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THE PEOPLE’S PARTY

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Jan 092012
 

The first major rock festival this year arrives on our shores this weekend as The People’s Party takes place from 3pm to 10pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Looking at the wide array of bands, it’s comforting that the organizers have made it a point to spread the range of bands over several countries from local to regional to international. With top headliners like Metronomy, The Naked & Famous and Bombay Bicycle Club mixing it up with our very own Monster Cat, Plainsunset, The Analog Girl, Muon and In Each Hand A Cutlass, The People’s Party sounds like a groovy ground-breaking event not to be missed.

Tickets available at SISTIC.

IN EACH HAND A CUTLASS

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Jul 022011
 

IN EACH HAND A CUTLASS A Universe Made of Strings

I must confess that I am not a huge fan of the ‘genre’ sometimes known as ‘post-rock’. Simply because, to these ears, the music quite often described as ‘post-rock’ is still very much ‘rock’. But pet peeves aside, in recent times bands have taken the core concept of ‘post-rock’ (viz. instrumental rock pieces) and have updated the agenda of 70s classic progressive rock with the infusion of modern alternative rock and metal sensibilities. Prominent bands include the likes of Red Sparrowes, Russian Circles, Explosions in the Sky and And So I Watch You From Afar.

Instrumental rock is not new in Singapore of course, with bands like I Am David Sparkle, Lunar Node and Amateur Takes Control having established themselves in the S-ROCK scene (and beyond, in the case of I Am David Sparkle). In 2008 former Livonia guitarist Daniel Sassoon left popular S-ROCK outfit Electrico and decided to stake his claims in previously undiscovered territory. And thus In Each Hand A Cutlass was born, a band set up to explore the ‘soundtracks of the cinema of the mind’, to quote Sassoon.

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IN EACH HAND A CUTLASS

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Jun 252011
 

Regular PoP visitors will know my stand on S-ROCK. We have great bands here which need to throw off the shackles of perceived inferiority borne out of years of social engineering. And amongst the bands who will lead us to the promised land will be In Each Hand A Cutlass.

The Esplanade Recital Studio has hosted some of my all-time favorite concerts – for instance, Fire Fight, Villagers, Great Spy Experiment, Patrick Watson, Jack and Rai, Lloyd Cole, Typewriter, Owen Pallett. IEHAC added its name to this hallowed list with a blistering set that reinforced my belief that S-ROCK bands can make a difference in the cultural landscape in Singapore and beyond.

From the pirate-themed props to the space opera-stylised uniforms, it was clear that even before a note had been played, IEHAC wanted to make an impression for The Amaranthine Voyage, the launch of A Universe Made of Strings, its debut album. Which only meant that when the band finally appeared on stage, fireworks could be expected. And we were not disappointed.

I have seen IEHAC in action a few times already – at Home Club, Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and Zouk – but it still thrills me every time I see Daniel launch into his guitar moves, whilst Amanda, Roland, Jordan & newcomer Nelson, provide exemplary support. The sound and fury of IEHAC’s songs (from debut album, A Universe Made of Strings) are marked by sophistication and intelligence as myriad influences and inspirations coalesce and collide to form wholly different beast!

I could easily pick out dozens of diverse references – John Barry, Pink Floyd, Mastodon, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Orbital, King Crimson, Russian Circles, Explosions in the Sky and more – that left me enthralled by the sheer length and breadth of IEHAC’s sonic ambitions. Not only that but the swagger and confidence that exuded from the band was palpable and hopefully will show the way forward… and so, congrats to Daniel, Amanda, Roland, Jordan and Nelson for this epoch in S-ROCK. Look out world, prepare to be boarded…

I would say much more but check out my companion piece on The Amaranthine Voyage in TODAY coming out soon.

Picture by Aloysius Lim.

Official Site

 

 

Make no mistake, Daniel Sassoon (far right, above) is one of my favorite people, bar none. This guitar man cut his teeth with S-ROCK 90s legends Livonia and was part of Electrico, one of Singapore’s most popular bands. Sassoon is now in the third phase of his musical journey, fronting the instrumental rock outfit, In Each Hand A Cutlass. Ahead of the band’s debut album release and launch (24th June, Esplanade Recital Studio), I had a chance to pick the man’s brains for your distinct reading pleasure.

What is your beef with the term ‘post-rock’?

I don’t have any issues with it, but like almost all genre labels, it just does not mean very much does it? Also, I don’t think we sound very much like what the generic conception of post-rock is…you know, delayed pretty sounding arpeggiated guitar notes that repeat and build up ad infinitum. We’re too impatient and musically schizophrenic for that!

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IN EACH HAND A CUTLASS

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Jun 042011
 

Honestly, folks, this is one of the BIG ones this year in the S-ROCK scene! From its unique moniker to its catholic approach to instrumental progressive rock, Singapore quintet In Each Hand A Cutlass (IEHAC viz. Daniel Sassoon – guitars, Amanda Ling – keyboards, Roland Lim – guitars & Jordan Cheng – drums) offers an epic cinematic take on so-called ‘post-rock’ – although to be fair, that term scantly does IEHAC any justice.

The band has been enthralling local audiences with several memorable gigs – for me personally, the opening slot for Russian Circles at Zouk and a recent performance at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre left indelible marks on me. Finally, IEHAC has completed its debut album – A Universe Made of Strings – and stand at the ready to launch the same on 24th June 2011 at the Esplanade Recital Studio in The Amaranthine Voyage!

Suffice to say, this is an S-ROCK event not to be missed! Get your tickets at SISTIC and prepared to be boarded!

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One of the best ever rock gigs in Singapore. Ever. Nuff said! Well, I guess I should say more… :)

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(Answers by Daniel Sassoon)

When and how did In Each Hand A Cutlass get together as a band?

We got together in 2008; I was really hankering to do some instrumental music in a post-rock vein, but without limiting myself to that exclusively. I was watching La’Dies, which has been my ex-Livonia drummer Alfe’s main outfit for years, and I always thought their bass player Kenny was the bomb. I proposed the idea, he was cool with that – and I found Farid and Roland from an ad I placed on Soft. We had some rehearsals with another drummer, but it was not till Leonard Soosay told me that Jordan, who I met while he was drumming with Rafe, was back in Singapore after studying at Berkley for some years – I immediately convinced him to try jamming with us and that’s where everything really fell into place. It just happened that everyone in the band are all great musicians in their own right and come with a wealth of experience in their own field.

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