Sunday, June 7, 2015

RELOOP Liner Notes by Moustapha Spliff

“No words, only a feeling.”

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to start off by talking about desolation. Or perhaps desolation isn’t the right word, I’m probably thinking of morbidity. Or is it despair? Darkness perhaps? Anger? Anguish? Fear? Hatred? Or maybe that often discussed no-man’s land between love and hate, agony and pleasure?

Scratch that.

It’s Jakarta.

It’s my feelings towards this complex and contradictory city that immediately pop into my head every time Maverick’s Reloop is glaring out of my speakers. Not a surprising thing really, considering its silhouette adorns the cover art.

But it’s the sounds...

As I sit in a taxi travelling through the city on a wet Sunday evening with Reloop echoing in my head, all the different (mostly despondent) aspects of this city are reflected through the album’s dark dingy crevasses.

The melancholia inducing sax solos, the sinister synthesizers, the eerie vocal samples, the bass and sub-bass that hint at impending doom and the hard-hitting funk drum breaks all seem to paint a vivid picture of the city’s laughable levels of corruption, its thug-like police force, the non-existent infrastructure, the tear-inducing traffic all run by a political class adhering to a grotesque crony-capitalism system of government that shows complete and utter disdain for its people.

It might not be a pretty picture, but it’s an accurate one as far as I’m concerned.

So why the doom and gloom you may ask?

Both the liner notes you’re reading right now and the brilliant yet dark music you hear on this tape are mere observations. They’re not condemnations, but statements on how this sometimes-gloomy yet always exhilarating city affects our lives. 

We’ve had brilliant indie pop songs by various local bands all putting on a brave face in reaction to the harsh realities of life in Jakarta. Here’s one that fully embraces its grimy underbelly.

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