Aris Setyawan
Aris Setyawan
Posted underWriting

​I don’t know who start this #30daymusicchallenge campaign, but i think this is good. So, first time i found it in twitter, without a doubt i decided to join it, start to share my daily music playlist. 

It is good due to fact that our social media nowadays has been full with that hate speech information, the sectarian and racism tweet caused by “Pilkada” political drive. Mostly it is a hoax and so many people believe it without questioning the validity of the information. In my opinion, by sharing what kind of music we like, it is a form of resistance. We fought those stupidity caused by political drive. We spread positive things.

I’m already in my seventeenth days now. If you want to take a look at some of my other music playlist, feel free to scroll my twitter timeline at @arissetyawan.

Oh, I’ve decided to write in english for the purpose of future learning. Who knows next year i could continue my master studies, i need to write that academic writing, so i should start to practice now. Or, I considered that next year i should try to send my writing to several media with english content.

Pardon me for my bad english. Many grammatical error here and there. For future learning, grammar critics are welcomed.


#30daymusicchallenge Day 10: A song that makes you sad.

Edward Elgar – Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85.

There’s common belief in our musical life that ‘major’ key is representation of happiness while in the other hand ‘minor’ key stand for sadness.

The fact is, some studies found that dichotomy is a myth. Some neuroscience study found that major or minor keys doesn’t particularly affect our emotion. Our emotional reactions to keys are informed by our cultural preconceptions. The Western musical canon has always attached sentiment and gravity to minor keys, so we are preconditioned to indulge those notes with more emotion and sensibility.

Although i personally have known that fact, it is pretty hard to avoid the precondition deep inside my subconscious. So, generally i always think minor is sad.

Based on that subconscious precondition, my emotion suddenly changed to be sad and gloomy when for the first time i heard “Cello Concerto In E Minor Op. 85” composed by english composer Edward Elgar. The piece was composed by Elgar during the summer of 1919. It is almost 100 years ago. The work has four movements. The Cello Concerto is for the most part contemplative and elegiac.

Elgar composed it in the aftermath of the First World War. Maybe, that’s why the sadness is so intense due to the context of post-war world. I used to think that maybe some member of Canadian post-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor is Elgar’s aficionado, and this concerto influence them to compose twenty minute post-apocalyptic-dystopian post-rock masterpiece.

I always love cello, especially when the cellist is female. Sol Gabbeta, the concert master or soloist of this piece was marvelous. Look at her expression! There’s something spiritual and transcendent on the way she play that bow. Feels like the end is near.


#30daymusicchallenge Day 11: A song that never get you tired of.

Radiohead – Weird Fishes/Arpeggi

As a proud Radiohead fan, of course i never get tired of any songs from their discography, except Pablo Honey, the debut i never heard, sorry “Creep” admirer. But, this single from “In Rainbows” album is special coz i take it as my personal “curhat”.

Whether the lyric or music arrangement, everytime i listening “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”, it is always makes me questioning everything i’ve done in my life. 

Yorke’s lyric (or poetry) is subtle yet blatant. Feels like we read one of Jules Verne sci-fi. He use the metaphor such a “in the deepest ocean / the bottom of the sea” to mention educational institution (Oxford?), and “Your eyes / They turn me” to criticize the omnipotent educational system. Just like God who have great power called faith, occasionally, education could turn you, homogenized you!

Moreover, Yorke questioning his free-will “Why should I stay here Why should I stay?”. I take it personally as my skeptic tool then: do i really need educational institution to broaden my knowledge and world-view? Or those institution is such a darkest deepest ocean that institutionalized me, and narrowing my perspective.

The music arrangement also an exquisite in term of music theory. I don’t want to talk about catchy groovy Selway’s drum beat, monotonous 4/4 typical drumming beat–if we compare it with 5/4 from  15 Steps. Instead, their chord progression is more interesting.

The reason why they put “Arpeggi” after “Weird Fishes” as the title is something technical. Originated from an arpeggio, a type of “broken chord” where the notes comprising a chord are played or sung in a rising or descending order. That arpeggio works. It is build the pressure of deepest ocean, the darkest world, part of earth where sunlight cannot reach. Place where weird fishes produce their own light in a tiny bulb on their head to lure tiny fish and eat them.

Sounds like big academia or professor in big educational institutions huh? With their so-called academia grandiose try to lure new students with the promise of “brighter academia future”, but in fact, sometime it’s all just about their own agenda. Those academia status quo will eat you, poor tiny fish.


#30daymusicchallenge Day 12: A song of your preteen years.

Susan & Ria Enes – Susan Punya Cita-Cita  

I think, this two songs are the most notably known anthem for Indonesian who spent their preteen at 90s: “Si Komo Lewat” by Kak Seto, and “Susan Punya Cita-Cita” by Susan & Ria Enes. The latter is what i want to talk about.

Back then. We live in a simulacra. The new order has a power to control every aspect of our life. The regime have this “pembangunanisme” (Developmentalism?) agenda. “Cita-cita” (future goal) is mandatory for kids, and for the purpose of development, you’re a good kids if you have a “cita-cita” to be doctor, engineer, architect, and wealthy high class what Susan called kongmelarat, ups, konglomerat (conglomerate). 

You set your “cita-cita” as philosopher? Leftist artist? Social science academia? Whoaaa, hold on, you better stop it now kiddo! It has nothing to support our developmentalism agenda.

Sounds like Susan–the cute smiling doll–and Ria Enes–the puppet master try to glorify new order pembangunanisme huh? But i think, deep inside, use Zizek psychoanalysis as analytical tool, i’m considering to conclude that Ria Enes try to talk something else rather that “pembangunanisme” future goals.

By using Susan as her spokesperson,  Enes try to challenge the dictator: “cita-citaku ingin jadi presiden” (my future goal is, i want to be president). Without a doubt, this line is something subversive due to the fact that Soeharto has been in power for almost 30 years. And probably, this subversive line is such a pain in the arse for the dictator, but he cannot do anything coz the popularity of the artists: Indonesian people admire and adore them.

For the next lines, Susan mocks conglomerate when she deliberately make a mistake of mentioning “konglomerat” as “kong-melarat”. Originated from Javanese, melarat is “miskin” in bahasa (poor). Seems that she want us–90s kiddo–put an attention to the caste of Indonesian society. When hunger and slum so “melarat” they stay hungry to the death, while at the same time the middle-high-class peoples (mostly who has a business with the dictator or the family) living their wealthy “konglomerat” life.

Thank you Susan. For that happily yet subversive preteen. At least for me.


#30daymusicchallenge Day 13: One of your favourite 70s song.

Led Zeppelin – Moby Dick.

Actually it was released one year earlier from the 70s. The instrumental track was featured at second ‘untitled’ Led Zeppelin album (known as Led Zeppelin II). But, it was released at october 1969. No internet, no spotify, no youtube, no torrent. Let assume that the music need 2-3 month to spread widely all across the world. And, voila, it is 70s now.

I used to think that Robert Plant, after introduce Bonham, will going to backstage or stand at the side wing, sip his whisky, lit his cigarette, and watching his bandmate turn into powerful trio.

The music backbone based on twelve bar drop d-blues riff played by Page and Jones. While Bonzo at his set is such a singer for this song. He singing with his drumset.

I remember one phrase from “Whiplash” movie. The quote with the picture of legendary American jazz drummer Buddy Rich. The quote said: ” IF YOU DON’T HAVE ABILITY, YOU WIND UP PLAYING IN A ROCK BAND.” It’s kinda sarcastic-cynical way to mocks rock music. Jazz is for skilled musician due to the fact that sometimes the improvisation is pretty hard. On the contrary, rock is for unskilled musician due to it’s simple 4/4 beat added with 2-3 min solo guitar to make it looked more sophisticated.

That’s not how things work in music. Every genre has it’s own aesthetic. That’s why you can’t force every musician to be as skilled as you dear jazz maestro.

Back to Moby Dick. In the name of rock, Bonzo didn’t need to understand paradiddle or triplets or any kind of rhythm techniques. He just need to beat that drum harder, faster, stronger. Rock is about plethora of delight. That’s why Bonzo put that big gong cymbal behind.

As a drum player. I admire Bonzo. Not in the technical drumming technique thing. Like i said before, it’s all about plethora of delight. The only question is: how come he could beat every tune perfectly with that drunk face? I don’t think he is sober when he playing. Take a look at the video! You’ll know what i mean. If you look closely to the background you’ll see Terrence Fletcher yell to Bonzo “Faster! Fastsr! Keep playing! Keep playing!”.

Most the time, after hit 3-4 min of solo drum, he will throw his sticks to the audience. And playing with bare hand. Now, he’s a virtuoso percussionist. He beat that snare, tom, and cymbal with the bare hand just like the way percussionist playing bongo or conga. It’s like sacred ritual. Bonham is ready to sacrifice his blood in the name of rock. Sometime he drawing blood while act his solo. Something i said before that’s why i admire him. I will think twice before beat that hard sharp cymbal with bare hand. Bonzo, he never think twice. 

Furthermore, i think Bonzo could be considered as a pioneer of this bare hand drumming technique. At the modern time, several drummer–mostly in jazz scene–playing this technique too. For instance, Dave Weckl and Benny Greb. Both drummer love to beat their set as percussion in some performance. And both playing with the gentle pressure, it is so good in term of dynamic, timbre, and tune colour. While Bonzo play it rough, the sound colour sometime feels so raw. But, that’s rock. Rough, hard, full of blood. Literally if we remember how Bonzo drawing blood.

Too bad he’s gone. At his death, still, it’s all about plethora of delight. He died after twelve or more shot of Vodka. He died while fall asleep, choked by his own vomit. 

His drumming character is to strong. No successor could replace this charismatic drummer. No other option for three bandmate, so they decide to disbanded.


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