Now I Know

New Music for Gamelan and Winds

Track Listing

1. Singa Edan (trad. arr. Gamelan Padhang Moncar) 5:22

2. The Churning of the Sea (I Wayan Gde Yudane) 5:46

3. Denpasar Moon (arr. Gareth Farr) 4:05

4. Cast Away* (I Wayan Gde Yudane) 4:42

5. Now I Know* (Chris Watson) 6:32

6. Rona e te Marama* (Gareth Farr) 6:36

7. Must be together (Budi S. Putra) 3:21

8. Not-or-Nis (Judith Exley) 4:26

Polish Folk Dances (Jack Body) 9:12

9. Hucul 3:45

10. Medley 5:34

11. Run Away* (I Wayan Gde Yudane) 3:34

12. Ullalim (Anton Killin) 2:03

13. Metal and Glass Machine Music (Daniel Beban) 5:24

14. Tabuh Sepuluh (Dody Ekagustdiman) 3:14


All but two of the works recorded here were especially composed for performance at the 12th Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival in July 2007 by the Javanese and Balinese gamelan based at the New Zealand School of Music, Wellington.


* These compositions were commissioned with funding from Creative NZ.

Producer: Jack Body
Notes: Jo Hilder
Design and layout: Claire Cooke
Recording and mastering: Daniel Beban

Notes on composers


Chris Watson is a prize-winning Wellington composer whose music has enjoyed premieres by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Stroma and 175 East amongst others. He was appointed Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago for 2007-8.

Gareth Farr is a well-known NZ composer and percussionist, whose works have been commissioned and performed widely by leading ensembles such as the NZSO, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Wellington Sinfonia, and the NZ String Quartet. His work ranges from musical theatre to unique combinations of full symphony orchestra with Maori performers or with gamelan.

Budi Putra is a graduate of the Performing Arts Academy in Surakarta, Java, and the director of Gamelan Padhang Moncar. He is employed by the Indonesian Embassy of Wellington.

Judith Exley is a flute teacher who studied ethnomusicology with Allan Thomas and composition with Jack Body, Ross Harris and David Farquhar at Victoria University of Wellington. She is a founding member of Gamelan Padhang Moncar.

Jack Body is an Associate Professor of Music at the NZ School of Music, manager of Gamelan Padhang Moncar, and a prominent New Zealand composer. The music and cultures of Asia, particularly Indonesia, have been strong influences on his compositions.

I Wayan Gde Yudane is a leading Balinese composer. Now resident in Wellington, he has produced works for concert performance, theatre, sound installations, and film. He is the co-director of Gamelan Taniwha Jaya.

Anton Killin studied philosophy at Victoria University and music composition at the New Zealand School of Music. His interests include contemporary art music, sonic art, rock, experimental music, and traditional world music, especially gamelan.

Daniel Beban is a guitarist, composer and sound engineer living in Wellington. He performs regularly in a number of different groups and is particularly interested in environmental field recording.

Dody Ekagustdiman is a renowned performer of traditional music of West Java. From 1992-94 he studied composition at the Musik Hochscule, Freiburg, on a DAAD Scholarship. Since 1995 he has lectured at the Teachers University (IKIP), Bandung. In 2003 Dody was artist in residence for two months at the School of Music, Victoria University.


Liner Notes on each piece

1. Singa Edan Traditional, arr. Gamelan Padhang Moncar

Andrzej Nowicki, clarinet
Budi Putra, Clare Tattersall, voices

The genesis of this piece was a ‘sticky situation’, when we turned up to perform in Jakarta to find only a slendro gamelan available, when our prepared repertoire was for pelog instruments! Our solution was to play a classic lancaran, Singa Neba (“pouncing lion”), with Andrzej improvising on clarinet, and Yudane creating some Balinese kotekan interlocking patterns. Singa Edan, meaning “crazy lion”, is a play on the original title.

2. The Churning of the Sea I Wayan Gde Yudane

Richard Robertshawe, baritone saxophone

This piece focuses on extending minimalist principles, pitch and rhythm, as well as building and resolving tension through the interlocking kotekan patterns. The baritone saxophone improvises nervous tremoli suggestive of earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones, as in Ketut Yuliarsa’s poem:

The ocean churns
spilling its depth out
with tremendous waves
revealed to the light of day.

3. Denpasar Moon Colin Bass aka Sabah Habas Mustapha arr. Gareth Farr

Clare Tattersall, voice
Anton Killin, electric bass

This is an arrangement for Javanese gamelan of a song by a British musician, made famous in Indonesia by its use in a Sony ad featuring the Filipino singer, Maribeth, in 1993. It subsequently became a major hit in Indonesia and has been covered by many singers in different musical styles and languages, including the kroncong diva Waldjinah, who sang this with us in the Yogyakarta festival performance, in Javanese. (G.F.)

4. Cast Away I Wayan Gde Yudane

Nell Thomas, flute

This piece uses various rhythms, treating the theme as a contrapuntal rhythmic idea. The instruments play interlocking rhythms, 3 against 4. . It is inspired by Ketut Yuliarsa’s poem:

Cast away on a foreign shore
trampling the grass of mystery
entwined the endless
dream of mine

5. Now I Know Chris Watson

Andrzej Nowicki, clarinet

The title, Now I Know, is a word play on my confusion - was Andrzej, the soloist’s surname Knowicki, or Nowicki? I am grateful to Jack Body for requesting the work and taking me on a detour outside my comfort zone, into a world of communal music making and collaboration. Thanks also to Andrzej for his willingness to explore the limits of the de-tuned clarinet, and to Gareth Farr and Yudane for putting together the opening section for drums. (C.W.)

6. Rona e te Marama Gareth Farr

Rona e te Marama was written for a collaboration between dancer Didik Nini Thowok, and Gamelans Taniwha Jaya and Padhang Moncar. In the traditional Maori story, Rona goes out one night to fetch water. As she walks through the bush the moon disappears behind a cloud and in the darkness Rona trips over a tree root. She curses the moon for making her fall. In retaliation the moon tries to pull Rona up into the sky. Rona grabs hold of a small shrub but the moon is too strong for her. Ever since, the story goes, if you look at the full moon you can see Rona there, still clutching the shrub.

The unusual combination of Balinese and Javanese gamelan in this piece contrasts the different tuning systems which are generally thought to be incompatible. (G.F)

7. Must be together Budi S. Putra

This piece was inspired by a desire to bring the concept of “kebersamaan” (togetherness). The members of Gamelan Padhang Moncar come from different musical and non-musical backgrounds. This is a simple, easy-to-play piece, which requires playing together in a fast tempo. (B.S.P.)

8. Not-or-Nis Judith Exley

Clare Tattersall, voice

This piece uses material from a piano piece I concurrently composed for Ross Carey, which was based on bird song. I enjoyed the challenge of having to transfer pianistic ideas onto a set of instruments with vastly different voices. To keep true to the thematic material I added the lyrics (with apologies to Shakespeare). (J.E.)

An old bird is singing in a gnarled ngaio tree
Willow, willow, willow
With feathers all ruffled, crying out to the sea
Oh willow, willow, no willow
Not me.

The waves’ frothing fingers surge up the bay
Oh willow, willow, willow
As the bird huddles sadly soaked in salt spray
Oh willow, willow, no, willow
Oh. Not me.

9-10. Polish Folk Dances Jack Body



Andrzej Nowicki, clarinet 1
Pippa Strom, clarinet 2
Richard Robertshawe, baritone saxophone

This piece was written in collaboration with Andrzej Nowicki, a NZSM student who dances with a Polish folk group in Wellington. The clarinet carries the dance tunes in both movements, with a second clarinet and a baritone saxophone joining in the second. The gamelan accompaniment moves between slendro and pelog, suggesting a ‘bent’ version of Western harmony. (J.B.)

11. Run Away I Wayan Gde Yudane

Richard Robertshawe, baritone saxophone
Andrzej Nowicki, clarinet
Gareth Farr, percussion

The combination of Javanese gamelan, saxophone and breathy clarinet gives this work an eerie quality. A note row is manipulated through inversion, retrograde and retrograde inversions. I also modified the segmentation techniques of the Javanese form, lancaran, in order to create a series of ostinato effects. (W.Y.)

12. Ullalim Anton Killin

Benicio Sokkong, recorded voice

This excerpt is from a work for Javanese Gamelan based on a transcription of Benicio Sokkong’s singing of a fragment of the Ullalim epic of the Kalinga, northern Philippines. My composition employs fragmentation, canon, and traditional Javanese motifs, bridging the music of Indonesia, the Philippines, and the West. (A.K.)

13. Metal and Glass Machine Music Daniel Beban

This piece resulted from meeting Thai glass harp virtuoso Weeraphong Thaweesak. Originally conceived as a trio for Thaweesak and two slenthem, it was rewritten for 10 players each with 3 wine glasses. The piece highlights the beating and pulsing produced by combining slendro and pelog tuning systems, unorthodox playing techniques (bowing and harmonics) and a rhythmic system built on groups of 5 and 7. These sounds are echoed by the glasses. (D.B.)

14. Tabuh Sepuluh Dody Ekagustdiman

Tabuh Sepuluh (Ten Tones) was composed for Gamelan Padhang Moncar during the composer’s residency at Victoria University. Using both slendro and pelog tuning systems provides the ten different pitches indicated by the title. This short work is characterised by dense, complex harmonies, and occasional asymmetrical rhythms.



Budi S. Putra (director, Gamelan Padhang Moncar)

I Wayan Gde Yudane (co-director, Gamelan Taniwha Jaya)

Gareth Farr (co-director, Gamelan Taniwha Jaya)

Jack Body, Marie Direen, Judith Exley, Jo Hilder, Mike Jones, Anton Killin, Andrzej Nowicki, Catherine Robertshawe, Richard Robertshawe, Greg Street, Pippa Ström, Svenda Ström, Clare Tattersall, Nell Thomas