- Like it Here
- The House
- Catch Me
- Worth It
- Rabbit Run
- Cry Little Heart
- I’ll Go Along
- You Were the Universe
- Man Upon the Hill
- Old Man Finger
For those of you whose exposure to Indonesian music has been seriously limited to the gamelan recordings in Asian Music class, you have no idea as to what you’re missing. Modern Indonesian music, particularly among its independent acts, is rich, vibrant, and more than a little intriguing
One such example would be the sound of Stars and Rabbit. This two-person act is made up of vocalist Elda Suriyani and guitarist Adi Widodo. Individually, they’re stellar: Suriyani’s soft, whispery, little girl voice is enchanting; you will find yourself thinking of Bjork during her early years with the Icelandic band The Sugarcubes, perhaps a little of a much younger Tori Amos during her Cornflake Girl period; there’s also a rich, sometimes growling rasp to her voice that calls to mind old-school chanteuses such as Eartha Kitt. Widodo’s guitar-playing is easy on the ears; somewhat restrained yet you can feel the musician’s sentiments through the rhythm, the melody. Together, they are unusually dynamic: the sound is a little whimsical, somewhat eerie to the uninitiated listener. But paired with wistful lyrics that call to mind quiet days spent engaged alone with one’s thoughts, the end result is fascinating and is bound to pique a listener’s curiosity.
Constellation, Stars and Rabbit’s newest album, spreads that dynamism through eleven tracks. Mostly ballads, the album nevertheless exudes an energy all its own; each song seems to have been written with an edgy sincerity, raw emotions coming into play through the intensity of Suriyani’s singing. Widodo’s strumming a soft counterpoint serves as a backdrop for lyrics that tell interesting, poignant stories. The feel is intimate, bordering – pleasantly, if I may state here – on slightly voyeuristic: listening is like catching a glimpse into a friend’s journal: deeply personal, honest, compelling.
Certain tracks stand out for one reason or another. Cry Little Heart features a lover torn between adoration and contempt for a partner, with the dichotomy between the two extremes threatening to rip the narrator apart; yet the speaker/singer is so caught up in the situation and unable to walk away. You Were the Universe, on the other hand, is a forlorn-sounding ditty at first; yet as it builds up to a crescendo, you could hear the narrator’s strength – and the pathos becomes a battle-cry for moving on and starting over.
The cheerful, playful, folksy intro of Rabbit Run is a pleasing contrast to this. Your story is my story, Suriyani sings. My story is my story. The bright, rambling rhythm makes this particular tune a great thing to play on a morning run, a quick ramble or hike. It has this uplifting vibe that, really, makes one feel alive.
I would recommend Constellation – and the bulk of Stars and Rabbit’s repertoire – not just for the indie-inclined. This is music for the thinkers and the dreamers: those of us who live with our hearts on our sleeves, those of us who believe in the power, in the magic of raw emotion.
Stars and Rabbit’s Constellation was released last 15th May 2015. In the Philippines, the album is released by Lilystars Records under license from Green Island Music, Indonesia. Listen to the album on Soundcloud as above or click here to buy the album online.
Stars and Rabbit will be performing live in Manila on Sunday, 07th June 2015 at the SaGuijo Bar in Makati. Tickets are available online via https://starsandrabbitsmanila.eventbrite.com/. For inquiries and additional information, call or text 0905-3849495 or 0916-4004343.