Behind The Tracks: Mud Spencer - Ratu Kidul (Single) (2023)

I have taken old draft ideas from the late ’90s as the main pillar of the track theme, during all these years I always said to myself, that one day I should try to use it into a finished product so I can clean up my mind of this melody once for all..and that is what I did for the track "Ratu Kidul".

At that time I was experimenting with ethnic music using weird open tunings on acoustic guitar, trying to achieve the most hypnotic sound I could get on acoustic guitar, and listening to a lot of Indian and Middle Est music, while smoking a lot of spices.

Using guitar that way creates itself huge resonance, that I think could suit and be arranged for a heavy psychedelia track.

As of now, I don't have an acoustic guitar or a microphone, I just recorded the patterns on the electric guitar and keep it as pure as possible during April 2022.

Then, unfortunately, I had to suddenly stop working on it, because of an emergency in France. I went back to Indonesia in September 2022, returned to my job in rattan furniture manufacturing, and restarted to work on music in October 2022 once I get a free slot in my head for this.

Then, I realize that for that kind of project, and with my work at the company that needs all my attention, I have to manage my time in the most optimal way if I want to move forward with this project by using strict time management.

So, one-hour of music before work with a fresh head, 1 hour at night. Weekend 8 hours.

One song one by one to not get lost in the pre-mix process, then change the track, and go back to the mixing process of the previous one, and so on...It was like an improvised experimental workflow for the needs of the moment for this album with long tracks.

I really like traditional Indonesian music and use often some kind of those scales inside my music work.

I live in Cirebon in the west of Java island 220 km from Jakarta. Traditional music and dance are unique in that place (like in many other places in Indonesia..) For inspiration I listened again to a lot of classical Cirebonese and Sundanese music, some songs are really trippy, and challenged myself on how can I incorporate them on a heavy psychedelia register.

That's what I did for Ratu Kidul's song, especially at the beginning of the full-length track, when the Indonesian sound atmosphere slowly starts to mix with Indian influences.

I'm interested in Javanese mythology, and it's part of the culture here. People here believe in religion (Islam) and also in more ancient traditional culture (Javanism). Both cohabit with people's beliefs here in that place in Indonesia.

I read the story of Nyi Roro Kidul (Ratu Kidul), and decide to use this name for this track because I think it fits perfectly with the atmosphere inside the track.

The evolution of the patterns inside the track was done by feeling, I never use a roadmap of a project before starting, I try different things, and I keep what I think matches the best with the global atmosphere of the track, and, most of the time the final result is often far from what I imagined at first. I just work by trying to get a kind of consistency in the sound, and in the hope that it doesn't sound too weird or even worse, boring.

I've worked on resonance effects all along the track, the same as it was used in several traditional cultures in middle west and Asian music, and in medieval times in Europe too, using basic harmony and repetitive patterns, I just focused on the global sound. This track "Ratu Kidul" starts in the air and ends in total mud.

We get heavy rain in Indonesia almost every day, so for this one, I can say that it was made and mixed 100% on my bed.

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