Forged alone in a cave on the island of Java, and recorded in a fortress in Poland, Antonina Nowacka’s “Lamunan” is an intimate exploration of a mysterious darkness and the earliest of musical forms. Nowacka has co-created raw electronics and audiovisuals as half of WIDT and the enigmatic Mentos Gulgendo, but her solo practice focuses solely on the voice’s inherent connection to mental states, its ability to speak wordlessly, and the apparatus of speech itself – leading her to a six-month trip to study traditional music in Indonesia.
A day trip to visit a Javanese volcano turned into days of exploring, Nowacka eventually stumbling across a cave. “Rarely does anyone come there because Indonesians are afraid of the dark and the cave is poorly lit,” explains Nowacka. “I could sit there and sing for hours without feeling the passage of time.”
Hours spent in the dizzying darkness and echoes of Seplawan Cave produced a series of unaccompanied vocal motifs. Moans, chants, hums, and wordless cries met with the multi-million year-old facades of the stone walls. The freely flowing compositions seem forged from the same natural material as that stone, carved into shape by nothing but water, time, and solitude.
Upon returning to Poland, Nowacka recorded with Rafal Smoliński in the cave-like sonic conditions of the Modlin Fortress some 50km north of Warsaw. The intimate and surreal sound of the cave is recreated, Nowacka overlapping multiple vocal lines to create delicately interwoven chamber choral pieces, musically minimalist and emotionally maximalist. The album’s title – "Lamunan" – comes from the Indonesian word for ‘dreaming’ or ‘fantasy’.