Indonesian and Western music intermingle in a haunting accompaniment to Garin Nugroho’s horror film Satan Jawa.

Australian composer Iain Grandage is no stranger to horror. His 2016 percussion concerto Dances with Devils – which Claire Edwardes premiered last July with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras – was inspired by the 19th century Australian Gothic literary tradition, Grandage bringing to life short stories of terror and isolation in the Australian bush.

His latest project sees him delving once more into the supernatural, teaming up with Indonesian composer Rahayu Supanggah to create a live score for a new film, Satan Jawa. The specially commissioned film will be screened in Melbourne as part of Asia TOPA, accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and an ensemble of Indonesian Gamelan players.

Garin Nugroho’s Satan Jawa

Inspired by Javanese mythology and the 1922 expressionist horror film Nosferatu, Satan Jawa is directed by revered Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho. “He’s an extraordinary, multi-faceted artist,” Grandage tells me over the phone from Indonesia, where he has been working on the score with the gamelan ensemble. “He’s a writer, choreographer, director, film director, and immensely loved and well known in Indonesia.”

Nugroho makes...