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Tunes to pump in the van in Jakarta

Tunes to pump in the van in Jakarta

March 15, 2016

Rafaella McDonald & Natasha Gabriella Tontey

Next Wave Festival 2016 artists Rafaella McDonald (VIC) & Natasha Gabriella Tontey (IDN) present Angkot Alien, a bus from Java that tours time, space and dead end GPS routes to arrive in Melbourne for this year’s Festival. Angkot Alien is communal transport: a borderless vehicle in a heavily bordered country. This is Angkot Alien‘s accompanying mixtape.

45 Grave, 'Riboflavin Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Poly-Unsaturated Blood'

Raf: Play this song on your way to the grocery store and think about all the chemicals in the foods we are eating “Riboflavin flavored non-carbonated polyunsaturated blood,” see? it’s catchy! The video clip is amazing.

Tontey: I like how 45 Grave brought their low-budget, camp goth aesthetic complete with funny lyrics to the grocery store. Like us when we’re forced to face the sunlight after not enough time to sleep.

Althea & Donna, 'Uptown Top Ranking'

Tontey: Jamaican music is a big motivator and mood-booster for me. I found this song for the first time on the Trojan British Reggae compliation.

Raf: This is one of our favourite all time songs “see me in m’Benz”, a good line to shout even if you are driving a Hyundai Getz in Melbz.  Recorded by Jamaican teenage singers Althea Forrest and Donna Reid, when they were teenagers in 1977.

The Shaggs, 'Philosophy of the World'

Tontey: The Shaggs were an American all-female rock and outsider music band formed in Fremont, New Hampshire in 1968. They have insufficient skill at playing their instruments, but their combination creates cool weird syncopated music.

Sun Ra, 'Outside the Time Zone'

Tontey: Sun Ra claimed he was once abducted by aliens or that he is an alien, then he began to explore the theme of space on his music and he changed his name to ‘Sun Ra’, a name derived from the god of sun in ancient Egypt.

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez, 'The Block Party'

Raf: This is an essential party song, the film clip is so great! Blue screen sesame street, big earrings, platform sandals covered in stickers, purple glitter sunglasses and hopscotch. We can only dream of where Left Eye would have taken us all if she’d lived.

Tontey: I have imagined meeting Left Eye during an alien abduction somewhere in the outer space.

Van McCoy – “The Hustle”

Raf: This is the unofficial theme song of our project!  Like the artist is literally called Van McCoy. Also the most popular YouTube comment on this song is “We were forced to dance this at school and now I’m addicted to this song.. is that weird?” well, nah, that’s not weird at all… *do the hustle!*

Tontey: Yay! dancing, hustling, and travelling through the time and space.

Barry White, 'Just the Way You Are'

Raf: When Tontey and I first met at KUNCI in Yogyakarta, in response to something that Wok the Rock (curator of Jogja Biennale 2015)  said we both spontaneously started singing “Just the Way You Are” in phony English accents. Tontey, do you remember what Wok said?

Tontey: I can’t remember what Wok said, but he likes to joke and I was quite surprised that Raf was also familiar with this song.

Empat Lima, 'Night rider'

Raf: This is truly a perfect song for night riding. Featuring  Tontey  dancing in the film clip. For me it brings back memories of riding with (Empat Lima band member) Sooji to Kronchong band practice in Jogjakarta, with the instrumends loaded up on our scooters.

Tontey: LOL I forgot I was in the film clip!

Jirapah, 'Chairs and Tables'

Raf: Jirapah are a band in Jakarta! The vocalist is a writer and editor, the bassist and guitarist are teachers, and the drummer and synth player are copywriters. You’ll want to have this song playing as you hit a free run at 4am on the highway.

Tontey: We went to see this band at Messier, a monthly event organised by numbers of young Jakartans. The name is changed every month, according to monthly horoscope and Messier is the name of the star according to Sagittarius month December.

Le Tigre, 'Hot Topic'

Tontey:  This song reminds me of us asking for permission to take photo on the top of the Angkot. When we were in Jakarta we were taking photos at a Angkot bus station, asking the different drivers permission to take photos on top of their vans. They were entertained by us, and were taking photos of us taking photos. It was so hot on top of the vans, we burned our hands climbing up.

Raf: This song. is. so good. Pump this in a Jakarta traffic jam. So many roads and so much opinion. So much bullshit to give in to. So many rules and so much opinion. So much bullshit but we won’t give in.” It makes me think about the energy that was around just at the turn of the millennium when a wave of feminists were connecting via early internet and just generally being wild and cool and queer

Plus this track is like totally named for the US alternative mall-core chain Hot Topic so I hope you’re wearing some bright pink punky studs or a Ramones t-shirt when this track comes on…

Future Collective, 'Delusion of the Dream'

Raf: Another great band from Jakarta, its a very smooth tune, a very cool track to play to chill out when you feel the road rage coming on!

Tontey: Delusion of the Dream, it’s like the malls in Jakarta hahaha.

Raf
: Oh yeh! There is a mall in Jakarta, where every hour an elaborate cuckoo clock show happens, but it is not like normal cuckoo clock. There are puppets disguised in the columns and marble surfaces around the clock, so on the hour the columns break open and these creepy figures emerge to dance to the song and then go back behind the columns at the end like *nothing ever happened*. They live in the mall at night!

Tontey: Yeah! For myself, the Cuckoo clock in Plaza Senayan reflected the childhood era of most children in Jakarta, in 90s there were not so many malls built around the city, so Plaza Senayan was a popular destination for youth to hang around the cuckoo clock, also because the location is near to Parkir Timur Senayan which was very hype at the moment.

The sound of the cuckoo clock sounds like childhood dream to me, I remember my first memorable experience going to the cinema, entering the door behind the clock.

I remember how happy I was every time I went to Plaza Senayan, watching the cuckoo clock. As a Jakartan, I have such an attachment to this mall, Mum often take me there on the weekend whilst her office is in the same area, every time I would finish my swimming or English course, I woud often wait for Mum to come home together. LOL.

Black Harmony, 'Don’t Let it Get to Your Head' 

Raf: I think Tontey was playing Black Harmony at a party at Mes56 one night of the Yogyakarta Biennale .

Tontey: Yeah! As I mentioned earlier, I really like Jamaican music: reggae, ska, rocksteady, dancehall. Reggae songs can often seem imbued with power or spirituality, thanks to the gravitas of their social and religious messages, combined with the cultural specificity of the music. Though Black Harmony, a girl duo from Northwestern Uganda, is a later adaptation of reggae, they are still an important part of the movement.

Read more on Rafaella and Tontey’s project, Angkot Alien here.

Rafaella McDonald and Natasha Tontey create immersive audience experiences infused with the desire to question customs of their local communities, cultures and their own political values.

McDonald has exhibited in Australia at the NGV Ian Potter, Shepparton Art Museum and Fort Delta in Melbourne. Tontey has presented work at LIMINAL (Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta Indonesia 2015), Router Art Project (Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia 2015), and in 2015 she participated in the Koganecho Bazaar Residency Programme in Yokohama, Japan. McDonald completed her Honours in Fine Art at the VCA in 2015 and Tontey completed studies in Visual Communication Design at Pelita Harapan University in 2011.