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Various Artists Nonesuch Explorer Series: Indonesia and the South Pacific

The exotic sounds of the gamelan in its seemingly infinite manifestations are the focal point of this second installation of CD reissues of Nonesuch's historic Explorer series. This exhaustive collection features recordings of gamelan orchestras from the far reaches of the Indonesian archipelago, as well as popular music from Tahiti and the South Pacific islands. The original LP releases had a profound influence on Western experimental music when they were first put out in 1967. The music varies widely from the formal, stately court gamelan of Java-with its silky, flowing sounds and unusual melodic forms-to the more frenetically percussive Balinese version. It's an amazingly complex collection, not only because it captures the well-known beauty of gamelan, but also because it reflects its complexity, documenting these myriad co-existing musical traditions on the eve of the homogenizing onslaught of modern mass culture.

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