Hi, kids! How was your summer? Ours was pretty darn rad, I gotta say. We found lots of weird music, made some new friends (hi, Emotron!),
launched our online store, and spent just enough of it drunk to take the edge off this whole recession thing. Also, Weirdest Band in the World celebrated its one-year anniversary…did you get us anything? No? That’s okay…your presence is our present. (Don’t you hate when people say that?)
Anyway, Jake and I are tan, rested, and ready to bring you another year of really weird bands. First up: a new project from a lunatic named Arrington de Dionyso. Arrington’s main gig is serving as lead singer of Pacific Northwest noise-punks Old Time Relijun. We’ve known about OTR for awhile, and although they’re kinda weird, we never really considered them TWBITW-worthy. They throw in the occasional touches of free-jazz skronk, but still—our minds weren’t blown.
But this Malaikat dan Singa project is pretty off-the-charts, for a number of reasons. First, de Dionyso sings all the band’s songs in Indonesian. Why? Well, according to one official bio, “the Indonesian language allows de Dionyso to communicate on levels more deeply subliminal than those accessible in his native English.” Not sure we buy that, but yes, it does give the songs an added layer of weirdness.
Second, de Dionyso occasionally incorporates Tuvan throat singing into his vocals, which gives the songs an added element of Far Eastern mystical juju and—because he puts his own punk-rock spin on throat singing’s eerie, inhuman tones—a vibe that could probably best be described as acid-rock for zombies. Seriously, it’s ugly, creepy, but occasionally trance-inducing stuff. In fact, de Dionyso apparently calls it “trance-punk.” Which is as good a description as any.
Oh, and some of the lyrics are apparently Indonesian translations of William Blake poems. Hey, why not?
Malaikat dan Singa’s self-titled debut is out now on K Records, and you can stream the whole thing on their website. [Update: You can no longer stream the whole thing on their website. You snooze, you lose!] Check it out and tell us de Dionyso isn’t the loopiest rock vocalist this side of Mike Patton. (He also seems to share Patton’s restless spirit—besides Old Time Relijun and Malaikat dan Singa, he also fronts a free-jazz group called The Naked Future and paints a lot.)
Malaikat’s live shows don’t seem to translate real well to video—de Dionyso is always a compelling figure, but the rest of the band is pretty much just up there chopping wood and giving him a steady groove to freak out on top of. But this animated video, done by a guy named Ben Wolfinsohn for his My Odd Days project, captures the band’s unhinged spirit pretty well. We especially like that he chose to make de Dionyso look like a guy who just wandered in from an office Christmas party.
UPDATE: Shortly after we posted this, we were contacted by Arrington himself (we’re not worthy!) who pointed us to a cool feature on him on this art ‘n culture site called The Black Harbor. We especially recommend checking out the second of the three videos on that page, where he demonstrates how he uses an antique record lathe and plastic picnic plates to make homemade records that he then sometimes incorporates into his shows. Very nifty stuff.
- Arrington de Dionyso on MySpace
- Malaikat dan Singa page on K Records (full album stream)
- Arrington de Dionyso Malaikat dan Singa page on Panache Booking
- Old Time Relijun on MySpace
- The Naked Future official site