Lokananta is one of Indonesia’s oldest record labels and the only state-owned record label company in the country. Established in 1956, its primary function initially was to transcript the broadcast material for the National Radio Station (RRI) headquarters, and reproduce them into vinyl records that were distributed to RRI stations around the country.
Later on, the company produced record labels for Indonesian artists and traditional folk songs in vinyl, before moving on to cassettes.
The record company experienced its heyday between the 1970s and 1980s, before it took a turn for the worse due to piracy, and followed by the the government regime change in late 1990s.
The record company has a collection of 5,200 master tapes and 30,000 pieces of LPs, many with historic value, such as the sub-master master tape of the Independence Day Proclamation, the first official recording of the National Anthem, and folk songs.
Visitors to Lokananta will be escorted by a guide who will take them to different rooms in the old colonial house.
The tour starts from where the old machines and equipment are stored, before moving on to the collection room. Next up is the production room where digitalisation of the collection is currently taking place, and where cassette labels – mostly belonging to current indie musicians – are stored. Lastly, the tour moves to the recording and mixing studios.
The mixing studio is home to the Trident 80B analogue mixer, which currently only exists in Lokananta and BBC London. Supported by the quality acoustic in the recording studio, recordings at Lokananta are said to be on par with that of London’s Abbey Road Studio.
Groups that visit Lokananta and take the two-hour tour will also get a chance to listen to a couple of songs from the studio’s collection. They can also record their own voices with a minus-one in the recording studio, and receive a master CD as souvenir.
Another programme can include learning the whole recording process, and a lunch or dinner at the semi-open function hall which can seat up to 200 guests or an open-air patio for a smaller group.
The studio is also available for booking during weekends, when it is closed to the public.
Lokananta’s staff are passionate, and it can be seen through how they guide groups. If you’re lucky, you might be brought around by Miftah Zubir, the head of Lokananta, if his schedule permits. The young and enthusiastic chap explains in detail the studio’s storied history, and knows the studio like the back of his hand.