The University of Wisconsin Press

Music / Popular Culture / Anthropology / Asian Studies


Modern Noise, Fluid Genres
Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997—2001
With a music CD
Jeremy Wallach

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies

"If you don't join the craziness, you're not trendy!"
—T-shirt caption, Jakarta

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 chaotic and momentous transition to democracy, Wallach takes us to recording studios, music stores, concert venues, university campuses, video shoots, and urban neighborhoods.

Integrating ground-level ethnographic research with insights drawn from contemporary cultural theory, he shows that 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 diverse nation undergoing dramatic changes in an increasingly interconnected world. Ultimately, he finds, the unofficial, multicultural nationalism of Indonesian popular music provides a viable alternative to the religious, ethnic, regional, and class-based extremism that continues to threaten unity and democracy in that country.

• Includes a CD of Indonesian popular music from 1997 to 2001
• Winner of a publication grant from the American Musicological Society

"This is one of the most exciting books from a new generation of scholars, addressing issues that matter profoundly to millions of Indonesians and ones that have been largely overlooked in the study of the world's third largest democracy."—Ariel Heryanto, author of State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia

Jeremy Wallach is a musician, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, and assistant professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University.

Also visit Wallach's special web site for his book, which includes videos of Indonesian musicians and photos of performances:

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Alfred W. McCoy, R. Anderson Sutton, Thongchai Winichakul, and Kenneth M. George, Series Editors

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Of Related Interest

From Rebellion to Riots
Collective Violence on Indonesian Borneo
Jamie S. Davidson

"Fascinating. Davidson's careful historical examination of this decades-long sequence of riots deserves to be read by anyone interested in ethnic conflict and violence."—Donald L. Horowitz, Duke University

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Copublished with National University of Singapore Press

December 2008

LC: 2008011974 ML
320 pp.   6 x 9
Includes music CD
31 b/w illus., 4 tables

Book icon
Paper $24.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-22904-7
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated 3/18/2014

© 2011, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System