MARCH 2017 ISSUE #222
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the minimalist issue
HELLO, This issue is for the purist in you. In these pages, we’ll liberate you from your media-saturated present by celebrating only the most essential of all of pop culture’s offerings. So, if you’re stressed out – or worse, numb – by the incessant bombardment of information and/or from being tagged in every damn listicle about which Gilmore Girl you are, fear not. You won’t be subjected to that here.
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In music, we’ll take you away from the untz-untz echoes and into the quieter, and way more interesting, realm of the most terrifying acoustic songs of all time (page 12), while also whisking you right before the most stripped-down but expensive artworks ever conceived (page 72). As you take it all in, sip on the concoctions from three new bars adding a no-frills charm to the scene (page 63).
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Since the clothes maketh the (wo)man, we’ll also get you acquainted with the rising stars of minimalist fashion (page 30). And because we want you looking your best all the time, we’ll let you in on how to maximise your natural beauty with the right makeup arsenal (page 50).
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When she surfaced in her solo guise on her 2014 debut EP, So Good, the unanimous critical reception of Neo Jessica Joshua AKA NAO was that hers was an unexpected sound that was a tonic in a world of replication. Then, last year, she unveiled her debut full-length, For All We Know, which positively elevated her already enviable standing. Before taking the stage at the recent Laneway Festival Singapore 2017, she speaks to us about her journey thus far. Image courtesy of Laneway Festival Singapore
Eight of the deadliest, minimalistic songs.
Bringing a wide, starlit palette of sounds in I See You.
N ew n a m e s i n m i n i m a l i st fa s h i o n to k n ow.
softer but sharper
STARK CONTRAST Jazz up monotone ensembles with a mix of textures, cuts and layers.
MONO FACTORY Cop Andy Warholâ€™s simple aesthetic.
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10 nifty skin perfectors for that flawless glow.
SILVER SCREEN SIMPLICITY Bare-bones films that push the limits.
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a clean mix
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OUR EXCLUSIVE WEB HIGHLIGHTS THIS MONTH CHAT: LA FEMME
FRANCE’S MOST TALKED-ABOUT KRAUTROCK TROUPE ON THEIR FILMIC MUSES, AHEAD OF THEIR CINEMATIC DEBUT AT SCAPE.
GO-TO LOCAL RECORDS WHEN YOU NEED TO CUT OUT THE NOISE AND GET IN THE ZONE.
CHAT: ANDREA PAMPILIO
THE ITALIAN MENSWEAR DESIGNER DISCUSSES HIS LATEST CAPSULE COLLECTION FOR ONITSUKA TIGER.
DISCO HUE X TIMBERLAND THE RETRO-LOVING QUARTET SHARE ON THEIR FAVOURITE ITEMS FROM TIMBERLAND’S LATEST KILLINGTON COLLECTION.
ESCENTIALS BRINGS THE BROOKLYN-BASED PERFUMER’S ESSENTIAL OILS AND SKINCARE RANGE TO SINGAPORE.
CHAT: LEFTO THE BELGIUM-BASED DJ EXPLAINS HIS FUSION OF HIP-HOP AND JAZZ BEFORE UNLEASHING IT AT KILO LOUNGE.
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Text Indran P Images Various Sources
Laetitia Tamko shatters long-entrenched stereotypes every time she opens her mouth. She’s a bona fide rarity – even in a scene that genuinely embraces outsiders. Historically speaking, indie rock and freak folk are forms that have been entirely the province of white musicians. But hailing from Cameroon and now based in New York, Tamko – under the moniker Vagabon – is slowly reconfiguring history and writing her story in gloriously bold sweeps of emotive indie pop. Already, her forthcoming debut album Infinite Worlds is garnering buzz for showcasing her lovely, lilting-but-huge voice and bracingly inventive songwriting. “The Embers” is a massive statement from an unexpectedly petite frame – and that’s just fine.
THE SKY IS BLACK WITH THE THREAT OF AN IMPENDING STORM AND WE’RE SOAKED THROUGH – THAT’S THE SCENE JUST BEFORE WE’RE ALLOWED INTO THE MEDIA AREA TO MEET NEO JESSICA JOSHUA AKA NAO AT THE RECENT LANEWAY FESTIVAL SINGAPORE 2017. UPON SEEING US, THE SINGER BEAMS A RESPLENDENT SMILE, GETS UP FROM HER STOOL AND GIVES US A WELCOMING HUG EVEN BEFORE WE CAN SHED THE INEFFECTIVE PONCHO. REALISING SHE’S WET, SHE EMITS A BURST OF GIGGLES THAT ASSURES US WE’RE IN GOOD COMPANY. OUR WHOLE ENCOUNTER WITH THE BRITISH SENSATION IS EMBLEMATIC OF THE EFFECT SHE’S HAD ON THE SCENE AT LARGE. WHEN SHE SURFACED IN HER SOLO GUISE ON HER 2014 DEBUT EP, SO GOOD, THE UNANIMOUS CRITICAL RECEPTION WAS THAT HERS WAS AN UNEXPECTED SOUND THAT WAS A TONIC IN A WORLD OF REPLICATION. THEN, LAST YEAR, SHE UNVEILED HER DEBUT FULL-LENGTH, FOR ALL WE KNOW, WHICH POSITIVELY ELEVATED HER ALREADY ENVIABLE STANDING. IN WHAT FOLLOWS, WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW SHE DID IT.
BORN THIS WAY There are divas, and there are queens. What separates the two isn’t so much blue-blooded birth privilege as it is an attitude and state of being that is hype-resistant, yet suffused with tremendous aspirational value. And even before Neo became NAO, she was raised in the art of queen-dom. Music is the organising principle and starting point of reference for pretty much everything she does. Like many artistes, she grew up in a musical household – but in hers, music was everything. “My family loves music so much. I can’t tell you how much. More than PlayStations and things like that. And I was the youngest, so I was just soaking everything up”, she explains before offering the clincher: “So, when I started writing my own music, it just came out naturally”. History has shown us that a child’s interest and curiosity can be paired with proper instruction to magnificent effect. In this regard, NAO’s mother is a crucial element in her story. Recognising her daughter’s raw talent, she brought her to an r&b glee club, where, every Thursday, the young girl would practice her craft. Later, she enrolled her in the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she studied vocal jazz. And it’s at this point that the next-levelism that we’re privy to now was coaxed to the light.
For All We Know couldn’t have been made by a pop traditionalist – there’s just too much going on there. The root of all this is in NAO’s encounter with jazz. “It taught me to be a better musician because it encompasses ideas from across all types of music. It explores the Indian scale; it explores classical music; it explores Afro-Cuban music. It’s not just one sound; it’s hundreds”. The last sentence, in particular, is the key to NAO’s world.
Text Indran P Image and Interview courtesy of Laneway Festival Singapore
FEELS JUST LIKE VELVET Music is more transient than it ever was. Pop culture’s mania for streaming has led to a singles-led ecosystem of music consumption, populated by byte-sized bits of repurposed, recombinative sounds that are momentarily relevant before vanishing to make way for the next opiate of the moment. In this world, NAO’s music is an antidote – a long-form exposition on the more esoteric crevices of her talent, made poppy on her own terms. She’s the rare songwriter who can present herself as both self-effacing and self-affirming, navigating between both states to do whatever she wants. For All We Know is a front-row seat to the unravelling of the most impactful relationships of her life. On the standout lead single “Bad Blood”, there are crushing lines such as, “I worship you like holy days”, which are preceded by the all-ornothing resolve of “I’ll give you my all” in “Happy”. But there’re also many instances of ray-of-light joy such as the coy-but-not-really “Get To Know Ya” and the surreal “Blue Wine”.
Besides this dynamism, what sets For All We Know’s cuts from ready-made, by-the-numbers hits is the cosmic grandiosity that its world possesses. “My first EP So Good was just me finding out about my sound and working it out. My second EP February 15 is just me being like, ‘Okay, I think I know what I want to say’. My album is like, ‘Bam! It’s here!’ Everything I want to say about all the things I grew up listening to and everything that’s influenced me – I’ve managed to put it into one sound.” The content of NAO’s “Bam!” is a seamless, velvety blend of r&b, soul, funk, house, and electro, which she describes as “wonky funk”. It’s a compromise-free aesthetic within which you can hear a whole life. In 2017, the alt-r&b bandwagon is an overcrowded space filled with uninspiring, disingenuous hopefuls hedging their bets on the possibility of a freak viral success story. Not NAO. “Everyone says to me, ‘Oh, you’re so mysterious!’ And I’m like, ‘Not really, my music says it all’. It’s just my story and some people connect to it and some people won’t, but it’s an honest interpretation of who I am and what I’m going through right now.” Next to this openhearted honesty, the manufactured melancholy of r&b’s ‘alt’ phase looks ridiculous – bam. YOU GO, GIRLS The traditional logic of pop stardom decrees that a female contender present herself to a callow flock as someone it wants to be and look like. She is to be part-commodity, part-lifestyle choice, and part-filtration force that weeds out and exposes those who are not as rich, pretty or loved as she is. When asked about the female-empowering thrust of her music, NAO is quick to call out the popular narrative. “It doesn’t get you anywhere in life to listen to all your insecurities”, she counters, with a hair-flip. The mid-album track, “Trophy”, is both a threat and a manifesto. “If you think that I’m a trophy you (better change your mind) / Better change your mind (I ain’t your trophy, oh, no no)”, goes the hook, borne by a jubilant wave of electro-gospel-funk. It’s an undeniable moment in the album whose meaning is obvious and timeless. We ask her if this was written for girls and she says yes, with a twinkle in her eye. Whether or not an artiste should be an advocate of the greater good that is beyond the arena of entertainment is a perennial matter of debate – but not with NAO. As her handler tells us that our time with her is up, she leaves us with these words: “Girls have to understand that they’re all beautiful. They just have to find ways of loving themselves, their bodies, their curviness, their skinniness, whatever they’ve got; the spots – I’ve got loads of spots – and everything will be alright”. Two hours later, she took the Cloud Stage and absolutely killed it. thisnao.tumblr.com
softer but sharper “DIED FOR LOVE” MARTIN AND ELIZA CARTHY This is a tale of a woman pining for her lover who has set out to sea and not returned. Desperate to find him, she ventures out to sea herself. One day, her father enters her bedroom to find her “hanging by a rope”, with a note attached to her chest asking him to bury her with marble stones at her head and feet, with a snow-white dove in the middle, “just to let the world know that I died for love”. Okay, yikes. True love is great and all that, but this is something else.
“WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT?” NIRVANA
What makes Nirvana’s 1994 acoustic live album, MTV Unplugged In New York, such an immortal work is that each of its 14 tracks exudes a raw, wild energy. And it’s this album-closer that is the darkest of the lot. Unplugged but screamed in parts, it’s an update of an American folk song that dates back to the 1870s. Cobain’s distinct voice renders it mesmerising until it sinks in that the song chronicles an affair between a married woman and a man, and culminates in a murder and beheading. That’s when his scream – and ours – erupts.
“A SAD SADNESS SONG” CURRENT 93 Like its title suggests, this is a beyond-plaintive ode to sadness, which is depicted as a universal state here, framed by death and decay. “When we touch the world /Just to fall apart / And our mother lies in state / And the broken pitcher glistens”, denotes a fundamental hopelessness that borders on metaphysical cruelty. With its irrevocable imperative, it gels quite nicely with frontman David Tibet’s fascination with the end of the world. But take it out of that context and “All the world seems / A sadness song / And all the world seems / A sadness song”.
“DIRTY KNIFE” NEKO CASE From Neko Case herself: “It’s [based off] a story my grandmother told me about a bunch of people in our family who all went crazy at the same time. People didn’t realise it ’til they went and found them in their house. They had just stopped leaving the house, and they were burning the furniture for heat. They were pretty nuts”. Yes, in the hands of one of the most compelling songwriters of our time, nutty family members make for a great song that is imbued with a tenderness that isn’t deceptive, even when the “blood runs crazy”.
TO THIS DAY, PEOPLE STILL CAN’T AGREE ON WHETHER OR NOT SIZE MATTERS. IN THE REALM OF MUSIC, THIS IS COMPLICATED BY ACOUSTIC SONGS THAT HAVE A UNIQUE POWER THAT LOUDER, MAXIMAL DITTIES NEVER QUITE DO. HERE ARE EIGHT OF THE DEADLIEST.
“GALLOWS” COCOROSIE This sisterly duo touts a sound that – featuring hip-hop, electronica and operatic flourishes – is usually hyperactive. But on this simmering cut, things are dialled back considerably. The entire song is sung in a whisper, which sets the tone perfectly for its Gothic narrative – a hanging is chronicled, with no backstory. The high notes lend the proceedings a surreal feel that intensifies as we follow the characters to the gallows. Then, as the hanging takes place, we hear the screams of the punished and his loved ones. The concluding lines, “And our screaming / Is in his screaming”, imply that the screams never stop.
“MOLTEN LIGHT” CHAD VANGAALEN The Medieval period stands out for being one of great beauty and also one of intense violence stemming from society’s fascination with the occult. Witches, one of the key motifs of the era, are largely responsible for this. Canadian weirdo-genius, Chad VanGaalen, acknowledges this in “Molten Light” – widely regarded as one of his best songs. Set in the 1600s, when witch burnings in North America peaked, the song tells the story of a witch – who, burned alive, survives and exacts her revenge on the townsfolk. The refrain, “I’ll find you and I’ll kill you”, is all the more chilling because of VanGaalen’s angelic voice.
“ELI, THE BARROW BOY” THE DECEMBERISTS Oddly enough, The Decemberists’ rep as indie darlings has never had to contend with their incredible penchant for the macabre. Written and sung in first person, this song is a perfect example of the band’s folksy chops that’ve endeared them to the cold-pressed-coffeedrinking set who probably haven’t considered its lyrical import. This is a ghost story about Eli, the Barrow Boy, who committed suicide by drowning himself after he lost his beloved. “Would I could afford to buy my love a fine gown / Made of gold and silk Arabian thread / But I am dead and gone and lying in a church ground”, goes the most chilling moan.
“BLACK RIVER KILLER” BLITZEN TRAPPER
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
“Oh when, oh when / Will the spirit come a calling for my soul to sin / Oh when, oh when / Will the keys to the kingdom be mine again?” – are the words of a stone-cold killer whose bloodlust is portrayed as a God-given mandate. What sets this song apart from the rest on this already niche list, is that it’s an inversion of the core Christian belief of empowerment through the spirit of Christ. In dark blues-folk pomp, this spirit is one that emboldens the Black River Killer to claim his next victim. Just imagine what his “kingdom” looks like.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
TENNYSON M83, QUESTLOVE AND SKRILLEX HAVE ALL EXPRESSED THEIR ADMIRATION FOR TENNYSON – TALK ABOUT A DIVERSE FANBASE. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, THE TRINITY TESTIFIES TO HOW THE BROTHERSISTER PAIRING OF LUKE AND TESS TENNYSON, 21 AND 19 RESPECTIVELY, APPEALS TO THREE DIFFERENT FACETS OF MUSIC. WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE SIBLINGS’ DEBUT EP, LIKE WHAT, YOU’LL FIND DREAMY, TWINKLING SOUNDSCAPES, A JAZZ-MINDED SENSE OF MUSICAL EXPLORATION AND UNDERCUTTING ALL, AN INSISTENT IMPULSE ON MAKING YOU DANCE. LATER THIS MONTH, YOU’LL GET TO TAKE IN THEIR GIFTS IN THE FLESH AS THEY LAND ON OUR SHORES FOR SYNDICATE SUBSESSIONS. BEFORE THAT, DIVE INTO THE PORTAL TO THEIR BRILLIANTLY ZANY WORLD. You ushered in 2017 with “Bon Appétit 2017”. How’s the year going for you? Tess: Luke and I have been living together in Los Angeles for a couple weeks now. It has been kind of like a rehearsal for when we move out. We’ve been grocery shopping like adult children. And in the spirit of “Bon Appétit 2017”, what’s your favourite food and what would you do if someone tried to steal it from you? Luke: I really like parsnip. If someone tries to steal a parsnip from you, please let them. T: I like salmon sushi, cinnamon raisin bagels and roasted cauliflower, but they would all be gone too quickly for a thief. What are the best and worst things about making music with family? L: The best thing is that there are not many ways out of the comfort zone. T: It also helps that we have all the same preferences. The only thing we disagree on is the most comfortable temperature.
Like What operates on a dynamic of being pristine yet incredibly surreal. What was your larger vision or narrative for the record? L: The album was what happened when I didn’t have a MIDI keyboard, and used only my laptop’s trackpad. The larger idea was converting my surroundings into music. Essentially, it’s the soundtrack of a failing tea shop. Dance music is now inseparable from the indie world that you’re a part of. What are your thoughts on the massive popularity of electronic music? L: There’s an entire side to electronic music that’s like strobe lights for your ears. It’s fascinating to me because there’s possibly a desire for that pre-programmed in the brain. The other side that I feel like I’m more a part of is more like a joining of the world of accumulative music and the new tools for making it. What do you look out for when making beats? L: I try and change my whole approach on every song. This way, I have the advantage of never
getting trapped in any single writing style. It also makes the process a lot longer. Luke, you spoke before about needing to find a balance between making music you’re proud of and making music that the audience will instantly like. Have your views on artistic integrity changed? L: Instead of a balance, I just do both, back and forth, sometimes in the same song. My view is probably a bit different from before. Catchiness is important, but instead of making something that other people will find catchy, I can make something I find catchy – that way, there’s less internal conflict. Lastly, is there a new project in the works? T: You betcha bum.
Catch Tennyson live at Syndicate Subsessions, happening at Montreux Jazz Cafe, Pan Pacific Orchard on March 15. yourstru.ly/stories/tennyson
Text Indran P Images Tennyson
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
Text Indran P Images Neil Krug Interview courtesy of Symmetry Entertainment
CUPID DELUXE YOU CAN’T FORGET A RECORD LIKE MULTI-LOVE. THOUGH RELEASED TWO YEARS AGO, THE RED-PURPLE HUES OF UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA’S THIRD ALBUM STILL LINGER IN THE INDIE ZEITGEIST IN THE SAME CAPTIVATINGLY SPECTRAL WAYS IT DID WHEN IT DEBUTED. THAT IT WAS BASED ON NEW ZEALANDERAMERICAN FRONTMAN AND BANDLEADER RUBAN NIELSON’S ONE-TIME POLYAMOROUS RELATIONSHIP WAS SECONDARY TO HOW, WITH HIS ROCK-FUNKSOUL-INFUSING WAYS, HE RENDERED THE UNIVERSALLY COMPLEX THEME OF LOVE EVEN MORE BRACINGLY EXPLORABLE AND RESONANT. BEFORE HIS BAND TAKES THE STAGE WITH EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY LATER THIS MONTH, HE SHINES HIS GLOW ON ISSUES CLOSE TO HIS HEART.
On his imminent return to Singapore. It’s like stepping into a science fiction movie, in some ways. It’s futuristic. The Supertree Grove is unlike anything in the world. I’ve heard Singapore is very strict but I’ve never had to deal with that. I really love the hawker centres – I’m kind of obsessed with your food. Both times, I got things I’ve never seen before like the boiled snails with the little claws. On the emotional complexity of Multi-Love. I still feel really close to the record and find it quite hard to listen to, even. I spent a lot of time concentrated on it and it still brings back very specific memories. I’m proud of the record and I’m glad I managed to express what I was feeling at the time. On universal anxiety of “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. Lately, I’ve been trying to find other things to distract me from technology. I’ve gotten back into reading books a lot and also keeping a real paper journal. It helps me to receive and record information in a different way than on a device. I like underlining lines and writing in the margins. Using devices for every task is kind of a dead end. I think having other apps to distract you when you’re writing isn’t the best thing. On soul music. Soul music is just some of the best music ever made. I listen to Al Green, for instance, as a reminder of what a good record sounds and, more importantly, feels like. It’s in the power of the songs – simple but not dumb. It’s in the strength of
the musicianship and singing. It’s the art of recording the old school way. It’s in the feeling of ‘soul’ itself, which can’t be described in language. On fatherhood. I have two separate lives – tour life and home life. On tour, I’m constantly moving, sleeping very little and meeting new people every day. I don’t get time to myself for months at a go. At home, I’m reclusive and spend lots of time alone – when not with my children – working on music, reading or on other projects. I think I’m always applying myself passionately to everything I do but one side is loud and social, and the other is quiet and domestic. On life abroad. America has a lot more historical baggage. It’s exhausting that nobody can start a day fresh and new. There’s been slavery. They’ve dropped atomic bombs on people. But such great things have happened as well, in art and in politics. New Zealand is a very small, very young country. It has its historical weight, like anywhere else, but people don’t carry it around with them as much. I’ve grown to love both countries in different ways. On new music. I’ve been working a lot on music. I’m recording a new album and I’ve been working on a few collaborations that I’m excited about as well. The album is due out next year.
Catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra live at The Coliseum on March 3. unknownmortalorchestra.com
THE SCOTTISH DUO OF HONEYBLOOD HAS NEVER NOT MEANT BUSINESS. ITS 2016 ALBUM IS EMPHATICALLY TITLED BABES NEVER DIE – AN ABSOLUTELY SUBLIME RACKET OF IDGAF NOISE-POP THAT’S AS GREAT A TESTIMONY AS ANY OF THE DIY ETHOS THAT INFORMS THE LINEAGE OF ROCK MUSIC’S MORE SERRATED EDGES. AFTER A REVOLVING DOOR OF DRUMMERS, THE BAND IS NOW A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN FRONTWOMAN-GUITARIST STINA MARIE CLAIRE TWEEDDALE AND DRUMMER CAT MYERS, BOTH OF WHOM CAN POUND THE HELL OUT OF THEIR INSTRUMENTS AND COAX OUT BODY-BLASTING TUNES. BEFORE THEIR DESCENT HERE LATER THIS MONTH, TWEEDDALE GETS US BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH HER BAND. Babes Never Die was released to much critical acclaim. In your opinion, what separates it from Honeyblood? I think having Cat in the band was the immediate change. We really wanted to incorporate the energy of the live set into the record. That’s why it’s a bit more forceful than the first album. I also spent time really developing songs, and taking on criticism to improve what I was writing.
What’s a tour memory that’s stuck with you? I think my favourite memory of last year’s tour was when we spent Halloween in America. I dressed up as Wednesday Addams and Cat went as a ghost.
You’ve mentioned before that “Love Is A Disease” is your favourite track. Why? The track was initially an idea for a riff I had that we went to the studio with and jammed. I then spent a good month writing the vocal melodies to get them right. I feel that this song took a lot of inspiration from our mutual love for Blur and Queens Of The Stone Age. The story of the song is told from the perspective of Dracula’s victim and it’s also a sort of topsy-turvy love song.
You’ve mentioned that – because it was pressurising that so few girls played guitar at your school – one of your hopes is for your music to inspire girls to get into the scene and play. Who’s a woman you look up to? It was quite isolating at times, being one of the very few girls playing guitar and starting a band. And yes, I hope that girls see Honeyblood and think, “I can do that too”. A woman who inspired me to play guitar and sing was definitely PJ Harvey. She’s truly an incredible artiste and an exceptional musician.
Have any of the people who’ve inspired your songs asked you about them? Yeah, of course! People are nosey. I used to get shy about telling people that I wrote songs about them, but now I don’t. I find it easier to dislocate myself from the songs after they are finished, and the stories are usually very truthful – I don’t hold back.
Being in a rock band, what would you say the spirit of the music means to you? Rock is about inclusion and directing your emotions into something positive. In that sense, the ’90s was full of nostalgia for my childhood, and some pretty good bands.
What’s one thing you’ve learnt since your debut? That you never have enough time in the studio. You will always want to go back and change something. An album is a snapshot of those songs. After that, they grow and develop when they are played live.
Catch Honeyblood live at Hood Bar and Café, at 201 Victoria Street on March 27.
Text Indran P and Odette Yiu Image Amira Fritz Interview courtesy of Songs For Children
Safe Grounds feels like quite an emotional experience. How did it begin? I was having a bit of a crisis in 2015, deliberating between finding a full-time job to support myself and pursuing my teenage dream of making music. A friend pointed out that it would be easier to make music when I was young, so I decided to just go for it. I sent in a proposal to the National Arts Council and got a grant by the end of the year. The whole of 2016 was then devoted to coming up with this EP. Within the context of the EP, what does the concept of a ‘safe ground’ mean to you? It’s about leaving your comfort zone – in my case, stability – in exchange for pursuing your dream. Making music is an investment, so it’s always been a financial risk. But I thought, “Okay, I have my whole life to work, and only so many years for which I can do what I’m passionate about”. So, for me, packing my bags and hitting that steep road is symbolic of that uphill climb involved in making music. It hasn’t been an easy journey but it’s worth it. You’ve said that Safe Grounds is based on people you’ve met in your life. What about these people compelled you to write about them? I was inspired by the struggles and victories we’ve been through. I’d like to put these experiences in a cryogenic chamber – each of them has taught me a lot. But sometimes, it’s hard to count your blessings, so by immortalising these experiences in song, it’s easier for me to remember them.
Text Indran P Image Zachary Van Der Ven
What made you go from playing covers to writing your own songs? With covers, you can add a bit of your flavour, but it’s still someone else’s story you’re telling; it’s not like telling your own story. I always thought writing original material would be cool. But I didn’t feel ready before. The transition happened when I mustered the courage to just go for it.
LISTENING TO THE TITLE TRACK OFF JARROLD NG’S DEBUT EP, SAFE GROUNDS, IS A CLEANSING EXPERIENCE. OVER A HUSHED AND BLUESY FOLK BACKDROP, HIS VOICE IS RESPLENDENT AS IT URGES US TO ABANDON THE STASIS OF OUR SAFE PRESENT AND MAKE THE LEAP TO MORE INTERESTING AND FULFILLING POSSIBILITIES. ARDENTLY IN LOVE WITH MUSIC AND INTENT ON SHARING HIS OWN WITH THE WORLD, HE HEEDED HIS OWN WORDS AND IS ON THE EVER-UNSTABLE PATH OF MAKING MUSIC IN SINGAPORE. HERE, HE SHARES HIS STORY AND HIS FLIGHT FROM SAFE GROUNDS.
Do you remember your first time writing an original song? Yes! When I was 18, I ended up writing about a girl having an obsession with chocolate and crying because of that obsession. So, that was technically my first song. As for legitimate songwriting, I started at 20, thanks to my friend Isaac who encouraged me to write originals. Your lyrics are extremely layered and dense. What influences your style? I love using metaphors because they are open to interpretation. You can extract a deeper meaning from them, as well as several different readings. I’m drawn to that because it brings insight. It’s not just a blatant I’ll-say-it-as-it-is. It’s known that you started singing in church at 18. What’s the relationship between your faith and your art? My faith is a big part of me but I’m very conscious about not sounding preachy. Music is a universal language and I believe in writing things that people can relate to.
VILLES MAJESTICALLY HUMUNGOUS SOUNDS ARE COMING YOUR WAY VIA THE CURE, THE NEW FULL-LENGTH BY LOCAL QUINTET, VILLES. SITTING ACROSS FROM VOCALIST DOMINIC TAN AND VOCALIST-GUITARIST BRYAN ULRIC, THE GLEAM IN THEIR EYES GIVES US AS GOOD AN INDICATION AS ANY THAT THE SIMULTANEOUSLY PUMMELLING AND CATHARTIC IMPRINT THEIR BAND IS KNOW FOR HAS RECEIVED AN ALL NEW UPDATE. THEN, THERE’S THEIR NEW SINGLE “DON’T YOU WORRY”, WHICH EXHIBITS A NEWFOUND MELODIC ETHEREALITY IN THE MIDST OF THE NOISE. HERE, THE PAIR SHARES ALL THAT WENT INTO THE CURE. SPOILER ALERT: YOU MIGHT FIND SOME HILLARY DUFF IN THERE. You released “City Of Gold” in 2014, and then went on tour. What else has the band been up to since then? Bryan: There were a bunch of factors as to why we took so long with the next project. On my end, I felt that whatever I was writing wasn’t good enough to be released. I’ve learnt that you can’t take your own sweet time with things. On top of that, we changed studios twice. Dominic: I’ve been studying in Sydney for the past four years, so it was difficult to bounce ideas off with Bryan. I couldn’t really coordinate things with the band. How has the process of working on the new album been and how did you link up with producer, Josh Schroeder? B: We love that he’s got a sound that is raw yet tight. When we were getting started on The Cure, we just emailed him. His initial response to us was brutal. He criticised our lyrics, our sound; basically everything. So, when he asked us what we wanted to do differently, we were even more inspired to take things further. To our surprise,
he was happy with our commitment and wanted to work with us. D: His critique has been totally constructive. He examined every single detail of all our songs. That showed us that he really did his homework. All bands need something like this. Post-hardcore music is viewed as a throwback to the mid- to early-2000s. What is still special about this form of music to you? B: I feel that the root of the Villes sound isn’t post-hardcore per se. We like melody, we like breakdowns and our attitude towards screaming is simple – when you scream, you’re heard. D: Yes, when I scream, it means something. Whatever I scream about is a storm of meaning I’m holding in my head that I can’t casually sing out. Is your new single, “Don’t You Worry”, autobiographical? D: Yes. It’s sort of about this girl I was with in secondary school. Back then, I was just getting into music and I wanted to play in a band. She told music
me that it was a stupid thing to do. Needless to say, we broke up shortly after. “Don’t You Worry” is a huge ‘eff you’ to anything holding you back in your life, whether another person, or self-doubt. B: Also, the funny thing about this song is that, after I wrote it, I described it to Dom as Hillary Duff-meets-Avril Lagvine. I’d like to say I called it. But on a more serious note, there’s a phrase that describes this song and album as a whole perfectly – ‘Bound by the collar, slave to the dollar’. There are things in life that enslave you and this song is a call to rise above them. How would you describe the chemistry of the band’s current lineup? B: I feel like this lineup came together in a very serendipitous way. Four of us were in secondary school together and we know each other really well. There isn’t much or any getting used to each other that needs to happen now. We’re too close for there to be any awkwardness amongst us.
Text Indran P Image Jasper Tan
GO YOUR OWN WAY FOUR INDIE MUSICANS WHO’VE GONE SOLO – AND WON CAMERON AVERY
Thanks to the genius of honcho Kevin Parker, Tame Impala is one of the most in-demand rock acts around. But that hasn’t stopped its bassist from making his own full-length statement. Avery’s soonto-drop baroque pop debut Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams will stun you.
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
ONE OF A KIND These days, media shyness is more a permissible bit of sleight of hand than an actual attitude towards the all-seeing eye of public scrutiny. But Steve Lacy doesn’t bother with blushing – he’s mediaindifferent. That’s an incredibly rare thing given that the 19-year-old singer, guitarist and producer is a Grammy-nominated concern this early into his career. Against its will, Ego Death, the Internetresounding third album by his hugely beloved band, The Internet, vied for the golden gramophone in the ‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ category and lost. Not that the band or Lacy are bothered – after all, both seem destined for bigger things. From being entranced by the guitarist of his church band as a child, to enrolling in a performing arts high school and joining a jazz band, to being schooled in beat-making by Jameel Bruner – younger brother of one Stephen Bruner AKA Thundercat – his trajectory is incrementally
gathering momentum. And this month, he looks set to make good on the long-teased promise of solo music. Just as 2016 was closing out, he released a string of songs into the ether. The most compelling of these is the late-night single,“Some”. A hooky and funked-out take on dream pop, the understated love song also highlights Lacy’s warm, inviting coos. It’s not easy making a line as banal as, “Baby, can I have some of your love?”, resound as a universally repeatable credo but Lacy owns it with an ease that isn’t without its magnetic emotional pull. If you caught The Internet at last year’s Laneway outing, you’d know that there’s also a rawness to his voice that is undeniably soulful. With no title and no promo, he’ll be dropping an album-sized gift of this soon, so keep your arms outstretched.
As the frontwoman of the Dum Dum Girls, Dee Dee has been one of the most vital figures in indie rock of the early aughts. But last year, she set her guitar down, and assumed a new, sexy, synth pop-proferring form.
Speedy Ortiz is a new band with old-school appeal – frontwoman Sadie Dupuis is one of the pivots that’s secured her band’s rep as indie rock traditionalists. But her new solo incarnation and newfound love for accessible pop hooks has her poised on the brink of crossover-dom.
In 2017, you can’t have a conversation about indie-anything in music without taking into account what the Dirty Projectors has accomplished. After such a great run, it’s only natural that its erstwhile mouthpiece makes her own noise. Look out for her (major label) debut, City Of No Reply, due out soon.
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST DAVID BOWIE I discovered Bowie between the ages of 15 and 17, when I was buying heaps of different music. And buying them at the Attic, the best import shop at the time, was a pretty pocket-busting experience.
LED ZEPPELIN III LED ZEPPELIN At five, I was a wrecking ball, until my cousin Charles put me before his turntable, and taught me how to use everything properly. It kept me quiet as a mouse, too. This one, cover and content, kind of stuck – especially “Tangerine”.
TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS KRAFTWERK This is one of my early forays into electronic music, and it led me down the path to a greater appreciation for other synth-pop bands like Depeche Mode, Yazoo, the Human League, and Soft Cell. My dancing grew stranger too.
SOMETHING/ANYTHING? TODD RUNDGREN This one borrows from another cousin’s collection, and by now I was quite deft and self-sufficient in my turntable skills, so I’d boldly head straight to it during those family visits. “Hello It’s Me”, was a total fave.
E2 E4 MANUEL GOTTSCHING I bought it because I liked the cover. It blew me away – ’nuff said.
BAND ON THE RUN PAUL MCCARTNEY AND THE WINGS This was one of the first few records that I bought with the little money I’d saved up in my piggy bank. I discovered more about The Beatles then too.
WITH IMPECCABLE TASTE, FAULTLESS SKILL AND 30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, BRENDON P IS A DJ’S DJ – BUT HE VERY WELL KNOWS HOW TO GET EVERYONE MOVING. FROM THE STARLIT OUTPOST OF CÉ LA VI, WHERE HE NOW HOLDS COURT AS A RESIDENT, TO DECKS FAR AND WIDE ACROSS THE WORLD, HIS SETS ARE STANDARD-SETTING EXPERIENCES WITH A WHOLE LOT OF KINETIC POWER. HAVING PRODUCED HIS OWN TRACKS AND REMIXES ON INTERNATIONAL LABELS SUCH AS DEFECTED, LOS GRANDES, REVERSOULMUSIC, AND AUDIO PARALLAX, THE VETERAN UNVEILS THE 10 RECORDS THAT SHAPED AND GUIDED HIS EAR.
INNERVISIONS STEVIE WONDER As I got older, I think my music tastes got a tad funkier. My dancing was improving a little too. This one and Songs In The Key Of Life tie as my two all-time favourite Stevie Wonder records.
PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS QUANDO QUANGO At New York’s Danceteria in 1984, I heard “Love Tempo” for the first time. Watching the crowd’s reaction helped me make a decision on what I wanted to do with my life.
SIGN O’ THE TIMES PRINCE I was already a huge Prince fan by this time, having owned every single record and almost every 12-inch he’d ever released. This one brought his songwriting to a more thought-provoking realm and is my favourite. music
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
BLUE HAWAII ELVIS PRESLEY My mum was a huge Elvis fan, so most of my few memories as a toddler centre around listening to this a lot at home, and dancing (and falling) a lot to “RockA-Hula-Baby” between the ages of three and five.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD It has to be asked – do people care about bands anymore? In the years since DJs, beatmakers and producers came to dictate where the needle of pop culture rested, large-scale interest in people making music as a collective unit has dipped. There are survivors, but they’re suspect – like Coldplay. But, over a decade into its existence, The xx has proven to be an exception to the vagaries of the moment. Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie “xx” Smith aren’t just ‘cool’ or ‘relevant’, they’re beloved. And their recent third album I See You speaks to all those things.
I See You is a quintessentially xx album – cut-glass vocals, shimmery instrumentation and the fashionably modern air of longing and melancholia that the band perfected from its self-titled 2009 debut onwards, are all here. But everything sounds bigger and vaster. This newfound expansiveness is a result of the band taking its cues from one
of its own. If you feel that I See You resembles Jamie xx’s 2015 solo coup, In Colour, it’s because it was definitely touched by the spirit of the latter. As such, I See You’s wide, starlit palette of sounds is suffused with an enveloping sense of drama that wasn’t a factor in the band’s sound before. “I’ll put on a performance, I’ll put on a brave face”, Croft resolves on the orchestral standout “Performance”. That declaration is an apt appraisal of the band’s M.O. here. No longer is icy distance its main calling card. Once alluding to its r&b influences in scare quotes, the band now goes at it full-on. Lead single, “On Hold”, is a reminder that there’s nothing tentative about this new phase. Like the directness of its title, I See You is a whole new xx.
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
FOUR OF THE XX’S MOST ARRESTING CUTS
“CRYSTALLISED” (2009) This was the one that announced the London then-quartet to the world. Spare but full in its emotional freight, it was the most lethally trendy manifestation of emo. And it didn’t hurt that it packed a fair share of funk, too.
“ISLANDS” (2009) When Croft and Sim both sang, “I am yours now / So now I don’t ever have to leave”, on the hook, the magnetic power of the band’s leading lady and man was affirmed. Oh, and Shakira covered it on her own album.
“ANGELS” (2012) The xx has almost religious devotion to texture and arrangement and this highlight is the biggest proof of the band’s ardour. Apparently taking a long time to perfect, it is absolutely transfixing in its final form.
“CHAINED” (2012) Possessiveness is a point of contention in any intimate relationship. Being so utterly universal, it’s all the more complex to render. But over a consciously understated house beat, Jamie xx animates the searing drama chronicled by Croft and Sims – flawless.
JACQUES GREENE Later this month, you’ll receive the formal, full-length invite by Montreal producer Jacques Greene to Feel Infinite. In the years since he appeared as the smiling, bespectacled dude in the music video for Azealia Bank’s one-hit statement, “212”, and since Radiohead sought him out for a remix of one of their own songs, he’s honed his soulful, house-leading, r&b-tronic sound to a distinct T. We’re privy to the latest, most elevated instance of his touch on the single, “To Say”, a fairy-lit future bass-y jaunt that works as great in your headphones as it does on the dance floor. jacquesgreene.com
WHEN FANS REIGN
In a move that’s supremely bold, very heartening but also kind of risky, Depeche Mode has given fans control of its Facebook page for a year. As per an official press release, the synthpop godheads will allow a fan to run the page and update its 7 million followers’ feeds with “personal anecdotes, videos, concert photos, covers of the band’s songs, or other Depeche Mode-related content”, as part of its publicity run for its upcoming 14th album, Spirit. Instagram takeovers are now commonplace, but a band – let alone a huge one – temporarily ceding control of its Facebook account is unheard of.
NO WAY! God bless the Internet! Trending for the worst reasons, Donald Trump is causing all of us a great deal of anger and worry. But Super Deluxe, described on their own website as, “a community of creative weirdos”, has realised a little something to give the world some relief. It’s amassed “Donald Trump’s Tweets as an Early 2000s Emo Song”. Yes, that’s both the description of the product and the product itself. Over emo and hardcore instrumentals – including even the requisite screaming – the band’s made a ‘song’ with ‘lyrics’ such as, “I call my own shots largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it”. superdeluxe.com
THAT WAS FAST So, Soulwax has a new album coming your way later this month. Dubbed FROM DEEWEE, and featuring the single, “TRANSIENT PROGRAM FOR DRUMS AND MACHINERY”, it was, as the dance outfit reveals, “recorded in one take”. If this is true, it’s truly an astounding feat, given that band’s fabulously teeming, genre-melding sound. This is also notable for being the group’s first piece of original music in 11 years. As a single, “MACHINERY” does a good job of reminding us what we love about Soulwax. Throughout its eight minutes, ambient electronica and ’80s sci-fi theme music build to a triumphantly pulsing disco-house finish. soulwax.com
END OF DAYS
Reminders of why the Trump administration is a circus continue to populate our consciousness. And one of the more recent and prominent of these is the very real possibility that notable Trump supporter and human meme Kid Rock might become a senator. Apparently, Republicans in the state of Michigan think that the “American Bad A**” singer is a worthy candidate for the U.S. Senate. This is troubling since Kid Rock is to politics what Kid Rock is to music.
NEXT LEVEL The goings-on in the Berlin nightclub Berghain have acquired a reputation that far surpasses the normally ‘epic’ descriptor reserved for nights out at most other clubs. What will only fuel tales of all-night orgies and ‘transcendental’ raves is the club’s announcement that it’s opening up a third dancefloor called Säule. Christened after the German word for “pillar”, the new space is located on the club’s ground level, directly beneath the main dancefloor. As for its programming, its booking policy will be centred around darker, more experimental sounds than the techno and house found in the main space and Panorama Bar. berghain.de music
CHECK YOUR PHONE
FOR GLORY This is huge: the mighty-lunged saxophonist and multireedist Colin Stetson has announced that he’s got a new solo album in the works titled, All This I Do For Glory. By now, it should be clear that his physically demanding and majestic-sounding feats are more than enough guarantee that he isn’t going to turn in something lofty but hollow. Amazingly enough, he’s also revealed that this new one will be influenced by the kinetic rhythms of the very great likes of Aphex Twin and Autechre. The lead herald “Spindrift” provides a dazzling foretaste of what’s to come. colinstetson.com
Besides merging surrealist esoterica with new wave’s synth-y abandon, Devo was also one of the early pioneers of the music video form. So, we’re slightly surprised that the band has only now gotten its own emojis. Developed by custom emoji developer Emoji Fame, the little text message supplements feature iconography unique to the band, such as the red and blue energy domes, and ad libs such as “Bombs Away!” and “We’re All Devo!”. What all this means is that texting just got a lot more indie. Msg away! Available for iOS via the App Store.
FROM A GOOD SCHOOL Bryce Dessner, guitarist of The National, and Richard Reed Parry, the multiinstrumentalist who’s a core member of the Arcade Fire brain trust, are leading the youths by example. In partnership with the Brooklyn Youth Choir, both indie veterans are curating an album honouring Black Mountain College, a short-lived but highly influential liberal arts school. Black Mountain Songs is a crucial document of the legacy of one of the world’s most foremost incubators of creativity and artistry. Formatted as a studio recording of an eponymous evening-length performance, the album also features contributions from Nico Muhly and Tim Hecker. bam.org
three's very good company
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
Good things don’t just come in threes – but here are three of the most exciting acts in contemporary music that’ve recently released earworms into the ether.
No one wants to be in the “Friend Zone” – it’s
There isn’t another band around that’s made a
While it can’t be denied that the world is in a dark place right now, it’s been heartening to see
the least enviable space to exist in across the
career out of being credibly and endearingly weird
spectrum of human relationships. Now, the bass
as well and as consistently as Animal Collective.
musicians step up and chime in with inspiring
gawd has issued a balm for those imprisoned in
Late last month, in its 14th year of existence,
gestures. Just after launching the Wishart Group – an
said zone. As per his modus operandi, the cut
the band hosted “Coral Orgy”, which an official
organisation dedicated to supporting artistes with
is a voluptuously groovy, space-destined funk
statement describes as, “an audiovisual meditation
legal, educational, and healthcare services – Passion
cut over which his soul-inflecting vocals purl.
on the secrets behind the sexual reproduction
Pit mastermind Michael Angelakos signed off on
He’s totally empathetic here, as he chronicles
of corals”. Besides that, it’s also released a new,
“Somewhere Up There”, a lovely, ethereal number.
the grief process of the Friend Zone-d: “I’m your
winkingly self-aware single titled, “Kinda Bonkers”,
Patently Passion Pit, it’s a sprawling six-minute jam
biggest fan / But I guess that’s not just good
where over a bed of sounds that feels like an
of vividly glorious, sensory-overload synths imbued
enough” to the climaxing frustration of, “Don’t
African spiritual, the band ponders the mystery
with colouristic grandeur. Particularly touching is the
call me / Don’t text me / After 2am / I have
that is life. Perfect for campfires or when you need
bridge, which includes a sample detailing the sacred
reminding that life is, “Kinda Bonkers”, indeed.
bond between mother and child.
FOR GOOD MEASURE
BY INCH CHUA
SENTIMINIMALISM There comes a time in a girl’s life when you bottom out and plummet into the classic Bridget Jones sink hole. You change your hairdo, live on your couch with ice-cream as choice sustenance, read Eat Pray Love from cover to cover, avoid your friends, start quoting Lang Leav on Instagram, and fantasise about the rest of your existence in the company of 1,732 cats. So, maybe your boyfriend dumped you, or your boss tells you you’re dumb; maybe you found out you suck at something you love, or worse, someone you love thinks you suck. Whatever it might be, it has shaken you from the ground up and your tectonic plates now shift from the pressure of people wanting more from you or you wanting more from others. Or maybe you want more for yourself, or out of yourself. More love, more things, more time, more happiness – perhaps?
You then sober up from your emotions for a second, just enough to remind yourself that happiness can’t possibly come from more things but through life itself; it is you who determines what is happiness, what is necessary, what is superfluous. Less is more. Or so it says on some random Facebook article posted by godknows-who; sending you off, down the Wikipedia rabbit hole about minimalism. You follow up with a ferociously growing reading list of self-help books about the wonders of de-cluttering your life. The next day, you buy a package of heavy-duty garbage bags to start attacking your clutter, on a Sunday at 8am. Who does that? You. The obvious ones go first: food wrappers you’ve never noticed till today, expired coupons, empty bottles of cosmetics, and documents that serve no purpose anymore. Slowly, you notice the room transform to reflect someone you recognise and feel kindred with – a better version of you. You pick up the pace, throwing more away until you’re stumped with an object of affection. One that holds no functional significance anymore. One that evokes a little hurt and fondness from a precious memory – and you struggle to decide between keeping or throwing it. If you really were to delve into the reasons why you can’t let something go, you’ll find only two: an attachment to the past or fear for the future. After all, the place you live in should be for the person you are now, not for the person you were in the past, right? At its core, minimalism is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality; holding on to the things we most value and removing everything that distracts us from them. And you know that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in your hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” – even if it’s a bittersweet memory. By the afternoon, you have garbage bags, donation bags, and even pieces of furniture sorted and lined up by the entrance ready to leave the house for good. You’re exhausted, but in a good way. You feel lighter, uplifted; economic in your thoughts, and words. For good measure, you scan the room one last time, reach for the turntable to indulge in some Beck. Your universe could not look anymore limitless as the chorus of “Waking Light” embraces you, compelling you to sing out: “ When the memory leaves you Somewhere you can’t make it home When the morning comes to meet you Rest your eyes in waking light”.
(Young Turks Recordings) When it’s soothing, it’s as comforting as a cup of mocha. And when it’s moving, it’s like hearing a man pouring out his life to you, and for you. It may not be exactly right or complimentary to call him the next-gen Seal, but Sampha Sisay’s voice does have the same affecting quality – but less emo, more meditative, lighter in colour, and more nimble in delivery. The London singer-songwriter puts himself out there, and rewards with a textured masterpiece of neo-soul, r&b and pop. “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano” is his ballad to his piano and how he found himself through it, and “Blood On Me” takes a jaunt into darker territory through refreshed triphop. Yes, he may have sung with the stars (Solange Knowles, Drake and Frank Ocean), but here, the gravitational (and emotional) pull he exerts on us is 100 per cent his own.
ASHES/AXIS Cuddle Magic
(Northern Spy) Every now and then, we like to toss up some small, odd release at our wall of trophy-worthy albums to see if they stick through time immemorial. This time, it’s the latest album by chamber pop sextet, Cuddle Magic. It’s way more pop than past efforts (maybe ‘cos their members have worked with Beyoncé, Joan as Policewoman and Amanda Palmer, giving them breadth in their work), which makes this quite easy to get and also get into – being less acoustic and more padded with electronic tweaks. “Slow Rider” and “Spinning” catch the ear with tickety-thumpety drumbeats, while the group goes on a more experimental bent with the two-part “The First Hippie On The Moon” (the slower first ends in shambles, the second starts folksy but ends as upbeat pop).
PICKS OF THE MONTH GODFATHER Wiley
(self-released) Grime’s back – bigger, better and more recognised than ever. Yup, we have Skepta’s Konnichiwa to thank for that. But let us not forget the source: Wiley. And he’s called his 11th album Godfather for all the right reasons: he’s the man who invented London’s skeletal beats-rap genre, and the man who’s now thrown down one of his best in a two-decade career. It’s grime back in the day, scrubbed for a chart-polishing finish.
NOTHING FEELS NATURAL
(Concord Music Group, Inc.) First track: dated. Second track: eh, something from a C-grade action show? Third track: who cares? Haters may hate, but seriously, Davey Havok and his pals’ comeback (and 10th album) is punk rock that’s aimed for the masses. Although real punk fans and discerning music lovers will just think this a bloodless affair.
(Sister Polygon Records) Stand up, speak up, fight – D.C’s four-piece gets into the battle against bad men, capitalism and, well, anything that riles up Katie Alice Greer (singer), Daniele Daniele (drummer), Taylor Mulitz (bassist), and G.L. Jaguar (guitarist). It’s a top-class full-length debut of political post-punk served with tints of disco (“Suck”), free-form jazz (“Appropriate”), and indie rock (the title track).
(Kemado Records Inc.) It’s the second in the series of collaborative EPs from the annual Marfa Myths festival, in association with non-profit organisation Ballroom Marfa and the Mexican Summer record label. This time, it’s Ariel Pink and Weyes Blood (mainly Natalie Mering). Four tracks of operatic-psychedelic folk nuggets that are odd but also pleasant (unexpectedly low-key coming from Pink).
TOURIST IN THIS TOWN
LAND OF LOOK BEHIND
Ariel Pink/Weyes Blood
Text Sanvean Wang Images Various Sources
THE BLOOD ALBUM
(Quality Control Music) You know the top names in trap: Desiigner, Gucci Mane, Fetty Wap, and so on. But if these biggies are giving you the yawns, head for Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset. Who? The Migos – know them ‘cos their track with Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad And Boujee” just pushed them into the mainstream big time (BTW, they’re partly responsible for the dab move too). It’s their triumphant sophomore (re)introducing Southern rap to the world.
(Merge Records) This is Allison Crutchfield’s breakup album, “feminist kiss-off” (as she calls it), and also debut, marking the end of her band Swearin’ and relationship with bandmate Kyle Gilbride. But instead of the punk rock that she’s known for, she throws her feelings (heartache and anger) into synth inflected pop-rock. The best to play on an all girls stay-in: “Broad Daylight”, “Dean’s Room”, and “Mile Away”.
(Palace of Lights) This reissued soundtrack to Alan Greenberg’s 1982 documentary about Rastafarian culture (and Bob Marley’s funeral), Land Of Look Behind, does deserve to be remastered and (re)heard. It connects the dots between reggae and ambient electronic music – fascinating for including chatter, floating synths and nyabinghi drumming all in the same scope of a song.
(Jagjaguwar) When “Follow The Leader” opens the latest album by Johnathan Rado and Sam France, it kind of feels like you’ve heard this somewhere before... in the ’70s. Then, it’s followed by “Avalon”, a Broadway sing-along tune (that sounds like it was written by ABBA), and soon, you might think the Cali indie rock duo’s just wanting to try out everything and anything with a 40-piece orchestra in tow.
PURE, BEYOND REPROACH
LIFE WITHOUT SOUND
NEAR TO THE WILD HEART OF LIFE
(Halocline Trance) If you love the sound of metal (clanging, banging and being turned inside out), electronic beats being reverbed, twisted and delayed, and water flowing and trickling (for erm, juxtaposition we suppose), then Egyptrixx’s (AKA David Psutka) latest is your soundtrack of choice. It’s lots of clatter to hang on to, yet it’s hard to (save for “Plastic Pebble [beat]”); best to let it all drift on by.
(Wichita) Organised chaos – Cloud Nothings never sounded quite so close to a balanced ideal between this and say, matured punk rock (yes, we don’t know what that is either). The Cleveland quartet (formerly trio) still keeps the volume up, but there’s a clearer songcraft (we even hear Weezer in parts). Picks of the bright, bouncy and noisy lot: “Enter Entirely” and “Up To The Surface”.
(Japandroids Recording Inc.) If you are into lighters-in-the-air, brohugs, and all manners of ’80s cheeserock moments, you’re probably a fan of Japandroids. Brian King (he hollers!) and David Prowse (he bangs the drums!) make what can be best passed off as “classic” rock & roll (read: rock for stadiums). It’s more polished now, which means they lack the interesting bits from their past – not good when cheese’s better less processed.
(WEA International) While the music she makes is firmly steeped in the r&b tradition, it’s in the ’90s that she takes inspiration from. It’s TLC and Aaliyah that we are reminded of, and Kelela and Tinashe whom we associate her with. “Distraction” and “CRZY” are the ones to get people noticing (more for her music than her past disastrous love life – we won’t re-tell it here).
ONE DANCE WITH COONE
KYO’S FOURTH ANNIVERSARY FEAT. OCTAVE ONE
FRIDAY MARCH 3 AT ZOUK As Coone, Belgian stalwart Koen Bauweraerts has been making a kinetically powered racket for over a decade and is now an icon in the unsubtly christened art of hardstyle. To experience his music is to be simultaneously battered and buoyed by it. No helmets, elbow- or kneepads – this night, we go hardstyle. zoukclub.com
SATURDAY MARCH 18 AT KYO It’s been four glorious years of consistently next-level dance music emanating from the basement, and this is the night where we take stock – and celebrate – in cutting-edge splendour. Soundtracking the proceedings will be a live set by Detroit techno band of brothers, Octave One. Cue “Rock My World” to pre-game. clubkyo.com
LA FEMME: LIVE IN SINGAPORE
TUESDAY MARCH 7 AT *SCAPE Dirty, psych-drenched, freeze-dried rock & roll is the name of the game for La Femme. Inspired by The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls and Kraftwerk, the French sensation promises a night filled with both grime and glam. Before that, local outfit Tomgirl will get things going. ticketbox.sg
TRANSFIX PRESENTS ROGER SHAH & EMMA HEWITT
SATURDAY MARCH 25 AT ZOUK Roger Shah wields a 20-year career in the game – the flourishing of Balearic trance is due in large part to his chart-blasting rise. And with over 500 tracks to his name, you can count on this night being an education. With silk-voiced singer-songwriter Emma Hewitt on board too, get ready to be beamed skywards. zoukclub.com
THE FIN. – LIVE IN SINGAPORE
THE TEMPER TRAP – LIVE IN SINGAPORE
FRIDAY MARCH 10 AT THE COLISEUM If “Sweet Disposition” is perpetually ringing in your ears, this is your night. Laneway alumni and tour buds with The Rolling Stones and Coldplay, The Temper Trap has proven to be one of Australia’s most successful musical exports. This will be a sweeping, majestic show – and the feels are yours for the basking in. sistic.com.sg
SING JAZZ 2017
TIM DE COTTA: THE WARRIOR ALBUM LAUNCH
SATURDAY MARCH 11 AT STUDIO POINT When prolificacy intersects with virtuosity, genius is undeniable. And it’s clear by now that Tim De Cotta is a genius. His new album The Warrior is a veritable tour de force of soulful, jazz-minded grooves with lingering power. Head over and celebrate one of Singapore music’s most inspiring figures. thewarrior.indiegogo.com
FRIDAY MARCH 31 – SUNDAY APRIL 2 AT MARINA BAY SANDS Get up and move – the annual jazzcelebrating extravaganza returns for another outing with an even bigger lineup of MVPs. This year, you have sets by Esperanza Spalding, Dave Foster and Friends, Corrine Bailey Rae, Basement Jaxx, and Giles Peterson – to name just some of the enlisted acts to look forward to. sing-jazz.com
RADIKAL FORZE JAM AFTER PARTY FEAT. CRAZY LEGS
REWIND FEAT. MOODYMANC
WEDNESDAY MARCH 15 AT CANVAS You like hip-hop, you say. Ever heard of the Rock Steady Crew? It’s a decades-old pioneering B-boy and hip-hop collective comprising some of the most esteemed names in all of hip-hop. And this night, its president and most popular member will be taking you to school with his moves and sounds. Get rowdy. canvasvenue.sg
FRIDAY MAYCH 31 AT KYO House, glorious house – with a scrumptious dollop of jazz – will be unspooling in abundance this night, as one of its finest makers blesses Kyo. With 25 years of synapse-firing experience under his belt, Danny Ward is a guarantee that this night will be extra physical. clubkyo.com
Text Indran P Images Various Sources
THURSDAY MARCH 30 AT MILLIAN Retro-gazing nostalgia will never die. There will never be a dearth of bands making music that throws back to a halcyon time and place that is more a state of mind than a concrete reality. This Japanese quartet does this particularly well and locking arms with them will be Singapore’s own dream poppers, Subsonic Eye. thefin.peatix.com
Text Sam Chua Images Various Sources
style soldiers Reformed tunics cinched in at the waist; short-sleeved boxy shirts; airy pleated trousers and straight-cut bermudas. Topped with strapped leather sandals, CADETâ€™s SS17 collection could easily pass off as sleek summer wear, best enjoyed with a side of the Mediterranean. A departure from its signature military ethos, the brand puts breathability, mobility and durability at the forefront, while taking cues from modern-day Rome. The palette features muted purples and indigos that bleed into slate greys and charcoal blacks, while a key highlight is in the subtle way a top is constructed with front and back pieces, spliced with silver zips and metal rings â€“ regal with a steely modern touch.
RIPPED JERSEY HOODED JACKET (WORN UNDERNEATH), DENIM JEANS, DENIM JACKET TOPMAN SNEAKERS NEW BALANCE
WE KEEP PACE WITH CITY SLICKERS, BENEDICT TEO AND LYDIA YANG, AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEIR 24/7 LIFESTYLE.
BENEDICT TEO zouk resident dj @zushan_benny
Tell us more about your 24/7 lifestyle. I try to stay active and make the most out of every hour and every day of the week. That includes getting enough rest for the body and soul, of course. Besides being a DJ and bookings executive at Zouk, I produce music under the moniker “O$P$”, practise Brazilian jiu jitsu at Fight G, HIIT at Ritual, and yoga at Grit. How does New Balance complement your active schedule? New Balance has always placed emphasis on performance and comfort. Its wide range of styles and colourways combine both function and form, making the shoes a must for the everyday. How has the 247 collection enhanced your daily routine? They take me everywhere – from out of the home, to the gym, and back into the city as I work through my day. All the while staying light as I bounce about the CBD – be it on coffee runs or mid-day meetings.
HOODED TOP H&M DRAPED PANTS IN GOOD COMPANY WEAVED JACKET H&M SNEAKERS, CAP NEW BALANCE
What keeps you busy? I’ve been working on a couple of personal projects, releasing and designing T-shirts and graphics, honing and developing a separate and mature form of work aside from my regular illustration style. One of the projects I’m looking to build is a brand called “Die Hard Lover”, a parody on DHL for short.
SPORTS BRA NEW BALANCE DENIM JEANS H&M SATIN JACKET, CHOKER TOPSHOP SNEAKERS NEW BALANCE
PHOTOGRAPHY JAYDEN TAN CREATIVE DIRECTION JAZMIN KELLY SIX STYLING JOSIAH CHUA STYLING ASSISTANT NURASYIQIN SEDIK MAKEUP GIGI SNG USING URBAN DECAY HAIR ERNEST ONG / SCISSORS ART
What does living a 24/7 lifestyle mean to you? It is a balance of grind, leisure and experience. I love my work and am driven by it, but I also set aside time to kick back, and stay inspired. What do you love about New Balance and its 247 collection? I respect the brand’s long-running heritage in the sneaker space and what I love most about the 247 range is that it is a comfortable, go-to option for everyday wear.
LYDIA YANG illustrator
NEW BALANCE 247 CLASSIC Classic yet fresh with the subtlest pop of colour, the New Balance 247 Classic is a tasteful way to stride forward this coming season. Its versatile colourways – black, white, grey, and navy – is a suitable fit for both genders. Complemented with a REVlite mid-sole, you can expect a sense of lightness that offers cushion and support; ease of fit in the neoprene sock; and breathability, courtesy of its engineered synthetic mesh upper. Providing the ideal padding and bounce to your step, the 247 Classic will carry you through hectic urban living in comfort and style, no matter the occasion.
$119, available at New Balance Experience Stores and select retailers. newbalance.com.sg
CROPPED SWEATER, CREPE PANTS, PU JACKET, CHOKER TOPSHOP SNEAKERS NEW BALANCE
The Dutch accessory label operate on the premise that jewellery is meant to be worn to impress, scout and score. Reflecting on its name, the Spring/Summer 2017 collection, PLAY, exudes a lively, refined cadence found in the most minute of details. Various pieces from the collection hang as empty shelves for more honours to be stacked on; halved pill-shaped ovals looped together in circuits of balance. Dainty chains that hang pendants and ear pieces that freely emphasise the elegance that’s hard to miss. These pieces are classic standalones, but also perfect bases to build upon, without fear of too much falling out of balance. Standing by fair-trade materials and local traditional craftsmanship, a guarantee of quality pieces is just the beginning with Boyscouts. theboyscouts.com
THE ATELIER YUL
Simplicity and expandability is essential to the brand. Handmade in Montreal, its timeless pieces are crafted from 100 per cent genuine, responsibly sourced leather, pebbled for the subtlest of textures. Folds, loops and tucks, secured by elastic closures, make up the basic structure of the collection’s limited eight designs – all in standard black. From tablet-sized carriers to 22inch-wide portfolios, these ‘creative’ carriers’ feature minimal form-constricting stitching and open ends, and can be opened up to maximum functionality. As a philosophy, founder Cece de la Montagne’s struggles with transporting large scale architectural drawings tells us that it’s never about cramming or cutting down our ideas to fit into existing models, but to pioneer tools to support our creative visions. theatelieryul.com
clean cuts CHARLIE MAY
Charlie May’s minimalism is directional, focusing on building the silhouette, and being conscious of fabrication, and sensitive to colour. Structured panelling and squared shoulders create an androgynous figure in her women’s line, featuring charcoal greys, monochromes and the occasional rich hue of dark green and indigo dyed denim. With alpaca and merino knit being a feature in her recent collection, functionality is not skimped on for style and comfort. Committing to the idea of responsibly sourcing and supporting her fabrication processes, May focuses more on the provenance of materials than how a piece is made. She also injects an awareness of the detrimental impacts of fast fashion with a sensitivity that views minimalism as a philosophy of change in wider systems, one garment at a time. charlie-may.co.uk
CURTIS LI STUDIO
Bearing the iciness of a postapocalyptic world, Curtis Li’s eponymous label plays on the grey area of politics and fashion this season. Balancing the tonal variations that divide the fabric into geometric panels, Li reflects upon various bodies of power that control the modern-day political system. Pieces from the collection reflect the avant-garde, experimental bits of armour combined to personify residual tension lying underfoot. Very little ‘humanity’ is left in these characters who now embody a system, one always on the move, as seen in athleisure styled perforated jackets, water-resistant tunics and ergonomically constructed pants. Using less to say more lies at the heart of the brand’s silent ‘protest’. curtislistudio.com fashion
Capacious Italian leather bags in slouchy collapsible cuts and pleated totes lie amongst geometric clutches and suede shoulder bags in neutral light brown, pink, beige and black. Founded in 2013, the label has lived and breathed the climate, context and emotions rooted deep in Slavic culture. In a barren, rocky landscape clouded over with the occasional fog resonates a spirit cold and isolated, yet independent. The minimal aesthetic lends to the crafting of this character and vision of a stoic solitary figure carrying only necessities with minimal ornaments, freed from being possessed by their possessions. Polish designer Anna Szydłowska’s designs are manufactured entirely in central Poland, paying homage to the local artisans and traditional leather workers’ craftsmanship. slavavarsovia.com
For founder and designer, Kim Ji Hyun, a draped garment has always been a blank canvas – quite literally, too, in her award-winning collection that features transfers of Impressionist portraits of women. Continually evolving in her practice, pieces in her upcoming collection take on a minimal, all-black aesthetic, drawing attention to formal and textural details. Black slims the figure – carving a gaping dark space in our peripheral – yet its initial harshness is drowned out in a plumage of full skirts and the soft cascade of velvet. This feminine touch does not go unnoticed as a successful manipulation of minimalism as a language, downplaying the colour from her previous collections to empower the female in an understated but bold way. smmnyc.com
MINIMALISM, ON THE SURFACE, IS RIDDLED IN MONOCHROMES, SLEEK SILHOUETTES AND SUBTLE TEXTURES. BUT AT ITS HEART LIES FUNCTIONALITY, VERSATILITY AND SIMPLICITY. IT’S A WAY OF LIVING LIFE BY NECESSITY, IMBUING EVERY ACT WITH PURPOSEFUL MEANING; LIKE THESE EIGHT DESIGNERS.
Text Sam Chua Images Various Sources
THEY NEW YORK
Thought defines the minimalism applied in Swedish design duo Aidin Sanati and Moa Wikman’s menswear label, UBI Sunt. From its brand philosophy to its distinctively striking silhouettes in the recent collection, the duo expresses a lingering desire to capture fleeting moments of life’s fragile beauty. Light grey pullovers and prim white shirts are punctuated with navy jackets – making for garments that exist beyond the collection and brand, and into your lives – fusing seamlessly with casual blue jeans or pressed slacks for any occasion. Favouring beauty in consistent quality and practicality of their garments – and, in turn, building lasting rapport between wearer and wear – the pieces are made as wardrobe fixtures to remind us not to get caught up in the whirl of consumerism. ubisunt.se
Thirty years in the Japanese footwear industry and a trio of Manhattan-based designers has emerged in a celebration of sophistication in a functional meets high-quality handcrafted sneaker label. Putting comfort at the forefront, each shoe is graciously padded at the ankles and fitted with arch support insoles. THEY lifestyle footwear completes your journey as a minimalist, where every shoe is a laborious thought process that, when stripped down to the most basic of gestures, aims for connectivity. A blank slate to grace geometrics and graphics of Bauhaus and Japanese origin, every stitch and patch is part of a delicate network of visual language. Through their construction, measured control and fluidity is evident as two parts of a whole – the leather upper and rubber sole, hand-aligned to complete the shape on the shoe’s lateral face. theynewyork.com fashion
Taking durability into consideration, the Leather Oxford and Chukka models in the series boast abrasion-resistant uppers crafted from premium leather, while being climate-adaptable – cooling the shoe from
inside out through its 100 per cent recycled PET lining. While the Leather Oxford comes in two basic colourways of light grey and classic Timberland yellow to complement its simple low-cut, steelier tones splay the Chukka range for a smart casual finish to a trek in style. The Oxford combines the best of both worlds with its low-cut trainer twist on a cross-tie oxford. Dressed in black and navy bases, the Oxford’s cotton canvas upper provides lightweight cover and airy comfort for dayto-day wear. On the other hand, the Hiker Oxford and Half Cab silhouettes are low-cut variations of the Killington 6-Inch Boots. With premium nubuck and full-grain leather uppers, expect long-lasting comfort committed to taking you places. Environmentally attuned, the series also uses 50 to 100 per cent recycled PET in its mesh lining and laces for breathability and ease of wear. Regardless of the adventure, the six featured silhouettes, which come in fittingly pairable neutrals, will have you comfortably covered.
From $189 to $269, available at Timberland stores, including #01-30 Raffles City. shop.timberland.com.sg fashion
Text Sam Chua Images Timberland
Arguably, one of the appeals of travel is packing light – no one wants to be held down. With that in mind, we’re ditching the footweights this summer for a pair of Timberland Killington sneakerboots. A new range from the utilitarian footwear brand, the Killington premieres with a Sensorflex sole. Found in three layers of snug underfoot support, it extends the shoes’ flexibility and longevity. Add in a deodorising OrthoLite footbed and the Killington is well in the lead as a contending addition to every urban wardrobe.
Text Odette Yiu Images Superga
SUPERGA CLASSIC 2750 SPRING/SUMMER 17
SUPER F LY KICKS
Sandwich bars: quick stops to grab lunch to go or to have a simple dinner with friends. Go back to the early ’80s and you’ll realise that it was in these joints that an entire subculture started to take form. The Paninaro movement – named after the panini, which is “sandwich” in Italian – in Italy latched onto the quintessential, preppy Americana look and gave it a robust homegrown flavour. It’s no wonder, then, that Italian shoe brand Superga, pioneered by Walter Martiny decades before, found itself flourishing in alignment with the scene, along with other fashion staples like rolled-up jeans and Ray-Bans. The company’s laidback-yet-chic tenor was appreciated then, and remains a global standard today. In celebration of originality and subtle reinvention, the Superga 2750 collection doesn’t do away with the details that have made it venerable, but builds on these elements with a nod to colours and finesse alla moda. It keeps the vulcanised gum sole and embossed eyelets that make up the brand’s signature look. Each shoe also sports a Superga tab on the side and heel, as proud inscriptions of identity and belonging. Embodying the spirit of nonchalance without skimping on quality is the Superga 2750 Pastel Pack. Boasting a full pastel make, it is offered in five muted colourways such as mint, ecru, violet, azzurro, and dark grey iron. The entire shoe, from the canvas upper to the sole, is laced in a solo paint job of subdued but vividly beautiful pastel – an irony and a final statement attesting to an implicit promise of casual, suave style. Next, the Superga 2750 Gum is timeless and versatile, with pure cotton uppers available in white, navy and military green. The palette offers options for both smart and casual affairs, and contrasts cleanly with the iconic gum soles, engineered for longevity. The overall look is neat and deliberate, underscoring the brand’s dedication to stylish maturity. Lastly, honouring the virtue of unpretentious grace, the collection’s second iteration – candidly christened the Superga 2750 Leather – features upgrades that include a full-grain leather upper. True classics, these leather kicks come in black and white, in keeping with the minimalist promise of less being more, and of value being found in comfort and design.
$69.90, $89.90 and $169.90 respectively, available at Superga stores and online at superga.com.sg
ON DIEGO COTTON DRAPE VEST AND PANTS RECKLESS ERICKA LEATHER SHOES MONCLER LEATHER CUFF WITH ROUND RING RILEY AT EXCLUNIQUEEEE.COM LEATHER CUFFS JEE & ED AT EXCLUNIQUEEEE.COM ON TEREZA RAYON & SPANDEX BLEND HYBRID TOP, COTTON & RAYON BLEND RUFFLED SKIRT MAX.TAN SUEDE SNEAKERS MONCLER SILVER PLATED EARRINGS AND CHOKER ANDY ACCESSORY AT EXCLUNIQUEEEE.COM
STARK CONTRAST JAZZ UP MONOTONE ENSEMBLES WITH A MIX OF TEXTURES, CUTS AND LAYERS.
PHOTOGRAPHY JAYDEN TAN CREATIVE DIRECTION JAZMIN KELLY SIX STYLING VERNA TAN STYLING ASSISTANTS NATTIC & SAM CHUA MAKEUP MANISA TAN / PALETTEINC USING URBAN DECAY HAIR SEAN ANG / FAC3INC USING LA BIOSTHETIQUE MODELS DIEGO H / UPFRONT & TEREZA S / AVE
COTTON JERSEY TANK TOP Y-3 COTTON & TENCEL BLEND CARGO PANTS, COTTON BOMBER JACKET AMOS ANANDA TECHNICAL WEBBING SANDALS COS NECKLACE & VISOR STYLISTâ€™S OWN
COTTON & POLYESTER BLEND TOP MONCLER COTTON JERSEY DRAPE PANTS BYSM COTTON & TENCEL BLEND MAO JACKET AMOS ANANDA CANVAS SNEAKERS CONVERSE SILVER PLATED EARRINGS ANDY ACCESSORY AT EXCLUNIQUEEEE.COM
COTTON FRENCH TERRY T-SHIRT Y-3 LIGHTWEIGHT FRENCH TERRY SWEAT PANTS Y-3 CANVAS SNEAKERS CONVERSE VISOR STYLISTâ€™S OWN SILVER PLATED CHOKER ANDY ACCESSORY AT EXCLUNIQUEEEE.COM
VISIT YOUTUBE.COM/JUICESG FOR A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THIS SHOOT.
COTTON JERSEY TANK TOP (WORN UNDERNEATH) Y-3 WOOL & POLYESTER BLEND SHORTS DEPRESSION POLYESTER LEGGINGS (WORN UNDERNEATH) DEPRESSION COTTON FRENCH TERRY HOODED JACKET Y-3 CANVAS SNEAKERS CONVERSE
organic cotton shirt, $59.90, zara
SWATHED IN FEMININE FLOUNCES, SHEER FABRICS AND DRAPY SILHOUETTES IS A PLAYFUL AND SEDUCTIVE CHARM; SUCH IS THE POTENTIAL OF A WELL-PLACED RUFFLE. WITH A GIRLY NUMBER LIKE THIS TOP FROM ZARA, KEEP THE LOOK BALANCED BY FINISHING WITH SLEEK, METAL PIECES.
denim blouse, poa, topshop
silk-twill blouse, poa, temperley london at net-a-porter.com
acetate-silk blend top, $781.19, cĂŠdric charlier at net-a-porter.com metal choker, $122.10, aqaq x mawi at asos.com
cotton blouse, $83.90, miss selfridge at zalora.sg polyester top, $59.90, zara brass bracelet with pearls, $599.04, maison margiela at ssense.com
Text Sam Chua Coordination Jazmin Kelly Six & Sam Chua Images Various Sources
cotton dress, poa, topshop
metal earrings, $584.94, sophie buhai at ssense.com patent clutch bag, poa, jimmy choo
metal earrings, poa, alexander wang denim mini skirt, $45.90, zara
suede ankle boots, $1402.65, j.w. anderson at net-a-porter.com
denim midi skirt, $634.37, j.w. anderson at net-a-porter.com
LET THE SUN SHINE
cotton work shirt, us$125, stussy x need supply at needsupply.com
USHER IN A VIBRANT NOTE TO WARM UP THE SPRING SEASON AND UPLIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH SOMETHING LIGHTER AND EDGILY BOLD. BE IT RAGGED STREETSTYLE OR COUNTRY CLUB CHIC, YOU CAN GET A HEADSTART WITH THIS SUNNY NUMBER FROM STUSSY, PAIRED WITH COMPLEMENTARY BROWN LEATHER ACCESSORIES.
feng chen wang
merino knit sweater, us$215, norse projects at norseprojects.com nubuck leather backpack, us$895, want les essentiels at wantlesessentiels.com
nylon windbreaker, poa, acne studios
leather bracelet, $12.90, h&m
supima cotton t-shirt, $14.90, uniqlo
Text Sam Chua Coordination Jazmin Kelly Six & Sam Chua Images Various Sources
cotton-poplin shirt, poa, maison margiela
corduroy pants, poa, gosha rubchinskiy at shop.doverstreetmarket.com/sg
satin leather pouch, poa, jimmy choo
faux suede cap, $17.90, h&m
cotton shorts, $139, topman
leather chelsea boots, poa, common projects
cotton twill chino shorts, $145.25, polo ralph lauren at mrporter.com
super andy warhol the iconic series in matte black, â‚¬169, retrosuperfuture.com
cotton jersey top, poa, acne studios
leather jacket with suede panelling, poa, acne studios
ultra slim watch, $907.99, movado at nordstorm.com leather tote bag, $831.92, solid homme at mrporter.com
sterling silver cuff, $704.84, le gramme at mrporter.com
cotton top, $79.49, whistles.com
FOR ALL THE EXHUBERANCE IN HIS WORK AND LIFE, ANDY WARHOL WAS A SIMPLE DRESSER. COP HIS MINIMAL AESTHETIC WITH A BRETON TOP, LEATHER JACKET AND SLEEK ACCESSORIES.
wool-blend trousers, poa, cos
stan zip sneakers, poa, y-3
mixed metal necklace, $23.90, topman
Text Sam Chua Coordination Jazmin Kelly Six & Sam Chua Images Various Sources
Nailing It I go to 8Twenty8 Nails on Tras Street for my manicures. They nail every curve ball I throw them – like the “Gucci Garden” theme, replete with a serpent snaking across four fingers, vines, bees, flowers, and stars.
Hear Them Out Most underrated duo has to be Ibeyi. Listen to their track “River”, and you’ll understand why.
Mona Lip-sa I adore the Audacious Lipstick in Mona by NARS. It’s a deep rust colour that complements my skin tone perfectly. It’s also moisturising and pigmented enough to last the whole day.
Text Aaron Kok Images Various Sources
Dare To Bare I once wore this evening dress from DKNY – with a crazy deep neckline that left little to the imagination and many mouths gaping – and safe to say, that’s the most risque number I’ve donned.
Must-have Tech I cannot live without my iPhone. I use it to schedule and track my appointments and stay up to speed with everything that’s happening. Also, I need it to FaceTime with my daughter when I work late, and with my brother who lives in New York.
She’s With Her Michelle Obama is a study in grace and poise. She’s a wonderfully supportive wife and mother, and a strong, independent woman who knows how to have fun.
MOTHER; CO-FOUNDER OF BRANDING AGENCY ELEMENTARY CO.; AND NOW, DESIGNER – THERE SEEMS TO BE NOTHING CHARMAINE SEAH-ONG CAN’T DO. JUST OFF HER RECENT PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL TAILORING WHIZ, INVENTORY CO., FOR ITS INAUGURAL WHITE SHIRT PROJECT, WE GET SOME ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH THE MULTI-HYPHENATE AND UNCOVER SOME OF HER FAVOURITE THINGS.
In Pursuit Of Art I love Shinro Ohtake’s work, which I recently discovered at his Paper Sight exhibition at Singapore Tyler Print Institute. His larger-than-life, mixed-media pieces – and the fact that he was inspired by the Fukushima meltdown – made it all the more riveting.
Band Together It changes depending on my mood, but the band I never tire of watching live would be Muse. I’ve seen ’em four times!
itselementary.co Go Local I really like In Good Company’s work – impeccable tailoring and elegant classics. Doesn’t hurt that they make mini-me versions so I can twin with my daughter too.
Chocolate Love I’m a fan of Mast Brothers’ Sea Salt Collection with Calico Wallpaper, purely for aesthetic purposes. The packaging design combines watercolour painting with a salt technique that’s gorgeous, and I’m a sucker for anything that’s sea-salt flavoured too.
into the blue
Two new denim drops to take you thorough the season.
TOPSHOP Starting the season with a wide range of blues to fit every shape, the brand proves
there’s a match for all by pairing jeans with various personalities. Make a sexy throwback statement with a pair of super high-waisted Joni skinnies; tone it down with ultra-low-rise Lucas boyfriend jeans; or be straightforward with the tapered and snug Mum jeans – a tribute to the ’90s.
From $79.90 to $99.90, available at Topshop.
LEVI’S Once an emblem of ’60s counterculture, the
Heat up your summer festival itinerary with the H&M Loves Coachella collection – bringing you one step closer to the California desert from halfway around the world. Plunge into the action with sheer black lace-trim slips and bodysuits, rustic hand-drawn tees, staple festival hoodies, and floral embroidered denims. Even guys can get in on the fun – with metallic anoraks, tie-dye sets and Ikat print shirts that can easily be layered over faded denim bottoms. From $14.90 to $69.90, available at H&M from March 30.
Orange Tab Collection returns with an upgrade to reconcile the vintage with the contemporary. For men, tops and knits are more loose-fitting, while denim styles like the 510 Skinny and 505 C are more stretchable. Also reworked is the Work Shirt, and the Trucket jacket, featuring curved, welt pockets.
Available at Levi’s from April.
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME True to its theme, the Hana Tajima for Uniqlo Spring/Summer 2017 collection breathes life into the abstract. A contemporary intersection of cultural influences from both the West and East, this season’s drop harbours an appreciation for movement and structure, keeping fabric lightweight to flatter your form. Durable fabric is manipulated to explore silhouettes and threedimensional shapes, be it through more geometric dresses or softer, more fitting button-ups. From $9.90 to $59.90, available at Uniqlo and uniqlo.com/sg.
WHAT A BEAUTY Immortalising the all-time classic, Beauty And The Beast, and staying true to its proclamation of love, Brazilian footwear label Melissa has launched a series befitting every belle. The Melissa Ultragirl + Beauty And The Beast collection gracefully embellishes each flat with an intricate Enchanted Rose, representing the passage of time and blossoming feelings between two lovers. Available in five colourways, including black, beige, pink and Belle’s iconic yellow, the collection also features etchings of the protagonists in the insoles. $140, available at Melissa and mdreams.com.sg from March 14.
BEST FOOT FORWARD Harnessing the snug comfort of the Sensorflex system from Timberland’s bulkier boot silhouettes, the brand’s boat shoes now deliver a sole that stabilises, adapts and moulds your every step in a distinct preppy-meets-casual aesthetic. Keeping you on your toes for a more eventful summer to come, the men’s Tidelands Boat Shoe and Ranger Moc, and the women’s Lakeville Boat Shoe and Amherst Canvas Boat Oxford, come with an ease of mobility that corresponds to their easy-to-maintain nature, with natural-look leathers that age with wear. From $149 to 199, available at Timberland. fashion
LACE UP LADIES
Refusing to be directed by trends and instead piloting them, adidas Originals reaffirms its history of forthright athletic provision in the launch of its EQT Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The EQT Support ADV W sock-fit is assertive without being aggressive, starring an ice-purple sole boldly juxtaposing a heather black upper. The EQT Support ADV and the EQT Support Ultra incorporate the flashy turbo-red while promising functional support and comfort. These additions to the adidas Equipment series, amongst others, do away with florid detail, redirecting attention to optimal practicality – keeping things real to help you put your best foot forward. Available at adidas Originals.
We’ve seen Ortholite soles in most heavy duty, sport-lifestyle shoes and nothing has served an urban trekker better. Now packaged in a set of seven new designs, courtesy of the latest Keds x Kate Spade collaboration, expect unique blends of feminine florals, glitzy glamour and minimal nautica, on top of lasting cushioning and style. Be it casual weekend dates or late night partying, these stylish steppers will be comfy and chic companions. From $69 to $129, available at Royal Sporting House and The Social Foot.
BERLUTI X OLIVER PEOPLES Crafted from only the highest quality materials, the collection’s distinct vintage aesthetic and craftsmanship is testament to the brands’ shared love for heritage, authenticity and obsession with detail. The four masculine styles – Rue Marbeuf, Rue de Sèvres, Conduit Street and limited edition Sheldrake leather – sport both metal and patterned acetate frames, with colours matched to five of Berluti’s emblematic Venezia leather patinas. Plus, the use of subtly contrasting materials also brings out details in a distinctively sharper style, streamlined for sophistication.
From $520 to $675, available at Berluti and authorised eyewear retailers.
Text Odette Yiu & Sam Chua Images Various Sources
Fred Perry’s Spring 2017 Authentic collection gives new meaning to re-awakening as it hauls classic pieces out of its archives and revivifies them. Present is the classic cotton pique Fred Perry shirt, adorned with the two-button placket and essential laurel wreath. With an up-to-date colour palette and textures chronicling a trendy smart-casual look, the range also includes Oxford shirts and knits. The garments are vitalised with polka dots and stripes – a daringness and potency of spirit prevalent in the modern narrative, and likewise innate in the British clothing line’s sports parentage. Available at Fred Perry.
MAKE YOUR MARK Pull out the colour chart and arrow in on Black, Drizzle and Rose – star shades of the PUMA x Stampd Clyde shoes. The latest in the fourth collaboration between the brands, this season’s version incorporates rich perforated leather and cushy breathable uppers for a comfortable stride. To complete your urban wardrobe, the team-up also features a selection of hoodies, poly-elastic tees and more. $190, available at Puma and authorised retailers. fashion
A shoe to channel the everlasting buzz of a city, MITA’s contribution to New Balance’s 247 series, the Tokyo Rat, reflects upon the restlessness of urbanites cramming through cities every day. Capturing the spirit of living in a concrete jungle, strips of pale pink and salmon squeeze between panels of grey suede in varying tones and textures, in a sleek silhouette crafted with rugged details. Sporting a deodorising Ortholite insole, shockresistant technology and a breathable nylon mesh upper, it pulls its weight as more than just a pretty option to supplement the rigorous demands of the city. $189, available exclusively at Leftfoot Entrepot, #01-19/20 The Cathay.
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inside out The catwalk often presents a fantastical, otherworldly glamour that enthralls and awes, but this spring, the laidback, familiar style of loose tresses and soft, glowy skin is taking over. Like going back to basics – leaving tired embellishments and layers of product behind – models at JW Anderson, Isabel Marant, MSGM, and Stella McCartney are sporting untouched features and a fresh mien. Even the ’20s-style look with a gelled-down bob at Givenchy is pared-back – doing away with the bruised lids and coy pout of the iconic flapper girl. Indeed, the mode this season is an intimately human image in a parade of confidence and raw beauty.
ace your base
NATURAL BEAUTY HAS NEVER BEEN MORE RELEVANT THAN NOW – WITH MORE NAMES CHAMPIONING THE #LOVETHESKINYOUAREIN MOVEMENT AND INCREASED FOCUS ALL AROUND ON NO-MAKEUP-MAKEUP. YET, THE AIM IS NOT TO ELIMINATE THE USE OF COSMETICS COMPLETELY, BUT TO USE LESS TO SAY MORE. START WITH THESE 10 SKIN PERFECTORS FOR THAT FLAWLESS GLOW.
BECCA SOFT BLURRING POWDER
COLOR ME UNDERGLOW HYDRATOR
Challenging electronic photo filters is Becca with its version of a “wearable beauty filter”. As you dust on this feather-light, micro loose powder, it casts a veil to capture only the most flawless of finishes, blurring imperfections, eliminating shine and setting make up at one go. Ceramic microspheres infused into the powder also scatter reflected light gently, dousing the features in a soft glow. $58, available at Sephora.
Accompanying the brand’s renowned foundie applicator is this lightweight, hydrating skin tint. Available in four shades, it can be worn alone or as a priming base. Boasting a no-crease, watery formula, it acts as a mask to lock in moisture throughout the day. Besides imparting a flattering lit-fromwithin glow, its reflective molecules also give the illusion of smoother, plumper skin. POA, available at Sephora.
NUDESTIX SCULPTING PENCIL
LANCOME BLANC EXPERT CUSHION
A saviour of ‘flat’ faces on rushed mornings is the highly blendable formula, on-the-go ease of these pencils. Creamy with moisturising ingredients such as shea butter and vitamin E, this dual-ended, matte sculptor helps to define features and angles for a more 3-D look. It also provides lasting coverage as a colour corrector for reddish patches and undereye bags. $37, available at Sephora.
Veil your skin in rosy radiance as the formula brightens up the mien and dries down to a semi-matte finish. Antioxidant properties infused within shields skin against oxidative stress, and combats the effects of environmental pollution on sensitive skin types. Paired with a newly developed cushion delivery system, the petal light foundation now offers even greater coverage to give you flawlesslooking skin for longer. $75, available at Lancome.
COVER FX PERFECT SETTING POWDER
IT COSMETICS BYE BYE PORES PRIMER
ETUDE HOUSE ANY CUSHION COLOUR CORRECTOR
Formulated talc-free is a translucent powder, in two shades of light nude and warm bronze, that adds a sheer finish to skin without a trace. Thanks to its innovative amino acid-coated mica that adheres seamlessly to the skin, its smooth-to-touch texture does not cake, and absorbs oil without drying the mien out. Setting makeup for allday wear, it blurs and smooths, leaving skin looking deftly airbrushed. $52, available at Sephora.
Disguising the look of pores, fine lines and uneven skin tone, this formula can be worn under foundation, or alone as a gentle perfector to mask flaws. With a blend of Moroccan lava clay, colloidal clay, purifying charcoal, and papaya fruit extract, regular and consistent use can bring about improved texture and tone. Its weightless, velvety formula, remains exactly that on the skin with a matte finish. POA, available at Sephora.
By employing a Colour Turnover System, alongside whitening and anti-wrinkle properties – this quartet works to correct uneven tones for increased luminosity. Conceal dark spots with pink, red patches with mint, or sallow undertones with lavender. Lastly, Illuminate helps to define features and deliver a strobing glow. The brand also uses a slim layering technology, which means you can pile them on as required and stay comfortable at the same time. $32 each, available at Etude House.
Text Sam Chua Images Various Sources
YSL BEAUTÉ TOP SECRETS CC CREME
MAKE UP FOR EVER ULTRA HD SKIN & LIP BOOSTERS
TARTE FAKE AWAKE EYE HIGHLIGHT
Let’s say you feel like a cheat day – what better way to indulge in some light makeup than with these cream formulas? In three tailored shades of rose, apricot and lavender, the products impart a sun-kissed flush to perk up dull skin, ease off dark spots and blur away enlarged pores. These fun pastel-toned creams also have an added SPF 35 sun protection. $90 each, available at YSL Beauté.
The upgraded line of skin-loving formulas includes the skin and lip boosters, which contain hydra-plumping serums to enhance radiance and reverse the appearance of fatigue and dullness. Whether as a foundational layer to prep the skin or to tie together an effortless, healthy glow, set everything in place with the loose and pressed powders for a mattifying, luminous finish that blurs away imperfections. $39 to $61, available at Make Up For Ever.
Sometimes, all we really need from a fresh face is to pull our eyes back out from the dark pits of our eye bags. This convenient twist creamgel liner adds that pop of magic for wide-awake eyes. Available in a matte, light nude shade, it glides across the inner eye rims to dazzle your gaze in its wake – brightening up the waterline and inner corners. $31, available at Sephora.
divine oil, $32 (50ml), caudalie at sephora
candleglow sheer perfecting powder in 2, $68 (9g), laura mercier at sephora
instant light brush-on perfector, $45, clarins
blanc therapy cc cream anti-redness, $62, biotherm
l’extraordinaire lash & brow serum, $22.90, l’oreal at leading personal care stores ultra sheer dry-touch sunblock spf 50+ pa+++, poa (88ml), neutrogena at leading personal care stores
Text Sam Chua Coordination Jazmin Kelly Six Images Various Sources
hd photogenic concealer in beige, $10, nyx at sephora
olive lip balm stick, $9.90 (5ml), bottega verde
brow box in honey pot, $48, urban decay
KEY TO BEAUTY CAREFREE, MINIMAL AND WORLDLY. TAKE YOUR CUE FROM ALICIA KEYS AND REDEFINE BEAUTY FOR YOURSELF. THE NEW OF 2017 IS ABOUT SHINING A LIGHT ON CONFIDENCE, AND HERE ARE SOME ESSENTIALS TO HELP YOU ALONG.
The porefessional: pore minimising makeup in 03 natural, $53, benefit cosmetics
To usher in the new season, NARS turns the heat up with its Spring Colour Collection, which delivers vivid warmth with earthy tones, as well as punches of acid to make a statement. Lip shades in glossy and cream formulas veil puckers in shimmering sangria, red chestnut, burnt sienna and fiery neon coral. Duo Eyeshadows glide over lids in lilac and sea blue, while four intensely pigmented and creamy Velvet Shadow Sticks colour them in vibrant sky blue and mandarin orange. $38 to $52, available at NARS.
Inspired by some of M.A.C Cosmetics’ top lippies is the latest Shadescents collection, designed to thrill fans of signature pout paints like Candy Yum-Yum, Ruby Woo, Lady Danger, Heroine, Crème d’Nude, and Velvet Teddy. Each shade is personified with a distinct character profile, which is then translated into intoxicating fragrances. From nudes to deep purple come playful fruity notes, hints of warm vanilla and intensely rich woody-leather musks. $66, available end-March at #01-05/06 ION Orchard, #B1-13/13A Ngee Ann City, #01-21 313@Somerset and #01-17/18 Bugis Junction.
INKED BEAUTY Le Compact Encre De Peau, literally “Ink Skin Compact”, is the result of YSL Beauté’s newest breakthrough in the powder foundation field. The formula is satisfyingly matte yet dewy, with the long-lasting charm of a powder foundation. Long-wearing from day to night, its double-coated formula enhances its use as both a foundation and finisher. Its creamy consistency is blended into a light powder upon application, with the 3-D gel invisibly tightening and evening out skin’s surface for a flawless finish. $99, available in six shades at YSL Beauté.
go for glow
Start the season with a fresh face, courtesy of these brightening formulas.
PHILOSOPHY BRIGHTEN MY DAY
VICHY IDEALIA LUMIERE
LANCOME BLANC EXPERT
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$90 (30ml, essence) and $49 (40ml, shield),
$75 (30ml), available at leading personal
$88 (80ml, lotion) and $165 (30ml, spot remover),
available at Philosophy.
available at Lancome counters.
JO MALONE LONDON THE BLOOMSBURY SET
STAY ALL DAY Even as the degrees climb, you can set your makeup-melting woes aside with L’Oreal’s Infallible series, featuring the long-wearing Pro-Contour powder and Makeup Extender spray. The secret to Pro-Contour’s one stroke contour and highlight genius is its fish tail sculpting brush, which helps to spread out skin-fusing pigments in an effortlessly even blend. To top it off, finishing up has never been simpler with the oil-free Infallible Makeup Extender. Giving skin a fresh setting and keeping it that way, its all-day staying power will soon be your preferred first line of defense against tropical humidity. $23.90 (makeup extender) and $24.90 (pro-contour), available at leading personal care stores.
Inspired by the lifestyles and spaces that nurtured the divergent musings of Bloomsbury literati and virtuoso – notably Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and Clive Bell – is a fragrance line that envelops with a spirit of unconventionality. Think crisp dewy scents from pond-side garden lilies, earthy herbals of the wall garden, and a whiff of ancient leather tomes tinged with a slight of aromatic green fairy. As the evening sets, bask in the luxuries of leather, fresh smokes, and the astute artistry that defined these individuals. The complexity of characters intermingling are also fittingly aligned to the brand’s tradition of layering and personalising scents.
$110 (30ml), available at Jo Malone London for a limited time.
BODY DOUBLE In two signature scents – Spring Rose Blonde, with feminine florals; and Fresh Water Lily, with uplifting fruity blossoms – Estelle & Thild’s remedy for hot climes and dry temps is organic heaven to parched skin. Melting in upon application and restoring skin’s moisture levels with hydrating and firming ingredients – such as aloe and jojoba oil – the Body Lotion locks in every bit of moisture so skin feels comfortable and smooth. But before that, make sure you prep with the gentle, shea butter-infused Body Scrub, which helps to buff away dead skin cells for a smoother touch. $35 (body lotion) and $39 (body scrub), available at Sephora.
LIKE A ROSE
Transform sparse arches hassle-free with Maybelline’s latest drops. With a reliably long-wearing formula, these brow essentials keep that power arch peaked throughout the day. Sculpt, tame and colour wild brows with the Brow Pomade’s creamy wax-based formula, which evenly layers on a bold stroke in one swipe. Take it up a notch with the Fibre Volumiser Mascara for an even more intense look, precisely enhancing your pair with a gel formula. But if you lean on the side of minimal makeup, the Ultra Fluffy brow pencil will boost them lightly by shadowing bald spots in a gel-to-powder formula. $13.90 (pencil), $16.90 (pomade) and $17.90 (volumiser), available at leading personal care stores.
Text Sam Chua Images Various Sources
Fans of the Fresh Rose franchise will be thrilled to welcome this latest addition: the Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner. While delivering the same hydrating and softening benefits, how this formula differs lies in the inclusion of baby rose extract, which boasts not only an astringent effect, but also helps to refine the look of pores and stimulate collagen production. Suitable for all skin types, the alcohol-free blend – infused with real rose petals – works as a refreshing morning perk-me-up, as well as a calming, soothing evening treat to wind down the day. $69 (250ml), available at Fresh from April.
At last – a makeup mantra loaded with a confidence boost, in the spirit of individuality. Also the name of the Luxasia pop-up event, expect a wide range of cosmetic commodities, including beauty and fragrance products for your picking. On top of regular shopping, you can also #BuildYourOwnBox for your glam friends, customising even the packaging with stickers and stamps. Oh, and be sure to also #BringYourOwnBae (or BFF) so you both can indulge in spoils such as express manicures, eyebrow trimming services and quick facials. Happening now till end-May, at #01-505 Suntec City Tower 2.
When it comes to congested skin, you just need a solution to get in there and get to the root of the problem. Meet the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Melting Clay Mask. It provides a thorough pore-cleansing experience with its instant heating formula, warming up skin and cleaning out the pores upon application. This allows for the unique blend of minerals to absorb excess sebum and impurities from deep within. At the same time, it is also careful to not over-dry the mien so you can look forward to clear skin that’s hydrated. $21 (100ml), available at Innisfree.
Sweating it out during workouts is great for the body and psyche, but don’t forget to give grimey, after-gym skin some TLC. By targeting impurities like sebum, bacteria, sweat, dead skin cells, and dust, Garnier’s AcnoFight covers all grounds with its Anti-Acne Scrub In Foam and Anti-Bacteria Brightening Foam. Tag-teaming with the duo is the Acne Fighting Whitening Serum, which curbs breakouts while repairing and regenerating the skin, and lightening blemish scars. Enriched with natural ingredients like bilberry, lemon and peppermint extracts, it helps to heal imperfections while soothing agitated skin, and feels light and matte throughout the day. $9.50 (foam cleansers) and $15.90 (whitening serum), available at leading personal care stores.
KEEP STRESS IN CHECK KIEHL’S MIDNIGHT RECOVERY BOTANICAL CLEANSING OIL
Boy are we excited. The brand’s iconic and well-loved Midnight Recovery Oil is now available as a cleanser – ridding skin’s impurities by building on that same nourishing formula we so love. Infused with the signature Midnight Recovery blend of squalane, evening primrose and lavender essential oils, it cleans deeply without imparting an oily feel, and leaves the mug feeling hydrated and soft. $52 (175ml), available at Kiehl’s.
RISE AND SHINE Barely recognisable in the mirror every morning? A quick spritz and a stimulating eye mask from Peter Thomas Roth’s Cucumber De-Tox line and you’ll be #wokeuplikethis–worthy. Cucumber extract in both the Balancing Essence Water Mist and the Hydra-Gel Eye Patches make for refreshing, detoxifying and, most importantly, gentle pick-me-ups around the delicate eye area. Calm your mien and de-puff peepers with natural ingredients such as aloe, chamomile and hydrolysed collagen, and before you know it, signs of fatigue and late-night shenanigans will be long gone. $28 (100ml) and $48 (60 pads), available at Sephora.
Pale and ice cold smoothness is stereotypical of the famed Nordic charm and we now know why. Building a formula off of Icelandic volcanic sand, Arcona’s Magic Black Ice Mask possesses remarkable exfoliating and brightening properties to give you a lift in skin clarity. Harnessing the benefits of minerals from black lava, charcoal, and mandelic acid that purifies for younger-looking skin, it uproots congestion and helps reduce excess sebum for a clearer and smoother complexion. $94 (59ml), available at Sephora. made up
Text Sam Chua Images Various Sources
Hectic schedules can take a toll and we’re looking to This Works for much-needed relief. Its Stress Check series offers a face oil, mask and aromatherapy roller that you can work into your nightly regime to tune out and calm down. The range focuses on replenishing overnight water loss to correct stressed and worn-out skin, providing mental rejuvenation that reflects outwardly. In a blend of seed oils, natural actives, vitamins, and minerals, the products gently hydrate while strengthening the sensitive skin barrier to increase elasticity and reduce signs of premature ageing. Benefits from neroli, chamomile and lavender essential oils also relieve tension for better rest. $25 to $63, available at Sephora.
Text Odette Yiu Images Various Sources
a touch of magic
You may not be able to ‘rewind’ time as per the Adam Sandler vehicle, Click, but San Francisco- and Paris-based smart home product design company, Sevenhugs, has devised a game-changer that posits science as magic. Meet Smart Remote, a high-definition touchscreen innovation designed to control all your smart gadgets and appliances – from lights to speakers, and fans to cameras. Sleek, versatile, and compatible with over 25,000 devices, all you need to do is point at one and it’ll instantly adapt to display custom controls for you to take charge. You can even order an Uber with it! The world is finally at your fingertips.
12 ANGRY MEN (1957)
Those who’ve become fatigued with special effects and production magic will find a breath of fresh air in this mainstay of minimalist cinema. Centred around a jury of 12 nameless men (Jurors #1 to #12) who must decide the fate of a man tried for murder, the black-and-white classic is shot almost entirely in one room, solely relying on the dozen to flesh out their prejudices and build tension through compelling dialogue. Despite the barebones set and lack of digital embellishments, the conflict that unfolds between the jurors’ assorted personalities has kept this film in the top five of IMDb’s ‘Top 250 Films’ for years on end.
K O YA A N I S Q AT S I ( 1 9 8 2 )
No plot, no actors, no script – could it get any more minimal? Koyaanisqatsi (“life out of balance” in Native American Hopi) takes viewers on an 86-minute journey of sights and sounds, depicting cities and natural landscapes across the U.S. Through the juxtaposition of mesmerising slow-motion and time-lapse footage, and a heart-rending soundtrack, director Godfrey Reggio presents the viewer with no apparent agenda – simply a glimpse at the impact man has left on his environment, leaving the audience to draw its own conclusions. A film that is both beautiful and haunting.
silver screen simplicity GOING TO THE MOVIES CAN BE A THRILLING EXPERIENCE, AND CINEMATIC TECHNOLOGY IS ONE OF THE REASONS WE PAY GOOD MONEY TO BE KEPT AT THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS. HOWEVER, THE EXPLOSIVE STYLE LIKE THAT OF MICHAEL BAY ISN’T FOR EVERY MOVIEGOER, NOR DOES IT ALIGN WITH THE VISION OF LESS CLEAR-CUT DIRECTORS. FROM OMITTING DIALOGUE AND SETS TO ANY SEMBLANCE OF A PLOT, THESE FILMS PUSH THE LIMITS OF THE EXPRESSION “LESS IS MORE”.
T H E B R E A K FA S T C L U B ( 1 9 8 5 )
While the John Hughes favourite still serves as a testament to his perceptive portrayal of adolescence, it’s very easy to look over the fact that The Breakfast Club is almost devoid of a discernible plot. The viewer is introduced to the five Shermer High students as they begin a nine-hour detention under the iron fist of Mr. Vernon. Soon, the quintet of troublemaking strangers discover that they have more in common than their respective cliques allow. The real achievement is in Hughes’ transformation of a relatively benign premise to leave a lasting impression on pop culture, without giving any concrete conclusion on the characters’ fates.
THE BEAR (1988)
Having an actor channel your script convincingly can be difficult enough, so we can’t conceive of the challenges that the filmmakers behind The Bear faced in having animals serve as the film’s leads. Weaving a simple narrative into an almost documentary-style film – which follows an orphan bear who seeks protection from an adult Kodiak – the only human presence in the film is the two hunters that are on their trail. With virtually no dialogue (unless you count the grunts and roars of the beasts), The Bear is an example of how the sights and sounds of nature can be just as compelling as any Hollywood blockbuster.
While confining a film’s narrative to one room isn’t new, what’s unique about Exam is that, in addition to its cold, clean and rather featureless setting, the viewer enters the film knowing as much (or as little) as its characters do. Opening with individuals who are applying for a prestigious job without any knowledge of its roles or requirements, the applicants are instructed to begin the test with nothing more than a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. As they clamour to find out how to complete the task, competitiveness clashes with cooperation as the applicants are pushed to their limits. Basically, it’s the Saw of job interviews.
Films like 12 Angry Men and Exam instill a sense of claustrophobia in restricting the viewer to one set, but those don’t come close to the dread of feeling trapped while watching Buried. A one-man, one-set show shot entirely in a coffin, Ryan Reynolds leads the nightmarish narrative of being buried alive. Alone and underground, with only the flame of a fastdepleting Zippo lighter and the light of a mobile phone to illuminate his presence, the tension that builds throughout the film’s 95 minutes of realtime anxiety could only be achieved by literally limiting the film’s scope. Reynolds himself still finds it hard to watch.
Based on the Yasmina Reza play, God Of Carnage, and shot in a single apartment, two pairs of parents meet after their sons are involved in a fight to reach a cordial settlement. Proving that adults can behave more childishly than their offspring, the niceties are quickly discarded and utter chaos grips the bourgeois, supposedly civilised, New Yorkers. Though you won’t see any literal carnage befall this minimalist comedy, when you’ve got Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Cristoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly warring with words – with director Roman Polanski at the helm – the result is more thrilling and unsettling than violence of any physical kind. 059
While some filmmakers achieve minimalism through shearing away sets and storylines, others cut down on their cast. Written and directed by Duncan Jones, the son of David Bowie, the film’s lone cast member, Sam Rockwell, possesses enough talent to carry a feature film on his own. Without giving too much away, Sam Bell, the sole employee of a lunar excavation station tasked with sending resources to Earth, is forced to confront himself as he nears the end of his three-year contract in the solitude of space. While the futuristic sets and visuals are slick and elaborate, Moon is an exercise in how to expertly pull off a one-man show.
THE TRIBE (2014)
Text Trent Davis Images Various Sources
Try watching a foreign film without subtitles and you’ll soon find that it’s hard to follow. Try watching a film in which all dialogue is in Ukranian sign language with no subtitles, and you’re in a whole different ballpark. This is the case for The Tribe, a film set in a boarding school for deaf children. The viewer follows Sergey, a new arrival who is both deaf and mute, as he is inducted into a gang of institutionalised students involved in robbery and prostitution. By removing voice and music, the film’s incidental sounds become heightened, giving extra weight to gut-wrenching violence in an unforgiving environment.
A L L I S LO S T ( 2 0 1 3 )
In the same vein as Castaway, Robert Redford delivers a suspenseful performance about a man thrust into an unforgiving environment – but where Tom Hanks’ survivor had Wilson to kill time with, Redford’s has no imaginary friend to brave the ocean with. In the absence of a plot, backstory or even name for the stranded sailor, the film also wastes no time on exposition, where the only dialogue the viewer is treated to is the grunts and exasperated sighs that Redford lets out in maneuvering his yacht. In omitting these elements, the viewer is drawn in and hooked on whether the seaman will survive or perish.
BEAM LABS BEAM
DAS KEYBOARD “BAD ASS4”
A keyless keyboard – it doesn’t get any more minimal than this. Designed for real keyboard warriors who can touch-type as quickly as they annihilate school papers or virtual combatants, the German manufacturer has stripped away all unnecessary details in favour of a beautifully simple, matte-black finish (that’s right, visible letters were deemed unnecessary). Fitted with gold-plated mechanical key switches that’ll survive up to 50 million keystrokes, tactile feel, oversized volume knob perfect for silencing the haters, and an inimitable clicking sound that’ll make you instantly feel like you can hack into a presidential candidate’s emails, this mechanical keyboard is also the thinnest of its kind. And, as its name suggests, this one’s reserved for bad*sses. US$169, available at daskeyboard.com.
While projectors can be neatly stowed away – they’re like the futons of home entertainment – you’ll pay a pretty penny in getting their fixtures installed, without entirely removing the necessary cables. Beam Labs, we dare say, has revolutionised projectors with Beam. Taking on the appearance of a light bulb, the compact smart projector is intended to be used as such, meaning your projections need not be restricted to horizontal planes. Simply screw it into any typical light socket and you’ll have media selected from your smartphone projected onto a table, floor, or even a ceiling. On top of the ability to double-up as a dimmable LED light, it can also be programmed with automated functions, such as greeting anyone who walks through your front door with a welcome message. €499, available at beamlabsinc.com.
N AT I V E U N I O N DOCK+ LIGHTNING
Cutting out the flashing lights and frills doesn’t mean you can’t marry beauty with minimalistic purpose – and if there’s one thing minimalists can’t resist, it’s perfectly cut blocks of organic material. Native Union clearly understands this with its opulent Marble Edition iteration of the DOCK+ Lightning, bringing the universally adored rock into the digital age. Crafted from a genuine solid marble and aircraft grade aluminium, each charging dock is unique in its marble veining. Equipped with a 1.2m braided lightning cable fed through the dock’s base and easily tucked away from sight, the dock positions iPhones and other devices at a convenient and eye-pleasing angle, while serving as a sophisticated desk accessory when on standby. US$129.99, available at nativeunion.com.
WITH THE AMOUNT OF TECH PRODUCTS BEING CHURNED OUT BY THE DAY, AND ALL OF THEM COMPETING FOR OUR HARD-EARNED DOLLARS, IT’S NOT EASY TO COME ACROSS GADGETS THAT DON’T SCREAM FOR ATTENTION VISUALLY. HOWEVER, THESE DISCREET DEVICES HAVE FOUND BEAUTY IN SIMPLICITY, AND WHILE THEIR FUNCTIONS HAVE CERTAINLY CAUGHT OUR EYES, THEIR AESTHETIC EFFORTLESSLY BLENDS INTO ANY MINIMALIST’S LIFESTYLE.
Text Trent Davis Images Various Sources
MICROSOFT S U R FA C E S T U D I O
If there were ever a desktop in recent memory that could outdo the almighty Mac (while still borrowing from its much imitated aesthetic), Microsoft Surface Studio would be it. Sleek and sophisticated, yet minimal and modern, the awe-inspiring PC trims away the bulk of common desktops while keeping screen real estate at an impressive 28 inches. Designed with creatives in mind, the PC’s PixelSense Display transforms from a workstation to a canvas with its ability to fold down on itself. Using the pressure-sensitive Surface Pen and Surface Dial, editing photos, creating digital graphics, and even less remarkable tasks become natural creative processes with a wealth of intuitive functions. Just like good ol’ pen and paper, only better. From US$2,999, available at microsoftstore.com.
B&O BEOSOUND 1
Carrying, transporting and – of course – using a selfie stick can present a hassle to you and everyone in your vicinity, Cliquefie’s inventive rework of the “monopod” will have even the most passionate concertgoer rethink their stance on banning them. The Cliquefie Max goes beyond simply attaching your smartphone to a stick. Along with a detachable Bluetooth remote that can be stowed seamlessly into the contraption, and a convenient phone mount with double pull-tabs, the selfie stick’s compact design allows it to extend from a mere 25cm long to a length of 73.5cm. What’s more, the stick also houses a tripod base that allows you to capture perfect shots from a distance without even holding it. US$49.99, available at cliquefie.com.
Let’s face it; speakers, of any generation (but especially you, early 2000s boombox), aren’t the most discreet tech items to have in the home. B&O’s BeoSound 1, on the other hand, doesn’t scream that it’s made for music. In fact, it looks more like a kitchen appliance than a device with which to enjoy high quality audio. Nevertheless, the audio expert’s latest offering doesn’t hold back in delivering immersive audial experiences. Exuding sophistication and simplicity with its polished aluminium housing, the portable speaker’s 360-degree sound technology and wireless convenience allows you to enjoy your favourite tunes from any angle in any room. With integrated streaming services like Google Cast, Apple Airplay and Spotify, connecting with your music is as fuss-free as the BeoSound 1’s appearance. $2,200, available at Bang & Olufsen Grand Hyatt Showroom.
“OPPA” KOREAN STYLE BROTH-POT ($44.95/$49.95) Even if you aren’t surfin’ the Hallyu wave, as long as you’re a fan of tangy flavours or kimchi bases – or just like trying new things – you’d enjoy the “Oppa” Korean Style Broth-Pot. Revered for ingredients such as juicy clams and mussels, all immersed in a spicy experience, this star dish will turn up the heat for a meal to remember.
CARIBBEAN CAJUN BROTH-POT ($44.95/$49.95) The next seafood mix, aptly dubbed the Caribbean Cajun Broth-Pot, is seasoned with peppery and piquant Cajun spices. It comes with corn on the cob for an added dimension of sweetness. A delectable fix that isn’t overbearing, it generously proffers ultra-tender prawns and scallops – perfect for when you’re craving something smoky and zesty.
IN DELISH COMPANY ALL’BOUT THAT BOUILLABAISSE BROTH-POT ($44.95/$49.95) For something less intense but equally mouth-watering, opt for the All’bout That Bouillabaisse Broth-Pot. Simmered in a tomato base and perfumed with aromatics, it’s as vibrant as it is fragrant – an instant, tell-all testimony to its freshness and sea-borne succulence.
THE DUO CATCH ($13.95) Those who favour fish over molluscs and prawns can look to the Duo Catch. Expect fluffy paella served with grilled white fish, slathered with Fish & Co.’s unique homemade sauces, including a blend of coriander spices and peri-peri, also known as African bird’s eye chilli. More than a mere condiment, this incredible mix of spices opens up the flavours of the fish and pairs well with the paella, in taste and texture.
Broth-pot items available at all Fish & Co. outlets except Waterway Point and Vivocity; The Duo Catch available at all outlets from March 8. fish-co.com navigate
Text Odette Yiu Images Fish & Co.
ADDING TO THE BOUNTY OF ITS STAPLE MENU, FISH & CO. IS WORKING SOME DELICIOUS MAGIC INTO ITS NEW PLATTERS. THE RESTAURANT TAKES PRIDE IN SERVING UP THE FRESHEST SEAFOOD WITH THE MOST NATURAL INGREDIENTS TO KEEP DISHES HEARTY AND HEALTHY. IN A BID TO DELIVER AN AUTHENTICALLY NAUTICAL EXPERIENCE, FISH & CO. DOESN’T GO OVERBOARD WITH GARNISHES, AND INSTEAD FOCUSES ON DRAWING OUT THE ORGANIC TASTE OF ITS CATCHES FROM THE OCEAN. HERE ARE THE FOUR TREATS WE ARE FISHING UP.
A CLEAN MIX
NATIVE Sincere to its christening, Native is a cocktail bar committed to homeliness and hospitality. Regional music fills the rustic space, complete with local craftsmanship steeping the furniture, and a curated assembly of spirits from neighbouring lands. Each cocktail infuses a nostalgic concoction of ingredients – sourced as locally as possible – with astonishingly potent, balanced results. Creamy and textured, its iconic Thai rum cocktail, Antz ($23), mounts crunchy Thai ants nestled in a leaf atop a medley of relishes, including aged sugarcane and coconut yoghurt. Milky but heady, it functions both as a dessert drink and tipple, with which to usher in the night’s fun. Mango Lassi ($22) comes as a complex, three-layered gustatory Indian rum experience, drawing from flavours such as sweet pistachio curry, pomegranate molasses folded into mango, and beetroot jelly, boasting a crunchy finish to a tantalising experience. Our favourite is Pineapple Arrack ($22); served with frozen pineapple wedge to complement a cocktail that unites Ceylon arrack and coconut flower sap with Sri Lankan spices – a sweet-and-spicy marvel in a glass. 52A Amoy Street, tel: 8869-6520.
THE LOCAL COCKTAIL SCENE, WHILE HEALTHILY BUZZING AND REAPING INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM, HAS RECENTLY SEEN THE ENTRY OF BS-FREE NEWCOMERS WHO’RE COMMITTED TO POURING OUT ONLY THE QUINTESSENTIALLY GOOD STUFF – LIKE THESE THREE.
Text Indran P, Odette Yiu & Sam Chua Images Various Sources
The Wall at Tanjong Pagar is a bar that believes in debunking the perception of whisky being a concern solely for the upper class. While many bars aim for this sort of demystifying thrall, few achieve it as well as it does. In its warm, welcoming and fuss-free ambience, connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike can marvel over rarities like the Black Bowmore 1964 distillation, and taste the extent of its impressive stock. From a collection of over 120 top-grade pours, we tried the East Meet West flight ($37), which endows you with a line-up of four dynamic whiskies, including the robust, intensely aromatic Auchentoshan Three Wood and the fruity Kavalan Single Malt. Since The Wall believes in pairing sips with a crunch, a $12 top-up supplements the flight with a quadruple queue of sumiyaki in just the right portions to silence your hunger pangs without putting you off drinking. The skewered meats are just as noteworthy as the whiskies. Together, the overall indulgence is unbelievably impressive. For a cocktail fix, give the Teochew Heritage ($23) a try. It’s almost like silky tau huay – with a whisky-led kick. 76 Tanjong Pagar Road, tel: 6225-7988.
The BPM picks up as the night stretches on, furnishing a curated aural atmosphere that settles you in as charmingly personable staff offer you a drink menu – the one-way ticket to practical tenancy at Highball. Every detail is precise, from downsized portions to globular ice cubes; all of it feeding into a drinking experience where you get only what’s necessary. A nod to Japanese highball traditions, it offers options of sake and shochu paired with tea, yuzu and plum flavours. A classic izakaya staple, the Kaku Highball ($10) is a great palate cleanser that smells slightly floral and tastes subtly citrusy. The Kyoho Fizz ($15), on the other hand, is an original creation sporting an ambrosial grapeade aroma. Boasting evolving layers of tangy sweetness from a combination of kyoho grape liqueur and preserved fruit, it’s packaged in an attractive rose-quartz colouration. Perfect complements to these effervescent drinks come in a limited 30-portion quantity of pickled cucumbers. Highball’s operating word is ‘variety’. So, if floral, citrusy hits aren’t your thing, opt for the robust, rum-based Dark & Stormy ($15), a weighty, night-capping concoction with a strong ginger punch. #01-01, 79 Kampong Bahru Road, tel: 6222-0179.
ELECTRIC EYE NEIL CHENERY What got you started on photography and art? From an early age, I was always impressed by people who could draw and paint well. I was never particularly good at photography but some works affected me emotionally and the camera became part of my tool set. I still use a portable Canon G12 for most of the images I produce. I have studied fine art, graphic design and visual arts at a tertiary level and now teach in these areas. I’ve also been fortunate to have worked in a variety of creative fields and learned a lot from the skilled people I’ve worked with.
Your work ranges tremendously in terms of theme and style. The “Spectra” collection is colourful, clipped and clean, whereas “Storm II” is soft, dark and greatly textured. What inspires these artistic decisions when it comes to subject matter and composition? During holidays or evenings when inspiration hits, I’ll often produce 20 to 30 images based on single ideas I have put together over weeks or months. Mostly, they have been digital works and sometimes drawings or paintings, if I get enough time to develop these. I think that if there is a You merge photography with fine and digital common thread, it is probably the fact that there art. Can you outline your creative process? is one ‘author’. I only develop work that I feel a Sometimes, I begin with photographs and certain enthusiasm for and the editing, cropping they end up as abstract or minimal works, and post-production techniques bring each work while others are refined but don’t change to a level of finish I’m happy with. a lot. I tend to wait and keep an eye out for subjects such as storms or seek out What’s been your favourite collection to interesting textures and surfaces. I’m less work on? anxious these days about new subjects Usually, my favourite series is the next one. ‘turning up’ – they always do. If I don’t find Posting work online is a good way to draw a something for the camera, I start with paint line and move on and not get stuck making or digital illustration and run them through the same images. There are times I go photographic post-production processes, through previous images and re-work one creating, in a way, my own ‘photographs’ or or two, create something new from a detail digital art. or different crop, or use them as a seed for a different direction. As I usually develop What’s the goal or overall vision of several series at the same time, it’s difficult your work? to choose a favourite. That’s an interesting question. I think that the compulsion to create images is the In your opinion, what qualifies as ‘visual art’? same urge that motivates a musician to I’m glad you said in “my opinion”. That definition make music – to discover something about is both a personal perception and whatever is yourself, to practise and develop your skills, presented and/or socially accepted as ‘visual and communicate without the limitations of art’. Is there a difference between design and words. There is also a dialogue with other art, and if so, where does the shift occur? The artists and image-makers; a recognition of question, ‘What is visual art?’, is one I think all skills and purpose that is purely visual. The visual artists ask and test over and over again. online creative communities allow this to neilchenery.com happen on a huge scale.
Text Indran P & Odette Yiu Images Neil Chenery
CHASING DOWN TRANSCENDENCE AND FINDING IT, EVEN FOR A FLICKER OF A MOMENT, IS ONE OF MAN’S MOST URGENT AND PERENNIAL PURSUITS. THE REALM OF ART IS ONE OF THE ARENAS IN WHICH THIS PLAYS OUT ON A SPECTACULAR SCALE. THERE, MELBOURNE ARTIST NEIL CHENERY HARNESSES PHOTOGRAPHY, DRAWING, ILLUSTRATION, AND PAINTING, AND PUTS THESE THROUGH A VARIETY OF DIGITAL PROCESSES, TO ARRIVE AT WORKS THAT CAPTURE MOMENTS IN TIME AND SURPASS THEIR TEMPORAL IMMEDIACY. WE FIND OUT HOW HE HELPS MAKE ‘VISUAL ART’ THE ENDLESSLY EXCITING MODE THAT IT IS.
PEDAL FOR YOUR PARTY Earth Hour is one cause that the whole world can agree on. And this time, W Hotel Singapore and the International Bicycle Film Festival will be locking arms to chime in on it in visual, kinetic and vibe-y splendour. As all non-essential lighting shuts off at WOOBAR for an hour, guests will be able to modulate the music emanating from the decks by pedalling on the four bicycles connected to the DJ console. Besides the beats, one-for-one cocktails served out of lightbulbs will also power the proceedings, of which 10 per cent will be channelled to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Happening on March 25 at 8.30pm to late. For more information, visit woobar.wsingaporesentosacove.com.
Routines are comforting – but they can get hella tiresome. Inject some fun and flavour into your gastronomic habits by treating yourself at these recently opened nosh spots.
KURO-OBI Ditching the banality of burgers and fries, but keeping the haste and convenience of fast food, Ippudo’s Kuro-Obi is a quick service-takeaway concept featuring Yokohama ‘Ie Kei’ ramen options that offer customisation of noodle texture, and broth and stock concentration – specifically prepped for those on the go. The signature
mainstay, Kuro-Obi ($12), is served with chicken cha shu and an onsen egg, held
Marina Bay is an ever-reliable fount of wonders and with the annual i Light Marina Bay festival, it transforms into a dazzling site of light-centric art installations, live music and absorbing activities. Back for its fifth run, the leading sustainable light art festival will offer Urchin, a gigantic, permeable dome-like structure designed by Massachusetts agency Choi + Shine Architects; The Body Of The Sea, a sprawling multidisciplinary work involving the Merlion by French design firm the Danny Rose Collective; and performances by local sensations THELIONCITYBOY, Disco Hue, The Good Life Project, Tomgirl, and Stopgap. Happening from March 3 to 26 at various locations around Marina Bay. For more information, visit ilightmarinabay.sg.
together by a chicken-based Tori-paitan soup exclusive to Singapore. Dine-in dishes include the incredibly flavourful Goma Kyuri ($4, small; $8, regular)
#B2-54/55, Marina Bay Sands, tel: 6688-7064.
POKE DOKE Testifying to the immense popularity of the Hawaiian dish is Poke Doke, with a consistent beach theme that corresponds to its commitment of using only the freshest ingredients and seafood. Diners can build their own bowls that range from regular ($12.50) to large ($18.50), or pick from four of poke. For instance, the Poke Doke Signature ($14) comes with salmon poke, while the Umi Japanese Bowl ($15.50) is topped with wasabi salmon poke.
#01-95 Millenia Walk, tel: 9181-9140.
COMMUNITY SPIRIT Singapore has, with haste, transitioned from kampung to concrete. But away from the blare of city grind is Open Farm Community, a sweet escape from both routine insipidity and the persistent dog-eatdog scramble atop. The sanctuary includes a sandpit, playground and farmland, where chickens run free and peppermint leaves are ready to be plucked and tasted. Unique to a metropolis dependent on imports, the compound’s restaurant sources as locally as possible, even using ingredients from its own harvest. Absolute must-haves include the crispy Jurong frog legs, root vegetables and lemak-inspired curry ($26), and BBQ half chicken, sweet corn ragout, potato fondant and mustard frill salad ($36). 130E Minden Road, tel: 6471-0306.
selections, each of which contains a distinct kind
ALL FOR U Taiwanese electronics giant HTC is making it clear that it’s all about U. The brand has unveiled two new models, HTC U Play and HTC U Ultra, that go the extra distance in allowing users to express themselves. At 5.2 inches – and fitting in the palm of your hand – the HTC U Play lives up to its name by packing a 16-megapixel, blur-eliminating camera equipped with four times the regular light sensitivity. The latter, on the other hand, boasts a 5.7-inch widescreen, and is a beautifully contoured device that features dual screen as well as hi-res audio components and a 12-megapixel camera. $548 and $898 respectively, available at leading telcos and htc.com.sea.
SINGAPORE DESIGN WEEK
Between day-to-day functionality and artistic innovation is the world of design, an in-between that has the capacity to revolutionise, whether in groundbreaking or nuanced ways. This year, Singapore Design Week is bringing in over a hundred events and activities. Join in on SingaPlural, a six-day festival showcasing local and international exhibits and projects, or take a walk via a design trail that’ll bring you to spaces, studios and epiphany spots around the city. You’ll also be able to partake in workshops, so expect to bring home nifty self-made loot, such as herb gardens in glass bottles.
Happening from March 3 to 12. For more information and to register, check out new.designsingapore.org/sdw.
FROM THE WRIST
SEE THE LIGHT Irish candle maker Max Benjamin is ushering in a full range of candles, refills, scented cards, and diffusers for seekers of sublime scent. The Classic Collection embraces the safe haven of familiar comfort with trouble-free aromas – from essential floral whiffs to herbal wafts. For something more vivacious, the Amalfi Collection, namesake of the coastline in Italy, makes for a good luxury home fragrance pick. Captured in its essence are notes of budding citrus flavours dancing between wildflowers, tangled in lazy sea breezes. From $42 to $57, available at Robinsons The Heeren and Tangs Orchard from March 29.
GAME OF TIPPLES Singapore Cocktail Festival arrives this month for a delightfully and discerningly boozy spell, featuring over 50 cocktails from 45 participating bars. This year, the Old Beach Road Police Station will lend its historic charms to the proceedings as the festival’s staging ground. Tasting rooms and alky-friendly nosh are just some of the treats that will be available. As always, guest bartenders from around the globe will be enlisted. This year, Alex Kratena, the man responsible for revitalising the luxury bar experience, and Hiroyasu Kayama, widely hailed as Tokyo’s top mixologist, will be in your midst. Happening from March 16 to 19 at 99 Beach Road. For more information, visit singaporecocktailfestival.com.
SAFETY AND SWAG Are safety and style mutually exclusive? Gloria Hwang of lifestyle brand Thousand Helmets is set to prove that the answer is no. Balancing functionality with design, she’s put a spin on quintessentially bulky and tacky bicycle helmets, puckering them up with a ‘retro’ feel without the trade-off on protection. Its secret PopLock locks helmets onto bikes and provides a three-year warranty as an extra safeguard. Built to look vogue, feel snug, and be practical, each helmet is fitted with vegan leather straps, air vents and internal cooling channels. Two wheels move the soul, but a helmet keeps it in the body. From $146 to $160, available at FootLoops, #01-21 Oxley Bizhub, and footloops.sg.
GRAB A BITE Intent on providing something casual and easy for quick meetings or chill hangouts, Franco-Japanese cafe-restaurant Miam Miam has introduced a small bites addition to its menu. Expect superb fusion cuisine made healthy and affordable; everything is baked instead of deepfried. We’re still raving about the Baked Zucchini Fries ($5.90), garnished with parmesan cheese and Japanese panko, and the accompanying fresh tomato dip. The Baked Miso Honey Mid Wings ($10.90, 8 pieces; $14.90, 12 pieces) and the Gratin Of Mushrooms ($8.90) are essentials too – completely different relishes, but both packing vivid flavour and an edge of sweetness. #02-14 Bugis Junction, tel: 6837-0301. navigate
Text Indran P & Odette Yiu Images Various Sources
American multinational tech giant Garmin is most famously known for telling people how to get to where they want to go – its brand name has become a shorthand for GPS technology as a whole. With the launch of its Vivosmart HR fitness band, the firm looks to extend its reach into the wearables market – with one competition-defying advantage. With its distinct brand of Near-field Communication (NCF) engineering, it’s the first wearable in Singapore that allows you to pay for bus and train rides. In this collaboration with EZ-Link, the contactless chip found in EZ-Link cards will be integrated into the band for next-level convenience. Available end-March at authorised retailers, including Sports Affinity Pte Ltd, #02-28 Queensway Shopping Centre, and Running Lab, #01-47 Novena Square. For more information, visit garmin.com.sg.
ONE DANCE PRESENTS DJ MAG TOP 100 VOTING PARTY WITH NICKY ROMERO + FRESH AT ZOUK LIT PARADE
FORWARD FEAT. & ME AT K YO TECH-Y GOODNESS
ALTIMATE X SOUTHBANK - REGIONAL CLUB EXCHANGE AT ALTIMATE GOOD VIBES APLENTY
BELLA MONTI AT MONTI LIVINâ€™ LA DOLCE VITA
EMONIGHTSG: THE B-SIDES AT REFUGE Iâ€™M NOT OKAY
RAYVOLUTION AT ATTICA LET THERE BE BANGERS
XX (WEEKEND LADIES NIGHT) AT SPACE STAR POWER
AUSTRALIA DAY AT TANJONG BEACH CLUB YOU BEAUTY!
S H O P AT T H E S E S T O C K I S T S ALEXANDER WANG #02-03/04 HILTON HOTEL SHOPPING GALLERY
H&M ORCHARD BUILDING
POLO RALPH LAUREN #02-02/03 SHAW CENTRE
JIMMY CHOO #01-42A/43/44 PARAGON
RECKLESS ERICKA #02-32 CAPITOL PIAZZA
KAPOK NATIONAL DESIGN CENTRE
RETROSUPERFUTURE #03-22 PLAZA SINGAPURA
CLUB 21 #01-01/02 FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
MAISON MARGIELA #B1-01 THE SHOPPES @ MARINA BAY SANDS
TEMPERLEY LONDON @ LAPRENDO #01-19/20 PHOENIX PARK
CONVERSE #B2-05 NGEE ANN CITY
MAX TAN LEVEL 2 SHAW HOUSE
COS #03-23/23A ION ORCHARD
MONCLER #01-17 ION ORCHARD
DEPRESSION #04-14 ORCHARD GATEWAY
MOVADO #03-53 PENINSULA PLAZA
DOVER STREET MARKET SINGAPORE 18 DEMPSEY ROAD
PEDDER ON SCOTTS LEVEL 2 SCOTT SQUARE
AMOS ANANDA #01-14A PEACE CENTRE BYSM #01-48/49 BUGIS JUNCTION
TOPSHOP/TOPMAN #B2-01, B3-02 ION ORCHARD UNIQLO ORCHARD CENTRAL Y-3 #01-05 MANDARIN GALLERY ZARA LIAT TOWERS
MINIMAL ART, MAXIMUM PROFIT
WHETHER OR NOT YOU’D PUT THE WORKS OF MODERN ARTISTS ON THE SAME LEVEL AS CLASSICAL MASTERS, ONE THING IS UNDENIABLE: THEY’RE ETERNAL CASH COWS. ART OR NOT, THESE SUBJECTIVELY UNREMARKABLE MODERN ART PIECES HAVE RAKED IN HUGE AMOUNTS OF OBJECTIVE WEALTH.
ORANGE, RED, YELLOW (1961) - MARK ROTHKO
ORANGE GROVE (1965) - AGNES MARTIN
While some see a beautiful sunset or a summertime popsicle, others see a rusted wall or a poor attempt at painting rectangles. Regardless of the abstract painter’s true intentions, Orange, Red, Yellow has been described as the “most powerful of all his pictures” – so powerful that it shattered the record nominal price for post-war and contemporary art.
ONEMENT VI (1953) BARNETT NEWMAN US$43.8 MILLION
FOUNTAIN (1964) MARCEL DUCHAMP
Whether an early act of trolling or a revelatory statement, the French artist made headlines with this controversial piece. Ingeniously dubbed as a “readymade” work, Fountain was actually rejected for an exhibition by the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, despite the rule that all submissions would be accepted. What’s more outrageous is that the price tag above is for a replica sold in 1999, where the original is sure to be worth exponentially more.
BLUE PAINTING (1953) - AD REINHARDT US$10 MILLION
Reinhardt adopted a rather fascist outlook on his paintings, claiming that any interpretations of his work other than his own were wrong. Famous for his black canvases that question if there can be an absolute even in blackness (Spinal Tap seemed to have answered this with Smell The Glove), Blue Painting fetched more than any of his other monochromatic expressions. Unfortunately, its previous owner let it go for a fraction of the price. That’s gotta hurt.
With a canvas this white, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether any paint had been applied to its surface at all. Martin’s minimalist works of white can be summed up by the “it’s what you don’t see” philosophy. Undoubtedly the inspiration behind Wilson Fisk’s obsession over a white painting in the Daredevil series, perhaps the owner of Orange Grove similarly looks into it for a dose of daily introspection.
POTATO #345 (2010) - KEVIN ABOSCH €1 MILLION
The Irish visual artist has had everyone from Johnny Depp to Malala Yousafzai in his viewfinder, but one day in 2010, it was a potato he wanted in front of his trademark black backdrop. Apparently one of his favourites of the many he has captured (we’re guessing it took him 345 tries to find ‘the one’), Abosch sees the carbs in the same light as people in celebrating their differences. You say, “Potato”; he says, “Show me the money”.
SPIEGEL, BLUTROT (1991) - GERHARD RICHTER US$1.1 MILLION
Known for undermining the concept of an artist sticking to a single style, it seems that the German visual artist undermined the audience’s capability to call a spade a spade. Titled Mirror, blood red, the work is exactly that – a blood red-coloured mirror. But that didn’t stop a collector from paying upwards of a million buckaroos for it. One way or another, when its owner looks into their purchase, they’ll be seeing red.
RHEIN II (1999) - ANDREAS GURSKY US$4.3 MILLION
The German photographer seems to have a knack for capturing money shots, with a number of his photos of crowded stock exchanges earning millions. However, unlike the chaos depicted on the trading floor, his bare image of the River Rhine broke records as one of the most expensive photos ever sold. Interestingly, the view of the river wasn’t always this minimal – the artist photoshopped dog-walkers and a factory building out of the image.
Text Trent Davis Images Various Sources
The abstract expressionist made a name for himself as a pioneer with his boldly-coloured canvases and signature contrast of ‘stripes’. Before you say, “I could’ve painted that!”, the fact is that you didn’t – but this guy did. Ostensibly no more remarkable than the other paintings of his Onement series, whatever all that blue paint meant to Newman is apparently worth a lot of money to its new current owner.
HERE BARS & CLUBS
Attica • Blu Jaz Café • Brewerkz @ Riverside Point • Canvas • Cherry Club • Harry's @ Esplanade Mall, HarbourFront Centre • IndoChine @ Club Street • KYO • LOOF • Paulaner Brauhaus • 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 • Café Cartel • Chai Seng Huat Hardware • Costa Coffee @ 313@Somerset, The Metropolis, Raffles City, Vivocity • Dazzling Café Singapore • Dome Coffee @ Raffles Place, Singapore Art Museum • East 8 • Guac & Go Pte Ltd • Habitat Coffee • Hard Rock Café • House • I Am Cafe • Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery, Shaw Centre • Island Creamery @ Serene Centre • Kith Café • 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 • 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, Bugis Junction, Centrepoint, 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, Shaw Leisure Gallery, 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 Clueless Goat • The Lab • The Lawn @ AXA Tower, Nanos • The Lokal • The Providore • The Coastal Settlement • The White Rabbit • Timbre @ The Substation • 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
Basheer Graphic Books • Curated Records • Hear Records • Kizuki + LIM • Kplus • National Arts Council • Olando Pte Ltd • Red Dot Museum Shop • Roxy Music • ShinnPark • Strangelets • The Arts House • The Projector • The Substation • Valentine Music Centre
BEAUTY & WELLNESS
Artisan Hair • Asmara • Essensuals Bugis • FDP Prestige Hair Care • Feet Haven Reflexology @ Katong, Serangoon Gardens, Upper Bukit Timah • 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 • Scissors Art @ Binjai Park, Joo Chiat • 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
Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa • 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 • Swissotel • The Quincy 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 • Frank by OCBC (Nanyang Technological University, Orchard Gateway, Singapore Management University, Singapore Polytechnic, VivoCity) • JCube • JCube, The Rink • SAFRA @ Toa Payoh • SCAPE • STA Travel • St Games Cafe • THE HIVE • Tokyo Bike • The Reading Room • Wave House Sentosa