Totally beautiful tape of the ancient and deeply revered gamelan slonding - also spelled selonding, selundeng, etc. - considered probably to be the oldest known type of Balinese gamelan ensemble, predating the gamelan gambuh. Something else that distinguishes slonding is that it's the gamelan most commonly associated with the present day Bali Aga, original Balinese whose history is one of mystery and geographic isolation. Not unlike how a possessed record collector behaves towards his most precious piece of vinyl, the Bali Aga village of Tengana kept their gamelan slonding secluded away for centuries, only bringing the instruments out for the most important of religious rituals. People couldn't even look at the gamelan without an elaborate ritual undertaken to protect the purity of the instruments. It wasn't until the last few decades that the village made the quite controversial decision to allow the gamelan to be recorded. I wonder what changed their mind? It all seems a little arbitrary. Whatever happened - we can only be grateful - the music is amazing. There's a quality to the sound that's delicate yet enduring - a rippling, shimmering sentiment passed down from antiquity.