Ikbal Lubys


Adapting Jagongan Culture in an ensemble.

Unlock Winter Wanted festival Moscow, Russia, 2021.
in collaboration with Kursi Ketik live coding ensemble

Listening is the main thing in the player’s sensitivity, that is how an ensemble play can be harmonious together, because the purpose of playing in an ensemble is not for individual needs only. Here the sensitivity becomes the foundation for the players to understand each other’s position / understand the musical role of each in building the structure and atmosphere of the music. Listening has become the main menu of musical activities, but it is often forgotten by the perpetrators for various reasons. One of the cases that often occurs is the perpetrator is too focused on technical matters, be it in terms of games, materials, to instruments / devices. It is different with the jagongan event where everyone sits together talking and listening to each other, building a loose or tight communication network.

“(N) jagong” means coming and sitting together in the house having an event / celebration. The jagong culture has several cores, namely 1.) being happy with the holding of an event, 2.) staying in touch with neighbors, having small talk, and 3.) harmony and togetherness. From this, the ears are really prepared to listen to one another, so that there is a reciprocal reaction of each gesture, mouth, eye gaze, facial expression, articulation, intonation, and the intensity of the conversation with one another, so that these conditions often lead to new discussions, topics, materials, and emotional conditions, even in these jagongan events there may also be a large number of variants of information that are surprising, unpredictable, and often cause disputes.

The jagongan phenomenon is an inspiration to be addressed in an ensemble activity, where individuals try to throw topics at each other, listen to each other, and react to each other to build a sound and musical dialogue event. This is the reason behind the collaboration project between Ikbal Lubys and the Kursi Ketik Ensemble.

Ikbal Lubys applies a tuning system to electric guitars by crossing all the strings, with the idea of changing the identity of the guitar, which is actually a melodic instrument to become a percussive instrument. This made guitar harmonization very limited, with no more melodic chords and scales. However, from these limitations, new possibilities emerge with different timbre and attitude in playing the guitar.

Kursi Ketik Ensemble is a live coding based musical ensemble that explores the possibilities of live coding activities to arbitrary artistic pursuits. The Ensemble Chair consists of Rangga Purnama Aji, Maria Maya Aristya, and Mohammad Ali Azca. The choice of typewriter name is based on the tendency of the appearance of most live coding based music shows, where the performer who can be called a live coder sits quite seriously staring at his monitor screen. The musical practice of Ensemble Keyboard uses the term remote live coding which is intended for simultaneous live coding activities on the same network system. Each member uses a computer that has installed tools / software called TidalCycles and Flok, where TidalCycles serves as the main software for live coding and Flok functions as the software that sets the network for remote live coding needs. Using sound generators and sampling as the basic materials for each of their works, they collaborate with live coding in building or tearing down the desired system for sounding sound materials that are arranged and manipulated with regular or random patterns.

In this collaboration, the logic of the device on the Ikbal Lubys instrument is read as an extension of human natural organs and the remote live coding device used by the Ensemble Keyboard is read as a matrix system that is non-natural and creates an intimate but separate condition between humans and computers. The implementation of the whole idea is applied to a loose and tight improvisation activity. This is interpreted and used as a conceptual frame for the performative aspect in an effort to achieve the impression of a liquid jagongan activity that can be raised.