Producer, sound engineer and turntablist Dae Kim explores emotional electronics in his latest album – if you haven’t guessed it yet, the KL-based Korean is a bit of a hopeless romantic. Still, the eight-track album is far from melancholic mechanicals – rather, it’s a melting mix of ambient, indie and hard-hitting hip hop.
‘Verklempt’ has been ten years in the making, but we’ll let that slide because these Ampang boys – this motley crew, them indiepop rock slackers – sure can put on a show. Crafty and clever, literate and loud, The Fridays are responsible for genius song titles such as ‘20 Ways Rose Could’ve Saved Jack’ and ‘Pavilion Is For Losers’.
Adeline Chua and Joachim Sebastian of Halfway Kings hail from the small town of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. Produced by Jeffrey Little of Laguna Music and Saiful Ridzuan of SevenCollar T-Shirt, ‘Bare Bones’ will be the Kings’ debut offering – expect bluesy, folksy tunes in the style of single ‘Down And Over’.
Peter Brown is in his seventies, which explains the sound: a little swing, a little ska, reaching back to the era of blues, rockers and reggae. In ‘Blues’, he narrates the open mic experience (‘everybody’s playing for free’) and sings satire in ‘Gotta Make d’Music’ (‘Get a pitch controller if you sing off-key / and plenty of reverb and delay’).
She might be making her mark in Los Angeles and beyond, but ‘Material’ is all Malaysia. As a tribute to home, the album – her first all-Malay one – showcases a select seven of her Malay singles and songs to date, including ‘Dan Sebenarnya’, ‘Langit’ and ‘Lelaki’.
Nabilah Musa – or Bil Musa – seems set for success. Backed by Yuna Room Records, the up-and-comer recorded her self-titled EP in the last few months of 2014, and incidentally, was featured on Enterprise’s ‘Cécile La Lumière’. She also sounds a little bit like Yuna pre-Pharrell, but that’s neither here nor there. Ambling along the six-track record (including one bonus track), the breathy, honeyed allure of her voice is difficult to deny; what emerges are the bones of solid, strong songs: arrangement, feeling, melody. For a relatively unknown, young singer songwriter, this is polished production. Bil Musa is one to watch.
It began with a smattering of singles – ‘Heart Drum’ was as pastel as it was light – and fast forward three years later, the electronic synth-pop duo has graduated from the subliminal to the substantial on ‘Etcetera’. The five-track EP erupts in your eardrums: Eff’s throaty, yearning voice soars here, stronger than ever, and finds a sweet spot nestled in the experimental edges of Faliq’s ’80s maniacal, moody synths. With ‘Assassin’, the opening track, the tone is set: ‘I am an assassin / I’ll be sure to make you scream’. To put it pertinently: ‘Etcetera’ slays. It’s killer.
Enterprise is all about the party – the highs, the late, sweaty nights, the clarity in the comedown. It’s almost impossible to imagine that this release was written for anything other than for dancefloors in anti-establishment parties, basements, rooftops – think urgent, propulsive beats, with an almost sinister grandeur that holds sway. ‘The Rain’ is a standout track: Appealing and ambidextrous, the indietronica rock band is very much in character here, with a calculated tensionand- release dynamic – in the veins of early single ‘On a Mission’ – that punishes you for partying.