LAIR: Ngélar LP

LAIR, Indonesian pschyedlia, Monica Hapsari, Go Kurosawa, Kikagaku Moyo

LAIR: Ngélar LP

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Ngélar by LAIR, a pantura funk outfit from Indonesia, and Ngélar is the sextet’s sophomore LP—deeper social narratives and more intimate subject matters are more apparent. In which they speak a lot about ‘tanah’ or ‘land/soil,’ owing a lot to the fact that their hometown, Jatiwangi’s history of being the country’s largest producer of clay/terracotta-based products. The people in Jatiwangi’s intertwining relationship with ‘tanah’ is simply unparalleled—even their instruments are mostly made of terracotta.

From the re-imagining of their hometown’s past glories, LAIR, along with singer/songwriter Monica Hapsari (who co-wrote and co-composed three songs in the album) and Go Kurosawa (Kikagaku Moyo) helming the project as the producer, sings about the rituals and traditions of harvest, to sending off prayers towards their once-prospering land and the ruins of what was once a dense forest in Jatiwangi, which they are currently trying to reclaim while racing with the massive wave of industrialisation. It is a contextually-sorrowful album as much as it is a candid, cheery commemoration of the band members’ everyday life in today’s northern shores of Java, Indonesia.

Ngélar is one of the words that might be able to describe the essence of LAIR as a group. The word itself can be traced back to the locals’ culture of ‘going around in celebration of something.’ In their village, ngélar simply means a traveling performance, in which the performers would play music and go around the village, greeting the people around them as they move from place to place, or simply within their immediate surroundings, indicating that there is something nearby that is being celebrated.

LAIR is simply in love with ‘journey,’ ‘time,’ and all of their interactions. Ngélar, for them, is a representation of their journey. How they go around, interacting and communicating, to celebrating and making sense of everything that is going on within and around them. For LAIR, Ngélar is a method, a creative process, and—as an album—a culmination of each of their journeys since the group’s founding.

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