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Local tracks 2016

Critics' choice: Top local tracks of 2016

We asked music critics, curators and experts to choose their favourite local tracks of 2016

Written by
Su Ann Ng

'Karma' (Mushroom Buttons Remix) by Adam Kasturi feat. Leo Ari‘Emotional'
‘I loved the original but this remix definitely trumps it (see what I did there?) in most ways, I think. Mushroom Buttons transplants Leo Ari’s vocals atop a syrupy, slow-mo, bass-heavy production and I’m super into it. But really though, Bladee’s ‘Eversince’ has been the soundtrack of my (very odd) 2016 ever since it was released and this is probably the closest I can get to picking something from the album, so yeah. Emotional.’
Azzief Khaliq, editor of The Wknd

'All The Time' by Orang: ‘Almost romantic in its languidness’
‘Over cascading curtains of synths, Orang asks, “How do I know it’s mine when I keep sharing it all the time?” It speaks on the fragility and instability of being in an open relationship – a tricky navigation, but an even perilous one when the doubts start to seep into one’s psyche. A barrage of questions continues over settled, grounding notes that sound almost romantic in its languidness. But, self-doubt strikes again, and he sings in a distant echo in the bridge, “I know, I know, I know it's my mind”, sounding as if he’s squandering his preceding thoughts, silencing himself from the punishing convoluted web of uncertainties.’
Cindy Low, former music writer at JUICE Malaysia

'All The Time' by Orang: ‘I basically just sat listening to the demo of this song in this cramped airplane seat, eating a day-old curry puff and thinking to myself: "This Orang guy is really good.”’
‘This one stood out immediately when Azfar [Orang] first shared the demos that would eventually become the EP. I was travelling from KL to Penang at the time and listening to these low-bitrate MP3s on one of those older-style Firefly planes where you can barely hear anything over the propellers. Sonically, this was probably the worst place to really listen to something for the first time but it passed the test with (literal) flying colours.

The first thought was that 'All The Time' really seemed to capture a sense of momentum, which is ironic because it's really about struggling to chart a course during a long-distance relationship. From here, all the little touches – the intricate vocal tracking, samples and so on – really showed a level of attention to detail that I loved. In the middle of the track, everything falls apart only to reassemble itself through this crazy breakdown where Azfar moulds his voice through a vocoder.

Long story short, I basically just sat listening to the demo of this song in this cramped airplane seat, eating a day-old curry puff and thinking to myself: "This Orang guy is really good." From there we sorted out the mix, got everything ironed out and that was it. The song was pretty much fully-formed from the start.’
Tim Sharp, founder of Botanic Records and host/presenter of BFM’s ‘Into The Blue

Read Time Out KL's top local tracks for 2016

The top 30 local tracks of 2016
  • Music

It’s been a good year for local music and 30 barely covers it all. Just as we mentioned last year, there is no science or mathematics to this, these are the songs that we listened to the most throughout the year.

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