From The Desk Of El Perro Del Mar: Tari Topeng (Red Mask Dance)

A visit to a musical instrument museum with her toddler son inspired El Perro del Mar’s Sarah Assbring to recalibrate her pop sensibilities and work on what would become KoKoro. It was a “please-touch” museum where they could play the instruments, and Assbring fell in love with the percussion used in Indonesian gamelan music, and with harps from Asia and Africa. KoKoro looks outward, both musically and lyrically, to the world, and rather than a tender clinch, it’s a wholehearted bear hug of global pop sounds. Assbring will be guest editing all week. Read our new feature on her.


Assbring: When starting working on KoKoro, I was at first set on gamelan music: an ensemble of percussive instruments originating from Indonesia. I love the almost crazy mix of percussion and harmony, beat and melody played together in weird synchronicity, that gamelan music is. It’s beautiful, mantralike and brutal at the same time. This special music put together with the traditional dance Topeng gives it an even more surreal feeling, but it’s so good! I’m crazy about it. After having given it some research, I realized it was too complicated for me to try and learn on my own, and so I realized there is great pop from Indonesia as well, but this piece has stayed in my mind.

Video after the jump.