Cassette Culture in Central Java
5.18.15 by Sean Stellfox

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In 2014 from February-December, I lived and worked in Jogjakarta, Indonesia (Jogja). This city is the center of Java and is considered to be the central hub for art and culture in Indonesia. Many also consider Jogja to be a mythical and magical place.

I was placed in Jogja through an English teaching fellowship. Prior to being placed there, I had very limited knowledge of Indonesia, and had no idea what Jogja had to offer. As it turns out, I happened to fall into the right place at the right time. After about 2 months of asking around, I found my way to my first “underground” show and that’s where I serendipitously met the Jogja Noise Bombing (JNB) community. The noise bombers guided me around the art and music scene in Jogja. My contacts¬†with JNB also helped me tour and meet other experimental music communities all over Indonesia.

At shows I notice cassettes were being traded in the same manner that they are back in the United States. At almost every show I was gripping heaps of new jams. I eventually released my own cassettes in Indonesia and learned how the DIY tape production in that part of the world worked. It was also around this time that I got to visit Lokananta in the neighboring city Solo (about 2 hours away). This documentary captures the cassette culture in Center Java.

 You can also watch this video on YouTube.