Background When Dean Garcia formed CURVE with Toni Halliday back in 1990, he had already established himself as a solid musician through his involvement with the Eurythmics… and since Curve disbanded, he has been mainly produced music as SPC ECO, together with Rose Berlin. This is his latest project, a dark moody collaboration with Preston Maddox of Texan alternative rock band Bloody Knives.
We were (and still are) quite mystified by this lineup. Cambodian Space Project is a psychedelic rock band, whose style is steeped in Retro-Pop and most of their songs are in the Khmer language! (Not quite the formula to draw in the local hipstas, eh?)
Background Joshua Paul “Josh” Davis a.k.a. DJ Shadow, is an American record producer and DJ. He is a prominent figure in the development of instrumental hip hop and first gained notice with the release of his highly acclaimed debut studio album, Endtroducing….. (1996).
Electronica has been a key ‘genre’ in the Singapore indie music scene since the heady days of Corporate Toil back in the late 80s. Here’s a selection of electro acts that have made an impression both home and abroad. Check ’em out!
Background One of popular music’s most influential and innovative figures, musician/composer/record producer/singer/writer Brian Eno has been responsible for some of the most cutting-edge music ever made. On The Ship, Eno once more develops the musical form he pioneered, ambient electronica.
Background UK jazz musician who also dabbles in the avant-garde. This is Bourne’s 2nd solo album — the only album ever recorded to feature only the Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog, a Memorymoog synthesiser.
Laneway Festival Singapore has announced the instalment of a fourth stage at this year’s event. Set up with local collective Syndicate, the stage brings together a new genre of local and international electronic DJs and visual artists, including Australia’s JPS, Singapore’s Mean, and visual artist Brandon Tay accompanying duo Kiat & Kane on stage.
If this doesn’t signal the death of rock ‘n’ roll, I don’t know what does then. Clearly, the Laneway Singapore organisers found it commercially viable to install a fourth stage and then feature electronic artists rather than rock acts. Whilst I am pleased for Syndicate and how this is a feather in their cap, it’s certainly sad to see that one of the biggest festivals in Singapore (and an Aussie one at that) will barely feature any rock ‘n’ roll music.
The year is almost done but .gif (viz Weish & Din, above) probably delivered one of the best ways to see out an amazing 2015 for Singapore music with its debut album, soma. Here’s what the dynamic duo thought about what the year was all about…
I am listening to the Letters to Ubin EP and smiling to myself because I am thinking of how a critic/observer of the local scene slammed iNCH’s music for being ‘soft’ and ‘not edgy’. Fact is that could not be further from the truth. Perhaps that critic was fooled by iNCH’s public persona! Certainly, there are numerous elements of Letters to Ubin that most casual listeners would consider too arty and indulgent — definitely ‘edgy’!
People often think that pop music needs to divided into different genres and generations and never the twain shall meet. But artists never think that way. It would be fair to describe Swedish-born Berlin-based electronic music producer and DJ Axel Willner (aka The Field) as part of the modern day pop scene & fail to appreciate the fact that Willner is inspired and influenced by music from all genres and all generations. Critics may have labelled The Field under the ‘minimal techno’ genre but throughout his career he has resisted been pigeonholed to such an extent that he has utilised different monikers (Eg. Cordouan, James Larsson, Loops of Your Heart, Porte and Hands) to escape the straightjacket of critics’ and fans’ limited expectations.
As part of the effort to promote The Field’s performance at Neon Lights Festival at 6.15pm, we had an email exchange with the forward-thinking artist.
Labelling herself as “electronic progressive goth”, Jet Noir is not too far from the truth. Her sound and vision is true to her artistic intent. Nothing is out of place on this darkly invigorating single. Her sensual spoken word verses segue seamlessly into slinky refrains as images of flickering horror flash before your eyes. Yet there’s an inclination to slow dance your way through this electro piece mesmerised by its insistent beats and arrangements – “The grayness is coming/It’s walking the streets”.
The perfect single for your Halloween predilections, if so inclined.
There are three remixes to consider as well, each one delivers a different perspective but at its core, “A Cold Day in Hell” remains arresting.
Her E.P. The Hall of Ghosts is coming soon.One to keep an eye out for.
It’s always exciting to check out Toro y Moi’s latest project. The American recording artist and producer (and graphic designer), whose real name is Chaz Bundwick, has come a long way since rising from the chillwave movement and forming a close musical relationship with Ernest Greene from New York band Washed Out, around 2009.
Across his three albums, Bundwick continues to push his personal musical boundaries while sticking to his signature chill vibes and fuzzy vocals. And it’s no different for his forth project, What For?, a 10-track album released by Carpark Records, which could easily be mistaken for a 70s dreamy pop rock piece – but a more modern and polished version.
His latest work launches the listener into a rocky ride with blues rock influenced numbers (“What You Want”, “The Flight”). It gradually elevates one into a dream (“Ratcliff”, “Lilly”) before reaching a dance climax (“Spell It Out”, “Half Dome”), and ends the journey by bringing the listener back down to earth with trudging drums (“Yeah Right”) and apt lyrics: “Let’s hang out soon, I’ll give you a call.”
But the graphic designer in Bundwick never strays too far away and fans can still enjoy his signature deep groovy beats and filtered soft vocals (“Buffalo”, “Spell It Out”).
By now, it’s clear to everyone that the man is not much of a lyricist. Bundwick continues to keep his lyrics simple in this album, letting his keys and drums do most of the talking or singing.
Azliah recently completed my WRITING ABOUT ROCK MUSIC course. Find out more from KAMCO Music.
Does life have to make sense? Does music need to feel complete? Or is it the inherent contradictions that make music the life-affirming force it can be?
Did anyone expect a new New Order album? Hooky out, Gillian back? In case you are not keeping score, Hooky (bassist Peter Hook) announced in 2007 that New Order was over and that he was leaving. Eight years later, Barney Summer and the rest of the gang (Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham & Tom Chapman) has somewhat taken up the challenge to prove Hooky wrong.
And whilst the end product is a sublime dance-rock album of the kind that the original New Order are considered the pioneers of, Music Complete is not really New Order, any more than Electronic or Bad Lieutenant were New Order. The name itself is meaningless – without Hooky’s bass, this is most definitely not New Order.
However, in the final analysis, it makes no fucking difference, does it? With all the electro-pop acts vying for attention in the modern rock wasteland, the old masters have come back from the dead to show the young upstarts how it’s done.
There’s no doubting Summer’s way with a melody (and dodgy lyrics) but it is in the rhythm and the beats that Music Complete excels – big beats, techno, house, disco all mashed up into a heady mixture. “Restless”, “Tutti Frutti” and “Stray Dog” (with Iggy Pop on vocals) all rise like cream to the top but it is in the final number “Superheated” that Music Complete well and truly soars with one of the finest New Order tracks since the glory days of the 80s. “Superheated” is five minutes of sheer electro-pop bliss. Close your eyes and it’s the mid-eighties again.
In my preparations for week 3 of WRITING ABOUT ROCK MUSIC, I had to conduct research on electronic music subgenres and re-discovered my love for 90s UK Techno. Interestingly enough, after Synthpop had tipped over into saturation in the late 80s, I had sworn off electronic music but the discovery of Aphex Twin (above) re-ignited my interest in all things electro again.
Compared to the popular electronic dance music of the modern era (viz. Trance, Hardstyle and House), 90s UK Techno seems to be an artistic expression and not merely serving as pure dance music, with exponents of the genre dealing with both electronics and sampling very creatively.
With that firmly in mind, I put together 40 of my favourite electronica tracks with a bias towards 90s UK Techno viz. Chemical Brothers, Orbital, The Prodigy, Future Sound of London and of course, Aphex Twin. This, to me, is what electronica is all about – so, please enjoy and share!
Love X Stereo‘s “We Love, We Leave” gets a music video that visualises its conceptual thrust perfectly. The video itself is ambitious, arty and yes, sexy – leaving a throbbing mess that usually comes as a result of conjugal action. The song, already a powerfully appealing single in its own right lifts off when set to these tempting visuals. Kudos to all involved. Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy it too much…
Whatever the genre, nothing gets more attention in a song than a powerful, distinctive female voice. Dedicated music fans should be familiar with Eugenia Yip from her vocal antics with jazz-rockers The Steve McQueens. However, Ginny (as she likes to be called), also fronts electro-outfit Riot !n Magenta, ably backed by Hayashida Ken (synths), Khairyl Hashim (guitar), Sulaiman Supian (bass) and Ritz Ang (drums).
R!M have been somewhat under the radar despite having played Baybeats 2011, launched a debut EP – R3B007 – at Esplanade Recital Studio in 2013 and even opening for CHVRCHES last year. But no doubt that will all change with the release of the new EP, Voices.
The four tracks available on Voices reveals a mature sonic agenda that continues to channel a strong trip-hop-soul vibe that highlights Ginny’s idiosyncratic vocal stylings and melancholy lyrics that emphasise the damage that relationships inflict on humans.
“Love is not supposed to be a chore” (“CTRL”) and “I can’t unhear the things but you said it” (“Told You So”) – words that put the songs in perspective, heartfelt emotions hard to ignore. Supported by pristine electronic beats and ambience, it is so easy to be swept away by the music on this EP. Not to be missed.
A band that lives up to its name! SF outfit Echodrone finds a nice balance between 90s shoegaze and new millennial electronica, covering the gamut from driving rock to ambient textures with equal intensity. Consisting of Brandon Dudley, Eugene Suh, Jim Hrabak, Mike Funk & Rachel Lopez, the quintet has been active since 2005 and latest album – Five – finds the band in an assured place creatively, bringing together the pleasing elements of soaring guitars, pummeling rhythms and hypnotic motifs to produce a work that hits all the right buttons.
We got in touch with Echodrone to find out more about what the band are about.
What are the records that inspired your sound?
I think you can see a wide variety of influences in our music 🙂