The single composition that unfurls over the two sides of Genetic is an enchanting introduction to Alit’s magical sound world. Beginning with a stately procession of isolated, hanging chords sounded on the ensemble’s uniquely-tuned metallophones, the piece abruptly launches into a stunning passage of rhythmically complex call-and-response motifs, making striking use of abruptly muted chords – one of many moments where the acoustic ensemble sounds uncannily electronic. The piece continues to alternate between spare investigations of resounding tones and sometimes frenetic ensemble interplay using unorthodox techniques, including a stunning moment around half-way when the entire Gamelan seems to transform itself into a single, gigantic zither. Later in the piece, drums and wind instruments enter, and the metallophones begin to play virtuosic, rapid-fire passages of fragmented scalar melody.
As Alit explains in his liner notes, the music of Gamelan Salukat is grounded in the tradition of Balinese Gamelan; however, he approaches this tradition not as something static, but as a set of concepts and principles that can be used to create something radically new. For many listeners, Genetic will inhabit precisely this space between the familiar and the invigoratingly unheard, as it takes the stop-start dynamics, unison melodies, and much of the instrumentation familiar from traditional Balinese Gamelan and puts them in the service of rhythmic, harmonic, and timbral experimentation, crafting a work possessed by at once by mysterious grandeur and a joyous volatility.