Environmental and Cultural Preservation in .Feast’s ‘Tarian Penghancur Raya’

By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |

.Feast recently released their latest single from their upcoming album “Membangun dan Menghancurkan” (“Build and Destroy”)—the mysterious, powerful “Tarian Penghancur Raya” (“The Majesty-Destroying Dance”). In this single we see .Feast returning to their heavier rock roots, after their foray to a more electronically-influenced rock in their previous single and EP. “Tarian Penghancur Raya” not only delivers a sound that entices and intrigues their audience, but it also reminds their audience that the issues of cultural and environmental preservation are interconnected.

In “Tarian Penghancur Raya,” .Feast adds in the gamelan to their sound. If we were to compare this to their contemporaries like Alffy Rev and Dipha Barus, who try super hard to make gamelan fit into popular/Western music’s diatonic scale, .Feast preserves Javanese gamelan’s slendro pentatonic scale and lets the gamelan take the central stage by making it the first sound we recognize in the song. Behind the gamelan are sounds of deep drums and an eerie synth background reminds us to earlier .Feast songs that ooze a certain level of mystery and classic rock influences, like “Tel Aviv” from Multiverses.

Lyrically, this might be a new .Feast song that aligns heavily with a cause I believe in. After being disappointed with their previous single (being a woman in tech really builds the value I have about technology for the good of humanity), I salute .Feast’s awareness of the fact that the preservation of indigenous cultures is deeply interconnected to environmental efforts in a country like Indonesia. Even their epigraph to the lyric video, “Semua yang asri hancur, semua yang asli luntur,” (“Every natural beauty destroyed; every authenticity fades”), supports this argument. Baskara Putra, .Feast’s frontman, continue to draw a laundry list of causes and effects: “Bank, ahli industri, teknologi, etnografi, produksi menggurui penghuni asli” (“Banks, technology/ethnography/production experts dumbing down indigenous residents”). As the song strays away from its gamelan beginnings towards a more hard rock sound, the lyrics turn eerier; some examples include “Kerja bakti menyusun neraka / kita miliki bahan bakarnya / perihal waktu tunggu datangnya O_2 dijual oleh negara” (“Working together constructing hell / we have the fuel / while waiting for the time when the state sells our oxygen”) and “Pun pepohonan tak berkuasa lawan kebijakan yang bertamasya” (“Even the trees can’t fight the policies having a picnic”).

The song ends with a hypnotic guitar solo by Rayhan Noor and a background sound of a person coughing. At the end of the song, everything will make sense of what the sounds are supposed to represent—the gamelan, the synths, the drums, the guitars, the coughing. The postscript of the lyric video brings awareness of Tari Gandrung, a form of traditional dance condemned by a religious community organization due to its “immorality.” Which makes us listeners think: to what extent is cultural preservation environmental preservation? They are definitely not the same thing, but “Tarian Penghancur Raya” definitely reminds us that they are interconnected.

Listen to .Feast here:

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