Seasalt Ocean Tune: Chopin Larung

1 December 2017 - Seasalt Ocean Tune this December is Chopin Larung, a song by legendary Indonesian progressive-rock band, Guruh Gipsy.

As a one-off project, Guruh Gipsy released their eponymous only album exactly 40 years ago this month, in cassette format. The album is notable for combining ethnic music of Bali, based on pentatonic scale, and western music which is based on diatonic scale -bringing together Balinese gamelan and symphonic rock instrumentations. It is the second album to do so after Djanger Bali, which fused jazz with Balinese gamelan, released ten years earlier.

The effort to record Guruh Gipsy album took such a long time as it required sixteen months of recording time. And due to its nature as a self-financed and self-released album, only 5000 copies of cassette were produced -a copy of it is valued at more than IDR 2.000.000 now.

Chopin Larung is the second song in the album. It means "floating Chopin" in bahasa Indonesia and it tells the story of Chopin who got stranded on a beach in Bali, and sees how tourism evolved in southern part of Bali, namely Legian and also Jalan Kayu Aya, which is only five-minute walk from Seasalt. Clocking at more than seven minutes, the song comprises of some distinct sections. It starts with the sound of the waves crashing and segues to its opening, a piano-driven ballad in Balinese gamelan scale. It then followed by a Chopin-inspired piano solo before seamlessly going back to Balinese gamelan scale. There is also an ambient part at the second half of the song before eventually finish with similar melody used in the opening. Overall, the song is an interpretation of how Chopin's music would sound if he ever visited Bali.

The album Guruh Gipsy contains seven songs with one extra song. All songs developed around the theme of Bali's beautiful landscape, arts, culture, folklore, tourism, and overtourism. Aside of the main members of the band, the album involved session musicians including Balinese gamelan maestro, I Gusti Kompyang Raka. Guruh Gipsy ranked as the 2nd best Indonesian album of all time by Rolling Stone Indonesia.