Written for Sounds From the Corner
Let me tell you about a show that leaves emotional footprints.
Lights were off.
Gerald Situmorang appeared from the side of the stage, quietly sat down, crossed his legs, showered by white – polite spotlight, started the show with the most elegant way you could think of. The big picture was pretty thorough in my head until today: the thick, concealed excitement on the air, anxiety among people – including yours truly – orchestrating expectation VS reality.
When Cholil Mahmud threw away first lines of Sebelah Mata, I began to find my own clarity while dealing with overwhelming empathy that I have for these bands on stage. I looked around briefly, irresistible sing-alongs decorated the whole venue. Nostalgic coherence: I retraced moments when I first listened to Sebelah Mata years ago. Such a cordial crescendo as well, ERK’s minimalist yet traditional approach gained artillery of sound and energy from Barasuara
My first instinct of scrutiny that I spotted during the performance was the seamless transition. Both bands fully acknowledged and embraced each other’s identity, allowing the audience time to boil down definitions and euphoria into exact reactions. To deliver even more intense synergy, the bands wrote some transitional pieces between songs (some of them sounded like Pandai Besi tho) to carefully guide the audience, to understand more what is happening on stage and in the same time dropped surprises. They were not trying to conquer each other’s songs, instead their characters coexisted tactfully.
It’s not that complicated to elaborate the word ‘collaboration’ on the conceptual level, but when you put two bands with very distinct approaches, you have to consider one word, which is ‘balance’. ERK’s Cholil mentioned the fact that Barasuara hasn’t released anything so far, so there is no collective understanding of the songs structurally. As I mentioned before, the only thing that people have digested so far from Barasuara is digital debris (including our SFTC session with them), and hazy press coverage. So it was a tricky bet that they have to risk.
But how foreign is Barasuara in the front of the audience? The distance didn’t stop the crowd to kickstarted Api & Lentera without any instruction from the band, leaving the band surprised with awe. On the other hand, ERK is being classic ERK: minimalist, deadly and extremely sentimental. Their songs are robust enough to conquer the crowd with zero gimmicks.
They took the right path: both bands didn’t push experiments that potentially harm the original architecture, but smartly embedded vibrancy towards the songs and put what I called “toppings” in the right place. They ended the show majestically repeating the spell “Pasar Bisa Diciptakan”, which resonated as millennials’ melodious manifesto.
There were many discussions around this particular performance, for many people it was quite clear that there was a torch being passed, collective nods among people. Sounds from the Corner is proud to archive this performance, ladies and gentlemen: Efek Rumah Kaca X Barasuara for Artwarding Night. Enjoy! – Teguh Wicaksono