Monday, January 27, 2014

TDATS 98: Savage Hell (Duo Kribo special)

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TDATS 98: Savage Hell, Duo Kribo special by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

This volume focusses on an Indonesian band called 'Duo Kribo' which literally means 'frizzy duo', a name which makes sense when you look at both frontmen's wild hairdos. The band made four albums around 1977-79 and had good success, selling many thousands of cassette tapes (the predominant format in Indonesia back then). They are usually referred to as Vol. 1 to 4, though it seems some of them were sub-titled in some formats, with names like "Neraka Jahanam" ("Blasted" or "Savage Hell") and "Pelacur Tua" (Old Prostitute). The final one was a soundtrack to a rock'n'roll movie called 'Duo Kribo' that starred both singers. The movie was lost for decades but prints have been recently recovered and restored.

Duo Kribo Vol 1. cassette
I've recently been searching out bands of Southeast Asia, a region that has been greatly neglected by TDATS so far. Soon after starting, it became obvious that Indonesia and The Philippines had the largest number of suitable bands. Expect to be seeing the fruits of these searches in some typical multi-band TDATS vols to come... Many of you will have heard a couple of particularly good Indo collections in recent years; Those Shocking Shaking Days and AKA: Hard Beat, which are relevant as Shocking Days featured Duo Kribo, and one of it's singers was in the band 'AKA'.

The 11 tracks I have collected here are not definitive of Duo Kribo's sound. In a similar way to AKA's "Hard Beat" comp, this is all the heavy guitar tracks I could find from Duo Kribo though they created a wide range of sounds from pop to funk to hard rock. This diversity seems to have been a common trait of Indo and Southeast Asian bands; indicative of a market and culture that was intriguingly different from that of western rock, as was their prolific output during the band's short life span. This music is uplifting, happy and sometimes endearingly naive (maybe deceptively so), but displays great hard-rocking musicianship and above all, it's fun! Take for example the space-rocket rock of 'Mencarter Roket' or the irresistible funk of 'Kung Fu', with a typically wild vocal performance from Ucok Harahap. With the closer 'Uang' you even get some of the pomp and melodic guitar stylings of Brian May and Queen.

01. Kung Fu (1977)                                 07. Discotique (1977)
     from Vol. 1                                             from Vol. 1
02. Rumah Hantu (1978)                         08. Pelacur Tua (1978)
     from Vol. 2                                             from Vol. 2
03. Mencarter Roket (1978)                    09. Duo Kribo (1978)
     from Vol. 4                                             from Vol. 4
04. Penari Jalang (1978)                         10. Kenyataan (1978)
     from Vol. 3                                             from Vol. 2
05. Neraka Jahanam (1977)                    11. Uang (1978)
     from Vol. 1                                             from Vol. 4
06. Cukong Tua (1977)
     from Vol. 1

Duo Kribo movie poster
Ucok Harahap (L) and Achmad Albar (R)
Duo Kribo was started by singers Ucok Harahap, after he left AKA, and Achmad Albar, who was the front man of God Bless. I have been able to deduce that a lot of the Kribo guitar duties were carried out by Ian Antono of God Bless, but I'm not sure about the rest of the musicians as they are rarely mentioned or credited.

AKA was formed in Surabaya in 1967 and made many albums. They too have a diverse library of music including a traditional religious folk-tinged pop album called 'Qasidah Modern', but when they turned up the rock, they really did rock, as with 'Do What You Like' from the 1971 album of the same name. Ucok was ejected from the band and the three remaining members continued as 'SAS' group. Ucok then briefly started up 'Ucok & His Gang' (Uhisga) before Duo Kribo formed, and some of the tracks on Duo Kribo Vol 1. are attributed to Ucok & His Gang in the liner notes, including track 1 here, 'King Fu'.

Achmad continued with God Bless after the last of Duo Kribo's four albums. Sadly Ucok Harahap passed away on the 3rd December 2009, by all accounts he was a classic character of Indonesian rock and made a big impression with outlandish stage antics in bands such as AKA.

God Bless only made one album in the '70s, but as one of the only bands up to the job, they were selected to support Deep Purple's show in Jakarta in 1975, a show which had some tragic consequences. They were more active in the '80s and have issued albums sporadically up to 2009, they have also played live as recently as July 2011.


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  1. Another amazing listen Rich :)

    1. Thanks! I'm keen to know what people think of this one, it's a bit more exotic than usual.

  2. Just saw this pop up on my Mixcloud notifications and I have to say, I'm blown away. Good job!

    1. Thanks, I hope you can enjoy some of the other mixes on this blog, Rich.

  3. Amazing... RIP Mr. UCOK AKA

    1. RIP Ucok indeed, and AKA

  4. Miss one of a humble person in Indonesian rock history...RIP Ucok AKA and thx for sharing this amazing album....