AKA was Indonesia's first contribution to the global heavy rock movement. Founded as early as 1967 in the city of Surabaya, the group took its name -- an acronym for Apotik Kali Asin, or the Kali Asin Pharmacy -- from the place of business owned by singer Ucok Harahap's parents, which doubled as the fledgling band's rehearsal space during non-working hours. And while it could be argued that AKA.'s modest local reputation owed as much to Ucok's wild on-stage antics as to their music, the band would prosper well enough to release a handful of albums throughout the early ‘70s. It should also be noted that the Hard Beat collection surveys only the cream of AKA's westernized material, since the group curiously hedged their bets by padding each LP with songs of the Malay-pop persuasion, making them quite the schizophrenic listening experience…man, what a trip. To wit, the songs culled from 1970's debut, Do What You Like, and 1971's Reflection, blend their heavy-psych milkshake with an improbably long list of influences, including Cream, Hendrix, Blue Cheer, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, and more. That first album's title track, for instance, resolves into a Mothers of Invention-styled freakout; the bouncy "Crazy Joe" loses the distortion but keeps the psychedelia for an early glimpse of the Soup Dragons, decades before the fact (and it even topped the Australian charts for a few weeks); the jittery "Groovy" sneaks a toke from Captain Beyond; and by 1972's hard-driving "Sky Rider," Ucok is heard shrieking just like Ian Gillan. Soon after, he'd set loose his James Brown obsessions, too, getting down with his bad self on the ultra-funky "Mr. Bull Doc" before leading his bandmates in the crossover from funk to reggae on 1975's "Suez War." Unfortunately, within a year of that interesting development, the AKA dream was over, as the reliably unreliable Ucok opted to move on and was only briefly replaced for 1977's swan song Pucukku Mati, where heavy rock made a brief return before the band signed off for good. Still, it was all very intriguing while it lasted, and while these cultural curiosities and sporadic thrills aren't enough to elevate AKA's legacy to the same level as the great names in ‘70s hard rock, Hard Beat nevertheless delivers a mind-blowing document for previously unaware occidental ears.