added combine preset groups feature when in Select mode, to create new groups from multiple existing ones.
  • Layout changes in main metronome page (and pulldown) to make it much easier to use one-handed on iPhone.
  • New popup slider/wheel controls for metronome tempo by holding down +/- tempo buttons. Defaults to slider, try the wheel by switching an option in the metronome prefs.
  • Fixed issue where metronome was silent using some bluetooth speakers.
  • Fixed visual metronome with /1 meters
  • Fixed import of presets via Airdrop, etc to work even when tuner isn’t running
  • Importing metronome presets with identical name as an existing now gets unique name
  • Fixed issue where preset groups couldn’t be exported because of their name
  • Prevented full swiping to delete preset groups (to avoid accidental deletion)
  • Fixed meter menu getting stuck open in preset editor
  • Fixed count-in related issues
  • Other bug fixes

TonalEnergy costs $3.99 on the app store

The post TonalEnergy is so much more than just a tuner and metronome appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Cycle is a time lag accumulator for iOS that will have you producing unexpected sonic textures

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 6:31 am

I have to admit to having missed this when it first came around, and I’ve only just picked up on it as of version 1.3. However, I’m making up for my mistake by talking about it now. Let’s start by explaining a bit about what Cycle is. Probably the easiest way is to give you the app’s description, which is nicely succinct.

Cycle is a time lag accumulator – a musical system that repeats the notes you play over and over until they gradually fade into silence. It’s a simple but very powerful idea, allowing you easily create fascinating and often unexpected sonic textures.

Cycle can be a delightful meditative experience, since the system naturally lends itself well to long and slowly evolving musical ideas.

Cycle can also be a great starting point for creating ambient music. Cycle features easy recording and exporting to both wav and midi files, as well as Inter-App Audio (IAA) and Audiobus support. Easily Airdrop or email recordings to your computer, and use them right away in your favorite DAW.


  • 12 sound options. Samples by @electronisounds.
  • Inter-App Audio (IAA) and Audiobus support
  • Controllable tempo
  • Controllable reverb wet/dry mix
  • 5 new colors

Since it arrived in June of this year, Cycle has had a few updates. Rather than tell you everything that’s been added, here are the highlights:

  • New feature – pitch bending! Hold and drag the keyboard buttons to bend pitch.
  • iPad support
  • Speed improvements when recording & exporting
  • Inter-App Audio (IAA) and Audiobus support
  • 11 new sound options. BIG thanks to @electronisounds for the samples!
  • Controllable tempo
  • Controllable reverb wet/dry mix
  • 4 new colors

Cycle is a free app on the app store and worth checking out as it’s pretty unique

The post Cycle is a time lag accumulator for iOS that will have you producing unexpected sonic textures appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Rock Music in Indonesia

Delivered... Jeremy Wallach | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 6:00 am

Performing, listening, and recording underground rock shapes an oppositional consciousness among Indonesian youth. This spirit found expression in the grassroots protest movement responsible for toppling the autocratic Soeharto regime in 1998 and fostering the new democratic society in its place. From the Norient book Out of the Absurdity of Life (see and order here).

A day-long underground concert in a basketball arena, Bandung, West Java.  (Photo: Jeremy Wallach)

A day-long underground concert in a basketball arena, Bandung, West Java (Photo © by Jeremy Wallach)

Irama hidupku membeludak begini, Bunda, tak tertampung dalam tembang nenek-moyang.
The rhythm of my life is bursting forth crazily, Mother; it can’t be accommodated in the song-form of my ancestors.
(Minke, the young protagonist in the novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind), by Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer)

Tak Ada Asap Tak Ada Api, Tak Ada Perlawanan Tanpa Penindasan.
There is No Smoke When There Is No Fire, There is No Resistance Without Oppression.
(1990s Indonesian student movement slogan.)

When I first arrived in Jakarta in the fall of 1997 to conduct field research on youth and popular music, I expected to find that at least a few of the most globally-hyped Anglo-American rock bands – Green Day, Nirvana, Metallica – had attracted followings among Indonesian youth as a result of young people’s exposure to these acts through the mainstream commercial mass media – primarily MTV. I did, in fact, find that these groups enjoyed large fan bases among Indonesian young people, but I was unprepared for what else I found.

I had assumed that the rock music diets of Indonesians would be limited to groups promoted by the global music industry. Instead, I discovered an extensive countrywide network of urban scenes dedicated to a genre of music known there as underground. These local scenes not only provided outlets for the sale of esoteric independent rock music from around the world, but also produced their own music cassettes and fanzines, procured rehearsal and recording studio space, and organized massive, all-day concert events that featured dozens of local bands pounding out tunes by their favorite Western groups or, increasingly, their own compositions sung in either English or Indonesian. These events – held on university campuses, in nightclubs, even on soccer fields under the scorching sun – attracted thousands of fans, and were somehow tolerated by the repressive authoritarian regime then ruling the country.

Clearly what I had found in Indonesia could not be explained simply as a consequence of the marketing strategies of multinational media conglomerates, so what was really going on? Anthropological researchers prefer to seek out insiders’ points of view, so I set about trying to find out why young Indonesians were attracted to underground rock music styles, and, in their own words, what motivated them to set up elaborate grassroots networks around the country to support its recording, distribution, and performance. This quest for answers took on added urgency after the dramatic collapse of the Soeharto dictatorship in 1998, as I began to explore the links between the underground music movement and the Indonesian movement for democracy, in which young people played a crucial role.

From the outside, the popularity of underground rock music in 1997 Indonesia appeared to exemplify the dark side of encroaching globalization in the developing world. The visitor to an underground music festival in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, or any other large Indonesian city was confronted by crowds of black T-shirt clad young men (and a much smaller number of young women in similar attire) who appeared to be jettisoning their indigenous cultures in a headlong rush to embrace the music and fashion of the hypercapitalist West, joining the ranks of the world’s atomized, apolitical consumers. But the reality was more complicated: by the time I returned to Indonesia in the fall of 1999 to commence a year of dissertation fieldwork, Indonesian underground music, once dismissed by many grownups as a fad or as evidence of outright brainwashing by Western corporations, had become the soundtrack for an activist youth movement that helped topple an entrenched thirty-two-year military dictatorship and start Indonesia on an ultimately successful road to democracy.

Source: Wikicommons

(Photo © by Wikicommons)

An Unsung Muslim Democracy: Indonesia’s Political Transition

Although it is known to many Westerners primarily as a place of tsunamis, earthquakes, and terrorist attacks, Indonesia is also the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and the fourth most populous country in the world after China, India, and the United States. Since the fall of Soeharto’s «New Order» regime in May 1998, Indonesia has also become the third largest functioning democracy in the world, and in 2004 the first popularly elected president in the nation’s history took office after a general election widely praised for its procedural fairness as well as its extraordinarily high voter turnout (much higher than that of the 2004 U.S. Presidential election). During his March 2005 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Douglas Ramage, the Asia Society Representative in Indonesia, asserted:

Indonesia in 2005 should not be seen as a nation in crisis. Following a lot of turmoil over the past several years, Indonesia has emerged as a relatively stable country, with a highly decentralized, democratic system of government. Indonesia, under its recently elected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is continuing on a path of democratic consolidation and slowly improving its economic performance. Despite the earthquake and tsunami devastation in Aceh, Indonesia should be considered to be in relatively good shape – particularly given the fairly dire predictions and worries of the past several years.

The spectacular success of the new democratic Indonesia, which in 2013 is a prospering, stable nation that has managed to avoid both ethnic Balkanization – in spite of the country’s staggering linguistic and cultural diversity – and large-scale seduction of the mostly Muslim populace by radical Islamic ideology, does not mark the first time that this island nation has proven the skeptics wrong: the demise of President Soeharto’s autocratic New Order government in the wake of the 1997–98 Asian economic crisis shattered widely held assumptions about the impotence of Indonesia’s civil society and the strength of its totalitarian state. At the time, observers both inside and outside the country marveled at the seemingly instantaneous evaporation of a «top-down» culture of timidity, fear and docility, and its replacement by a cacophony of unruly voices competing in a thriving democratic public sphere. The pivotal role of university student protesters in the regime’s downfall and in Indonesia’s subsequent democratic transition also caught many observers by surprise, particularly those who had previously bemoaned the young generation’s perceived apathy and lack of interest in politics.

A collage of rock band stickers from all over Indonesia. Photo: Jeremy Wallach

A collage of rock band stickers from all over Indonesia (Photo © by Jeremy Wallach)

In reality, the involvement of Indonesian youth in the political upheaval that resulted in President Soeharto’s downfall and Indonesia’s transition to democracy was hardly unprecedented. Until the late 1970s, Indonesian young people had historically played a major role in national politics: passionate student activists had pushed Indonesian nationalist leaders to declare independence from the Netherlands in 1945, just as they hastened the removal from power of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, in the wake of a failed (or perhaps staged) coup attempt in 1965. It was in the bloody aftermath of that coup attempt – including the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians believed to be sympathetic to the coup plotters – that then-General Soeharto seized power and installed his pro-Western New Order government. During its subsequent thirty-two-year reign, the Soeharto regime became notorious for its ruthless pro-development policies, the pervasiveness and venality of its corruption, and its brutal, paranoid suppression of dissenting voices, which included the arrest and imprisonment of some of the country’s most important novelists, musicians, and cultural critics. The New Order government also banned hundreds of important scholarly and literary works, including the four novels of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s celebrated Buru Quartet.

Despite the New Order’s attempts to instill a culture of repression and conformity, major student demonstrations against the Soeharto government erupted in both 1974 and 1978. After the 1978 protests, however, the New Order regime began a concerted effort to eliminate dissent in the younger generation, particularly in universities. Anthropologist James Siegel has observed that in the 1980s Indonesian mass media outlets replaced the politicized term pemuda (youth) with the apolitical and «teenybopperish» word remaja (teenager) in their representations of middle class Indonesian youth culture. This new label implied a materialistic concern with fashion and lifestyle, and a preoccupation with consuming the diluted Western styles offered by the national popular culture industry. In the course of my research I found that for many young people, underground rock music – both imported and locally produced – was among the most important cultural forces that disrupted this comfortable, somnambulant youth-consumer identity.

Indeed, observers and pundits who dismissed 1990s Indonesian youth as materialistic, self-interested, apolitical conformists had apparently overlooked developments in the youth-oriented popular music of the time. Long before the Internet dramatically expanded young Indonesians’ access to popular music from around the globe in the late 1990s, Indonesian underground music fans had successfully tapped into a proto-cyberspace international network of photocopied fanzines and independent mail order music catalogs responsible for sustaining independent, anti-commercial music scenes in the U.S. and around the world since the early 1980s. Working from these source materials, Indonesian youth – mostly middle-class high school boys, in the beginning – began to develop their own variations of the sounds, images, and rhetoric they contained, using them for their own expressive ends.

Punk, Hardcore, Metal and Alternative


Robin and Abay of Puppen at a concert in Jakarta, 2000 (Photo © by Jeremy Wallach)

In response to its myriad global influences, the Indonesian underground music movement in the 1990s could be divided into four basic genres: punk, hardcore, metal, and alternative. Each of these genres contained a plethora of substyles, with new varieties continually emerging. Punk was the most conservative category – Indonesian punk bands generally insisted on singing in English and closely modeled their music on the sounds of classic 1970s punk bands and/or the newer pop punk groups. Indonesian metal, in contrast, was constantly evolving in response to the rapid development and stylistic fragmentation of underground subgenres such as death metal, black metal, and grindcore in the international extreme metal community. Hardcore, which originally evolved out of punk in the US in the 1980s, was considered a separate genre in Indonesia and was further broken down into «old school» and «new school»; the former resembled louder, faster punk music, while the latter added hip hop and metal influences to the mix. Hardcore in Indonesia, as elsewhere, is known for its explicitly political lyrics, and was one of the first underground genres to experiment with writing songs in blunt, everyday Indonesian rather than in English. Alternative or «indie» rock was the final catch-all category, which included bands influenced by a range of Western rock artists, from Nirvana to The Cure.

Each of these genres and subgenres attracted socially differentiated audiences. Death metal was popular in the capital, while black metal, with its occult themes and dramatic stage shows, was popular in the more «traditional» provinces, where it was said to resonate with local folkloric beliefs about evil spirits and supernatural powers. While hardcore music largely remained the domain of middle-class youth, both punk and metal music had significantly expanded beyond the middle-class student audience and attracted legions of young proletarian fans around the country.

A scene from the Jakarta Bawah Tanah  (Jakarta Underground) concert festival, March 30, 2000.  (Photo Jeremy Wallach)

A scene from the Jakarta Bawah Tanah (Jakarta Underground) concert festival, March 30, 2000 (Photo © by Jeremy Wallach)

Interestingly, aside from a short-lived moral panic fomented by the mainstream national media around «satanic» black metal music in the mid 1990s, there had been remarkably little adult condemnation of the underground music movement in Indonesia. In fact, many Indonesian newspaper and magazine features instead portrayed the most successful underground musicians in a positive light, emphasizing their idealism, autonomy, and uncompromising commitment to their creative endeavors. The underground also proved to be fertile ground for generating the latest trends in commercial pop music: albums by so-called «pop alternatif» bands such as Sheila on 7, Padi, and Cokelat, many of whom got their start in local underground rock scenes, provided the mainstream Indonesian music industry with some of its top sellers in 1999–2000. While the relatively melodic and accessible «alternative» underground bands tended to hold the most crossover potential, a number of established punk, hardcore, and metal groups would also chose to sign with large national or multinational (major) record labels, including veteran Jakarta metal stalwarts Suckerhead and the Balinese punk band Superman Is Dead.

A collage of rock band stickers from all over Indonesia. Photo: Jeremy Wallach

A collage of rock band stickers from all over Indonesia (Photo © by Jeremy Wallach)

While many mainstream musicians and music producers remained wary of releasing music that was too politically tajam, «sharp,» even in the post-Soeharto period, underground artists have been especially bold in their critiques of Indonesian politics. Indeed, this had been the case even before Soeharto’s resignation. For example, two years before the fall of the Soeharto regime, Surabaya-based death metal band Slowdeath released the song «The Pain Remains the Same», a song recorded in English with the following lyrics:

Arise against this unjust system that always fooled us
Chronic corruption never put to an end
Political distortion manipulates the system
Social sterilization sacrificing the people.

Crusade against these feudalistic norms that enslave us
Collusion between entrepreneurs and officials
Colonialistic patterns brought again to life
Exploiting the people for their own profit
Only a few million poor left?
That’s a big fucking lie
Never trust their propaganda
Bored with their lies
Stop this wrong system, something must be done
Why must we go on, to satisfy their gains?

There’s no difference between D**** C********** and the N** O****
So, all that we can say is:
The pain remains the same!
(From the album From Mindless Enthusiasm to Sordid Self-Destruction. Recorded September 1, 1996.)

While the four key words in the third-to-last line of the song were «censored» in the lyric sheet that accompanied Slowdeath’s cassette, anyone familiar with Indonesian history and the English language would know that it really says: «There’s no difference between Dutch Colonialism and the New Order» – a dangerously bold statement at a time when President Soeharto still held a firm grip on power.

Toward a Democratic Culture

One of the Indonesian underground’s most articulate spokespeople is Yukie, the lead singer of Pas, a seminal alternative band who played a key role in creating Bandung’s thriving underground scene. During an interview in late 1999, Yukie explained to me that while «moralists» in his country might decry the existence of «degenerate», mohawk-sporting underground youth, he would counter that the emergence of the underground rock movement in Indonesia is evidence that Indonesian young people are making their own choices. During the New Order, he explained, the Indonesian people were made ignorant and forced to hold the same opinions. Individuals were discouraged from standing out. Nowadays, while the «fundamental aspects» of Indonesian culture remain constant («We’re still Indonesians, we eat rice, not potatoes!»), Indonesian youth are increasingly compelled to think for themselves and to develop the courage to disagree with others – even their friends – on important political issues. Thus underground music, by this reasoning, is an important component in an emerging culture of democracy in Indonesia, as it encourages the development of preferences that differ from established norms of society (i.e., mainstream popular music).

Democracy and the Underground

With its exhortation to throw off the chains of previous generations’ assumptions and prohibitions, rock music has always been allied or at least associated with progressive social change and with the most future-oriented social category in modern and modernizing societies: youth. In late 1990s Indonesia, underground rock’s musical critique took many forms, from supernatural representations of evil to Marxist diatribes against global capitalism. Indonesia’s most successful underground bands from that time, such as Betrayer, Cryptical Death, Purgatory, Step Forward, Suckerhead, Tengkorak and Trauma from Jakarta, Cherry Bombshell, Balcony, Burger Kill, Koil, and Puppen from Bandung, Slowdeath from Surabaya, Eternal Madness and Superman Is Dead from Denpasar, and Death Vomit from Yogyakarta, whether or not they chose to make the move to larger commercial music labels, forged distinctive individual styles and produced songs that directly and eloquently addressed the fears, emotions, and aspirations of Indonesian youth at a momentous time. As the topic of democratization in the Muslim world continues to spur passionate debate, these bands and the thousands more like them in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere deserve our serious attention.


Readers interested in more information about 1990s Indonesian underground music can consult the following English-language sources. Unfortunately, since much underground music in Indonesia from this era was recorded with analog equipment and distributed on analog cassettes, it is often not readily accessible in digitized form on the Internet. Happily, Indonesian underground bands from successive generations are far easier to encounter in cyberspace; in addition, many of the groups mentioned in this essay have remained active into the 2000s and 2010s.

Baulch, Emma (1996): «Punks, rastas and headbangers: Bali’s Generation X» in: Inside Indonesiaa 48, [Link].

Baulch, Emma (2007): Making scenes: Reggae, punk, and death metal in 1990s Bali. Durham: Duke University Press.

Pickles, Jo (2000): «Punks for peace: Underground music gives young people back their voice» in: Inside Indonesia 64, [Link].

Taufiqurrahman, M (2009): «Loud and clear» in:
The Jakarta Post, December 19, 2009, [Link].

Tedjasukmana, Jason (2003): «Bandung’s headbangers» in: Time Asia, June 16, 2003, [Link].

Wallach, Jeremy (2003): «‹Goodbye my blind majesty›: Music, language, and politics in the Indonesian underground» in: Global pop, local language. Edited by Harris M. Berger & Michael T. Carroll. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. 53–86.

Wallach, Jeremy (2008): Modern noise, fluid genres: Popular music in Indonesia, 1997-2001. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, [Link].

This text has been published first in the Norient book «Out of the Absurdity of Life». Click on the image to know more.

TunePlus Wordpress Theme