Arrington De Dionyso
Malaikat Dan Singa
Arrington De Dionysio’s solo album Breath of Fire was a clarion call for artistic freedom and unfettered personal expression, coming as a cathartic shock after several albums worth of zombie-mod garage with Pacific Northwest avant-beat combo Old Time Relijun. Gone are song strictures and even the tools of the Western pop music trade — guitar/bass/drums got the old heave-ho — for a wild and free set of primal blues-blurt delivered in a voice that reflected the delirious improvs of Diamanda Galas and Tuvan throat singing, and various summarily abused wind instruments. He’s still following that elusive, alchemical trail on Malaikat Dan Singa, his third solo album. Some things have changed. Dionyso has gathered a band to help him realize the free, wild sounds brewing in his head. And while their more traditional rock format tethers him more to earth than in previous encounters, it also allows him to dive headfirst into different genres (postpunk, dancehall) and have a steady, percussive demon groove anchoring even his wildest vocal outings.
Arrington is more powerful and untrammeled of a vocalist than ever, employing a recent rudimentary knowledge of Indonesian (learned to impress a girl — natch) for his lyrics, shouted joyfully at the top of his lungs, screaming, growling, calling to prayer, prophesying from the mount, throat singing, and when even that fails him, he picks up a bass clarinet or a mouth harp to wrench forth otherworldly tones and screes. The sacred and the profane are locked in a sweaty embrace in his songs. “Kedalaman Air” is propulsive, sweaty garage rock, all angular and contorted. “Mani Malaikat” is a tribal, drum-heavy groove with Arrington’s guttural delivery sounding like a demented dancehall toaster. “Mencerminkan Mani Malaikat” is a ghostly wind whistling past rusted chimes, the low drone of a didgeridoo, the lower drone of Arrington’s voice, all like vapor trails. spacey whooshes, and whirs. “Nama Bersembunyi” is like a gloriously unhinged “Louie Louie” filtered through the X-Ray Spex, propulsive grooves squiggled all over by bass clarinet and non sequitur synths and vocals that are a carefully enunciated evocation to… probably lose your shit. “Mencerminkan Mahkota Kotor” starts out like a hypnotic Middle-Eastern dervish, before mutating into rampant clarinet abuse — to the point where it sounds more like the inside of a human throat — with a Crampsy guitar figure. “Tak Terbatas” sounds utterly devotional with Arrington growling and crying out over keening strings and simmering guitar/bass punctuations. Dancing, screaming, fire music.