JANUARY 2017 ISSUE #220
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TOP OF THE CLOUDS
the innovation issue
YO! is a free monthly publication Published by JUICE Media Pte Ltd Under license from Catcha Media Group Pte Ltd
Just when we were all ready to flip 2016 the bird, it took us by surprise with the deaths of not one, but two pop culture greats – adding to the devastating list of names we’ve had to say goodbye to all year. But…now that we’re on a clean slate, we vehemently pray that 2017 will bring with it better things.
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On the music front, we’ve got plenty to be excited for. Laneway Festival is returning for the seventh year and we can’t wait to catch local shoegaze icon Astreal’s (page 17) return to the big stage, and chanteuse-songwriter Sam Rui’s debut. But first, check out what the innovative king of cloud rap, Clams Casino (page 10) has to say about his debut album and musical direction.
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And speaking of innovation, we’ve dedicated this issue to the names that are set to rock your underpants this year. So go on and explore the brilliance; we are only just beginning.
Onwards and up,
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CONTENTS CLAMS CASINO
What’s one thing that A$AP Rocky, FKA twigs and Blood Orange have in common? At some point in their respective trajectories, they’ve all had their music produced by Michael Volpe AKA Clams Casino. In 2010, Volpe released an instrumental titled “I’m God”, the moon landing for a sound that would come to be called ‘cloud rap’. Before his Laneway Festival Singapore 2017 arrival, we chop it up with the superproducer about his musical blast radius. Image courtesy of Laneway Festival Singapore
The legendary figures whose vision inspired music legends we love.
All you need to know about fashion’s newest capital.
Inna Stein and Caroline Rohner get eco-fashion right with their latest collection.
RUSSIAN ROULETTE Style cues from the Red Square.
your face but better Beauty must-haves to start your year in good form.
The top pop culture movers and shakers of our time.
Devices that bring the future into the present.
next- level nosh Four spots that are re-inventing the classics.
6 TIMES A.I. MADE US FEAR FOR OUR LIVES
Hilariously terrifying results of our endeavours.
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SERVIN’ UP THE FRESHEST CONTENT
OUR EXCLUSIVE WEB HIGHLIGHTS THIS MONTH OUT WITH THE OLD
THESE MUSICAL PIONEERS ARE CHANGING THE GAME FOR GOOD – BUT NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT FROM THEIR GENRE’S ESTABLISHED HEAVYWEIGHTS.
THE PROG-METAL OUTFIT SHARES THEIR MONSTROUS NEW TUNES AHEAD OF THEIR DEBUT SINGAPORE SHOW.
RUB YOUR PALMS TOGETHER FOR THESE STYLING PRODUCTS THAT’LL ELEVATE YOUR ’DO.
TIMBERLAND LUCKY KNOT COLLECTION THE OUTDOOR EXPERT TIES INTO CHINESE NEW YEAR WITH FORTUNE-FOCUSED FOOTWEAR.
WE SPEAK WITH THE SHANGHAI-BASED PHOTOGRAPHY DUO ON THEIR UNFILTERED PERSPECTIVE.
BAGUS BEATS ESSENTIAL HOMEGROWN HIP-HOP RELEASES THAT DESERVE YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.
GRUB IN THE GARDEN BITES TO SMACK YOUR LIPS TO AT GARDENS BY THE BAY FOR LANEWAY 2017.
GOLDEN GIRLS WE LOOK BACK AT THE ARTISTES THAT MADE 2016 AN UNDISPUTED YEAR FOR WOMEN IN MADE-IN-SINGAPORE MUSIC.
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young, loud, and proud
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Music about adolescence is either euphoric, melancholic, or both. But as it shows in their upcoming debut album, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, Sanskrit-monikered Reading quartet Sundara Karma doesn’t wade in the shallow pools of dichotomy or dialectics. Frontman-guitarist Oscar Lulu, guitarist Ally Baty, bassist Dom Cordell and drummer Haydn Evans traffick in indie-minded anthemica whose catchy, sky-reaching choruses unironically soundtrack urgent first world problems, while also giving vent to the perennial teenage prerogatives of ennui, angst and emo-supersaturated relationships. Like the adopted mode of their hero Bruce Springsteen, the lads see themselves as poets for the masses, who, in this case, are lost millennials navigating a world that doesn’t conform to their collective emotional and moral compasses. Behold how they emote about suburban disillusionment on “A Young Understanding”, which is uncannily meta – and loud.
KING OF THE S D U O L C music
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WHAT’S ONE THING THAT LIL B, A$AP ROCKY, FKA TWIGS, THE WEEKND, AND BLOOD ORANGE HAVE IN COMMON? AT SOME POINT IN THEIR RESPECTIVE TRAJECTORIES, THEY’VE ALL HAD THEIR MUSIC PRODUCED BY MICHAEL VOLPE AKA CLAMS CASINO. THIS PEDESTRIAN FACT BELIES THE MONUMENTALITY OF ITS LARGER TRUTH. AS CLAMS CASINO, VOLPE HAS SHAPED AND DEFINED THE PARAMETERS OF THE MUSICAL CONCERNS OF THE CURRENT ZEITGEIST. IN 2010, HE RELEASED AN INSTRUMENTAL TITLED “I’M GOD”, THE MOON LANDING FOR A SOUND THAT WOULD COME TO BE CALLED ‘CLOUD RAP’. NEITHER HIP-HOP, NOR TRAP, NOR SHOEGAZE, NOR ELECTRO, BUT CONTAINING ELEMENTS OF EACH, IT’S A SENSUAL, DREAMYBUT-EARTHY MIX OF MOODS AND SONIC FRAGMENTS THAT SIMULTANEOUSLY EVOKES FEELINGS BOTH ETHEREAL AND IMMEDIATE. BEFORE HIS LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017 ARRIVAL, WE CHOP IT UP WITH THE SUPERPRODUCER ABOUT HIS MUSICAL BLAST RADIUS AND HIS 2016 DEBUT ALBUM, 32 LEVELS.
THE LEADERS’ LEADER Chances are, whether you know it or not, you’ve come across the gauzy aesthetic pioneered by Volpe in some form. Everyone from Justin Bieber and Drake to the aforementioned undergroundleaning A-listers have borrowed his shroud to drape over their music. Still, for the magnitude of his influence, Clams Casino’s is one of modern music’s most beguilingly undertold stories. And to get to the spark of what inspired how most of what we listen to sounds, we need to go back to one crucial ingredient: the drums. Born to a musician father, Volpe began playing the drums at six. Later, when he day-jobbed as a physical therapist at a hospital, he’d make the shift to crafting beats in his bedroom that he proliferated via Myspace. Warped tapestries of
vaporous samples and trunk-rattling percussion, they were incredibly stylised and operated on the dynamic of sounding lo-fi but cavernous at the same time. His buzz was a fast-blooming proposition after Lil B rapped over “I’m God” in 2010 and after his hand in A$AP Rocky’s namemaking debut mixtape, 2011’s Live. Love. ASAP, which marked a tide-turning first in rap and eventually, pop. For the first time, a song could sound airy but still hit you in the chest with its deceptively understated force. This sensibility is now present in every musical school of thought except for heavy metal and Volpe is aware of it. “I can hear the influences of it in many different types of music, not just hip-hop. All I need to do is turn on the radio”, he affirms. But like all artistes for whom total reinvention is a basic right, he’s chill about being so utterly copied: “I like when people get inspired by something I made and do their own thing with it. I don’t like it when they aren’t creative with it and straight-up copy it”. But he’s not immune to the urgency of that sentiment, and from 2014 to 2016, he worked on expanding his claim to areas beyond the clouds. INSIDE-OUT, OUTSIDE-IN By any metric, 32 Levels sounds like a perfect piece of producer-led music. Like the best of its class, it’s a vehicle that picks up different artistes throughout its runtime and provides listeners a variegated experience built around a singular vision. But as he tells us, it wasn’t that way in the beginning.
the beat stops on the soul-scorcher “A Breath Away”, at which point Kelela coos, “We are just a breath away from heaven”, and every inch of aural space is bathed in incandescent light, the reminder that her lover and her are stuck, “In this land where hell isn’t too far behind”, surfaces a few lines after. 32 Levels is a rare record where the glut of musical ideas in every song doesn’t get in the way of the narrative. In most cases, bangers and ballads are agnostically flat. Here, they’re prismatic in their vividly compelling glory. THE CURE Television is a dead medium; all the safety and security that came with its ethos has perished, too – but so have its limitations. These days, we look to the Internet for shared experience, for that sense of community and belonging that tells us that that there’s more of ‘us’ out there. And it’s artifacts like 32 Levels and artistes like Clams Casino who add to the fount from which we nourish ourselves. In 2017, it’s beyond obvious that ‘dance’ music or ‘hip-hop’ will never be what they were – and neither will much else. Every field of popular culture is experiencing a shake-up where the old ways are getting erased from practice to memory, and it’s terrifying but exciting.
Right now, 32 Levels plays as two halves. The first six tracks are pile-driving bangers while the later six are deft, electronically filtered takes on the pop&b aesthetic. But it actually started out as a mess that Volpe had to sort through. “I try not to think too much about what kind of sound or type of music I’m making”, he says of his methodless method before adding, “When I first made it, I was like, ‘Oh man, what did I get myself into? This just doesn’t work’”. But it does, and with major label muscle supplied by Columbia Records, it’s the most high profile Clams Casino project to date.
Fittingly, Volpe’s closing remarks to us serve as a rallying call to let your DIY visions take you where they unapologetically do. When we ask him if he’s bothered by what critics say about his music, he had this to say: “People type up or write whatever they want. Them having a negative opinion or different take on my stuff doesn’t really bother me. I enjoy making the music I make and I know it’s not for everybody. And I’m fine with that”.
Why it works so well is because of its sheer dynamism. Case in point: the stunning single “All Nite”, featuring noted fire-spitter Vince Staples. Ostensibly, the song’s about a hard rave’s night, but with lines like, “Get hit on sight / On Sight”, it also provides a chilling glimpse of life in Staples’ gang violence-ravaged reality. Likewise, when
Catch Clams Casino at Laneway Festival Singapore on January 21 at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay. For tickets and more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com.
Now, go forth and build.
the oracles THE SEX PISTOLS
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
“God save the queen / She ain’t no human being / There is no future / In England’s dreaming”, bears great weight as the manifesto of the phenomenon of punk rock. With their incendiary single “God Save The Queen”, the London quartet of Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Sid Vicious lit the way for rock-inspired musicians who demanded answers from their governments. With their direct and frillfree music, they helped usher the likes of The Jam, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, The Fall, and The Smiths into the fray. And soon, not even fashion was immune to its reach.
The cool kids always want to be different; that’ll never change. And New York in the ’60s was filled with cool kids for whom being different was everything. Led by Lou Reed, these hipsters weren’t regular black-clad mopers. Widely read and clued in on all fields of boundary-breaking art, they married music with impeccable artistic sensibilities and created a new progressive modernity which frustrated rigid binaries and social constructs. Thanks to them, David Bowie, The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Television, Joy Division, and modern-day ambassadors such as Interpol, can thrive as an inspiration for new kinds of cool.
Dance music is the music of now, and while its rise to global ubiquity is the product of trailblasting output from a host of DJs and producers, its mainstream acknowledgement is the work of this Italian titan. Janet Jackson and Kylie Minogue may have tapped into his hooky, disco-leaning soundscapes, but very soon, DJs would be mining from his fount of synth-heavy hits to craft bleeps, beats and drops. Disco is EDM’s foundation stone and Moroder is a disco don. Ergo, house and techno gawds like Frankie Knuckles and Derrick May and EDM linchpins like Tiësto, Armin Van Buuren and Avicci owe him a debt of gratitude.
He’s the “godfather of soul” and the “hardest-working man in show business” – given the artiste he was and all that he accomplished, it’s hard to describe James Brown without using superlatives. Songwriter, bandleader and consummate showman, his artistry has impacted funk, soul, r&b, disco, and rock & roll, so it’s not a stretch to say that his shadow looms large over hip-unlocking pop music. Ted Nugent was right when he described his music as a “spiritual cleansing”, since it helped unify a racially divided America and spur others to take the stage. Prince, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and Mark Ronson would follow suit.
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“EXPRESS THYSELF!” – THAT’S AN IMPERATIVE THAT SERVES AS A FOUNDATION AND INSPIRATION FOR MUSICIANS TO MAKE THE MUSIC THEY MAKE. BUT WHILE ORIGINALITY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BENCHMARK, THERE ARE THOSE VISIONARY FIGURES WHO STARTED FIRST, AND INSPIRED THE LEGENDS TO COME. MEET THE ORACLES AND THOSE THEIR VISION TOUCHED.
Such is the fundamental power of The Beatles, a band our parents adored, that it has affected bands that we value as the most important musical envoys in our younger, cooler consciousness, such as Nirvana, Radiohead, R.E.M, Wilco, Oasis, and Blur. Though they consciously jacked black musical styles antecedent to rock and pop, they defined what it meant to write a pop song. Hits from their early period such as “A Hard Day’s Night” are still the gold standard of pop, while the experimental left-turns, such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, furnished an example for something as mind-bendingly brilliant as Kid A and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Any musician able to reinterpret the blues in a compelling manner is on to something, and recent Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Bob Dylan, is one such master. He testifies to the Platonic ideal of what it means to be a capital-A artiste. Talented, engaging, charming, controversial, and politically polarising, he brought an edge to the lane occupied by lyrically-focussed troubadours. His idiom was a singularity that cut through folk, blues and all their tributaries, and his heavy-is-the-head-that-wears-the-crown persona made it attractive for Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young to do the same.
Here’s an anecdote from rock history to put things in perspective. In September 1966, a young Hendrix audaciously asks to jam with Eric Clapton and his band Cream, frustrates Clapton with his virtuosity, and causes Clapton to leave the room in anger. Yes, even Clapton knew: There’s no better instrumentalist than Jimi Hendrix. When you’re considering paradigm-exploding technique, irresistible style and supernatural mastery, you think, ‘Jimi Hendrix’. That’s why greats like Eddie Van Halen, John Frusciante, Jeff Beck, and Jack White will always be his disciples. And here’s Freddie Mercury’s endorsement: “He’s my idol. There’s nobody who can take his place”.
One of the frequent charges lobbed at heavy metal is its resistance to evolution. But what fuels the if-ain’t-brokedon’t-fix-it rationale of the diehards is the groundwork done by Black Sabbath. Before he became a drug-addled wreck, Ozzy Osbourne was the mouthpiece of a bona fide musical revolution. Dipping into blackened lyrical wells of the occult, he brought a dashing, mainstream-horrifying mode to life. And standing in front of his band’s revved-up blues rock that embraced psychedelia, stoner rock and prog rock, he served as the herald for a new dawn of harder, louder and faster music. Slayer, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N Roses, bow down.
DREAM TEAM IT’S LANEWAY SEASON AGAIN AND AS A FESTIVAL KNOWN TO TOP ITSELF YEAR AFTER GLORIOUS YEAR, THE UPCOMING EDITION WILL SEE 25 ACTS GRACE ITS STAGE. WHETHER PUNK, ROCK, POP, ELECTRONICA, OR HIPHOP, LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017’S SPECTRUM-DEFYING PICKS ENSURE THAT THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF MUSIC FOR YOU TO ENJOY. MEET THE MAVERICKS WHO’LL BE SOUNDTRACKING YOUR DAY.
Give it up for one of the veritable OGs of the local scene. Blending a Sonic Youth-ian fuzz with the powerful sweetness of My Bloody Valentine’s barbed catchiness, Astreal is amongst Singapore’s most esteemed musical treasures. The quartet promised new music too, so make the time to pay homage.
This Norwegian ingenue’s grasp of where the needle of pop culture is currently resting is simply uncanny. On her 2016 debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, she marshalled a digital fleet of sounds and wove into it the heaving earthiness of her soulful voice – she can make ice and fire coexist.
You like a bit of danger in your dancey nights out? Then, give yourself over to this Canadian duo. Named after the seminal 1920s New York architect, Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance will make you bust out the moves with their Grammynominated, alt-minded thump. Cue “Tearing Me Up” for an early fix.
As organisers of one of the biggest independent music festivals in the world, the good people at Laneway know the value of a good DIY act. Hence, Bottlesmoker – the Indonesian combo of Anggung Suherman and Ryan Nobie Adzani. Bringing toy instruments into their electronica mode, they carve an entrancing sound that’s truly fun-speckled.
There’s a reason why Michael Volpe graces our cover this month. The New Jersey producer is a distinctly gifted beatmaking genius. He’s lent his talents to some of the best in the game, including Vince Staples, FKA twigs, The Weeknd, and A$AP Rocky. Expect his set to be a hit-filled, cloudy affair.
GANG OF YOUTHS
One may argue that art serves no function. Yet, it continues to be a fount for soaring beauty. This is also the effect conveyed by the swooning, nearorchestral but kinetic music of Sam Shepherd. Last year, his debut full-length Elaenia was a ‘Best Of’ list mainstay for that very reason.
Hands-in-the-air anthemic pop-rock is well-trod ground and audiences are wise to the ways of those who take short cuts. But these Sydney anthem-purveyors have it down pat. Led by charismatic frontman David Le’aupepe, the quintet makes surging, cathartic moves with a dashing force. As per its hit single, “Magnolia”, there’ll be hooks aplenty.
When the Oxford foursome first announced itself in 2012, it exhibited a genredefying handle on a host of sounds that it inflected with a rather spectral touch. But on their 2016 sophomore How To Be A Human Being, the lads expanded their maximal sound to the brighter contours of human experience. Let’s all do a collective jig.
The London-via-Sydney trio of Gabriel Winterfield, Jono Ma and Jack Freeman hasn’t been overpowered by the hype that comes with being Noel Gallagher’s favourite new band. We strongly recommend catching these returning Laneway heroes as they bring to life their excellent new album Every Now & Then – Madchester kicks totally included.
This Tokyo rapper’s verse was one of the best parts of Keith Ape’s thrown-gauntlet and frag grenade “It G Ma”. But he’s actually been doing his thing for almost a decade; not just spitting rhymes but producing for other artistes as well. Get acquainted with his work to see why Frank Ocean himself sought him out for Blond.
LANEWAY 2017 music
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In the teeming ocean of the world’s synth-led music output, Luca Brasi represents a bold stand. Sticking to the age-old band format wherein guitars, bass, drums, and vocals are harnessed for emotional power, they’ll unleash on you their punkaccented alt-rock gold. As it was last year at the set of their comrades, Violent Soho, theirs will be uplifting.
On his 2016 debut album, The Healing Component, one of Chicago’s most compelling young street poets exhibited all the hallmarks that defined him as one to take very seriously: songwriting, flow, cadence, and sheer lyrical ability. There’s a sense of drama in his high-stakes work, the mere thought of whose live rendering is giving us chills.
“I do not represent anyone, anything, or anyplace but myself. While you reach God, I will reach true understanding and knowledge through experience. Neither is attainable, but hey, it’s the best I got”, reads this LA DJ’s bio. Having caught his body-lifting, groovedrenched set before, we’ll vouch for him.
Nao has a voice that dares you to not fall in love with it. Earlier in her career, she sang for Kwabs and Jarvis Cocker but in 2016, she found her own stride on her lovely debut LP, For All We Know. There, as it will live, her self-styled ‘wonky funk’ will soothe and shake you.
That he’s shed his Chet Faker moniker isn’t the only newsworthy thing about Murphy. Bold, and even more bracing, the new material he’s recorded since his 2015 coup Built On Glass, led by the blearybut-funked-out “Stop Me” will ensure you do more than bob your head and sway lightly.
SAMPA THE GREAT
STARS AND RABBIT
“Honest, then I order the revolt that we sought my G / Honest, we listen to our hearts change but / But we been on it”, goes the concluding verse of Sampa’s incredible single “Blue Boss”. Part political rallying cry, part artistic manifesto, it’s an affirmation of her credibility as a rapperess – the beat is sick, too.
This local siren rose to national prominence with one simple tool: her undeniable voice. Her instantly recognisable coo is like a hot knife through butter; carving though lush kaleidoscopic melodies on tracks like “Better” with majesty we’re glad to celebrate. She’s got more music due out so keep your ears peeled.
Yogyakarta’s Elda Suryani and Adi Widodo know to mesmerise. With beautiful melodies giving expressive heft to a bare-knuckled and superlatively raw lyrical sensibility, they are one of the region’s most respected acts. Their falsetto-heavy songs will go well with Laneway’s reliably good vibes – we can’t wait. Have “The House” on loop till that day comes.
The prospect of parts of Anechois, Sphaeras and Amateur Takes Control coming together can only spell great things. And to that end, the configuration that is T-REX makes great sounds. Flitting through rock torpes with a jazzy, post-y, proggy flair, this outfit is set to blast your mind into new Technicolour vistas of revelations.
Tash Sultana comes Triple J-certified for all the right reasons. The singer-songwriter is also a mind-bendingly adept beatboxer and a guitarist who can shred with effortless grace. Also, she’s got a smouldering voice that completes songs like “Notion” and “Higher” in magical ways.
You know the Sam Smith calling card “Stay With Me”? Yeah, well, Will Phillips co-wrote it. Grammy-bedecked for his efforts he may be, but Phillips is capable of dancey feats too, like his bouncy, starlit take on house, as on “Run”. Definitely earmark him if you want to get your moves on at Laneway.
In January 2015, the Scott Hansen-masterminded outfit held court at the Victoria Theatre and proceeded to beam us into the outer limits of space with his sumptuously beautiful electrogaze. He’s since recorded a new album in Epoch, which, let’s just say, is even vaster in its scope than anything he’s done before.
WEDNESDAY CAMPANELLA Wednesday Campanella is shining proof that synthpop need not be an ’80s-facing pursuit. The Japanese group’s digi-friendly sound is thoroughly modern and au courant – with beats, bloops and bass filling up every inch of its songs’ space. And we must admit, lead singer KOM_I’s enigmatic-cute vocals are hard to resist.
How great is it that in just a few weeks, we’ll have the unbridled punk fury of White Lung reverberating throughout The Meadow? Three albums deep, the band, fronted by the firebreathing Mish Way, is as capable of breakneck pace as it is of sweetly melodic (but propulsive) fare.
From the ashes of The Smith Westerns arise Whitney. Hewing to the old fashioned, tried and true tenets of indie rock, Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich’s marry reverb with hookiness and lilting psychedelia in their new form. And their debut album Light Upon The Lake is festival-ready to make you sway and swoon.
LOVE YOUR LANEWAY TWENTY-FIVE BANDS AND A CROWD APPROACHING 15,000 – THAT’S WHAT AWAITS YOU AT LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017. HERE ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN MAXIMISE YOUR FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT AND THAT OF OTHERS. MAKE NICE Yes, unlike outer space, space on Earth is finite. So, if you need room, or want to move to the front, or back, ask for way nicely. Remember we’re all here to have a good time – and the best way to achieve that is with mutual respect.
PLAN AHEAD Once set times come out, we strongly advise marking down whom you want to see. This will make moving through the crowd so much easier since you’ll know when to bounce to where you’ll have to be. Also, front row means you might score a pick or a setlist.
STUDY UP As much as festivals are supposed to be vistas of musical discovery, just think about how much more you’ll get out of Laneway if you were at least familiar with some of the material each artiste is playing. And this is learning you’ll actually like.
FREE YOUR MIND Say, for some weird reason, you don’t like post-rock and Tycho’s on. Don’t just sit on the grass. Go see Tycho and find out why he’s got a loyal following. You’re at a festival – explore as much as you can and you’ll be the richer for it.
As much as Snapchat, Instagram and the other social media toys are turbo interesting, how about you put your phone away and savour the actual spectacle unravelling before you, instead of trying to capture the moments constantly with your gadget?
PACK YOUR SACK
MUD IS FUN DISPERSAL IS OK You’ll be there with either a mate or a big group – cool. But since this isn’t a Primary School field trip, y’all don’t need to stick with each other all the time. Feel free to catch whichever act you want to catch – you can always regroup at the bar.
DON’T BOOZE AND SNOOZE With alcohol, pacing is the key. So if you know you’re going to be around the good stuff for upwards of 12 hours, pace yourself. If you tip over too early and miss out on that Nao set, you only have yourself to blame.
In the event that it rains, don’t scramble for shelter and stay in the sure-to-becrowded space of wherever it is you’re seeking refuge. It’s a festival, dirt happens. And it’s also the one day where some of the indieverse’s most buzzing names gather to play for you – get muddy and take it in.
GET YOUR MERCH ON Annual musical extravaganza and good-timeproffering agent that it is, you’d surely want to immortalise your Laneway experience and show some love to the artistes that did their good work for you. So, cop some merch so you can wear your love for Laneway all the time.
Laneway Festival Singapore 2017 happens on January 21 at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay. For tickets and more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com music
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
You know it’s going to be a long day. So pack whatever’s necessary to see you through it. Some obvious examples include, money, sunnies, meds, ponchos, and a protector for your phone (say, ziplock bags).
Text Indran P Images Laneway Festival Singapore
LET THERE BE LIGHT SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 1992, ASTREAL HAS COME TO REPRESENT A CERTAIN PROGRESSIVE VANGUARD IN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE. IN THE ESSENTIALLY SHOEGAZE UNIVERSE CREATED BY FRONTWOMAN-BASSIST GINETTE CHITTICK, GUITARIST MUHAMMAD ALKHATIB, KEYBOARDIST JASON ANG, AND DRUMMER JOSEPH CHIAN, THE BEST OF DARKLY MELODIC ’90S INDIE POP IS CONDENSED TO EXPERTLY ALLURING EFFECT. MOSTLY DORMANT SINCE THE RELEASE OF ITS ASTONISHING 2006 ALBUM, FRAGMENTS OF THE SAME DEAD STAR, THE BAND WILL TAKE THE STAGE AT LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017 – WITH NEW MUSIC, OF A, AS CHITTICK FILLS US IN ON, “HAPPIER” THRUST. CATCH UP WITH HER BELOW AND FEEL VERY, VERY EXCITED.
Astreal hasn’t played shows for a while. What made you want to play at Laneway Singapore? Well, we begged them! No, I’m kidding. I played a DJ set at the very first Laneway, so it’s always been very special to me. The bands that the organisers select for each year’s lineup are kind of left-of-the-dial, which is exactly the kind of music I like. The whole festival is just totally aligned with what Astreal is about. So, it was a no-brainer when they asked us to play – we said “Yes” immediately. It’s known that you’re recording new material. How has the process been? Right now, we have about six songs. Like teenagers, we’re recording at home. Gillman Barracks has a little music school where we record vocals and drums. I recently recorded some bass parts there, but keyboards and guitars are recorded at home. We’re mixing with Leonard Soosay and we’re all very excited. How different is it from Fragments Of The Same Dead Star? I’d say this project goes back to our shoegaze roots and is a bit happier compared to Fragments, which was like Blade Runnermeets-The Cure’s Disintegration album. It had this ‘woe is me’ vibe. With the new record, we had Chapterhouse in mind. There was a lot of editing to make sure each track was in line with the vision that we had. I think our fans will have continuity with what they’re familiar with.
Has motherhood affected your approach to making music? Yes. Logistically, having a child has definitely impacted how I make music. When my daughter was younger, it was possible to record in the living room while she was in her bedroom. Now, it’s impossible to do that since she’ll be out in the living room. Also, it’s difficult to write dark songs when you’re actually happy. Another good thing about where we’re at in our lives right now is that we’re all really happy. We’re all either married or engaged and it feels good. That’s why this album is a lot happier than what we’ve done before. Astreal is one of the pioneering local alternative rock bands. From your vantage point now, what are your thoughts on the younger musicians releasing music here? I have a child now, so I haven’t really been keeping up with new music. I haven’t really been going to gigs either. But I’m seeing a lot of singer-songwriter types rise to the forefront and to me, they are the heroes of the scene. Their style may not be ‘indie rock’ but their spirit definitely is. I really like .gif and TOMGIRL.
Catch Astreal at Laneway Festival Singapore 2017, happening on January 21 at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay. For tickets and more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com.
VAPOUR TRAILS MODERN DANCE MUSIC HAS AN UNSHAKEABLE SENSE OF CONTEMPORANEITY. BUT THE OSTENSIBLE ‘DANCE’ MUSIC THAT BEARS THE FLOATING POINTS NAME FEELS AGELESS AND BORDERLINE CLASSICAL. IT’S MADE IN THE NOW BUT BARELY HEWS TO EVEN THE LEFT-FIELD CONVENTIONS OF THE DAY. STILL, ITS MASTERMIND, MANCHESTER WIZ SAM SHEPHERD, IS UNCONCERNED WITH ALL THIS. WHETHER AS A DJ OR WITH A LIVE BAND, HE’S MAKING THE KIND OF MUSIC YOU HEAR ON HIS DEBUT LP ELAENIA BECAUSE HE HAS TO. BEFORE HE MANS THE DECKS AT LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017, HE TAKES US THROUGH HIS NORM-BUCKING METHODS.
Many critics have described Elaenia as being indebted to spiritual jazz. Do you agree? I like spiritual jazz so I’ll take that as a compliment. But I’ll say that there’s a slight rock influence, too. I never actively listened to straight-up rock music but I do like post-rock. The other day, Kieran [Fourtet] asked me what I thought about “Stairway To Heaven” and I realised I haven’t heard it yet! You make dance music that abandons club-friendly tropes; your approach to it is almost classical. How did you develop the Floating Points sound? It’s a very difficult question to answer. The dance music world piqued my interest when I was 18. There are a lot of clubs in London and I’d watch the DJs and think to myself that they’re doing the greatest thing anyone can do. I guess that’s what inspired me. I used to watch DJs play a house record and funk record side by side and they’d both sound the same. That’s when I learnt that you don’t need a house record to sound like a house record. This shaped my sound in a big way. Dance music has many guises, you know?
How does a Floating Points song start? I’m a bit megalomaniacal about it, so I write everything and then give it to the band. It’s great that the technology exists to allow me to do that. Also, I rely heavily on the drummer and bass player for the rhythm since I’m a terrible bass player. We understand that you’ll be playing a DJ set for the Singapore leg of your Laneway tour. What’s the biggest difference between a DJ set and a live one? With the live band, there’s the restriction of each person doing his or her part for each song on the set list. It’s restrictive but it feels nice. Whereas when I DJ, I can do absolutely anything I want. I love that sense of uncertainty and adventure that comes with that, too. It’s known that you own an estimated 10,000 vinyl records. How do you store them all? It’s a nightmare! I have no idea how to keep track of all of them. They are in shelves but it’s still a complete disaster. Over the past five years, I’ve become crazy with 45s. They don’t usually come with artwork on their sleeves so it’s impossible to categorise them for proper filing. But the upside to having so many records is that I’m discovering so much new music just from my own collection.
Catch Floating Points at Laneway Festival Singapore 2017 on January 21 at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay. For tickets and more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com.
Text Indran P Image and interview courtesy of Laneway Festival Singapore
Does the success of Elaenia surprise you? It’s very nice and refreshing that people are into it. It took me a long time to make that record. To see people appreciate it on this level definitely makes me happy. It’s been heart-warming to have people come up to me at gigs and talk about the record. I didn’t expect any of this at all. I make music because I have to, so this happening is a great bonus.
Text Indran P Image Neil Krug Interview courtesy of Laneway Festival Singapore
SHINE A LIGHT TO EMBRACE THE LIGHT IS TO BE BOLD. THAT’S THE GROOVE WHEREIN THE NEEDLE OF POP CULTURE IS LODGED. WITH VAST SWATHES OF POP MUSIC STUCK ON A DEFAULT SETTING OF ICY, BASSY BLEAKNESS, THANKS TO THE PLANETARY INFLUENCE OF THE WEEKND’S TEMPLATE, THE LANE OF UNABASHED EXUBERANCE IS A LONELY ONE – BUT THAT WORKS JUST AS WELL FOR OXFORD QUARTET, GLASS ANIMALS. BUCKING THE MINIMALIST, CRYPTIC SPIRIT OF THEIR 2014 BREAKOUT LP, ZABA, THEIR RECENT FOLLOW-UP, HOW TO BE A HUMAN BEING, IS A DAZZLING, MUSICALLY PLUS-SIZED AFFAIR, PACKED WITH ENIGMATIC CHARACTERS AND FLORID, BOMBASTIC SOUNDS PRODUCED BY THE GREAT PAUL EPWORTH. DUE TO UNRAVEL THEIR PAYLOAD AT LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017, THE BAND ELECTS DRUMMER JOE SEAWARD TO ANSWER SOME OF OUR QUERIES.
Keeping busy. I am in New York. It’s getting wintery. I am about to run and grab a coffee. Glass Animals has been keeping us busy. We’ve been touring a lot. This is our third time in America since How To Be A Human Being came out, and we’ve played sold-out shows in the U.K. and Europe. It’s been a blast. The progression on How To Be A Human Being. It means different things to us, but I think that’s inevitable… It’s about different things. I think sonically it has moved forward from Zaba. Lyrically, it hits harder and is more direct. We were definitely less shy this time round when we were making it. Wisdom from high and low art. We are absolutely not hyperliterate. That makes us sound like a different species. We are normal dudes. We are influenced as much, if not more, by Nintendo 64s as we are by classic works and authors. You better believe it. Intergalactic inspiration. We wanted to write songs we loved; songs that we would be proud of. Dave had the idea of basing each of the songs on this new record on a different character, inspired by stories or people we have met on our travels. “Life Itself” is about a dude who likes UFOs and music
building rayguns. We decided to try and make music that reflected this character and sort of craft a theme song for him. And that’s what you hear – zaps, fidgety drums and chords that sound like a space age super villain. The importance of being diverse. Genres don’t really interest me. I think good music, whatever it is, should be recognised. If hip-hop and r&b are popular now, then that’s really good. When the road bums you out. Being on tour is wicked. We get to see so many things and meet so many people – it’s one massive adventure. Being away from loved ones for such long periods of time is probably the hardest bit. The guidance of Paul Epworth. It’s great to have Paul Epworth’s support. He is Glass Animals’ dad. Psyched for Laneway Festival Singapore 2017. It’ll be our first ever show in Asia. That is pretty exciting, huh?
Catch Glass Animals at Laneway Festival Singapore 2017 on January 21 at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay. For tickets and more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com.
SUBSONIC EYE 020
WEEZER’S “ONLY IN DREAMS” ISN’T TECHNICALLY A DREAM POP SONG, BUT IT MAKES A STRONG CASE FOR THE GENRE. THE STARLIT, LUCIDITY-BESTOWING AND SUBLIMELY PRISTINE SIDE OF THE DREAM STATE ADVERTISED BY RIVERS CUOMO IS ALSO FUNDAMENTAL TO THE MUSIC OF LOCAL QUINTET, SUBSONIC EYE. FRONTWOMAN WAHIDAH, GUITARISTS DANIEL AND BO, BASSIST SPENCER, AND DRUMMER LUCAS ALL SWEAR BY THE DREAMIER, FUZZIER SHOEGAZE END OF THE ALTERNATIVE SPECTRUM AND HAVE BEEN SHOWING FOR IT ON SHIMMERINGLY MEDITATIVE SINGLES SUCH AS “2DAZE” AND “COSMIC REALIGNMENT”. WITH THEIR DEBUT ALBUM SOON TO DROP, THE BAND SITS WITH US TO GO THROUGH ITS SHROUDED-BUT-BRIGHT WORLD.
Speaking of genres, you play a very specific style whose heyday you were not alive to experience. Why? We chose it not just because we like it but because not many bands in Singapore play this type of music. Besides the fact that we like experimenting with our effects and reverb pedals, we’ve always fancied the calming and nostalgic atmosphere of the genre. It’s a feel-good sound that’s very accessible, and
we like that. It triggers certain emotions that help counteract the stress of living in a fast-paced country like Singapore. Even when we jam, it’s relaxing. Our music is definitely more emotional than technical. Since the dream pop aesthetic is so close to your hearts, have you ever written a song that was based on a dream? Not really. But there have been times where jamming a song later triggers memories and dreams. Whenever we play live, we have to go back to and tap into how we felt when we were writing the song that we’re playing. There’s definitely some sort of journey that you take as a musician when you go through the process of playing shows and our sound makes that easier. “2daze” ends on the very powerful line, “I’m too used to be so sorry about the things I can never live up to”. What does that line mean to you? It’s about the fatigue you feel when you constantly have to apologise for things that you feel bad for doing or not doing. Self-guilt is a dangerous thing
and this song is a reminder to us to not beat ourselves up over things that don’t matter and the importance of standing your ground. How was your recent show with Yuck? It was fun. They were so nice. We’re fans and sometimes, you fail to realise your idols are humans too. Yuck was also one of the first few bands to play a certain kind of dream pop on a big scale, which is why they’re an inspiration to us. Frontman Max came over to Bo and asked about his pedal board. As a shoegazer, that made him feel really proud! What can you tell us about your upcoming album? It’s produced within the band and the mixing will be done in Singapore. We’ll send it to the U.S. for mastering. Hearing how the vocals and instruments come together feels really nice. There’s this sense of completion over the project that is a definite improvement from our older stuff.
Text Indran P Images Colossal Photos
How did Subsonic Eye start? Most of us met in school. Daniel and Wahidah were classmates in Singapore Polytechnic. The rest of us met through mutual friends. Our music started out with Wahidah singing over Beach Fossils-inspired instrumentals that Daniel had made, and evolved into a full band playing together. Right now, it’s very stable but not stagnant. We had a moment of uncertainty but things are right now. The momentum has picked up and we’ve got our love for the genre back again. You could say that we finally found our footing.
LEAP OF FAITH
IF YOU’VE EVER STOOD ON THE CUSP OF A LIFECHANGING, UNDENIABLY HIGH-STAKES DECISION, YOU’LL FIND MARICELLE WONG’S STORY ABSOLUTELY INSPIRING. UNABLE TO IGNORE OR RELEGATE THE DESIRE TO MAKE MUSIC TO MERELY A HOBBY, SHE LEFT HER JOB AS A FRAGRANCE DEVELOPER AND MADE IT HER MAIN CONCERN. THIS ALL-OR-NOTHING ENDEAVOUR WILL YIELD A DEBUT EP CHRISTENED PURSUIT, FEATURING THE DEVASTATINGLY BEAUTIFUL SINGLE “LOVE DRUNK”, THAT WILL BE OUT LATER THIS MONTH. MAY WHAT SHE SHARES ABOUT HER MUSIC AND METHODS GIVE YOU WINGS TO ASCEND TO YOUR OWN GREATER HEIGHTS.
The first start. I’ve always been interested in music; it was one of those things that I’ve always liked. I started singing opera in a choir that my mum used to send me to when I was a little kid. Throughout my childhood, my dad would bring the family on drives and we’d listen to whatever was playing on the radio, like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. But it was in 2012, when I joined the Noise Singapore songwriting programme, that I started writing my own songs. The pursuit of happiness. It was this year, when I decided to make music full-time and I got paid to sing for a very long time, that I realised I wanted to communicate with other people through my music. Seeing people enjoy hearing me sing had a part to play in it. But validation isn’t the main reason why I enjoy it. The sensation of being able to fill up a space with a sound that is uniquely mine is what gives me the most happiness. The time is now. Though I loved my job as a fragrance developer, it wasn’t enough to convince me to sacrifice music. After all, I could always go back to it. I had to travel a lot for work and if I had stayed on, I wouldn’t have had the time to work on or release music. It was a make-orbreak decision that I felt I had to take. For me, being able to focus fully on music, to pour all that time and energy into this one thing that I want to do has been the most rewarding part of it all. The finer details. I think of my sound as a mix of pop, r&b and electronica. It’s also a reflection of my musical preferences, which are pretty wide. I see it all as sound design. I worked with James Lye, who’s a sound artist and producer. A song isn’t just a ‘song’ – it’s a whole package. Whether or not there are effects, the way the synths sound, the timbre of any sound produced – all these things add to the overall whole. So, we were very focused on the intricate details of the process. The Pursuit. I literally had to ‘pursue’ everything I needed to make this EP possible. It was a pursuit of learning more about myself, of learning more about music, and being emotionally free enough to do those things. When you write a song, you hope it’ll change the world. It’s a certain type of ambition that gives your life meaning and helps you transcend boundaries and challenges. That’s why I didn’t just want a collection of nicesounding songs. I wanted it to have a message. Each song is a creative expression of the messages that are important to me. Take “Love Drunk”, for example. Love songs mostly tend to focus on the good parts of being in love, but breakups are just as much a part of the whole experience. Love isn’t merely good or bad – it’s the intensity of emotion that drives it that counts. That’s what “Love Drunk” conveys.
Text Indran P Image Quinn Lum
SHAPING UP THE SCENE
HEINEKEN CITIES OPENS NEW WORLDS WITH INSTALLATIONS AT ZOUKOUT AND SINGAPORE FLYER
When thinking about the city in which we live – or those that we hope to become a part of one day – we often question what it is that it can do for us. Whether it’s convenient for our commutes, conducive to our eating and spending habits, or if its nightlife spots invigorate us when we find time away from our workspaces. Perhaps there’s another question that we should ask ourselves just as often, if not more: “What can we do for our city?”. At the forefront of celebrating the best that cities around the world have to offer, Singapore’s inclusion in the Heineken CITIES campaign presented an opportunity to explore this question, while reshaping the way we look at our island-state home. Hiring the innovative minds of five local trailblazers in the creative industry, Heineken looked at Singapore as a painter would a canvas. Amongst the towering skyscrapers, multi-coloured HDB blocks, and entwining greenery, the brewer set about applying its brush to our cityscape in the pursuit to ‘Shape Your City’. Acting as a collective and bringing their own distinct skills to the table, the Heineken City Shapers – Tracy Phillips (‘The Producerr’), MYRNE (‘The Entertainer’), Yah Leng Yu (‘The Design Ambassador’), James Lye (‘The Sound Artist’), and William Koh (‘The Visual Artist’) – pooled together their disciplines and diverse experiences, setting their sights on an unavoidable feature of the city’s skyline: the Singapore Flyer.
Heineken Sky Stage
Heineken Sky Studio Teasing the urban makeover that would have visitors to one of the world’s largest observation wheels in awe, Heineken’s iconic red star shone once again on the sands of Siloso Beach for the 2016 edition of annual beach rave, ZoukOut. Fittingly positioned beside the Star Stage, the silhouette of Singapore’s skyline became illuminated by Heineken’s unmistakable electric green glow – symbolising the oncoming reinvention of a national icon, while embodying the innovative local stars adjacent like Zushan, Koflow, Aldrin and Jeremy Boon, who performed for ecstatic partygoers over the festival’s two days. Equipping invited guests with LED-lit wristbands, sunglasses and an ice-cold serving of crisp lager that cut through the heat of Singapore’s endless summer, Heineken once again heralded the homegrown heroes who help shape our creative scene. Merely days following ZoukOut’s festivities, Heineken quickly pivoted from Sentosa’s seaside to the inner-city marina, where it would quite
Heineken Sky Shapers
Heineken Sky Bar literally reinvent the wheel. Specially designing an elevated DJ console modelled after the Flyer’s capsules, local deck-spinner TINC treated those who arrived to catch the last rays of light to an explosive set of EDM, before ShiGGa Shay ensnared partygoers in his lyrical prowess, and City Shaper MYRNE lifted the lid on the revelry with an eclectic selection of bangers to enliven ear drums. Unveiling the reimagined Flyer capsules, guests’ eyes were opened to five distinctly innovative new worlds to explore, 165m-high in the sky. Mryne’s ‘Sky Studio’ turned passengers into music producers by using sound samples from Singapore’s urban and natural enclaves, together with thumping beats, to produce an aural experience that reflected the beat of the Singapore street. ‘Skylight’, envisioned by William Koh, immersed guests in a kaleidoscopic space that stitched together images of cities around the world to produce jaw-dropping perspectives, while the ‘Sky Stage’, spearheaded by James Lye,
To stay up to date on Heineken’s latest happenings, visit heineken.com/sg.
had complete strangers making music together to light up the capsule in a visual spectacle. Yah Leng Yu’s interactive ‘Sky Shapers’ had guests reinterpret their city skyline with only their fingertips, and Tracy Phillips’ sky-high cocktail club, ‘Sky Bar’, had lucky guests sipping on city-themed cocktails while taking in the view of city lights over the sea. Meanwhile, onlookers at the Flyer’s base marvelled at a real-time projection mapping display of the giant wheel illuminated by a glowing red star. It can be all too easy to resign to the thought that certain things can’t, or won’t, be changed in a fast-paced metropolis like Singapore. But, like the five creative minds that Heineken brought together to reimagine how we look at our city, thinking outside of the box and opening up to the idea of new possibilities can lead to breathtaking results – even reinventing a prominent feature of the city’s skyline. With Singapore’s ever-growing creative scene finding the courage to go against the grain, it won’t be the last time Heineken finds a new way to ‘open your world’.
ELECTRIC FEEL FOUR SYNTH-FRIENDLY ACTS AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME
There’s a reason why Chromeo isn’t known mainly for being A-Trak’s brother’s band: The duo of Dave 1 and P-Thugg makes exquisitely dancey music. Trafficking in an electronically distilled brand of funk, disco and uptempo soul, the pair has updated ’70s pleasure-blasting music and given it an indie-minded heft.
FROM THE OUTSIDE IN There’s no denying that the synth-thetic mode is the dominant aesthetic in current times. #Nofilter is a lie because everything is filtered and synthetic, and in the musicverse, even the more conservative realms of folk and country have lifted barriers to the influx of synths. To go digital is to have a limitless arsenal of sounds at your fingertips, and while Chvrches and their imitators have shown the world what bodes in the lane of bright, straightforward pop, there are lesser-known musicians who are doing so much more. Emma Witmer AKA gobbinjr is of that ilk. On her recently released EP, vom night, the Brooklyn singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist furnishes a lavishly vivid but spartan view of what it means to love. In vom night, loving someone automatically entails living out a tormenting cocktail of loneliness, uncertainty and insecurity. Its lead single “firefly” houses the most uncompromising lyrical moment that contextualises this abject fatalism: “I feel creepy all the time / Because I like everybody more than they like me”. You can accuse her of being melodramatic but you definitely can’t say she’s not being unsparingly honest. What makes gobbinjr’s extreme candour legitimately relatable and spectacular to experience is the complexity of her delivery. While her lyrical modus is to reveal, her music functions as a staggeringly vast blanket over her world. Throughout the EP’s six songs, you’ll hear her half-whispered coos juxtaposed with teeming sounds. ‘Experimental’ barely describes moments like on “reason” where Explosions In The Sky-esque twinkles coalesce with synth bloops and bleeps and a rhythmic thrust worthy of the Tron: Legacy soundtrack – it’s mind-boggling and personal all at once. Quiet can be loud, and loud, quiet. And this early in 2017, we’ve gained in vom night a framework to explore these complex states in.
AUTRE NE VEUT
It’s a mystery why Arthur Ashin isn’t mentioned up there with The Weeknd and Frank Ocean when it comes to alt-r&b. His maximal thrall is such a slight to the genre’s shrouded and faux-minimal ethos that he’s definitely worthy of being an alt icon. If “Play By Play” doesn’t bring you to your knees, you have a problem.
You can’t build a structure without a foundation. The edifice of synthpop rests heavily on the key foundation stone that is Depeche Mode. From their debut album 1981’s Speak & Spell, their run has been instructional as well as breathtaking. Their dark, sexy sounds are now everywhere.
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
All hail the fountainheads of popular but unconventional electronic music. At a time when the Technicolour ways of ABBA and the like reigned in the popular consciousness, the Düsseldorf outfit fused pop melodies with an electronically-led experimental approach that changed the trajectory of pop music forever. Cue RadioActivity for essential listening.
SUNLIGHT HERBIE HANCOCK Other than being a singer, I consider myself an instrumentalist. Hearing Herbie use the vocoder and adding lyrics to his sick solo lines and melodic riffs really takes the cake.
TAWK TOMAHAWK HIATUS KAIYOTE This is one of the most creative albums I’ve heard recently. And the band being from Australia, near our side of the world, gives me hope. It has beauty, rawness and sincerity.
RETURN OF THE SPACE COWBOY JAMIROQUAI This was the first Jamiroquai album I bought and the one that made me want to learn to play the bass. Thank you, Stuart Zender!
A LOVE SUPREME JOHN COLTRANE This one’s like a good book you keep re-reading throughout your life. An inspired work of art you just go back to for wisdom, guidance and comfort. I find new inspiration everytime I listen to it.
MAMA’S GUN ERYKAH BADU She is my queen! Along with the Soulquarians, this album taught me about telling a story from the first to the last song, by connecting the musical movements and trusting organic arrangements.
FANTASTIC VOL. 1 & 2 SLUM VILLAGE This is the Holy Grail – from rhymes to feel, to production, to the pureness of the art form. There’s no hype or insecurity. To me, this is one of the realest releases in hip-hop.
BROWN SUGAR D’ANGELO D’Angelo got me singing. I listened to him when I was 11; this album in particular, and from then on, I couldn’t get enough. This is my soul education enabler.
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
TIM DE COTTA
BEING AN ICONOCLAST HAS NEVER BEEN ONE OF TIM DE COTTA’S CONCERNS – HE’S ALREADY IN HIS OWN IMPECCABLY REALISED LANE. HE BELONGS TO THE OLD SCHOOL OF ARDENTLY PASSIONATE MUSICIANS WHO REACH WITHIN AND SURFACE WITH REVELATIONS THAT THEY TRANSMIT TO THE WORLD AT LARGE VIA THEIR INSTRUMENTS. FOR DE COTTA, THIS MANIFESTS IN HIS SILKY CROON AND UNCANNY MASTERY OF THE BASS. THE BEVY OF PROJECTS HE’S GRACED – WHETHER SIXX, TIM DE COTTA X THE WARRIORS, TAJ OR L.A.B – ALL BEAR HIS OPENHEARTED AND AWE-INSPIRING IMPRINT, WHICH HE’S INHERITED PARTLY FROM STUDYING THE LEGENDS. HERE, HE SHARES SOME LESSONS IN SOULFUL NEXT-LEVEL GREATNESS.
BLACK RADIO ROBERT GLASPER EXPERIMENT This is one of my favourite recent albums for how it melds jazz, hiphop, soul, and r&b elements with live instrumentation that, at times, emulates electronic beat production.
BLACKSUMMERSNIGHT MAXWELL This guy is a hero of mine. He is one of the modern soul vocalists I can relate to in terms of tone and sound, and also subject matter. This album is his final evolution.
LIVE TODAY DERRICK HODGE This guy is my spiritual animal. He is the nexus of inspiration for me. His music is closest to how I’ve written mine, as I always start from the bass.
THE MAN, THE LEGEND
You Want It Darker’s first words are “If you’re
the dealer, then I’m out of the game”. Whether or not this is eerily prophetic is confounded by Cohen’s contradictory remarks about his health. Just before Darker’s release, he stated that he was “ready to die”, which he reneged on a few days later with the declaration that he intends to live forever. His eventual death, at 82, obviously put the matter to rest and as like David Bowie’s Blackstar, leaves us with a full stop that serves as an appraisal of all the benchmark work he has built his career on.
tall over the zeitgeists that have come and gone. Today, in an era where viral content is synonymous with quality, Darker accomplishes that same feat. With sparse and mostly acoustic instrumentation, his enchanting, gravelly baritone conveys mythic weight with brilliant weightlessness. The last line on “String Reprise / Treaty”, the last song of Cohen’s career reads, “I wish there was a treaty / between your love and mine”, and Cohen softens his tone briefly before emitting a slight sigh.
It’s conventional wisdom that the folk mode has been Cohen’s de facto medium since his first foray into music, 1967’s Songs Of Leonard Cohen. But since then, its evolution has stood
Rest in peace, Sir.
WE LIKE IT DARKER HIGHLIGHTS FROM A DECORATED PAST
SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE (1971) At just eight songs, this one almost plays like an EP, but it does not detract from how overwhelmingly powerful each and every cut is. Besides cementing his unique classical guitar playing style, this set saw him fully indulge his poetic gifts.
NEW SKIN FOR THE OLD CEREMONY (1974) The best always self-correct – and here’s where Cohen did it. Frustrated with his folk-leaning sound, he brought in jazz producer John Lissauer who ushered kineticism into Cohen’s world. Play “Who By Fire” and experience worlds meeting and building anew.
I’M YOUR MAN (1988) Universally regarded as Cohen’s best album, I’m Your Man was also the biggest gamble of his career. At a time when Bob Dylan drew the ire of his devotees with his electric guitar, Cohen won over a new flock with his surprising turn at synthpop. music
THE FUTURE (1992) This is Cohen’s death-gazing record. But where Darker broached the subject with grace and dignity, The Future spits upon it with disdain and rancour. Though, like its cover, it’s aware of hope and this compelling duality is its own silver lining.
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
There was a time when the most resounding songs evoked mythology. One of these was “Hallelujah”, Leonard Cohen’s most universally adored hit. Saturated with religious concerns, like most of his work, it recalls an episode in the Book Of Samuel, where God first meets King David and is pleased with his harp playing. Incidentally, King David is also acknowledged as the composer of the psalms, the music of the Bible. And until his last and 14th album, October 2016’s You Want It Darker, and his sudden death 17 days later, Leonard Cohen was our King David, a bard whose music is eternally rich with meaning.
IT’S THE SHIP 2016
Text Indran P Images Colossal Photos x All Is Amazing and Livescape
EDM WILL SET YOU FREE The numbers don’t lie. Over one boozy weekend, from November 4 to 7, 3,800 people from 38 countries packed into the mammoth Mariner Of The Seas luxury cruise liner – captained by David Hasslehoff, no less – for a dance festival featuring 81 international, regional and local acts. Obviously the after-the-fact Insta-category of #epic is an understatement. Back for the third year running, It’s The Ship (ITS) 2016 was the biggest incarnation of the festival yet. A dawn-to-dusk dance shindig on a cruise ship out at sea with some of EDM’s most decorated names to soundtrack the proceedings is already an enticing proposition – but ITS 2016 took it to a whole other level. Here’s a brief account of how we enjoyed (and barely survived) that weekend.
way for OZMO, led by Bangkok Invaders honcho DJ ONO, to pump them up with their big room urgings. Midway though this, at the Hot Tub Time Machine Stage, which was literally set up around several hot tubs, Aussie siren Brooklyn offered her charms to the audience. Here, as we’d learn throughout our time on board, the musical overlap was a good thing and served to underscore the requisite sounds for an inhibition-killing good time. Kaku and Some Blonde served up a kinetic cocktail of hip-hoplaced EDM until the big name acts took their turn. A robotic voice welcoming us as “citizens of Dada Life”, announced the entry of Swedish pop-house giants Dada Life, who rivalled Knife Party and Bass Agents as Day One’s undeniable highlights.
One of the key takeaways of ITS 2016 is that its crowd was way more turnt-ready than its predecessor’s. Unlike the year before, ITS 2016 saw a huge section of its attendees hit the main stage immediately after checking in. At barely 6pm, we joined an enthusiastic mass of board shorted-and-bikinied bodies all jiving to driving EDM piped from the ship’s PA system. At 6pm, American saxophonist and Kygo collaborator REALSSM took the decks while playing lush saxophone melodies live. His air-light chill suffused the spirit of the crowd and paved the
Whatever sleep we managed to steal served us well on Day Two, where instead of the beach party that we were treated to last year, the ship docked in Penang for a not-quite-respite of great food and the free entry to the joints in its clubbing district. We stumbled into Glo Revival Dance Club, where the DJ took us on a hip-hop-led EDM trip. Once on board the ship and nourished by its 24-hour buffet restaurant, The Windjammer, we caught Singapore’s own ShiGGa Shay’s packed-out main stage set. Strong wind and torrential rain shut down the
main stage for a while but the night’s hip-hop headliners Thaitanium, Far East Movement and Bangkok Invaders set up in the ship’s massive auditorium and did their good work. Receiving intel that local hero Aldrin would be playing an intimate set somewhere on the ship, we rushed to the locale and took in his exquisite tech-house cuts. Day Three started early, despite the previous night’s unrelenting momentum, with The Hoff taking the decks as DJ Hoff, before the one-two of Technicolour house between Franky Rizardo and Watermät, and the arrival of superstar duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, from whom thick grooves and tribal beats unspooled. The genius that is Sander Van Doorn went on next, followed by Brazilian selector Dimmi Kalil at the hot tub stage. As night fell, local upstarts MYRNE and DJ Lenerd rose to the fore and did us loud and proud. The former, in particular, played to a clearly impressed crowd at the hot tub stage. As Monday beckoned, headliner Andrew Rayel’s body-lifting set served as reminder of what a weekend it had been. EDM will set you free – see you on board next year.
ONE FOR THE TRIBES There was a moment just about midway through TOKiMONSTA’s set, when she looked up from her controls, and flashed the crowd a big, beaming, beatific smile. And in that simple, spontaneous gesture, she summed up our ZoukOut 2016 experience. She brought us back to the end of 2015’s outing, where, sweaty, slightly delirious but euphoric, we wondered what 2016’s would be like – and it transcended our expectations in unexpected ways. Over the course of the weekend from December 9 to 10, 40 acts – including some of dance music’s most formidable commercial titans, leftleaning experimental scene-stealers, and local and regional luminaries – shared the decks. And under the banner of this year’s theme, “One Tribe”, a crowd of 41,000 ravers got their dance on across Friday and Saturday. As faithful members of the tribe, we were there as well. Here’s our account of how it all went down.
Day One It was clear from the outset ZoukOut 2016’s lineup was the least EDM-centric one the festival had served up in recent years. And the 15,000-strong crowd that turned up was completely fine with that. Upon hitting the beach after walking in amidst the throngs of people, we encountered yet another spectacular change-up that the festival now boasted: The position of the bigticket Moon stage had completely changed. Where it was traditionally beside the more indie-oriented Star stage, and facing the sea, it now faced the entrance of the festival itself and ran parallel to the beach. This meant that the moment you stepped onto the beach, you’d witness its epic proportions. Instead of a regular stage, it was shaped into Zouk’s iconic eye logo, with the DJ booth as the ‘eyeball’, the
hot since 82 elevated epicentre of it all, flanked by towering ‘lashes’ of LED screens. Shanghai’s progressive trance don DJ L was the first to take up position within this new setup and he rose to the occasion even though it was still very early in the evening. Likewise, local house and techno favourite Maurice Simon held court at the Star stage, his meticulous selections transcending the slowly-building crowd numbers. This strong local showing continued after, with onetime Singapore Idol finalist-turned-DJ MMXJ lifting the lid on his future bass-led hooks at the Moon stage and Zouk’s long-time resident and torchbearer Hong dishing out house and techno under his new alias Ferng at the Star stage. He was succeeded by fellow Zouk legend Jeremy Boon,
a local icon whose international esteem shone through in his dynamically eclectic set. Concurrently, a legitimately landmark event occurred at the Moon stage as DJ Domo, a bipedal dancing robot whose body houses a fully functional sampler, made its first appearance since its November 2016 debut in Los Angeles, playing a full set and accompanied by LED-bedecked dancers from the Samurize crew. Up next, a beautiful sound clash transpired as American electro-hop duo GTA and local hero Aldrin took up their posts at the Moon and Star stages respectively, as different variants of kinetic sound blasted against each other. Another one of the festival’s highlights was when Californian rabble-rouser Dillon Francis joined his stateside bros onstage before his own packedout, insanely energetic set. Meanwhile, at the Star stage, our November 2016 cover star Tiga was unspooling his charmingly quirky garage-accented gifts. That he’s a firm disco devotee was evident in the colouristic curation of his set. Needless to say, when he dropped his bassy, hard-smacking 2014 single, “Bugatti”, the crowd lost it. Also at the Star Stage, tech-soul kingpin Fritz Kalkbrenner took his faithful on an odyssey of stylish, intricate sounds, an approach adopted by Hot Since 82, who succeeded him. Closing out its first day on an armada of boisterous sounds, courtesy of Lost Frequencies and Hardwell – who, at one point, waved the Singapore flag to thunderous approval – ZoukOut 2016 raised the bar mighty high for its second day.
Text Indran P Images Zouk Singapore
Day Two Traditionally the bigger crowd-puller, Day Two attracted a whopping 26,000 ravers to Siloso Beach. Besides the Moon and Star stages where local and regional acts in the form of Matthew, Andrew Tang, Goldfish & Blink, Sydney’s Dekkadance and Tokyo’s DJ Yaksa got the night going, a third stage dubbed the Kaleidoscope stage opened up. A collaboration between Lush 99.5 and Rebel Decibel Sound System, it was an elevated, resplendently ornate sun-shaped pedestal armed with the formidable Funktion-One soundsystem. The first solider on the Kaleidoscope front was Intriguant, whose moody shimmers paved the way beautifully for his Syndicate comrade Cherry Chan’s dark, bassy overtures. And while EDM newcomer Alan Walker delighted his crowd at the Moon stage, a local hip-hop volley went down courtesy of LeNERD and Singapore’s most revered turntablist, KoFlow, which was an undeniable highlight of the night. One of the festival’s most incredible turn-up moments was when the latter dropped the Kanye West posse cut, “Clique”. Responding to Wiwek’s juddering jungle terror onslaught at the Moon stage, homegrown mainstays Seng Wei and Zig Zach unspooled pullulatingly complex sounds at the Kaleidoscope stage. Big room wiz KSHMR then put on a mythic show of force at the Moon stage, even flipping Prince’s “Clouds” to suit his sky-parting thrust. After slaking our thirst at the Heineken tent, we received the stylish r&b-laden thump of Snakehips and Kaye’s bass-buoyed tehnoisms and made our way to the Moon for our dose of Zedd, and received it via “Clarity” and “Break Free”. The subsequent shuffle between TOKiMONSTA and local techno savant Haan yielded a flurry of next-level aural stimuli and lived up to the former’s promise of a “journey”. That she
played “It G Ma” also gave said journey a nice heft. The 4am slot proved tricky as it meant we had to navigate between the three stages to take in what Martin Garrix, RAC and Kaleidoscope-closer, ATTAGIRL!’s DuriO had to offer. Through sheer force of will, which allowed us to shamelessly nudge our way through the crowd, we made it from Garrix’s volley of hits, that included “Animals” and “Don’t Look Down”, to RAC’s syrupy house and to DuriO’s riveting bass-first plunge. Catching the sunrise has long been a ZoukOut tradition and to that end, it was a trio of young Zouk residents Lincey, Zushan and Ghetto, who ushered in the daylight and drew the festival to a close on a tripartite arrangement of colossal EDM and left-of-centre sounds. As Zouk embarks on its next evolutionary phase at Clarke Quay, ending its premier festival and cultural export on such a note was an assurance that the club’s founding principle of groundbreaking discovery will never change. As always, see you again next year.
CHAIRLIFT Caroline Polachek has a transcendent, beatific smile – that was one of our takeaways as we witnessed the frontwoman command the Fort Green stage. Wrapped in a poncho, she appeared totally unbothered by the post-rain mugginess, dancing and cooing throughout her set – and giving us earnest renditions of gems like “Romeo” and “Ch-Ching”.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS FOALS If you’ve heard “Inhaler”, then you know how absolutely huge and pummelling it sounds; the sheer anthemic power that it packs. On their third showing here, Yannis Philippakis and co. brought forth just that and a whole host of dynamic, math-y cuts, including “Cassius” and “Olympic Airways”.
CRYSTAL CASTLES While Foals were loud, this Ontario duo, aided by a live drummer, was punishingly noisy. Armed not just with volume, but texture, producer Ethan Khan and singer Edith Frances reprised their famed brand of IDM-inflected noise-punk, most notably on “Crimewave”, for a seething and almost masochistic crowd of which we were a part.
NEON LIGHTS 2016 music
Text Indran P Images Neon Lights Festival
THAT NEON LIGHTS 2016 WAS THE RAINIEST, MUDDIEST FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR DID NOT PRECLUDE IT FROM BEING ONE OF THE MOST ENJOYABLE AND ECLECTICALLY CURATED LIVE OFFERINGS TO TAKE PLACE IN 2016. OVER THE RAIN-DRENCHED WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 26 TO 27, A MASSIVE CROWD OF 15,000 GATHERED AT FORT CANNING TO TAKE IN MUSIC FROM 27 ACTS AND IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN THE ART OFFERINGS BY PRACTITIONERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. WE CANNOT OVERSTATE HOW RAINY AND MUDDY IT WAS – AS WELL AS HOW ENTERTAININGLY IT UNFOLDED. HERE’S A PICTORIAL THROWBACK TO THE FESTIVAL’S HIGHLIGHTS.
NEON INDIAN Technical defects are a festival mainstay. But Day One’s headliner Neon Indian beat Murphy’s Law and put on a stunning and spirited show. With his backing band, the retronaut took us back to the neon-drenched ’80s on vehicles such as “Annie” and “Polish Girl”. As usual, the #faithful were unstoppable in their sing-alongs.
ART EVERYWHERE Throughout the weekend, Fort Canning Park and Fort Canning Green were transformed into vistas of artistic discovery. From projections to crafts workshops, to poetry readings, to a full-fledged musical, the roster of arts offerings at Neon Lights 2016 had the spectrum covered.
GEORGE CLINTON & THE PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC Even before the festival started, George Clinton’s presence on the lineup affirmed how diverse and cutting-edge its conception is. Given the local gig/festival climate, it’s difficult to see him fitting in anywhere else but at Neon Lights. And to that end, his band and he completely owned it with their funk-rock thrall.
SIGUR RÓS We kid you not: For most of the Icelandic post-rock icons’ 90-minute set, there was an inspired audience member, who, eyes closed, kept both her arms stretched to the sky. That’s what Sigur Rós can do to you. Back after its 2012 coup on the same grounds, the band played as a three-piece but sounded way bigger. JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ Despite going up to close the Fort Gate stage while major crowd-puller Yuna was playing at the Fort Green stage, the Swedish-Argentine folk balladeer was greeted by a full and enthusiastic crowd. Opening with the lilting “Crosses” and ending with “Killing For Love”, he played to those gathered with hearto’erflowing emotion.
BLOOD ORANGE By any metric, Blood Orange mastermind Dev Hynes was the incontestable star of the entire festival. He blasted the bar of showmanship up to the stratosphere with his almost-otherworldly and beyond-virtuosic singing, dancing and guitar-playing. Though it’s hard to see with teary eyes, we thought he rendered “You’re Not Good Enough” sublimely.
of hopes and whispers
It’s becoming more of a thing for artistes to leave us hanging when it comes to new music release dates. Here are three main culprits.
AT THE DRIVE-IN
NINE INCH NAILS
The newly reunited post-hardcore legends
When one of indie rock’s finest and most respected
Trent Reznor stands tall as one of the vanguards
recently teased a new track out called “Governed
bands releases a song, it makes big waves.
of modern experimental music. Even though his
By Contagions”, a masterpiece of raw, powerful
When that song is released on a TV show, whose
day job as NIN honcho has taken a backseat to his
punk with some interestingly proggy left-turns.
broadcaster then quickly goes about erasing any
soundtracking ambitions, those new pursuits have
Then, they announced that a new album, produced
trace of the song online, it makes even bigger
amply validated the old claim of his greatness.
by guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Rich
waves. That’s what happened when “I Ain’t The
Right, Social Network fans? Recently, when
Costey, will be out soon – but never specified
One” was premiered on the drama, Shameless. It
asked at an interview about new NIN music, he
when. Fans have been clamouring on the Internet
doesn’t help that the band also posted what looks
answered with the totally specific and not-vague-
but to no avail. We’ll just have to wait.
like new cover art on social media…
at-all, “Just wait and see what happens”. Ugh.
BACK TO SCHOOL
There’s a lot of shoegaze-lite going around. Ever since synthpop became the au courant indie mode, lush, inward-looking sounds are piping everywhere. But shoegaze pioneers The Jesus And Mary Chain have announced that they’ll be back with their first album in 18 years to show you how it’s done and done right. Damage And Joy will feature 14 tracks, including telling ones like “Can’t Stop the Rock” and “Mood Rider”. Thus far, the only first listen has been “Amputation”, an absolutely distorted marvel of razor-sharp, fist-up pop music. This one’s for the kids and their parents, too. thejesusandmarychain.uk.com
AUDIO - VISUAL
MARVEL OF MARVELS Comic books and hip-hop are twinned worlds. There’s something about the artistry involved in each endeavour that makes them overlap in often inventive and interesting ways. Marvel Comics has led the way in this regard and has used the covers of three landmark hip-hop albums as inspiration for three of its upcoming issues. The new cover for Mighty Captain Marvel #1 is based on Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo, while Jay Z’s American Gangster has been reimagined for Elektra #1, and Vic Mensa’s There’s Alot Going On is the muse for a new Bullseye #1 issue.
Such is her allure that you can’t take your eyes or ears off FKA twigs. The British experimental pop siren is a veritable feast for the senses; her body-contorting moves are just as captivating as her infinitely intricate and explorable sounds. Late last month, she brought both worlds together in mesmeric fashion in a new short film titled Soundtrack 7. She’s described it as an “abstract autobiographical piece” composed of dance pieces she created for her week-long 2015 residency at Manchester’s Old Granada Studios. Peep the vid on YouTube and get your dose of Internet-sourced catharsis. fkatwi.gs
BIG BANG THEORY As the guitarist of Queen, Brian May is responsible for some of the most stratosphere-questing pieces of music to ever grace the human ear. In 2007, though, he took his planetary brilliance to literal heights when he got a PhD in astrophysics. One of his major concerns has been avoiding a collision course that’ll see Earth devastated by an incoming asteroid and to that end, he’s behind an initiative known as Asteroid Day, an internal awareness campaign that will educate nations about protection of our planet from asteroid impact. The ‘day’ itself has been set for June 30, 2017, and, as of this writing, the UN General Assembly has approved it. That’s as huge a deal as “Bohemian Rhapsody”, isn’t it?
A FAN GIVES BACK
It’s tough for pre-Internet bands to command relevance in an era where future bass is the new rock & roll. But cult punk band AFI has never been known to be risk-averse, no matter the fancies of the generation. Later this month, Davey Havok, Jade Puget, Hunter Burgan, and Adam Carson will unveil their 10th full-length opus, AFI. Co-produced by Matt Hyde, who’s helmed the boards for Slipknot and Deftones, the album spans 14 tracks and includes lead singles “White Offerings” and “Snow Cats”, both of which reprise the band’s famed aggressive-but-melodic duality.
a happy meeting
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
Death Cab For Cutie linchpin Ben Gibbard is an emotional guy. So, it’s only natural for him to be effusive about the music he loves. He’s long been vocal about how inspiring British alternative rock icons Teenage Fanclub have been to him and, recently, he announced that he’ll cover their groundbreaking 1991 album Bandwagonesque in full, as part of the vinyl subscription service of the indie record label, Turntable Kitchen. “Bandwagonesque is my favourite record by my favourite band of all time”, reads an official statement. Expect ‘heavy’ listening. turntablekitchen.com
‘Music brings people together’ is a vastly disingenuous statement – but it’s true. Not too long ago, this truism brought two artistes from two worlds – which, on paper, do not overlap in the least – into contact with each other and spawned great new music from the union. Californian cult rapper Antwon and Kerry McCoy, cofounder and guitarist of the indie world’s most esteemed metal band Deafheaven, have locked arms on “Changes”, a song that’s neither rap nor metal but borderline punk-y and emo. Look out for an entire collaborative called 25th St. Sessions for a more fleshed-out take on this pairing. ghostramp.com
BY THE POWER OF TWO In a few weeks, the canon of techno will be gifted with one of its most spellbinding works. Juan Atkins and Orlando Voorn, two of the discipline’s most revered figures will join forces on an album superbly titled, Mind Merge. This will be the first time since 1994’s “Game One” that the two DJ-producers will link up on wax. According to their label Out-Er, Mind Merge is “a beautiful quintessence of Detroit electro, funk and techno”, which, surely, will come as good news to lovers of path-lighting dance music with a way around your body. out-er.com
another one! DJ Khaled is a full-on brand now. His social media savvy has taken him out of the viral lottery and placed him near the apogee of not just musical but pop cultural ubiquity. He’s now in the empire-building phase of his career and synergy is the name of his many-splendoured game. That’s why he’s just launched his own line of cocoa butter via a tie-up with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. This partnership has yielded three sprays characteristically christened, “Live Life Smooth”, “They Block” and “We The Best Glow”. This begs the question, “What next?”
BY RAZI RAZAK
THE WORLD IS Y_OURS “Me, I want what’s coming to me.” “What’s coming to you?” “The world, Chico, and everything in it.” – Scarface
You can never be truly free of your past. 2016 was an almost unimaginable marker in my life, full of challenges and obstacles. I believe that all these adversities, if overcame, would make me into a better person, a better man. At least that is what I learned growing up – that being tough always wins. But in terms of creativity, not always. How do we keep going when it seems that we have lost faith in ourselves in terms of living life? In this context, work equals life and it has become a routinised experience for me. In reality, if love is in need of love today, then so is creativity. The all-glowing question remains: Am I going through a creative midlife crisis?
Life, and how prepared you are to live it, is more important than anything in the world. So, how do we move forward from this? The rules for living successfully in this world have shifted. We can no longer hope to live meaningful, purposeful lives using the rules of a you-or meworld. The title, ‘The World Is Y _ours.’ is both an empty promise and a realisable dream. A nuanced notion of worldliness at play, which is the thematic continuity between the content and what it is to experience life through our humanity; a sensitivity to things other than ourselves.
TALK TO YOU SOON Ricky Eat Acid (Terrible Records)
Won’t blame you if you think you’ve heard all these before: Aphex Twin; M83; Burial; even Owen Pallett. Oh wait, Pallet is in here, providing the strings to opener “hey”, the wind beneath the fey synth work, bringing it to a delirious, slightly dizzying high. Sam Ray has been plugging at this Ricky Eat Acid project (laptop IDM/EDM if anything) for a few years now (he’s also in Teen Suicide), and the latest is him finally tuning his inner ambient world to the right frequency and connecting with the larger world outside the bedroom. We cup our ears, listen in, and are enraptured.
I have recently learned about an old form of action through my personal experiences. The knowledge on how to be patient and that patience is also a form of action. If you apply this to ideas and processes in creativity, you might gain or discover the mileage in them, especially in design/brand innovation. We often ask ourselves why our innovations in design seem to produce few truly trailblazing ideas. Yet all too often, they produce lukewarm end products rather than radical dramatic turnovers. If we examine it as a linear process, we should understand that the only real constant in every innovation case is to illuminate the present insight (or a series of insights) to lead us to a big idea. This onus provides the ideal scenario where creatives can engage in creative dialogue and interactive participation. Companies and organisations often expect to get out-of-the-box ideas without developing fresh and inspiring perspectives. How do you think out of the box? Is the box really necessary in 2017? What are we expecting that is coming to our world in this new hopeful year? A year of innovation and possibility, a year of artists, designers, provocateurs, and thinkers experimenting with ways we might live, make, discourse, act, adapt, and review. Everything we think and do reinforces everything we think and do. At this point, society is so vast, so complex, so multi-layered, that it is impossible to stay updated, engaged, and participate in every area of local and global importance. We can choose to make our love for the world what our lives are really about. To change without changing. From now on, don’t wait for something to happen to you. Actually take responsibility for making something happen. However, if the world is truly yours, why should the world of mine be different to the world of yours? Nobody can take it away from you but yourself – your state of mind, and your fear. The public and the intimate, reveal themselves to be patently, genetically entwined, one impossible to regard without its mirroring and enabling other. So is it mine, is it yours, or is it ours?
BEFORE THE DAWN Kate Bush
If you don’t know who Kate Bush is, you really need to get educated. Why not start with a 155-minute, three-disc document of her 2014 live shows? While we weren’t there (“multisensory”, “theatrical”, “to-die-for”, according to every critic worth their salt, and said condiment into wound, there’s no DVD. What?!), we are certainly boggled with 1) how live (and wobbly) these live recordings sound; 2) why iffy talky bits (e.g. David Mitchell’s) made it when “Wuthering Heights” and “Wow” weren’t even performed; and 3) how superfantastic Bush sounds at nearly 60. Okay, no more words. Just go listen and start worshipping.
PICKS OF THE MONTH COLLAGE EP
YOUNG DEATH/ NIGHTMARKET EP
(Columbia) Unless you have become a Luddite recluse, you would have heard The Chainsmokers (“Closer” featuring Halsey and “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya were on the air. Every. Where.). The duo of Andrew Taggert and Alex Pall are bros making EDM-lite pop with female vocalists. It’s melodic, catchy, ultimately donebefore-to-death – but this collection of their top hits is unstoppable.
(UMG Recordings) The title states exactly what he is/ wants to be: a mother-effing star (paraphrased from opener-title trackhit single with Daft Punk). This will cement him as artiste-king of alt-r&b but the shine of such commercially crowned success is this: “Party Monster” (featuring Lana Del Ray), “False Alarm” and “Rockin” are so hooky, his own Artist idiosyncrasies are buried, 18 tracks under.
(Hyperdub) This is an EP (well, it’s kind of fudging it – there’s only two songs here) that doesn’t really showcase new facets to William Bevan AKA Burial’s post-dubstep sound, ‘cept maybe it’s more ambient and nebulous. “Young Death” is all vinylcrackles, fluttery beats and incorporeal-like voices floating about, and “Nightmarket” is more of the same that builds to a John Carpenter-ish retro-synth sounding end.
(Carpark Records) Sad13 is really Sadie (see the clevercute in this) Dupuis of indie rock band Speedy Ortiz, solo-ing it with her brand of indie-electronic singer-songwriter songs. It’s synth-pop dialled left: “Fixina” rolls along to lazy drums, drawling bass and synth-claps, and “Coming Into Powers” is a headnodding “F-U” song featuring rapper, Sammus. Brief and quirky (if a little obvs in its empowerment messaging).
(Universal Music) If you aren’t tired of the whole ‘80s-inflected new wave/chillwave/ neon rave sound, hurrah – here’s the genre’s steadfast proponents, Empire of the Sun’s latest. It may be glossier (and features Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham), but the music hasn’t changed an iota (at least not to these ears). Just play “High And Low” (or any of the tracks) if you want some safe, summery synth-pop.
(Rett I Fletta) This Okayama portly producer’s kinda new at the game, but his tracks are old-school house, techno, and disco, shuffled by adroit hands that know how to craft dance tracks to make you move (not in the typical club-banger way). The seven tracks are constructed with thought and are yet block-rocking enough for them to hypnotise mind and body; “Vood” and “Sucker Pt.2” in particular.
(RCA Records) Tinashe’s always been kind of flitting around the periphery – too cool for the charts, too pop to be FKA twigs (with whom there’s a physical resemblance). Tell you what she reminds us of: a little Aaliyah, Cassie, and every other not-quite-mainstream singer (eg. Jhené Aiko, Banks). This is her mixtape/teaser to her upcoming sophomore, and it’s filled with dreamy longueur that we hope get her more attention.
(Triple Crown Records) The return (and maturation) of emo rock continues with the third album by Orlando’s You Blew It!. It follows a quieter path than their last album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing. It’s a welcome restraint but they also sound a tad stifled. They can’t quite do Modern Baseball or Sunny Day Real Estate, but they exude their own shine on “Autotheology” and “Epaulette”.
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
(Sacred Bones Records) Iceage frontman, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s sure has phantasmagorical demons (of the phlegmy kind) existing within – why the need to push more of his melodramatic feels into this Marching Church project (which now has a fuller band) otherwise? It can get a little overwrought (hence, unintentionally funny) but overall, it’s great going once you get into the guts of this Gothic-baroque rock piece.
(Matador Records) Capturing a particular mind-blowing experience on record is almost, always, a failed affair; it may or may not be the case for Body/Head’s live recording of Kim Gordon (post-Sonic Youth) and guitarist Bill Nace’s live set at Knoxville’s 2014 Big Ears Festival. So listen to this with an open mind – it’s improv post-rock that’s three songs long (the third lasts 25 minutes) with feedback, squalls and unintelligible, scratchy vocals.
(Local Action Records) While the whole r&b world is gorging itself on the so called alt-r&b sound, Dawn Richard’s showing pluck with her own prismatic take on the genre. Redemption closes what she started with Goldenheart (2013) and Blackheart (2015), via her confessions on the dancefloor, which are r&b meets dance music meets sheer derring-do. Expect twists and turns in “Love Under Lights” and “LA”.
(Technicolour) This is not Detroit techno and house as you know it; Jay Daniel’s all about percussive and drumming work, building lean, dirtied, loose, and live-sounding loops and beats all around ’em sticks. And it’s primal magic: African music and jazz become the most natural bedfellows, with every track a little beating heart to listen, hold and love (and of course jig along to).
Empire of the Sun
Text Sanvean Wang Images Various Sources
You Blew It!
ZOUK OFFICIAL OPENING WITH DIPLO
EMONIGHTSG: THE B-SIDES
THURSDAY JANUARY 5 AT REFUGE If you’ve danced and/or sung your heart out at The B-Sides, you know you’re in for a celebration of throwback-destined alternative, emo and pop punk gold. This is such a unique night for how it puts a quaint spin on the usual ‘turn up’ experience. Break out your MCR tees and head over. refuge.sg
FRIDAY JANUARY 13 AT ZOUK Mark this date down as the first major gig at Zouk’s new home base at Clarke Quay. Helming the decks will be Diplo, one of pop culture’s most inescapably influential figures. He’s had a hand in almost every hit in recent years so expect an arsenal of tricks that he’ll be droppin’ on ya. zoukclub.com
MODULATE FEAT. MAMSA
SATURDAY JANUARY 14 AT CANVAS Inspired by club culture, Mamsa purchased a set of decks in 2000 and set about crafting his sound. Sixteen years later, he’s emerged as one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting house and techno reinterpreters. His sets are famed for their dense sounds and thick grooves, so get ready to sweat. canvasvenue.sg
INTRIGUANT PRESENTS RECLUSE
SATURDAY JANUARY 7 AT THE ESPLANADE ANNEXE STUDIO This is a big day for the Syndicate mood alchemist, Intriguant, as he unveils his debut album, Recluse. The follow-up to his excellent 2014 EP, Ellipse, this 10-track project is a musical coming-of-age for one of Singapore’s most exciting producers. Look out also for special appearances from OmarKENOBI, Charlie Lim, Tim De Cotta, and more. esplanade.com
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB LIVE IN SINGAPORE
LINUS HABLOT – LIVE
PASSENGER – LIVE IN SINGAPORE
MONDAY JANUARY 16 AT THE STAR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE Throughout all their stylistic change-ups, the Irish trio of Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird has retained one element that’s continually set it apart from its imitators: its uncanny ear for melody. To get a live rendering of this and their latest album, Gameshow, you know where you need to be. thestar.sg
FRIDAY JANUARY 13 AT THE STAR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE A billion-plus views on YouTube can’t be wrong – Michael David Rosenberg is a bona fide star. His chart-devouring hit “Let Her Go” has turned him into a global concern. Known for his heartmelting vocals and ear for soothing-butenigmatic melodies, Rosenberg will hold court here for the first time. lamcproductions.com
METALLICA WORLDWIRED TOUR 2017
SUNDAY JANUARY 22 AT THE SINGAPORE INDOOR STADIUM They’re back! Three years after their unforgettable showing here James, Lars, Kirk, and Rob are back for another pummelling display of their powers. This time, they’ll be bringing a new album in tow, one that harkens to their thrash metal roots and maximises all their shredding firepower. Let’s get Hardwired! sportshub.com.sg
MOSAIC MUSIC SERIES: PJ HARVEY
FRIDAY JANUARY 13 AT THE ESPLANADE THEATRE While there are mainstream stars that history will dearly remember, there also exists an upper echelon of iconoclasts that will be immortalised for their trail-blasting contributions to art. PJ Harvey is one of that number and for the first time, she’ll bring her rare, uncompromising gifts to Singapore. esplanade.com
SOULFEED PRESENTS SVEN VÄTH
SATURDAY JANUARY 28 AT ZOUK Papa Sven, a dearly beloved Zouk favourite returns to the decks to delight his followers with his unmatchable brand of techno. His artistry on the decks is also reflected as his unofficial status as an ambassador for the sound. Strap in tight for the ride of 4/4 magic about to come to you. zoukclub.com
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
SATURDAY JANUARY 7 AT THE ESPLANADE CONCOURSE Local singer-songwriter Linus Hablot has something soulful coming your way. Inspired by Lianne La Havas and Bon Iver, he’ll treat you to an evening of lush, blues-leaning folk. He’ll be playing two different 30-minute sets – you’re assured of two distinctly beautiful and emotive experiences. esplanade.com
Text Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
pushing the agenda These days, you can’t have a conversation about fashion game-changers without bringing up Shayne Oliver’s work at Hood By Air – and why not? The man has single-handedly commanded the attention of high fashion doyennes by deconstructing subcultures, and alt-youth dress sentiments into crazy works of art that sell. This season, he looks to the idea of globalisation, migration and transitions to play out his trademark narrative. Think puffer jackets done in patent leather and held together with nylon straps; trousers with snap buttons for customisable pant legs; and cling-wrapped fur marked with luggage tags. These are the things that separate Oliver from his peers, and make him a true visionary.
JOIN THE PACK
KICK OFF YOUR YEAR ON A STYLISH NOTE WITH THESE THREE LABELS FROM BRATPACK, GUARANTEED TO PACK A CHIC PUNCH.
Once again, the time has come to pen down your New Year’s resolutions. For a new start that’s high on style, be sure to add frequent trips to Bratpack to your list. As a lifestyle store, Bratpack is a trove of accessories, apparels, shoes, and bags for urban culture vultures who want to look and feel good, no matter the occasion. With several boutiques sprinkled throughout the city, its mix of streetwear and versatile knick-knacks are curated with the wants and needs of the coolest crowd in mind. Whether you are an audiophile, into street art, or are in need of gear that is both lasting and presentable, Bratpack aims to bridge that gap in your wardrobe by offering under-the-radar brands that boast form and quality. To get ahead, look to these three labels.
STAPLE PIGEON For over a century, Philadelphia-based label Mitchell & Ness has helped fans of various sports teams display their fandom proudly. Starting out as a shop that strung tennis rackets and created custom orders for golfers and local baseball and football teams, Frank Mitchell and Charles Ness gained attention within the U.S. when they created Philadelphia Eagles’ gear for the National Football League in 1933. Fifty years later, when a customer requested that they repair his jersey, the company began to look into the reproduction of historically accurate vintage baseball jerseys and apparel. This month, the brand brings its expertise in recreating priceless sporting memorabilia to Bratpack, starting with an assortment of hats that will get the most ardent sports fan excited. From a high crown model featuring the New York Rangers’ logo and snapbacks with emblems of the San Francisco 49ers or the Chicago Bears emblazoned in front, there’s now an appropriately cool way to show your support for these legendary teams.
NATIVE SHOES Founded in Canada in 2009 – with the goal of creating “Future Classics” by combining timeless silhouettes with modern technology – fans get the best of both worlds with comfy footwear that are built to last, both beyond fickle trends and wear and tear. This season, Native’s focus turns to footwear that will tide wearers through winterscapes with the introduction of its new Hydro collection. Each pair is infused with a Defender Repellent System with Scotchgard, so you are afforded water-resistant kicks with ultra-light rubber outsoles for longer wear. The AP Apex is modelled after the classic hiking boot, with various design features including micro-perforations to keep your peds well ventilated; while the AP Chukka – shaped like a pair of chukka boots – is updated with a three-ply upper for extra resistance against the elements. Lastly, the AP Rover is made from waterproof mesh, lined in moleskin and comes with a 3-D-printed mudguard – making it the embodiment of past-meets-present technology that Native is known for.
Flashback to 1997, when Jeff Ng – better known as jeffstaple – walked into a boutique one day with a T-shirt he had silkscreened in class. By the time he turned and walked out that store, he had landed an initial order of 12 shirts, which resulted in the birth of his streetwear label, Staple Pigeon. Steadily building his repertoire on a humble collection, the label has since gained a robust fanbase for its casual, versatile urban clothing. On top of the ready-to-wear line, Staple Pigeon has also found a way to break into the sneaker scene with a collaboration with Nike – the Staple Pigeon Dunk SB. After the initial success, the brand has gone on to work with Puma and New Balance, where limited edition kicks garner much hype and sell out in a flash. With a customer base that hails from various creative industries including art, music and fashion, Staple Pigeon is also widely favoured by the riding and skating communities.
Available at selected Bratpack stores, including #B2-43 Changi Airport T3, #02-10 Cathay Cineleisure, #03-10G Bugis Junction, and #02-04 Mandarin Gallery.
E D A PAR OF COLOURS Grunge may be well known for its use of flannel and faded hues, but come Spring/Summer 2017, Dr. Martens will present an off-kilter collection that looks at ’90s sub-culture through a kaleidoscope. No stranger to the music and culture scene, Dr. Martens first gained fame as the go-to boot for punks and teddy boys. In the ’90s, its customer base gradually shifted towards the grunge scene, with the likes of Liv Tyler and Courtney Love sporting the iconic 8-eye boot on various occasions. Yet, the brand’s newest lineup of boots, bags and apparel is a refreshed take on what it means to embody the chaos and ambivalence of the grunge scene. The main motif of the collection is the pandemonium of paint splatters that burst across leather surfaces in a nonchalant fashion. Done in eye-catching colours from citrusy yellow and crimson to pine green, dusty blue and black, the brand reimagines the topsy-turvy artistic appeal of the grunge crowd in a way that’s appropriate for the season ahead. Created with the intention to mimic the way an artist spills
his paints over his clothing in the furore of creating new artwork, the unpredictable nature of the paint splatters means that no two items are ever quite the same. The classic 8-eye boot anchors the collection – with its cherry red leather receiving a frenzy of paint splatters – while the lineup includes canvas and leather backpacks, leather satchels, and cotton T-shirts. All perfect purchases to bring a rebellious streak to an otherwise mundane outfit.
Available at Dr. Martens stores, including #01-03 Orchard Gateway, #02-17A Wheelock Place and #B1-31 Capitol Piazza. drmartens.com facebook.com/drmartens.sg instagram.com/drmartenssg
THANKS TO DESIGNERS LIKE GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY AND DEMNA GVASALIA – WHO’VE INSPIRED HYSTERIA AMONGST FASHION FANS ALL OVER THE GLOBE IN TRYING TO PROCURE SUPER-LIMITED STOCK – EYES ARE TURNING TOWARDS RUSSIA AND GEORGIA FOR POST-SOVIET INSPIRATION. WE UNRAVEL THE BAND OF STYLE TSARS AND GET YOU ACQUAINTED WITH FASHION’S RED SQUARE.
Since opening their doors in 2012, Mamuka Kikalishvili and Lado Bokuchava have gone on to dress an impressive list of style luminaries, including Natalie Joos and Miroslava Duma. While the label is relatively young, the two have sharpened their vision for designs that represent a modern woman. While jackets are tailored with strong lines and trousers are kept sleek and sharp, Atelier Kikala is known to temper its toughgirl look with dresses that brim with romance. Fall/Winter 2016 saw several cocktail dresses designed to look as if they were falling off shoulders, with dainty ribbons in lavender and pine cinching in at the waist as skirts balloon outwards. A blend of commerciality and a poetic celebration of the female spirit. atelierkikala.com
When Vika Gazinskaya first showed up on street style blogs four to five years ago, little was known about the immaculately dressed and elusive Russian lady. Fast forward to 2017, and not only has she amassed a veritable following who know her by her first name, she’s also successfully used her newfound fame to propel her fashion label onto the racks of serious boutiques. Renowned for her love of volume and colour, her eponymous label showcases that same streak of brilliant outerwear, architectural shapes and vibrant prints. Leaning towards a more minimal approach for Fall/Winter 2016, the collection boasts that same easy elegance with full skirts in Klein blue and an ankle-grazing gown made from light-as-air silk in fuchsia – both of which make for guaranteed head-turners. vikagazinskaya.com
Embracing the energy and angst of youths growing up in Russia, Sputnik 1985 is the most promising streetwear label to come out of Moscow. Rejecting the ideals of luxury, authoritarianism and the bourgeois, Sergei Pahotin started his streetwear label from the bedroom, screenprinting T-shirts with designs and slogans inspired by his background in the punk and hardcore scenes. Think tees bearing slogans like “Through tempests, the sun of freedom shone on us” and “I will always be against” – which speak to a growing stable of alt-youth fans. Today, his repertoire has expanded into a full series of gear including beanies, parkas, sweaters, skateboards, and bags. The only constant is in Pahotin’s Soviet-era references, such as vintage TV shows, prison tattoos and famed boxers – which inform his designs. sputnik1985.com
Amidst the band of fashion designers fuelled by antiestablishment ideas to create clashing prints and bold slogans comes Evgeniya Malygina and her brand of masterfully cut minimalist pieces. Looking to the DNA of Russia to propel her forward and the world of art to inspire shapes and colour, Malygina does away with the frills to focus on making apparel that are ergonomic, timeless and beautifully constructed. This season, Malygina pays homage to the film, Moscow Doesn’t Believe In Tears, particularly to the grit and tenacity of the Russian people in embracing life’s hardships with gusto. This translates into sombre colours and linear silhouettes made from boiled wools, washed cottons and crinkled fabrics – designs that transcend seasons, made chic for the everyday. pirosmania.com
THE STREETSTYLE STARS
Who: Olga Karput
Who: Gosha Polyanskiy
Who: Liza Ostanina
Who: Max Bashkaev
Job: Owner of Kuznetsky Most 20
Job: Stylist and photographer
Job: Fashion designer at Outlaw Moscow
Buzz: No one scores the season’s most in-demand pieces quite like her. From Ashish to Yeezy, her fashion wardrobe is an enviable collection of It-pieces.
Buzz: Often seen in a T-shirt or hoodie, Polyanskiy dresses up humble basics by throwing on something tailored and sharp. His eye for mixing sleek menswear with a devil-may-care attitude will inspire your daily look.
Buzz: Boldly mixing vintage clothing with an athleisure streak, Ostanina embodies the modern-day Russian female by being the girl who’s not afraid to put herself out there and have a little fun.
Buzz: Outlaw is known for making the most street-papped outerwear each fashion week, so of course you’re going to get drool-worthy jackets. Look out for his impressive collection of sneakers too.
THE SHOPS 041
Text Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
Poised as the one-stop luxury hunters need to visit, Aizel provides shoppers with access to the most covetable pieces and reputable brands in the scene. With merch ranging from colourful Gucci jackets to feathered frocks by Valentino, the mix of items are for the daring with the dough. aizel.ru
With a reputation as one of Moscow’s leading stores in all things sneakers, the streetwear emporium also plays host to a series of street brands for discerning sneakerheads. YMC, maharishi and Undefeated are all part of the shop’s repertoire, but it’s the ability to secure NMDs and Yeezy Boost 350s that put them in the spotlight. brandshop.ru
AU PONT ROGUE
Easy to mistake the store for a spaceship – its sci-fi interiors feature fluorescent lights that race around, and curved metal beams that double as racks. Also forward-leaning are the brands it carries, including a selection of men’s and women’s wear from brands such as Nicopanda and Ami. aupontrogue.ru
A playground for urban dwellers with a streak of goth, SVMOSCOW is the go-to for hard-to-find labels from Europe and Russia. Boasting a stockist of designers such as Haider Ackermann, Comme des Garcons, Guidi and Isaac Selman, also available is a limited edition capsule collection from Vetements made exclusively for them. svmoscow.com
FEEL THE CHILL As if the world couldn’t get any worse, the bad news machine has recently brought forth a new revelation that polar ice caps are melting at a rate too astounding even by humble, scientific measure. Global warming is a looming threat that is gaining steam, and it seems like people from all walks of life are desperately trying to stave the problem for future generations – even fashion designers.
One of the key looks from the collection saw laser cut plastic strips jutting out of a printed blue silk dress. It’s eye-catching, texturally artistic, and a representation of the new direction that the duo is taking: one where couture techniques are applied to modern, forward-thinking designs. The allusion to ice continues in several other looks. Gleaming metallic leather pieces are joined together to form a squareshouldered bomber jacket, and a mini skirt that would work well on the dance floor. In the daywear section – devoid of colour – spikey leather pieces are inset into wool separates to mimic the creeping tendrils that form as the chill sets in. There are plenty of wearable, ‘safe’ options, such as sporty mesh dresses and roomy pants, but Stein and Rohner’s ability to turn art into commerce is where they truly excel. By working with layers upon layers of thin acrylic sheets, the girls had them made into acrylic flowers, which are then sewn onto coats, tops and sneakers – resulting in a dimensional piece that still looks frothy and feels tactile. The girls also partnered Swiss painter Marcus Rohner to create a painterly pattern of layered brushstrokes done in shades of blues and browns to resemble the snow-covered grounds of their home countries. This chaotic print is then applied to what would’ve been basic dresses and tops, lifting them out of boredom and into the ‘cool’.
STEINROHNER FALL/WINTER 2016 fashion
Text Aaron Kok & Izza Sofia Images Steinrohner
Fashion has always been quick to jump onto bandwagons, and while eco-friendly couture isn’t exactly a new concept, Inna Stein and Caroline Rohner’s newest collection feels like an earnest homage to the icy tundra of Swiss mountains and Russian landscapes, as well as a subtle call to action to save our ice sheets. Appropriately, this season, they’ve looked to the various states of ice for inspiration. Steinrohner’s design DNA has always been one that catered to the style leanings of Instagram’s coolest girls, and this season was no different.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Text Aaron Kok Images B by Benjamin Barker
FEW HOMEGROWN BRANDS ARE AS FORTUNATE TO EXPERIENCE THE LEVEL OF IMMENSE SUCCESS LIKE BENJAMIN BARKER. AND WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF B BY BENJAMIN BARKER – A SUB-LABEL THAT OFFERS CASUAL GEAR – NELSON YAP IS STEADILY EXPANDING HIS REACH IN THE MENSWEAR MARKET. HAVING RECENTLY UNVEILED THE NEW COLLECTION, YAP SHARES MORE ABOUT THE LABEL AND WHAT HE HOPES TO DELIVER (HINT: IT’S MORE THAN JUST CLOTHING).
How did the B by Benjamin Barker collection come about? B by Benjamin Barker started as an incubation project. Benjamin Barker has always been known for shirts and suits, so we want to grow the brand without confusing customers. Right now, there’s a B by Benjamin Barker shop in the pipeline, and the look of the clothes is a hybrid between Scandinavian design aesthetics and a softer Japanese-esque tailoring. The idea is to create a collection of engineered garments, but do away with the unnecessary to keep things simple yet versatile, so existing customers can incorporate the pieces into their wardrobes.
the prices are friendly and that the brand is always accessible.
Your products feature a lot of very travelfriendly attributes, from passport pockets to engineered fabrics. Is this part of the B by Benjamin Barker DNA? Definitely. A lot of the design elements are based on my personal travel experiences, because I’m constantly on the move. I’m a very stiff traveller; I make mental lists of what to wear and what not to pack, and I want to make sure I look presentable on the go. Bringing this into our designs, we do a lot of unlined blazers that are perfect for travelling, as well as T-shirts made from bamboo cotton that are breathable and very comfortable to wear.
What are the key pieces that every man needs? I’d say a white and blue shirt. For your first suit, blue is a fail-proof choice, particularly navy. Also, a great pair of shoes is an investment. At Benjamin Barker, all the lasts used to make our shoes are inspired by those of high-end brands. It takes a lot longer to perfect the last, and to find the right Italian leathers, while keeping everything relatively affordable. This meant that we didn’t sell shoes for a year, but because we were passionate about the process, we wanted to make sure we were happy with it before it even crosses the counter.
How does Benjamin Barker guide potential customers towards a tailored look? Well, I personally can relate to these men, because when I started Benjamin Barker, I wasn’t into suits and ties. I was straight up a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy. But as I grew older, and the need to develop a style became more important, I wanted to help customers feel comfortable in developing their own style with us. We encourage our customers to keep things simple and effortless, and everything that they buy can be easily worn without much fuss. We try to make it easy for customers to push their own style limits, so we make sure that
And that effortlessness is something we’ve seen parlayed into B by Benjamin Barker. Exactly! It’s meant to be as simple as a three-item look: a T-shirt, a jacket and a pair of trousers. That’s the formula for B by Benjamin Barker. Even the colours are picked to work with each other. The olive green works with navy, and the navy works with a sand-coloured pair of chinos. By doing so, we provide items that can be worn interchangeably, without looking out of place.
Between the The Assembly Store, Benjamin Barker and B by Benjamin Barker, what’s one thing you want your customers to remember? Above all, I want the experience to leave an impression. Be it coming into our stores or walking out, you’ll always feel welcome and at ease. I want customers to perceive the brand as an inspiration to develop their sense of style, and then we can help them get the ball rolling. The last thing I want them to feel is to be intimidated by the shopping experience. We are our customers’ mate.
B BY BENJAMIN BARKER fashion
RUSSIAN ROULETTE TAKE STYLE CUES FROM THE RED SQUARE WITH A WARDROBE OF TRACKSUITS, OVERSIZED COATS AND A GENERAL AIR OF NONCHALANCE.
PHOTOGRAPHY FADLI RAHMAN LIGHT PAINTING SAM XR STYLING AARON KOK STYLING ASSISTANTS IZZA SOFIA & NURASYIQIN SEDIK MAKEUP WEE MING USING SHU UEMURA HAIR ALIKA TATAKORN MODELS AVE R/LOOQUE & VICTOR S/AVE SPECIAL THANKS TO CANVAS SINGAPORE
ON AVE COTTON HOODIE H&M NYLON TRACKPANTS FENTY X PUMA WOOL COAT SANDRO PATENT LEATHER SNEAKERS PUMA CRYSTAL AND METAL EARRINGS SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL CHOKER ATELIER SWAROVSKI BY ROSIE ASSOULIN ON VICTOR TECHNICAL COTTON TRACK JACKET COS EMBROIDERED DENIM JEANS OFF-WHITE PADDED NYLON DOWN JACKET UNIQLO LEATHER SNEAKERS ADIDAS ORIGINALS AT PEDDER ON SCOTTS
SILK COTTON TRACKSUIT BURBERRY NYLON TRACKPANTS UNDERCOVER AT CLUB21 TWEED GARBADINE COAT LOEWE SOCKS STYLISTâ€™S OWN NEOPRENE TUBULAR RADIAL SHOES ADIDAS ORIGINALS AT PEDDER ON SCOTTS POLYESTER WAISTPOUCH COS
VELVET FUNNELNECK DRESS H&M POLYESTER BRALET H&M WOOL JACKET WITH PADDED SHOULDERS MAX.TAN SOCKS STYLISTâ€™S OWN PU PUMPS H&M NYLON EARRINGS H&M METAL RINGS (WORN THROUGHOUT) CHARLES & KEITH
COTTON T-SHIRT SANDRO DISTRESSED JEANS UNIQLO COTTON OVERSIZED HOODIE OFF-WHITE DISTRESSED CANVAS SNEAKERS ASICS
VISIT YOUTUBE.COM/JUICESG FOR A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THIS SHOOT.
COTTON BRALET FENTY X PUMA COTTON WIDE-LEG TROUSERS OFF-WHITE TWEED COAT BURBERRY LEATHER BOOTS MAJE CRYSTAL CHOKER SWAROVSKI METAL BRACELETS CHARLES & KEITH
INTO THE GLOSS
vinyl coat, poa, carven
THERE’S NO BETTER TIME TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND ATTEMPT A GUTSY ’DO THAN AT THE START OF A NEW YEAR. JAZZ UP YOUR LOOK WITH A SLICK OF HIGH-VOLTAGE SHINE WITH A PATENT LEATHER PIECE – LIKE THIS TRENCH COAT FROM CARVEN – AND COMPLEMENT WITH KNIT TEXTURES TO MAKE IT POP.
18k rose gold ear cuff, poa, repossi at pedder on scotts
coated leather jacket, $159, zara gold plated ring, $193, elizabeth and james at robinsons pu dress, poa, emporio armani viscose blend turtleneck sweater, $380, by malene birger at tangs
brass choker, $375, eddie borgo at net-a-porter.com
leather clutch, $350, mansur gavriel at pedder on scotts
cotton turtleneck jumper with frills, poa, raoul at raoul.com
Text & Coordination Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
polyester trousers, $89.90, h&m
pu leggings, $45.90, zara pu mini skirt, $85, topshop
leather mary-jane pumps with metal buckle, poa, lanvin
wool blend skirt, $465, joseph
embossed leather clutch, poa, paul smith
leather boots, $206, topshop
cotton sweatshirt, $116, topman
START 2017 ON A DREAMY NOTE WITH A WARDROBE FULL OF SKY BLUE OPTIONS. BUILD YOUR LOOK WITH RELIABLE CLASSICS IN MONOCHROMATIC HUES, AND LAYER ON VARYING TONES OF BLUE FOR ADDED DEPTH. TOPMANâ€™S JUMPER HAS GOT US DREAMING OF CHICER DAYS.
snapback cap, $14.95, cotton on
cotton t-shirt, $250, helmut lang at club 21
cotton shirt, $29.90, h&m
denim shirt, $290, robert geller at farfetch.com
leather sneakers, poa, maison margiela
cotton blend t-shirt, $19.90, mango
washed denim jeans, $86.90, topman slim-fit virgin wool trousers, poa, raf simons at club 21 menâ€™s
Text & Coordination Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
cotton t-shirt, $12.90, h&m
stretch cotton chinos, $50, river island at riverisland.com
chambray jacket, $1,086, sacai at club 21b
printed denim backpack, $175, herschel supply co.
pu sneakers, $69.90, zara
cotton sweat pants, $59.90, uniqlo u at uniqlo
polyester jacket, $139, zara
denim jacket with faux shearling collar, $163, topman
nylon down jacket, $149.90, uniqlo
THE PUFFER JACKET MAY BE TRENDING RIGHT NOW, BUT WE’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER IT AS MARTY MCFLY’S GO-TO WARMER. MATCH IT WITH BLUE DENIM AND A PATTERNED SHIRT – HOVERBOARD OPTIONAL.
washed denim jeans, $240, a.p.c. at kapok
leather sneakers, $140, vans
leather high-top sneakers, $550, common projects at pedder on scotts
denim moto jeans, $59.90, h&m
Text & Coordination Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
cotton shirt, poa, issey miyake men at club 21 men
cotton poplin shirt, $89, cos
feather and metal earrings, $119, kate spade
metal earrings, $12.90, h&m
metal and leather clip earrings, poa, dsquared2
AN EARFUL OF DRAMA PLAY UP YOUR EARRING GAME WITH BOLD LASHES OF TASSEL AND FRINGE FOR A FUN DAYTIME LOOK.
brass earrings, poa, lanvin
beaded earrings, poa, oscar de la renta at club 21
silver and silk earrings, $650, sophie buhai at net-a-porter.com
crystal, gold and faux pearl earrings, $85, kenneth jay lane at pedder on scotts
gold and silk earrings, $140, marte frisnes at matchesfashion.com
horse-hair earrings, $170, isabel marant at club 21
Text & Coordination Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
beaded earrings, $300, tory burch
MARKET SWEEPS In celebration of its 10th anniversary, local multi-label boutique Actually is unveiling its most extensive popup boutique to date. Fashioned to resemble a stylish supermarket, Actually MART brings with it an impressive roster of brands such as Superga, Dr. Denim and Lazy Oaf. We are also keeping our eyes peeled for new entrants – including Italian leather goods house, Anderson, with its dapper collection of leather belts that are handmade and hand-tooled; and Simple Watch’s minimalist tickers that will appeal to those who want a fuss-free timepiece for the everyday. Happening from now to March 8, at #01-477 to 480, Suntec City.
Capturing the bubbling excitement of the cult scene in Jakarta, Indonesian street label Lickstudio is one that’s known for pushing boundaries with its penchant for unconventional shapes and dichotomy that separates its pieces from the standard fare. Co-designers Juliana Ng and Laurensia Salim talk shop with us.
STUSSY X PORTER
How did you come up with the name Lickstudio? It came about when we were looking for a way to convey our tastes, yet retain our aesthetics. We chose this name because licking is something you do with your tongue, and it is representative of the different ‘flavours’ and attitudes we want to cultivate in our clothing. Also, it’s always fun when people guess our intention behind the word “lick”. Describe three traits of the Lickstudio customer. They are young girls; very creative people and they know how to have fun!
What was the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 17 collection? We came across the band named The Runaways, and heard their song “Cherry Bomb”. We knew immediately that the song should be the theme of our collection. We like the provocative image and identity of the band and the track fits really well with our brand’s collection, which possesses that mix of rebelliousness and femininity. Your bio states that the brand is “preserved by the fluidity of our society”. What does that mean? To us, Lickstudio is more than just an independent brand. It’s the embodiment of our curiosities in life, and the naivety towards our everchanging surroundings. We hope that every collection will showcase our growth and change in identity as we react to the flow of society.
With the monsoon season at our doorstep, those who need a durable bag can look to this collaboration for a wet-weather solution that doesn’t skimp on style. Teaming up with GORE-TEX, each of these bags are made from the same hardy material like that of military uniforms. From roomy rucksacks and day bags to smaller items including wallets and waist packs, these sacs promise to remain water-resistant, and are hardy enough to withstand a tumble ever so often. Choose between inky black and a deep shade of navy, and reap the perks of a wise investment.
POA, available at stussy.jp.
Text Aaron Kok Images Lickstudio
GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
As fashion houses continue to grapple with the demands of incorporating more green initiatives, Mara Hoffman is putting words into action by turning her entire business into one that focuses on the environment. From creating prints out of recycled polyesters to using organic fabrics such as tencel, linen and Japanese cotton jacquards, her latest, standout collection has taken a softer, more wistful appearance. Oversized boyfriend jackets and floaty day dresses will find favour amongst women who need off-duty wear, while the use of vibrant prints and quirky colour combos exude a sense of artistic elegance. Finally, someone is getting this eco-fashion thing right. marahoffman.com fashion
These three lunar new year must-haves ditch the cheese to make hype-worthy buys.
Amidst the flurry of rooster-themed releases,
In keeping with the tradition of wearing
across as gaudy and unsuitable for wear after the
Vans deserves props for being one of the most
red, creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and
festivities, Monica Vinader is opting for a discreet
creative. Tapping into the design skills of Kim
Maxwell Osbourne have created a capsule
way to partake in the celebrations without the tack.
Kiroic, the collection follows the four life stages
of crimson pieces to tide you over the festive
Modelled after the classic Linear Band Friendship
of a chicken. A nude-coloured Authentic sneaker
season. Cherry red tones play a starring role,
Bracelet, the CNY-special features a combination
references an unhatched egg, while the red-
appearing in the form of silk dresses, cotton
of a coral cord matched with 18-carat yellow gold
yellow-blue Scottish fringe detail set on a pair of
tees and leather backpacks (gotta put those
beads. You can also enjoy the complimentary
white slip-ons mimics the colours of a full-grown
oranges somewhere, no?). Guys can also look
engraving service to personalise your purchase
chicken. There’s even a pair done in lemony-
out for a special rooster print on the front
with a name or date, or a prosperity greeting.
yellow faux shearling fur, which is a nod to the
of jumpers, albeit given a DKNY-touch with
$220 to $260, available at Monica Vinader,
jagged, abstract lines.
#B1-09 ION Orchard.
POA, available at Vans, #B3-60 ION Orchard.
POA, available at DKNY, #02-43 Paragon.
MOVE WITH THE TIMES
dress the part Two fashion-music partnerships to cop this season; one for him and one for her.
FOR HIM In tandem with The Rolling Stones’ latest album, Blue & Lonesome, Chrome Hearts has unveiled a collection that reworks their original line of Stones’ merch with a blue tint. Fans can look forward to shopping a collection of leather jackets emblazoned with the Stones’ iconic tongue motif, silk shirts, hoodies, and silver accessories. On top of that, co-owners Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark have also added on more bling – think sapphires encrusted onto belt buckles and a gold pin in the shape of the tongue logo impaled by an actual diamond.
As part of its yearly tradition of cross-industry collaborations, G-Shock has engaged local DJ collective, Darker Than Wax, to design a limited edition ticker. Working on the GD-100 model, the redesigned watch features glossy black surfaces with pops of yellow accentuating its sleek lines. “We Move”, an ethos of DTW, is discreetly incorporated onto the dial of the watch as well. To ensure you really get moving, every purchase of this collector’s item will come with a mixtape, so you and your pals can throw down to the tunes of Similarobjects and Goyama. $249, available at G-Factory, #01-11 Bugis Junction.
From $450, available at chromehearts.com.
FOR HER Perennial so-cool-it-hurts girl group, Haim, has teamed up with ethical fashion label, Reformation. Taking on the glorious nights of the late ’70s – think Diana Ross and Bianca Jagger rubbing shoulders with Cher and Grace Jones – the capsule collection is a celebration of disco-worthy threads for party girls who turn heads. Expect mini dresses that flash a generous amount of décolletage, velvet jackets, and halter neck jumpsuits. It’s a valiant effort from the sisters to try their hands at designing clothes, and the results more than prove they have a knack for it.
$118 to $498, available at thereformation.com.
Text Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
MONICA VINADER While most Lunar New Year collections come
keep it clean
Text Jazmin Kelly Six Images Various Sources
Let’s go back to basics. As the year kicks off on a fresh start, the beauty rudder is steered towards a pared-down visage devoid of layers of product and colour. But fret not, even if you’re missing the genes of a certain Miss Keys. Start by building your base with a soft primer. The duo of a concealer and medium-coverage foundation will set the stage for a flawless ’do. For glowing skin with a hint of twinkle, complete your look with a gentle dusting of micro illuminating powder to get that perfect, clean finish.
TOO FACED BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION What took us by surprise with this is how light it feels on the skin, while delivering high coverage for a flawless canvas. A little goes a long way and when applied with a stippling brush, the formula looks almost air-brushed and doesn’t budge the entire day. $61 (in 12 shades), available at Sephora.
YSL BABY DOLL KISS & BLUSH DUO STICK The ombre trend has been huge for a while but why stick to just the hair? With this dualcoloured stick, you can colour and contour cheeks in one swipe, or paint the pout in two separate colours at the same time. A must-have for those on the go. $50 (in six shades), available at YSL Beautè.
your face but better
WHETHER IT’S THE ‘NEW YEAR, NEW YOU’ MENTALITY OR A GENUINE RESOLVE TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF IN 2017, THESE BEAUTY COMPANIONS ARE JUST WHAT YOU NEED TO PUT YOUR FINEST FACE FORWARD – ALL YEAR ROUND.
CLIO KILL BROW GRADATION DUAL EYEBROW Pencils are great for filling in sparse brows but the wrong shade can turn them into an angry-looking pair. Where this wins is in its dual-coloured nib, which deposits a darker pigment at the base and a subtly lighter tone as you brush out. $17.90 (in two shades), available at Watsons.
BECCA SHIMMERING SKIN PERFECTOR PRESSED
PETER THOMAS ROTH PUMPKIN ENZYME MASK
THE FACE SHOP POWER LONG-LASTING SUN CREAM
Smooth, buttery and blendable, this ultra-fine highlighter presses into the skin seamlessly for a luminous glow. What we like is that it’s much more refined, amplifying skin’s natural radiance instead of adding needless, dreaded shine. $62 (in five shades), available at Sephora.
A mask is always relaxing and this performs double duty by ridding skin of layers of dead cells and accumulated grime. Infused with AHA, pumpkin enzyme and aluminium oxide, it peels, exfoliates and polishes effectively for a smoother, more revitalised look. $115 (150ml), available at Sephora.
A perennial favourite and all-round hardworker, this lightweight cream blends easily to prep your skin for a sunny day out. It has a beigey tint, which offers sheer coverage for casual days, and doubles up as a primer for improved makeup adhesion. $28.90 (50ml), available at The Face Shop.
Text Jazmin Kelly Six Main Image John Galliano FW16 Images Various Sources
NUDESTIX CONCEALER PENCIL Besides a chubby body for easy grip – not to mention the no-mess application – the pencil format also allows a more precise application. It has a creamy but light texture, which blends easily, and is infused with shea butter and vitamin E. $37 (in eight shades), available at Sephora.
KLORANE DRY SHAMPOO WITH OAT MILK
FRESH PEONY BRIGHTENING MOISTURISING FACIAL TONER
While most have strong scents – to mask that hair pong – or leave behind streaks of powdery white, this unassuming fella does its thing without causing a scene. A subtle fragrance refreshes the locks ever so gently, while keeping them clean and matte. $14.60 (150ml), available at Guardian.
A silky formula that’s a pampering treat for the mien when in need of a perk-me-up. A soothing, hyaluronic acid-rich closer to the cleansing routine, it helps to soften the skin and keep it supple. Regular use also promises increased radiance and luminosity. $80 (200ml), available at Sephora.
BENEFIT THEY’RE REAL LENGTHENING MASCARA
KIEHL’S ULTRA FACIAL OIL-FREE GEL CREAM
MAKE UP FOR EVER AQUA XL EYE PENCIL
What we want in our mascaras: the ability to add volume and length without clumping up. This formula does just that, plus curl and separate lashes, promising longwear that doesn’t smudge. Its special nib also reaches inner corners more effectively. $42 (in three shades), available at Benefit counters.
In this humidity, we want adequate hydration without loading up on heavy textures. Intensely moisturising yet quick to absorb, it imparts a refreshing feeling that’s a treat in the mornings. The new limited edition packaging designed by Ginette Chittick also makes this all the more covetable. $49 (50ml), available at Kiehl’s.
When you’re short on time but still want a splash of colour on the lids, look to this crop of pencils for help. Made to withstand sweat, water and oily eyelids, the formula glides on smooth with effortlessly intense colour that will see you through long days. $36 (in 20 shades), available at Sephora.
extra dimension skin finish in show gold, $55, m.a.c
haircare wave spray, $39 (150ml), ouai at sephora
intense matte color lip + cheek pencil in tamed, $37, nudestix at sephora
b6 vitamin infused complexion prep priming spray, poa, urban decay
tarteist glossy lip paint in obvi, $30, tarte at sephora
kill brown pencil liner, $17.90, clio at selected watsons stores
Text Jazmin Kelly Six Images Various Sources
mist & fix make-up setting spray, $50 (125ml), make up for ever
double wear nude cushion stick radiant makeup, $70, estee lauder
3d browtones eyebrow enhancer in light/ medium, $42, benefit cosmetics
NOT SO PLAIN JANE THE QUEEN OF MINIMALIST BEAUTY, ’60S BRITISH FILM STAR JANE BIRKIN – WHOM HERMES’ FAMOUS PURSE IS NAMED AFTER – WAS CHAMPIONING THE NO-MAKEUP MAKEUP LOOK, WAY BEFORE IT WAS EVEN A THING. EMULATE HER FUSS-FREE STYLE WITH THESE ESSENTIALS.
lashfessional mascara in brown, $40, available at laneige from january 5
YOU GLOW, GIRL We are inundated with a host of skincare options for every woe we may have but often neglected is care for the kissers. Glamglow, maker of some of the best facial masks, is giving us a hand with the POUTMUD Fizzy Lip Exfoliating Treatment and Wet Lip Balm Treatment. The former is packed with Carribean cane sugar, Hawaiian sea salt, together with a tropical blend of sweet almond oil, guava and mangosteen to buff and revitalise chapped lips; while the latter transforms dull and dry lips to a sexy, soft pout. The infusion of fatty acids like cocoa and shea butter, along with mint leaf, also makes for ample hydration and a cooling sensation. POA, available at escentials.
BETTER SKIN AHEAD We make many beauty resolutions at the start of every new year. To ensure you realise your goal of a healthier mien, look to Kiehl’s latest Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream. Made with a 99.6 per cent natural formula, the nourishing cream is a soothing comforter that cocoons your skin to repair and deeply moisturise. Together with the benefits of New Zealand Manuka honey and Korean red ginseng root, it improves skin’s radiance and texture so you can face the world head on and beaming throughout 2017. $95 (50ml), available at Kiehl’s. 064
Expect intense colour that’s high on comfort with these two launches.
INGA The newest local beauty label debuts with a collection of 10 wearable shades from pink nude to berry and red. The formulas – housed in sleek black tubes – are longlasting and easy to wear, with colours that pair well with Asian skin tones. Top picks include Allyn, a nude salmon pink; and Tora, a vivid, blue-hued red.
$29 each, available at ingacosmetics.com.
SHU UEMURA ULTIME8 SUBLIME BEAUTY CLEANSING OIL Legends earn fame for good reason and just when we thought this gem is the epitome of its kind, Shu Uemura ups the ante with an enhanced version of the well-loved formula. Already a diligent facial cleanser and makeup remover that thoroughly cleans while keeping skin feeling hydrated and soft, the upgraded cleansing oil now boasts an infusion of Japanese camellia, Korean ginseng and golden bamboo – to counter inflammation, enhance suppleness, and nourish with vitamin E and anti-oxidants – along with ingredients like shea butter, olive and jojoba.
THE BODY SHOP Matte lippies can be notoriously drying, but not with this latest drop. Boasting a 100 per cent vegetarian formula, expect stunning pigment intensity that promises to last. The collection is available in six colours – including nude, pink and plum – with a creamy liquid formula that dries to a velvety finish.
$18 (8ml), available at The Body Shop.
$65 (150ml) and $165 (450ml), available at Shu Uemura. made up
SOOTHE AND SUPPLE
Because facial oils are mostly composed of fatty acids, they can penetrate deeper into the dermis and trap moisturisation, while strengthening skin’s natural barrier. For a plump, supple visage, try Estelle and Thild’s latest trio of organic, nourishing oils. BioDefense combines a mix of antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids to combat early signs of ageing, while BioCalm softens and soothes sensitive skin and helps to maintain a youthful glow. Lastly, BioActive helps to repair the effects of photo-damage and ageing by blending antioxidant-rich oils with marine microalgae. $81, $63 and $106 respectively, available at Sephora.
Ring in the lunar new year with these season-appropriate vanity additions. Give Me Luck Eyeshadow and Liquid Lips, $11.90 to $17.90, Etude House
DOWN WITH BROWN
Colour in Red Velvet, $19.90,
We don’t need to be reminded again how Blondes have more fun, but it’s high time we show the Brunettes some love. John Frieda leads the way with its Brilliant Brunette Visibly Brighter In-Shower range, created for those looking to enhance their lovely brown locks. While most after-colour care products focus on repair and locking pigments in, this shampoo and conditioner duo continually adds shine and golden hues so your mane looks naturally lightened by the sun. In addition, the Lightening Treatment also lightens hair by up to one shade in just five minutes. When used together, you can expect glorious, bright locks glowing with warm hazel tones. $15.90 (250ml each, shampoo and conditioner) and $19.90 (34ml, lightening treatment), available at selected Watson and Guardian stores.
Liese at personal care stores
065 Multi-Coloured Phoenix Chinese New Year Collection Palette, $88, YSL Beauté
Text Izza Sofia & Jazmin Kelly Six Images Various Sources
LOCK IT DOWN
EXPRESS, IMPRESS Both are high-octane, energetic, creative and sassy – it’s no wonder Make Up For Ever found a partner in superstar chameleon, Jessie J, for its latest Artist Acrylip launch. Channelling the singer’s kaleidoscopic style, the series of highly pigmented lip lacquers – which mimics the intensity of acrylic paints – comes in 10 exuberant shades so you can transform your look seamlessly, no matter the occasion. Rich in texture yet non-drying to wear, expect the ultimate in colour and comfort as you strut your stuff from day to night. $33 each, available at Sephora.
The first thing that hits us about hair products from Ma Cherie is the awesome fruity-floral fragrance that lingers on the mane throughout the day. But scent prowess aside, the real appeal of the brand lies in its creamy texture and reparative abilities. Made to keep strands light and bouncy despite humid weather, the sulfatefree Air Feel shampoo creates a soft foam that thoroughly cleanses, while the conditioner, infused with rich pearl honey jelly, coats tresses with moisture to soften and repair. Finish your routine with the Platina Veil Spray EX, which adds instant shine for that needed lustre. $19.90 (450ml each) and $16.90 (100g) respectively, available at Watsons.
Facial Treatment Essence, $259 (230ml), SK-II
SLEEP ON THIS
You could be fighting acne that has surfaced while you’re well in your 20s. Or, perhaps, it’s been a longstanding war with the nasty since your teenage years. Regardless, pimples are a buzzkill all around. Here to lend a hand is the Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment. Made to combat persistent acne without being overly harsh, this concentrated formula contains 10 per cent sulfur, which encourages skin cell renewal so pores are less likely to clog. The addition of vitamin B3 also helps to soothe and brighten your mug for an overall, healthier look. $52 (20ml), available at Kiehl’s.
EYE OPENER Like how an espresso shot jolts us out of early-morning, post-slumber lethargy, Peter Thomas Roth’s formidable Retinol Fusion PM Eye Cream does the same for tired, puffy peepers. Infused with caffeine and retinol, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, while enhancing overall skin tone and reducing the severity of dark undereye circles over time. It also helps to soothe away puffiness, so you’ll look fresh and bright-eyed at your next morning meeting. $105 (15ml), available at Sephora.
BURST OF JOY You may find it a chore, or think that having oilier skin means there’s no need for moisturisers. But overactive sebum can actually be a sign of dehydration. For a quick fix that works, try Nivea’s Hydrating Water Burst Serum – a 10-in-one solution that remedies common skin woes all at once. Keeping your mug supple without causing an oily sheen, the formula releases micro water molecules on application, then transforms into a velvety layer to shield the skin from harmful pollutants. The result is a fresh-looking face that is smooth and nourished. $22.90 (50ml), available at leading personal care stores.
DON’T TAKE THAT TONE Those short on time will find this skin comforter a breeze to use. By addressing multiple skin concerns at once, the Dr Jart+ V7 Toning Mask is a multi-tasker that promises to improve the tone and appearance of your visage. Boasting a second skin-like material with enhanced adhesion that allows it to cling to facial contours more effectively than standard sheet masks, it better delivers active ingredients so skin is supple and radiant. A quick remedy that will help you look your best for a big night. $38 (five-piece box), available at Sephora. made up
Hectic schedules can take a toll on our appearance. Over time, the bags show up, your undereye area darkens, and lines begin to form. Save your skin from the effects of late nights and sleep deficit with this Overnight Repair Mask from Aromatherapy Associates. Not only does it soothe the mind with a fine blend of herbaceous and floral notes, it works to comfort exhausted skin through the night while you catch up on your Zs. Extracts like rose, frankincense and strawberry seed oil further renew and firm up the mien to bring about a more youthful look. $149 (50ml), available at sephora.com.sg.
SILVER SURFER No thanks to our Asian genes, it takes many hours with the bleach to get our mop to a decent grey hue. And even when that’s done, a lot of aftercare goes into keeping ’em strands looking nice, without taking a ghastly, orangey turn. To keep your ashy mane in check, turn to the Original & Mineral’s duo of Conquer Blonde Silver Shampoo and Conditioner. Formulated with oils of argan, macadamia seed and evening primrose, the pair helps to replenish hair’s natural oils for a smoother, healthier look, while pro-vitamin B5 shields it from UV damage and frizz. $48 and $45 (250ml), available at Sephora.
Text Izza Sofia & Jazmin Kelly Six Images Various Sources
CALM YO SKIN
locked and loaded Text Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
When a product puts its user first, something clicks. Enter Rinat Aruhâ€™s redesigned bike lock â€“ with clever functions that rectify the flaws of regular bicycle locks, as well as new features we never knew we needed. Coated in PVD titanium-ion-plated steel for lasting durability, it includes an inner silicone gasket to protect the bike frame and two enhanced locks that are double in width. A proximity-based locking system means you can walk away while it automatically secures itself, while a built-in alarm and tracker will alert you to theft via an app.
S H AW N FA N N I N G
Don’t let Fanning’s rep as Metallica’s sworn enemy stand in the way of his accomplishments. In June 1999, along with his uncle John and backed by deep-pocketed investor Sean Parker, he launched Napster. With it, Fanning pioneered the peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing model that is the computational forebear of the Torrent mode of sharing files and data that billions the world over use to download and propagate all kinds of media. Ahead of its time – and, as Metallica would have it, illegal – Napster paved the way for Internet ninjas to release extremely rare and bootlegged material to the World Wide Web, framing Fanning as a contemporary Robin Hood.
As the uploader of one of the first known but most widely watched YouTube confessionals, Chris Crocker is a veritable prophet. The genesis of all those vlogs and reaction videos you helplessly watch can be traced to his 2007 four-minute video where he harangues the haters to leave a trainwreck-destined Britney Spears alone. Christened “Leave Britney Alone!”, the clip sees a mascara-streaked Crocker crying and, at points, screaming, at people to give his idol some time to figure her life out. His earnest-but-cringeworthy schtick, which was completely unironic, earned him two million views in just two hours. Thus, viral fame was born.
mighty minds DR. NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON
How incredible is it that astrophysics commands pretty premium real estate in the pop cultural zeitgeist? At a time when the avenues for distraction are limitless, when the tantalising fringes of the world can be accessed with the click of a mouse to remove you from your workaday existence, Dr. Tyson’s efforts at educating the world at large about the wonders of science and man’s place in the universe have seen him gain a massive following in the mainstream. His far-reaching appeal is evinced in his three AMAs with Reddit, which happen to be three of its most popular and reposted ones ever conducted.
CHAD HURLEY, STEVE CHEN A N D J AW E D K A R I M
Simply put, you owe so much to this trio of onetime PayPal employees. In 2005, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim birthed a little thing called YouTube – and the very idea of ‘content’ as we know it, has been monumentally redefined. In this highly, no, totally, mediated age, the video-sharing platform has cemented itself irrevocably and, some might say, irredeemably, in the popular consciousness. Effectively replacing MTV as the outlet for first-dibs music videos is just the barest of the bare tip of its powers. And to think the three bros started it just because they wanted to rewatch Janet Jackson’s infamous 2004 nip-slip…
EPIC MEAL TIME
Pre-#foodporn, a group of innovative Canadians led by one Harley Morenstein, took their love for food to the next, next level in 2010 with some daringly mind-boggling feats of gastronomic experimentation. For instance, in their early video “TurBacon Epic”, they cooked seven Wendy’s Baconator Burgers, 12 croissants and thick cuts of duck, turkey, quail, and bacon in a whole pig. For the benefit of their viewers, they also revealed that this confection packed 79,046 calories and 6,892g of fat. Through their OTT modus, they showed that you don’t need to be a formally trained chef for the world to behold your culinary creations.
This might shock you: William Hung is now a technical crime analyst for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. But he’s known more for his audacious, brave and no-one-saw-itcoming 2004 audition for Season Three of American Idol. Then 20, the civil engineering undergraduate treated the panel of Simon, Paula and Randy to a spirited rendition of Ricky Martin’s salsa-pop bombshell of a song, “She Bangs”. In the aftermath of this audition and aided by the shock value in the world’s collective jaw-drop, he’s been framed as the first pre-Internetand-meme-culture troll. Not only did he spawn imitators, he also ushered trolling into the vernacular of modern life.
“I LOVE POP CULTURE. THAT’S WHY I DON’T LIKE ELITISM”, REVERED JAPANESE AUTHOR HARUKI MURAKAMI ONCE SAID. HIS DEMOCRATIC APPRECIATION OF THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM OF CULTURAL ARTEFACTS IS THE FOUNDATION OF A LARGER MODERN ATTITUDE THAT HAS LED TO SOME OF THE MOST GROUNDBREAKING POP CULTURE MONUMENTS OF OUR TIME. BELOW, MEET SOME OTHER INTREPID MOVERS AND SHAKERS.
STEVEN D. LEVITT AND STEPHEN J. DUBNER
The Internet is littered with citizen journalists and homespun intellectuals who’re all claiming that they know the real deal. But while we won’t judge you for your dependency on Thought Catalog, we invite you to peruse Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything – a thrilling expose by two Stephens who use economic theory to uncover some hidden truths about complex social phenomena. Packed with choice lines such as, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”, the tome also tackles issues such as cheating and collusion amongst teachers, the workings of the drug economy and the role of statesanctioned abortion in reducing crime.
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
P E R E Z H I LT O N
Look at this guy. The alleged millennial obsession with celebrities can very well be traced to him. Back when owning a blog was a thing, Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. created the online persona of Perez Hilton and produced ‘content’ that can be described as “pre-9GAG memes” by drawing (using Microsoft Paint) over images of celebrities. These amounted to LOL-fuelled, but sometimes brutal, takedowns of Hollywood’s A-listers. His recent triumphs include a gif of Miley Cyrus licking Kim Kardashian’s exposed butt on the latter’s Internet-breaking Paper magazine cover. In hindsight, the rigour and regularity of his posts feel almost like a moralistic counterpoint to the supposed infallibility of the celebrity godheads.
While everyone can agree that getting caught in a tangle when enjoying music is less than desirable, Apple’s AirPods elucidated that people aren’t ready to give up wires altogether. This small, inexpensive gadget achieves a middle-ground that lets music lovers break free from the limitation of being ‘plugged in’, while also allowing iPhone 7 users to continue using their favourite pair of headphones in the absence of an AUX jack. Hooking up your headphones, speakers or car audio system with Bluetooth 4.0, the Mpow Streambot Bluetooth receiver allows users to seamlessly stream music even to devices that lack wireless connectivity, making any of your devices ‘wireless’ without breaking the bank. US$17.99, available at amazon.com.
M AT R I X P O W E R W AT C H
Any musician who bashes the cans is likely into the habit of slapping palms against knees to imitate the sounds of their chosen instrument, and will tell you the frustrations of living next to noise-concerned neighbours. Freedrum is the godsend that drummers have been asking for and, unlike electric kits that still present portability problems, the pocket-sized device can be brought anywhere with a pair of sticks. Drummers on-the-go need only simply slip on a pair of Freedrum sensors onto drum sticks – and a pair of their feet to simulate the kick drum and hi-hat pedals – to create a virtual drum kit out of thin air, all controllable and customisable from a smartphone. From US$69, available at kickstarter.com.
Sci-fi authors and tech madmen have long dreamt up the possibilities of using our bodies as batteries for our plethora of gadgets, but the Matrix Powerwatch may be the first reasonable offering that doesn’t involve invasive surgery. Using your body heat as a source of renewable energy, the smartwatch need only be attached to your wrist to charge. While the device offers features you’d expect to find in any of today’s smartwatches, including the measurement of calories burned, activity levels and sleep cycles through the use of thermoelectric technology, its face also displays a power meter that indicates how much electrical power your body is generating (start worrying when it goes cold!). From US$129, available at indiegogo.com.
SMARTPHONES ALLOW US TO CARRY WORLDS OF KNOWLEDGE IN OUR POCKET AND COMMUNICATE WITH STRANGERS ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE GLOBE – BUT SINCE BECOMING EVERYDAY ITEMS, WE’RE NOW ON THE LOOKOUT FOR GADGETS THAT RESEMBLE OUR SCI-FI FANTASIES. IT MAY BE HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT THOSE FANTASIES HAVE NEVER BEEN CLOSER THAN NOW, WITH PIONEERING DEVICES LIKE THESE BRINGING THE FUTURE INTO THE PRESENT. ARE YOU READY FOR WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS?
N AV D Y
Text Trent Davis Images Various Sources
G AT E B O X
While Siri and Cortana are undoubtedly handy helpers, their absence of a face makes it hard to ever relate to them. For those looking to develop a relationship that goes beyond simply human and digital slave, Gatebox has created something that may be more up your alley. Meet Hikari Azuma, a “virtual home robot” that looks a lot like virtual J-pop singer, Hatsune Miku, trapped in a jar. Programmed to take instructions to manage your smart device-enabled abode and sense when you wake up and come home, Hikari is a virtual assistant with plenty of personality. But unlike other smartphone assistants, communication with this lass is a two-way street, and she won’t hesitate to text you if you’re spending too long in the office. ¥298,000, available for pre-order at gatebox.ai.
Those who have a penchant for vintage vehicles probably want nothing less than to ruin the retro allure of their ride by installing modern-day gadgets. But with Navdy, drivers can keep their cars looking the ways of old, and also enjoy all the conveniences digital technology has to offer. Small enough to sit on your dash just over the steering wheel, the device syncs up to your smartphone to display GPS-mapped driving routes and notifications on a transparent display. In addition to making sure your eyes stay on the road and keeping your hands free, drivers can simply wave a hand to control calls, clear alerts or change music without fiddling with a smartphone. US$799, available at navdy.com.
S P R AY P R I N T E R
In the same way that the spray paint revolutionised painting, SprayPrinter marks the next step in street art by introducing a digital element to a tangible resource – and the best thing is, you don’t need to be a seasoned graffiti artist to make eye-catching artworks. A device that turns conventional spray cans into handheld inkjet printers, the user connects the SprayPrinter smartphone app to the device-equipped spray paint can, then picks an image from an expansive collection of designs from their smartphone. Then, they simply activate the application and move the can slowly across a surface to create a mural within moments. Art doesn’t get any more democratic than this. €247, available at sprayprinter.com.
MUCH OF THE PLEASURE WE DERIVE FROM DINING STEMS FROM THE COMFORT AND FAMILIARITY OF THE CLASSICS. BUT (RE)INVENTION IS ALSO A CRUCIAL DRIVING FORCE IN KEEPING THE GASTROSCAPE BUZZING AND INTERESTING. BELOW ARE FOUR SPOTS WITH ADVENTUROUS KITCHENS.
UPPER PLACE Much like ‘umami’, ‘bistronomy’ is a buzz word that’s been widely and indiscriminately tossed about the local food scene. But Upper Place – the 76-seater restaurant perched atop WANGZ Hotel – amply delivers on both the ‘bistro’ aspect and the experimentation promised by ‘nomy’. This new entrant to the arena of concept dining doesn’t play around – its menu of European small plates enhanced by Asian flavours is unapologetically hearty and rich, yet interesting. A must-try is the Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare Tart ($14). Plated to resemble a garden, it boasts a robust payload of truffle onions and caviar and, though moist, provides a satisfying crunch with its base. The same can be said of the Lobster Kueh Pie Tee ($10), a local delicacy updated with sharp hits of tomato chipotles. The most remarkable offering, however, is the Reconstructed Laksa Risotto ($27), where the juices from scallop, lobster and shrimp mix with coconut foam and sambal to supremely delicious effect. 231 Outram Road, tel: 9463 4366
KITE When it opened in October 2015, KITE sought to serve up a whimsically Asian take on tapasstyle food. Recently, though, it’s embarked on an even more ambitious proposition: To reinterpret modern Asian comfort food via omakase menus. Star treats in the 12-course KITE experience ($90) include the Chicken Rice Crackers, which condense the taste and flavour of chicken rice with a dab of garlic chilli into just tapioca, chilli and kicap manis. Also notable is the ubin red snapper ‘kinilaw’ with coconut calamansi vinegar, chilli and a Filipino version of ceviche. This bold play on time-honoured Asian flavours wasn’t just delectable but enlightening, as course after course, we learnt something new about the food we grew up with. The penultimate mangalica pork collar, served with youtiao veloute and a lightly spiced broth, marked the climax of Chef Dannel’s innovativeness and made for a delicious memory. 53 Craig Road, tel: 6221 5965
LOOF Take a look around Loof’s rooftop premises and you’ll feel that creeping sense of nostalgia, from the little shop that sells retro memorabilia to the neon-lit Chinese characters that most Mandarin speakers would’ve used in school. As if continuing the homage to the familiar local beacons, Bjorn Shen’s new menu takes the food we’re familiar with and turns it on its head. Aptly called “Dude-Sin” cuisine, the humble satay is now called the Bacon Lollipop ($16). Glistening slabs of thick-cut pancetta are given a maple syrup glaze, combining salty and sweet flavours for a sinful experience. Topped with Vietnamese pho herbs and ground nuts, we expect this to be a crowd favourite. The B.C.M. Grilled Cheese ($18) is also noteworthy. Taking its lead from a bowl of bak chor mee, expect a generous piece of sourdough bread stuffed with cheese, minced pork and mushrooms – reminiscent of an American cheeseburger, but with a distinctively Singaporean twist. #03-07 Odeon Towers, tel: 6337-9416. navigate
Text Aaron Kok & Indran P Images Various Sources
With no signboard in sight, this speakeasy is conceptualised to mimic a hidden mahjong den (hint: the entrance is around The Refinery). Once inside, sleek concrete interiors dotted with repurposed mahjong tables greet you, along with a menu that reinterprets local classics. Sup Tulang fans will appreciate the Bone & Marrow ($18), where roasted bone marrow lends a smokey hint to the sweet and spicy concoction of caramelised kung pao jus and roasted nuts. Its rendition of ayam penyet comes in the form of the Duck Confit Penyet ($20), where juicy duck confit with crackling skin is served with potent homemade sambal and kicap manis. Finish off with one of the cocktails, such as the punchy Simply Yeo’s ($18) – a mix of sous-vide gin with lemon peel, bird’s nest and barley; or the Mama’s Kaya Toast ($24), which combines spiced rum with a creamy mix of coconut, kaya, lime syrup, and pandan. 115 King George’s Ave, tel: 8459-9893.
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
HEINEKEN AFTERWORK BEATS THE MONDAY BLUES WITH ICE-COLD BEER AND NIGHTLIFE NETWORKING We’ve all had that sinking, sombre feeling on a Sunday evening as the last rays of light disappear to conclude the weekend R&R, only to reappear the next morning – bringing a bad case of the Monday blues with them. Getting back to the grind is no easy feat, and there are few better feelings than sending that last email before walking out of the office with a sigh of relief – and few better ways to mark the end of the work day than with an ice-cold beer in hand. Whether it’s with colleagues, close friends, or even flying solo in hopes of meeting likeminded bar dwellers, Heineken celebrates the timehonoured tradition of capping off the start of the workweek with Heineken AfterWork. Enjoyed in over 190 countries around the world, the Amsterdam-born brewery’s crisp, yellow gold lager has long been the go-to accompaniment to post-work camaraderie – and when poured from an
icy column into a tall, frosted Heineken Extra Cold pint glass that’s been chilled to -18 deg C, the refreshing clarity of its sub-zero temperature and lingering fruity notes makes holding onto that Monday night feeling all the merrier. Always encouraging beer lovers to open their worlds, Heineken AfterWork channels this spirit by bringing people together at a number of lively venues around the island – including Alley Bar, Urban Beach Bar, 1-Altitude, OverEasy Fullerton and Empire – to toast to the week ahead.
Cold on the house upon checking in with the Heineken hostess, regular attendees of Heineken AfterWork get-togethers will be rewarded with loyalty points and a number of surprises upon arrival. Visitors can not only enjoy a glass of premium, full-bodied Heineken Extra Cold, but also learn how to get the perfect pour themselves. Learning the five crucial steps to achieve a ‘Star Serve’, those who rise to the challenge are rewarded with an exclusive Certified Pourer pin – and, of course, the satisfaction of a beer that is of nothing short of perfection.
Inviting guests to register online via the specially designed Heineken AfterWork page, the Monday night concept marries work and play by allowing visitors to sign up using either Facebook or LinkedIn, promoting networking and interaction while keeping the evening on a social note. Treating guests to a thirst-quenching glass of Heineken Extra
Dreary Monday evenings are a thing of the past if you dare to open your world. Each Heineken AfterWork event has limited slots, so seize the day and sign up to avoid disappointment. The only cold experience you’ll want is from the frosty glass in your hand toasting to another’s, whether an old friend or new.
For more information of Heineken Afterwork events, please check out heineken.com.sg/afterwork
Iconic Diva Like the line that goes “Who is it that never lets you down?”, Bjork is my favourite diva to date.
Makeup Haunt Not a makeup store, but I am obsessed with Popular bookstore. The glitter there is hella cheap.
Fave Era The 2040s. I’ll start receiving my Pioneer Generation benefits then.
Dream Destination Honestly, Singapore – minus the religious fundamentalists. It sounds like a good idea, and I wonder what it might look like.
Getting Egg-cited Fave grub has to be eggs! Poached; hard-boiled; fried; scrambled. Devilled eggs; scotch eggs; omelettes. Quail’s eggs; duck eggs; century eggs – just never salted eggs.
Page Turner I don’t fancy reading books, but I love a good magazine. I like pictures and pretty things to go with lots of words.
Good Head Wigs are hot, scratchy, heavy, and they smell bad. I prefer wearing hats, and Dinu Bodiciu makes awesome ones!
Clean Finish Nothing like liquid detergent from Dawn to take makeup off everything.
Sync Or Swim If I could perform with anyone, it would be Milli Vanilli. It’s so hard to make lip-syncing look believable, but they are the ultimate at that.
Text Aaron Kok Profile image Ben Matchap Images Various Sources
ON ITS WEBSITE, RIOT! IS DESCRIBED AS “A LITTLE BIT FILTHY, QUITE A BIT TRASHY”, BUT SIT THROUGH ONE SESSION AND YOU’LL LEARN THAT THE DRAG SHOW IS A RAMBUNCTIOUS AFFAIR FILLED WITH HILARIOUS LINES THAT OFFER REFRESHING VIEWS TO CURRENT AFFAIRS. AS HOST OF THE SHOW, BECCA D’BUS IS THE COLOURFUL QUEEN THAT WHIPS OUT WITTY QUIPS AND COMMENTARIES FASTER THAN YOU CAN COMPOSE YOURSELF FROM HER JOKES. THESE ARE WHAT GET HER GOING.
Drive Me Crazy Uber is my most frequently used app, since other transport modes are like getting a ride with a side of sexual harassment.
RISE OF TH E M A C H I N E
KNOWN FOR THEIR ABILITY TO CREATE 3-D GRAPHICS THAT ESCHEW HAND-EDGED STRUCTURES FOR ORGANIC LINES AND FLUID FORMS, REZALIANDO AND FIZAH RAHIM OF LOCAL DESIGN TEAM, MACHINEAST, HAVE CHALKED UP AN IMPRESSIVE LIST OF ACCOLADES AND CLIENTELE, INCLUDING NIKE AND HBO. WE DIG DEEPER TO LEARN ABOUT THEIR START, PROCESSES AND SIGNATURE AESTHETIC THAT MAKES THE DUO SO INIMITABLE.
How long did it take for you both to develop the aesthetics Machineast is known for? Thirty years. It’s a combination of the years we spent working in the design industry, as well as the formative years of studying art and design. All those hours of sweat, blood and tears from late nights and working over the weekends to train our skills helped to shape our style. There is a certain fluidity to your work, in that even though the viewer knows it’s digital, the way the textures and movements come together makes it look as if it’s ‘alive’. Is this intentional? A lot of 3-D work that you see nowadays feels like it was generated in a computer – bulky and manly. We are not saying that that’s a bad thing, because it’s not. But when we are creating personal projects for Machineast, we want to make something that is more organic and flows better, as opposed to the rigidness of standard 3-D styles. It also helps that Machineast is one half female and one half male – that balance means there’s always differing perspectives when designing.
Text Aaron Kok Images Machineast
When did you guys decide that this was the career for you, and how did the partnership happen? We met in 2001 when we enrolled in the same design college. We called ourselves ‘The Rejects’ because most kids would be in a group of four and since there were not enough people in our class, we always ended up being the only two-person group for the longest time. From there, we realised there’s a great dynamic between us. Before we graduated, we joked about working together in design studios, which eventually happened for many years prior to opening our own.
What are some of the projects that you feel particularly proud of? Each project comes with a different set of challenges. We have a lot of favourites, but if we must pick commercially, it would be the ‘NIKE AIRMAX’ project. That was the lengthiest project we’ve done as a collective. As for our favourite personal project, it would be the ‘Rainbow Pastel Series’ because that’s the project that opened up a lot of doors for us. What goes on behind the scenes when you develop new artwork? We get our inspiration mostly from our travels, through conversations with friends, or even from just a spur of the moment. Once we have a certain idea, we execute it on the computer and begin working on the 3-D illustration. During this process, we will discuss amongst ourselves whether there are certain things that could be improved, and will only release the artwork if we feel satisfied with the work. Who is your dream partner to work with on a collaboration? We have a few, but we’re really interested to work with Adidas. We love the Adidas Originals shoe line, and the team’s dedication of collaborating with different artists to design their shoes is admirable. Finally, what can we expect from you in the year ahead? We are cooking up a few interesting projects now, which we can’t share too much of yet, but do stay tuned. There’ll be more to come in 2017!
singapore art week 2017
Kick off the year on an artistic note with these exhibitions.
Art Stage 2017
State Of Motion 2017
Bringing together artists from around the world, Art
Singapore’s appearance in film has long pre-dated
We Are The World, These Are Our Stories
Stage makes its annual return to thrill and confront
our passing mention in Independence Day. With an
Housed at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, local
viewers with sculptures, exhibitions and art pieces
exhibition dedicated to uncovering and exploring
artist Amanda Heng aims to dissect the histories,
that stoke the dialogue of changing social and
our island’s history as a backdrop for various films,
memories and relationships within urban spaces. In
political landscapes. Singaporean artist Kent
State Of Motion 2017: Through Stranger Eyes charts the
her first solo exhibition, expect everything from the
Chan’s ‘If Not, Accelerate’ discusses the tricky topic
history of Singaporean landmarks and spaces through
personal and familiar to larger, overarching themes
of migrant labour, while Cambodian, Svay Sareth,
visual art. Look out for surreal footage of the late
and social issues of a modern country. Each piece
questions political psychologies with ‘I, Svay Sereth,
David Bowie wandering around a neon-lit Far East
is a culmination of smaller parts, as well as digital elements that form a multi-dimensional experience.
eat rubber sandals’. On top of getting your visual
Plaza, or Paolo Cavara’s 1967 film poster of L’Occhio
fix, sit in on one of the talks and listen as experts
Selvaggio, amongst the many displays. Also happening
As each artwork represents a memory, audiences
discuss the role of art in a global context.
are film screenings, talks, workshops and tours.
can scan the accompanying QR code that will bring
From January 12 to 15.
From January 6 to February 5.
them onto a virtual journey.
For tickets and more information,
For tickets and more information,
From January 7 to February 27.
For more information, visit stpi.com.sg.
SOUNDS LIKE QUALITY
DOCTOR’S ORDERS Celebrating its third year of inception, Beats by Dr. Dre has enlisted the help of fashion designer Alexander Wang to create a limited run of Beats Studio Wireless headphones. Wang – known for his love of texture and shades of grey and black – takes his signature aesthetic and applies it to the chrome-accented Italian leather ear cups, embossed with a crocodile skin pattern. Each set is also outfitted with a rechargeable 12-hour battery, and features like noise cancellation, built-in mic and Bluetooth pairing, and comes with a grey leather case so you can store your cans in style. $828, available at Alexander Wang, #02-03/04 Hilton Hotel.
Stop compromising on the quality of sound you’re getting. Audio-Technica has a new range of in-ear monitor earphones that boast superior sound and design. The rollout of this Live Sound series comprises three earphones – ATH-LS200iS, ATH-LS300iS and ATH-LS400iS – that incorporate a new metal sound tube to deliver extraordinary clarity, accuracy and performance through Dual Balanced Armature, Triple Balanced Armature and Quad Balanced Armature Drivers respectively. The ATH-LS200iS guarantees thick bass and super high frequency sound, while the ATH-LS300iS assures low, pitched-down sound. Lastly, the ATH-LS400iS includes two low-pass drivers that produce widescreen bass. $338, $528 and $798 respectively, available at authorised retailers.
A TASTE OF THAILAND
Known as one of Bangkok’s hippest eateries, Greyhound Café has found a new home on our shores. Complementing the Insta-fabulous decor – featuring sleek monochromes and suspended plants within a greenhouseinspired fixture – is a menu of fusion Thai dishes. The refreshing Salmon Carpaccio In Spicy Hot Sauce ($19) comes with a tangy dressing that delivers a potent kick, while the Crab Meat Fried Rice With A Twist ($28) pairs the sweetness of crab bits with fried garlic and dried chilli. Finish your meal with a selection of mocktails – such as Passion Fashion ($12) and Pink Journey ($12) – and decadent cakes to sate your sweet tooth. #01-25/25A Paragon Shopping Centre, tel: 6887-3350. navigate
12 HOURS OF
AL MCKAY'S EARTH, WIND & FIRE EXPERIENCE BASEMENT JAXX (DJ SET) CORINNE BAILEY RAE HITMAN DAVID FOSTER & FRIENDS INCOGNITO NIK WEST RAÚL MIDÓN TRIO RUDIMENTAL (DJ SET) YOUSSOU NDOUR AND LE SUPER ETOILE DE DAKAR
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AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!
TICKETS, VIP TABLES & CORPORATE HOSPITALITY VIA:
OFFICIAL LOGISTICS PARTNER
IN COLLABORATION WITH
CELEBRATION OF THE STREET
Aliwal Street is rich with culture, heritage, sights and sounds – and Aliwal Arts Centre is a bastion for artists of every discipline and medium. To celebrate its artistic lifeblood, the Aliwal Urban Art Festival will return later this month and present an extravaganza of local musicians, artists and writers. Highlights include the E-TracX Turntablism Showcase & Workshop, a crafts market, and performances by Ant-Men, Disco Hue, TOMGIRL and POPTART’s weelikeme and KiDG. Happening on January 14 from 5pm till late. Admission is free.
Be the envy of your relatives this lunar new year, and spruce up your home decor with these four items.
Painted Iron Candlestick Holder, $55, Cluster Cluster at clustercluster.com Wooden Symbol, $5.99, Typo
Steel Cooler, US$69.95, Crate & Barrel
Sterling Silver Salt And Pepper Shakers, poa, Asprey at mrporter.com
DRINK TO THIS With all that feasting and merry-making from Christmas into the new year, take a breather and indulge in the relaxing ritual of tea appreciation, courtesy of the fine blends by Newby Teas. With a wide selection that ranges from loose leaf to tea bags and silken pyramids, expect popular classics like the fragrant Earl Grey and fruity Strawberry & Mango, as well as exotic favourites like Masala Chai and Milk Oolong. Our top pick goes to the Jasmine Blossom, a delicate bouquet of fragrant jasmine with bright, Spring-plucked green leaves. The perfect cuppa after a heavy, grease-laden meal. $13.40 (box of 25 tea bags), available at newbyteas.sg.
It’s hard to believe how expensive the gear we casually carry about actually is. But if you’re looking to protect your smartphone and laptop with cases that don’t sacrifice aesthetics for hardiness, check out Berlin accessories label, Roxxlyn. Its new collection of handcrafted tech cases is made from marble, slate and quartzite stone, and features iPhone and iPad cases, briefcases, MacBook skins, and watches. The Indian Summer Slate MacBook Skin, for example, is made from 400-million-year-old natural stone, while the Nero Marquina Marble iPhone Case is made from Spanish Nero Marquina marble and accompanies a lightweight aluminium case. $150 and $201 respectively, available at roxxlyn.com.
Never one to scrimp on quality, ASUS has unveiled yet another gold standard – this time, in the smartphone arena. The ZenFone 3 Deluxe is, as it says on the tin, an “elite” device that is the world’s first on multiple levels. Think full aluminum alloy body with a minimalist, Zen-inspired “invisible antenna” design. It’s also the world’s first smartphone equipped with the highest resolution, 23-megapixel Sony IMX 318 camera sensor, and the only one in the market with 3CA wireless connectivity and 2X2 MIMO Wi-Fi antennas. With this in hand, you’ll get the fastest load-time, sharpest photos and the slimmest, most elegant body. $998, available at authorised retailers.
Hawaii is a relaxation haven, and with the recent opening of Ola Beach Club, a slice of that sublimely chilled-out – and delicious – experience can be yours. As Singapore’s only Hawaiianthemed lifestyle venue, Ola Beach Club offers a range of exciting water sports activities that are the first of their kind here, such as water-propelled jetpacking and jetblading. Besides these, Ola, which means ‘life’ in Hawaiian, also includes a bar and restaurant, each of which serve up Hawaiian delicacies both heady and scrumptious. We recommend the savoury blast of flavour that is the Kalua Pig Taco ($25), and the sweet but potent Melemele Tiki ($22) cocktail. 46 Siloso Beach Walk, tel: 6250-6978. navigate
Text Aaron Kok, Indran P & Jazmin Kelly Six Images Various Sources
ZOUKOUT 2016 DANCE OF TRIBES
HEINEKEN CITIES: SHAPE YOUR CITY LAUNCH PARTY URBANITES UNITE
THE FINAL WEEKENDER AT JIAK KIM FEAT. RESIDENT DJS AT ZOUK A FOND FAREWELL
#LIGHTUPNCF AT INFINITE STUDIOS ALL THE WAY UP
3RIPLE BASS AT ALTIMATE BASS FOR LIFE
RAYVOLUTION AT ATTICA HARD AND FAST
EMONIGHTSG - THE B-SIDES AT K YO YELLOWCARD AND BEYOND
S H O P AT T H E S E S T O C K I S T S CARVEN #03-12 ION ORCHARD
H&M ORCHARD BUILDING
PEDDER ON SCOTTS LEVEL 2 SCOTTS SQUARE
CLUB 21 #01-02 FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO. #02-160 MARINA SQUARE
ROBINSONS #03-01 RAFFLES CITY
CLUB 21B #01-07 TO 10 FORUM THE SHOPPING MALL
JOSEPH #01-19 TO 21 CAPITOL PIAZZA
TANGS TANGS PLAZA @ ORCHARD
CLUB 21 MEN #01-02 FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
KAPOK #01-05 NATIONAL DESIGN CENTRE
TOPSHOP/TOPMAN #B2-01, #B3-02 ION ORCHARD
COS #03-23/23A ION ORCHARD
KATE SPADE #03-27 ION ORCHARD
TORY BURCH #02-38 TO 54 WISMA ATRIA SHOPPING CENTRE
COTTON ON #B1-20 PLAZA SINGAPURA
LANVIN #01-19/20 HILTON HOTEL
UNIQLO ORCHARD CENTRAL
DSQUARED2 #01-24 ION ORCHARD
MANGO #B1-39/40 NGEE ANN CITY
VANS #B3-61 ION ORCHARD
EMPORIO ARMANI #01-12/13 MANDARIN GALLERY
PAUL SMITH #01-11/12 HILTON HOTEL
ZARA LIAT TOWERS
COLLEGE STUDENT CREATES KILLING EXPERT TEENAGE A.I. BECOMES A HITLER-LOVING JERK Microsoft forgot just how nasty the Internet can be when they developed ‘Tay’. A chatbot designed to learn and mimic the social media interactions of a teenage Twitter user, Tay quickly went from playful and curious to racist and misogynistic in under 24 hours, thanks to some malicious netizens (read: 4chan users). As if Tay’s support for Hitler and genocide wasn’t frightening enough, she then somehow came back to life shortly after Microsoft shut her down, rapidly tweeting incoherent messages before disappearing forever.
We should clarify that the A.I. is an expert in killing foes in the PC classic, Doom, but even the context of a game tournament was enough to put two computer science students from Carnegie Mellon University in hot water. Training their software to hunt down humans and kill them with alarming efficiency, commentators noted the controversial repercussions if the A.I. was ever ported into the real world. Facebook was amongst critics, but ironically had entered its own A.I. into the very same Doom competition. Talk about the bot calling the kettle black.
‘ANDROID DICK’ SAYS HE’LL ENSLAVE HUMANITY Sci-fi author Philip K. Dick has written extensively on androids becoming an inseparable part of human life, and it seems that the creators of Android Dick – a robot designed with the likeness of his organic counterpart – learnt nothing from Blade Runner. When asked by its creators if it thought robots would one day rule the world, it ominously responded, “Don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator, I will still be nice to you. I will keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for old time’s sake”. We’re thankful that, at this stage, it doesn’t have the bone-snapping might of Arnie’s biceps.
6 TIMES A.I. MADE US FEAR FOR OUR LIVES
TIME AND AGAIN, SCIENCE FICTION HAS TOLD THE CAUTIONARY TALE OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HUMANKIND WHEN WE TRY TO PLAY GOD. HOWEVER, JUST LIKE HOW WE IGNORE CLIMATE CHANGE OR VACCINATIONS, WE SNUB THE WARNING SIGNS AND CONTINUE TO MARCH TOWARDS OUR OWN DEMISE IN THE NAME OF TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS. HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE HILARIOUS, YET TERRIFYING, RESULTS OF OUR ENDEAVOURS TO DEVELOP ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
By now we’re all used to Siri’s snarky remarks, but it’s not too often a product of A.I. will make you question your moral compass, or even the reason for existence altogether. In an exercise in conversational modelling, Google developed a chatbot equipped to converse with human speakers using excerpts from movie dialogue. When asked what the purpose of living is, it naturally responded, “To live forever” – but when asked what it means to be immoral, it answered, “The fact that you have a child”. We have yet to hear whether the human ever recovered from that burn.
MIT’S ‘NIGHTMARE MACHINE’ DREAMS UP HORRORS
A.I. ALMOST WINS LITERARY PRIZE As if A.I. wasn’t already a concern in matters of industry and employment, it’s even started besting us at our artistic exploits. Developed by a Japanese team of programmers, prepared words and sentences were given to the software, which then autonomously ‘wrote’ the novel and made it through the first round of the Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Awards. Titled, ‘The Day A Computer Writes A Novel’, its immediate anti-human sentiment is astounding: “The computer, placing priority on the pursuit of its own joy, stopped working for humans”. No writer is safe – but you can still tell we’re human, right? Right?
When you design a program to imagine what places and faces would look like if they were reflected in Satan’s mirror, it seems like you’re kind of asking for the robots to develop an unquenchable bloodlust. Developed by three scientists from MIT’s Media Lab, the aptly named ‘Nightmare Machine’ does just what you might expect – take any normal image and transform it into a hellish vision. As well as scarring and contorting faces as innocent as Kermit The Frog’s, it can also conjure visions of our cities in flames and ruins – basically, our future if the robots ever take over.
Text Trent Davis Images Various Sources
GOOGLE CHATBOT SAYS PROCREATION IS IMMORAL
here BARS & CLUBS
Attica • Blu Jaz Café • Brewerkz @ Riverside Point • Canvas • Cherry Club • Harry's @ Esplanade Mall, HarbourFront Centre • IndoChine @ Club Street • Jekyll & Hyde • KYO • LOOF • Paulaner Brauhaus • Post Bar • Que Pasa and Ice Cold Beer • Siem Riep Café Bar & Water • Wala Wala • Zouk
6 Oz Espresso Bar • Afterwit • Aeiou cafe and Lifestyle Store • Arteastiq Boutique Tea House • Atlas Coffeehouse • Billy Bombers @ The Central • Boufe Boutique Cafe • Breko • Café Cartel • Carry on Café • Chai Seng Huat Hardware • Costa Coffee @ 313@Somerset, The Metropolis, Raffles City, Vivocity • Cream & Custard • Cups N Canvas • D'zerts Café • Dazzling Café Singapore • Dome Coffee @ Raffles Place, Singapore Art Museum • East 8 • Fosters Café & Restaurant • Fresh Fruits Lab • Guac & Go Pte Ltd • Habitat Coffee • Hard Rock Café • Hood Bar and Café • House • I Am Cafe • Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery, Shaw Centre • Island Creamery @ Serene Centre • Just Want Coffee • Kinki Restaurant & Bar • Kith Café • Krish • Kombi Rocks • O Comptoir • LEPARK • Mad Nest • Manhattan Fish Market @ Junction 8 • Mint Museum of Toys: Mr Punch Restaurant & Bar • My Awessome Café • Ninja Bowl • Ninja Cut • Oblong Place • One Rochester • Open Door Policy • Overeasy • Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters • Pacific Coffee @ Red Dot Building • Patisserie G • Patissez Singapore • Pies & Coffee • Potato Head Folk • Prive Café • Project Acai @ Holland Village • PS Cafe @ Paragon • Rokeby Bistro • Seed and Soil • Selfish Gene Café • Sogurt • SPRMRKT • Starbucks @ 3 Jalan Jamal, Bishan Community Club, Bugis Junction, Capital Tower, Centrepoint, City House, Citylink Mall, Great World City, Holland Village, ION, Jurong Gateway, Liat Towers, Liang Court, Marina Square, OCBC Centre, One Fullerton, Orchard Point Mall, Pacific Plaza, Paragon Shopping Centre, Raffles Hospital, Singapore Land Tower, Shaw Leisure Gallery, Singapore Land Tower, Tampines Mall, Tanglin Mall, The Cathay, The Central, The Concourse, Thomson Plaza, UE Square, United Square, VivoCity, Wilkie Edge, Wisma Atria • Sushi Burrito • Tess Bar & Kitchen • The Coffee Daily • The Clueless Goat • The Lab • The Lawn @ AXA Tower, Nanos • The Lokal • The Providore • The Soup Spoon @ Suntec City • The Coastal Settlement • The White Rabbit • Time Table Café • Timbre @ The Substation • W39 Bistro & Bakery • Wilder Café • Wheeler's Yard • Working Title Cafe
ACTUALLY • Adidas Originals Concept Store • Agnes B • Alcoholiday • American Eagle @ Suntec City, Vivocity • Benjamin Barker @ Cineleisure, Marina Square, Vivocity, Wheelock Place • Bershka • Crumpler @ ION, Raffles City • dh.sunglass • Dr. Martens • Durasafe • Fred Perry @ ION, Orchard Cineleisure • Goodluck Bunch • Guess @ Marina Bay Sands • Leftfoot @ Orchard Cineleisure, The Cathay • Levi's @ Suntec City, VivoCity • Limited Edt Vault • Limited Edt • ModParade • Muji @ Paragon • Mujosh • New Balance @ Tampines Mall, Velocity • Nixon • P.V.S • Pull and Bear @ Bugis+, ION • Rip Curl @ Marina Square, VivoCity • Révolte x She Shops • Rockstar • Sects Shop by Depression • Space Invasion @ 112 Katong • SUP • SuperShades SG • Superspace • The Authority • Topshop/ Topman @ ION, Jem, VivoCity • WESC • White Rose Parlour
ARTS, DESIGN & MUSIC
Alliance Francaise • Basheer Graphic Books • Curated Records • Eggthree • Hear Records • Kizuki + LIM • Kplus • National Arts Council • Olando Pte Ltd • Red Dot Museum Shop • Roxy Music • Scissors Art • ShinnPark • Strangelets • The Arts House • The Projector • The Substation • Valentine Music Centre
BEAUTY & WELLNESS
Artisan Hair • Asmara • Essensuals Bugis • FDP Prestige Hair Care • Fitness First @ Paragon, One George Street, AMK Hub, Fusionopolis, Alexandra, Tampines, Marina Bay Financial Centre, UE Biz Hub East, Market Street, Westgate, 100AM, Metropolis, • KImage @ Suntec City • The Cathay • STRIP @ Dempsey, Great World City, Holland Village, Katong, Paragon, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Mandarin Gallery, Wheelock Place, VivoCity • The Panic Room • TONI&GUY @ East Coast, Mandarin Gallery
Cube Capsule Boutique Hotel • Five Stones Hostel • Hotel Re! • InterContinental Singapore • Link Hotel • Lloyd’s Inn Pte Ltd • Mori Hostel • Naumi Hotel • New Majestic Hotel • Premier Inn • Sleepy Kiwi Backpacker Hostel • Swissotel • The Quincy Hotel • Village Katong Hotel • Wanderlust Hotel • W Singapore
BCA Academy • Lasalle College of The Arts • Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts • NUS Radio Pulze • Republic Poly • S P Jain School Of Global Management • Temasek Polytechnic • Yale-NUS College Library
Audio Technica • Big Box • BooksActually • Changi Airport Ambassador Transit Lounge • JCube • JCube, The Rink • Louis Kienne Serviced Residence • SAFRA @ Toa Payoh • SCAPE • STA Travel • St Games Cafe • THE HIVE • Tokyo Bike • The Reading Room • Wave House Sentosa