Skip to content

Mugiyono + Talujon Commission

Mugiyono and Nick at Pucangan, February 2013

Mugiyono and Nick at Pucangan, February 2013

This February 2013, in Central Java, Nick and choreographer Mugiyono Kasido sketched out a new piece, tentatively entitled “The Traps”. The work, commissioned by Meet The Composer/Commissioning Music USA, is a collaborative project with NYC percussion sextet Talujon, celebrated Javanese choreographer Mugiyono, and Nick. The piece will premiere in 2014-15.

Mugiyono’s choreography ranges from wry social commentary, works inspired by classical Javanese dance, and interdisciplinary explorations (the son of a dhalang puppeteer, Mugiyono is a vocalist and theater artist as well). Mugiyono writes about the new work: “Orang takut untuk berhenti, waktu selalu berjalan dan kehidupan tidak bisa ditebak” (translation: “People are afraid to stop, time always ticks by and life can’t be guessed”). Working from material developed in high-energy improvisations this January, Nick and Mugiyono will create a work that explores a frenetic addiction to change, partly inspired by the ADD of contemporary technologies, and meditating on the culture of the “cut”.

Nick’s music uses a battery of bells, gongs, thumb pianos, and homebuilt devices packed in 3 suitcases that morph into music stands, light sources, or boxy amplifiers. The orchestration is inspired by the “traps”, boxes used for silent film sound effects, as well as the Javanese dhalang tradition, where knockers held by the hands and toes create a makeshift foley. Though Javanese music is only somewhat audible here, the piece’s form takes a cue from the sampak, the fastest structure in gamelan, used for fight scenes in the shadow puppet plays. In tempo with Mugiyono’s breakneck shifts, the music is built on gestures that repeat compulsively, break, then re-form into unheard-of ideas.