Modern Noise, Fluid Genres


Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997–2001

Jeremy Wallach

With a music CD

What happens to “local” sound when globalization exposes musicians and audiences to cultural influences from around the world? Jeremy Wallach explores this question as it plays out in the eclectic, evolving world of Indonesian music after the fall of the repressive Soeharto regime. Against the backdrop of Indonesia’s fitful, chaotic transition to democracy, Wallach takes us to recording studios, music stores, concert venues, university campuses, video shoots, and urban neighborhoods. Integrating detailed, ground-level ethnographic research with insights drawn from contemporary cultural theory, he shows that Indonesia’s access to globally circulating music and technologies has neither extinguished nor homogenized local music-making in Indonesia. Instead, it has provided young Indonesians with creative possibilities for exploring their identity in a culturally diverse nation undergoing dramatic changes in an increasingly interconnected world.

Indonesia, it is safe to predict, in the coming decades will take its rightful place in the literature on the global music industry as one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Jeremy Wallach’s Modern Noise, Fluid Genres may well be the book that will give direction to this new literature for years to come.”

Veit Erlmann, University of Texas, Austin, author of Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality and Music, Modernity, and the Global Imagination: South Africa and the West.

Finally, we are beginning to get studies of globalization and popular music that are ethnographically rich and theoretically sophisticated. This is among the best of them.”

Timothy D. Taylor, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Global Pop: World Music, World Markets and Beyond Exotica: Western Music and the World.

This important book describes how music (popular or otherwise) is grounded in the contingencies of here and now through the people that take pleasure in it. Modern Noise, Fluid Genres should be read by anyone interested in popular media, Indonesia, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and the globalization/localization of ideas.”

René T. A. Lysloff, University of California, Riverside, co-editor, Music and Technoculture.

One of the most exciting books from a new generation of scholars, addressing issues that matter profoundly to millions of Indonesians. Rich with important details, this ethnographic investigation captures Indonesian youth, popular music, and class at a moment of transition and fluidity.”

Ariel Heryanto, Australian National University, author of State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia and editor of Popular Culture in Indonesia: Fluid Identities in Post-Authoritarian Politics.