Naga is the latest release for Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya. It features new music for Javanese and Balinese gamelan from our 2013 tour to Indonesia: works by Gareth Farr, Jack Hooker, Briar Prastiti, Megan Collins, Jason Erskine, Tristan Carter, Annika Naschitzki, and Anton Killin.

Released by Rattle Records.

Available through Bandcamp, SOUNZ and iTunes.





Naga is a new album of contemporary compositions for the New Zealand School of Music gamelan orchestras, Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya. (mp3 and flac versions also available).

Stephanie Cairns, Tristan Carter, Jason Erskine, Carina Esguerra, Jo Hilder, Jack Hooker, Michael Jones, Anton Killin, Helen O’Rourke, Briar Prastiti, Greg Street, Pippa Strom, Clare Tattersall

Performing in Gamelan Padhang Moncar only
Marie Direen, Judith Exley, Alisa Hogan, Hayden Isaac, Annika Naschitzki, Budi Putra

Performing in Gamelan Taniwha Jaya only
Gareth Farr, Svenda Strom

Annika Naschitzki (musical saw)
Tristan Carter (violin)
Stephanie Cairns (accordion)
Briar Prastiti (vocals)

RAT-D045 (April, 2014)

Gamelans Padhang Moncar and Taniwha Jaya acknowledge the support of the New Zealand School of Music, and thank APRA for their generous support.

Recording: Jason Erskine
Mixing: Steve Garden and Jack Body
Production: Jack Body
Design: UnkleFranc

New music for gamelan

01: Headrush (5:05)
02: Clockwork Dancer (5:42)
03: Green River (7:18)
04: Padhasapa (7:08)
05: Lagu Improvisasi (2:58)
06: Tinggal (6:26)
07: De la Noche, De la Muerte (7:43)
08: Two Transcriptions (6:24)
08: From Shadows (9:33)
10: SZUNN (6:47)
11: Naga (9:35)
12: Delirious Euphoria (8:00)
13: Volcano Song (2:58)

Total playing time  (85:37)


Composer: Gareth Farr
This piece was created to extend the performance skills within the group. Besides exploiting the characteristic fast interlocking figurations (kotekan), the piece features the reong, comprising a row of pot-gongs. The title alludes to the experience of rehearsing cross-legged for hours, the composer remarking, “Often I get up at the end of a rehearsal and find my legs and brain no longer work!”

Clockwork Dancer
Composer: Briar Prastiti
Combining slendro and pelog tunings, this composition incorporates voice and non-gamelan instruments such as violin and musical saw. The quirky and energetic rhythms evoke images of mechanical ‘clockwork’ dancing.

Green River
Composer: Jack Hooker
The first section of Green River is based on a melody from “Take Away These Early Grave Blues”, a track by Canadian band A Silver Mt. Zion. The second section is quieter and more contemplative, and features vocals, violin and rebab.

Composer: Jason Erskine
An arrangement of a work for solo koto by Ravi Shankar, which featured on his recording ”East Greets East”.

Lagu Improvisasi
Composer: Anton Killin
This ‘directed improvisation’ for is for both pelog and slendro Javanese gamelan with accordion. Together, the accordion, kenong (here rubbed rather than struck) and rebab provide the ground of the soundscape, while the conductor’s movements direct the density and dynamics of improvised gamelan sounds, punctuated by shimmering cadences. The title suggests a kind of ‘anti-song’.

Composer: Megan Collins
This work is a dance-mix version of Gong Keybar, the ‘hard core’ style of the gamelan world. Tinggal, which means ‘to remain, to stay behind’ in Indonesian, was the composer’s response to being unable to join her friends on their July 2013 tour to Java and Bali.

De la Noche, De la Muerte 
(Of Night, Of Death)  Composer: Briar Prastiti
This work features a small pelog Javanese ensemble with voice and violin. Two demung play interlocking rhythms in a style typical of Balinese gamelan; the slow tempo and low register however create a haunting layer of sound underneath the higher vocals, rebab and violin. The lyrics are by the composer.

Two Transcriptions
Composer: Anton Killin
i. Homage to Béla
ii. Saw and Canon
Two Transcriptions combines two ‘snapshots’ from Western music repertoire, transcribed for gamelan: a “Peasant Song” by Bartók, and a 16th century canon, the latter featuring the haunting sound of a musical saw.

From Shadows
Composer: Anton Killin
From Shadows contrasts improvised cadenzas (ugal, kendang, violin) with sparse, glistening melodies on the one hand, and dense kotekan sections on the other, incorporating rhythmic and temporal twists and turns characteristic of Gong Kebyar repertoire.

Composer: Jack Hooker
SZUNN is partially based on the track “Mladic”, by Canadian collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a track that has wide dynamic shifts, from very soft and contemplative to hugely loud and abrasive, characteristics also found in Balinese Gamelan.

Composer: Tristan Carter
This piece incorporates meditative and repetitive qualities, together with themes of instability and asymmetry. The fluid string lines snake around the gamelan’s precise tones, subverting the listener’s perceptions. The Naga is the Indonesian snake-like dragon, whose carved image invariably rests on the crossbeam from which gamelan gongs hang.

Delirious Euphoria
Composer: Briar Prastiti
This piece reflects the composer’s joy, the ‘delirious euphoria’ experienced when playing fast Balinese kotekan, and from the pleasure of the social interaction of gamelan performance.

Volcano song
Composer: Annika Naschitski
Both New Zealand and Indonesia see their landscapes (and sometimes their fates) shaped and characterised by volcanoes. Volcano Song is inspired by this commonality. This short piece takes the listener through a soft Plain, up rough Rock, to witness Fire, and ending in Ash.


Tristan Carter (b.1985)
Composer, violinist and improvisor, Tristan graduated Master of Musical Arts in 2012 and has long been active in many ensembles in and around Wellington. His special passion is Asian music, particuarly Indonesian and Indian.

Megan Collins (b.1971)
Megan is an ethnomusicologist, composer and broadcaster with a PhD from the NZ School of Music, specialising in Sumatran music.

Jason Erskine (b.1975)
Jason studied music composition (Sonic Arts) at the NZ School of Music. As a performing musician his focus is on drumming, and he has studied both Balinese and Javanese techniques. He currently works as a freelance mix engineer.

Gareth Farr (b.1968)
Gareth is a well-known NZ composer and percussionist whose works have been performed widely by leading ensembles such as the NZSO, the Auckland Philharmonia, and the NZ String Quartet. His compositions range from musical theatre to unique combinations such as symphony orchestra with maori performers or with gamelan.

Jack Hooker (b.1990)
A musician/composer based in Wellington, Jack has a diverse range of musical interests and outputs, ranging from wall-of-sound electronic music to instrumental acoustic guitar music.

Anton Killin (b.1986)
Anton studied musical composition at the NZ School of Music and philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington. Besides gamelan music, his interests include the philosophy of music, red wine and craft beers.

Annika Naschitzki (b.1984)
Originally from Berlin, Annika moved to Wellington in 2010. Working as a Service Designer, she is passionate about making simple, usable websites. In her free time she brews beer, rows, and performs improvised theatre. Volcano Song is her first musical composition.

Briar Prastiti (b.1992)
Briar studied music composition at the NZ School of Music. Her interests include contemporary instrumental and electronic music, film music, and cross-cultural composition.