The Speedofsound Mag Team recently (partially) gathered to assemble our current faves from the local music scene – ranging from folk ballads to heartwrenching melodic punk to chill R&B. Sit back and enjoy the rest of the week with our picks.

Claudia, “Ikat Aku Di Tulang Belikatmu” by Sal Priadi: It’s not every day that you’d find a chart-topping orchestral folk ballad (that’s what the singer-songwriter called his work) in Indonesia. Mixing violin-heavy orchestral production with Javanese folk elements, mystical stage performance, smooth chord progression, and lyrics filled with unusual metaphors (“ikat aku di tulang belikatmu” directly translates to “tie me to your shoulder blades” – an unusual metaphor for “I don’t want us to separate, even if we can’t see each other eye-to-eye”), Sal Priadi takes ballads and Indonesian folk music to a new level. The song itself is a rather illicit take on Priadi’s father’s death that doesn’t obviously depict grief at the first listen – it is a remarkable account of how someone could turn something so personal into a work of art the general public can enjoy.

Mekel, “Call on U” by Emir Hermono feat. Rayssa Dynta:
It’s been awhile since I last heard a proper local RnB song, and Emir Hermono didn’t disappoint at all. “Call on U” is a collaboration single between Emir Hermono with indie pop singer Rayssa Dynta, who back then was a newcomer to the local music scene. The song itself is a simple, three-minute RnB song filled with chilling beats, added with a touch of lo-fi, which talks about a person who tried to contact someone they desired, but didn’t receive any response for unknown reasons. “Call on U” gives such a melodramatic, yet hollow tone to the listeners, with the theme and lyrics about unrequited love potentially hooking listeners who relate with the song. If you wanted to listen to a song about unrequited love, this song might be a go-to song for you to listen to.

Nan, “Biar” by Bilal Indrajaya:
This is the first song I heard by Bilal and I’ve been captivated by its melody since the first time I heard it. ‘Biar’ is an emotional debut song based on Bilal’s own experience with his ex-girlfriend. It’s about what he felt when he was with his ex, and how the feeling still remains in his memory. It also tells the story of how his ex had taught him how he should behave when she wasn’t with him anymore, but unfortunately, it didn’t make the breakup any less sad than it was for Bilal. Despite the figurative lyrics of this song, the melancholic melody really fits the story that Bilal is trying to tell us about. The mix between the sounds of a piano, an acoustic guitar and a little bit of electric guitar brings the nostalgic feeling of Indonesian 90s pop rock (e.g. DEWA19). Such a sad, romantic song that doesn’t feel whiny at all. I only have one word for the song: beautiful.

Riefan, “Selamanya” by Yeahwhatever:
Since the day I found this band on social media, I’ve taken an interest in finding out more about their music and diving into their songs. There is one song by this band that’s really special to me, which is titled “Selamanya”. This is the only song that uses Bahasa Indonesia in their EP, an energetic punk rock song with a short duration and one-liner styled lyrics (a melodic punk signature). This song is all about waiting, waiting for someone very special, the one who will never be forgotten, forever. This track consists of romantic lyrics and is dominated by very tight guitar riffs combined with high tempo drum beats and treble from the bass. In addition to that, the vocal harmonies make the song sounds great. So, if you’re ready to wait for someone special, this song should be in your playlist.

Pat, “Suara Dunia” by Sandrayati Fay: Since I listened to Sandrayati Fay’s “Suara Dunia,” I see the world around me with a different light. Fay recorded the video for this song at Bali’s Tegalalang rice field—her microphone taking all the natural noise, like the wind and the chirps of birds. While writing this song, she’s inspired by the 13-year struggle of the Mollo people against marble mining companies in Nusa Tenggara Timur. The song is everything I’ve been taught about Indonesia as a thriving place for natural resources and the people who choose to exploit it in unsustainable ways. Fay gives us a reminder that there’s only one Mother Earth and one chance to maintain a good relationship with her. “Ingatlah, kita juga suara dunia” (“remember, we’re also the voice of the Earth”)—that line echoes with me whenever I see the trash heaps of North Jakarta or the mountains of Central Java.

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