Aya Sekine was brought to my attention after we received the mailer from the awesome folk at Syndicate that she would be featured alongside Pleasantry’s Isa Ong who will be performing as Sleep Easy the next installment of Syndicate’s Subsessions. Curious, I decided to take a gander at what awaited us this Saturday.
Aya Sekine plays beautiful jazz improvisations on her piano and keyboards. I probably didn’t realise, but I’d heard her play at the Blu Jaz cafe / bar, and I was always impressed by the music I was hearing as it reminded me of a particular jazz bar that I frequented while studying in Perth. What’s really getting me excited is the promise that she will unleash a more experimental side, not just in terms of musicality, but technology as well. In the mean time, I’m happy to pass on a listen of her music.
Sleep Easy will also be performing aside the accomplished Aya Sekine, and while she delves into the sometimes manic maelstroms of jazz improvisation, Sleep Easy approaches his craft in a more delicate and simple manner. It does evoke the sort of rising slumber in a field of golden grass routine, but I think it’s the perfect counterpoint to each others’ body of work.
Syndicate’s Subsessions will be happening at The Substation Theater, 45 Armenian Street on 25 August 2012, 8PM – 10PM, and also features visuals by Syndicate’s resident artist, Brandon Tay. Tickets are $20 at the door. There’s more information at Syndicate’s post here.
Singapore’s foremost beats and visual culture collective Syndicate, noted for its collaborations with LA’s Brainfeeder crew, has been working the ground for quite some time, hosting a two-year long run at Home Club and embarking soon on a new series The Syndicate Subsessions at the Substation. For a group of such (yet growing) stature, it’s surprising how little has been put out on record. Apart from a five track self-titled EP released at the end of 2010, the collective has been focusing its energies on its live shows, collaborations, and putting mixes up online.
In that sense, Syndicate’s output is hard to collate meaningfully, and perhaps it isn’t meant to be, since it’s more of the experience than the product that matters here. Yet it can be quite fun putting things together, as I have been trying for Max Lane, one of the collective’s members. Recordings under his name have been scanty and may be traced largely to his self-released debut EP The MIM Project (2009) and some contributions scattered across various compilations; but there’s such a cohesive vision in all his works, that haunting exploration of his cultural past channeled through the dual lenses of nostalgia and futurism as most fully realised in “Wohub”, his opening track for The Syndicate EP.
However, it’s most fascinating chancing upon works-in-progress, as I found in his contribution last year to the Urban Waves beats compilation. Titled “Maghrib”, the track seems like fleeting vignette or lost soundtrack from a film never made, a prayer uttered but left hanging, perhaps intentionally and adding to its mystical appeal. It could go anywhere from here, and some things are best left that way: we can probably extend that sentiment to Syndicate itself, which seems to keep growing precisely because of its commitment to ongoing experimentation that keeps (us) looking forward. - Dan.
The first Syndicate Subsessions takes place on 24 March (Saturday) 8pm at the Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore, featuring Gema and Muon, with visuals by Brandon Tay and Rafi Dean. Check here for more details.
Yes, I know I’m more than ten years late, but last night I participated in my first ever Zaireeka listening party. Organized by the Substation’s associate artist Song-Ming Ang as part of his two-week long Sonic Visions series, this event involved the simultaneous playing of multiple copies of Zaireeka, itself an ambitious 4-cd album intended for concurrent playback for a quadrophonic aural experience, an album I always wished I owned.
Zaireeka was birthed from the Flaming Lips‘ parking lot experiments, a synchronized playing of cassettes on multiple car stereos. In his adoption of Wayne Coyne’s role in those sessions as orchestral conductor, Song-Ming sought to create a similarlly communal listening experience by inviting participants to bring their own CD-playing equipment and speakers, and subsequently work together in synching the playback of almost twenty CDs.
What fun we all had, and such satisfaction gleaned from getting as close as we could to coordinating our small but important finger-pressing tasks. Yet, to focus on perfection in execution would be missing the point of it all, which was so much more to do with embracing uncertainty and learning to relate to music in its spatial dimension. Song-Ming gamely let us toy with different arrangements too, encouraging us to walk around for some songs and sit down for the later ones while dimming the lights, and indulging our pleas for a spontaneous random-track encore finale.
Halfway through, I remembered how I used to dream, long ago, of having a room with walls made of speakers, to be quite literally surrounded by sound. Last night, I think I realized at least a part of that dream by partaking in a mindblowing experience that will never be recreated in the same way again. In the midst of the bombast, though, I think I’ve come to appreciate also the parts that make the whole, and it’s one part of Zaireeka that I dug up from my old Race for the Prize single that’s all I have to leave you with now. - Dan.
Sonic Visions is a series of events organized by Song-Ming Ang at the Substation in conjunction with his first solo exhibition in Singapore, You and I (14 Jan – 9 Feb 2011 at the Substation Random Room).
sharon van etten:
Lately, I have been obsessed with this band from Montreal called Automelodi. I work at a record label (Ba Da Bing Records) and my boss, Ben, is constantly getting new records in. He knows I have a soft spot for 80s/90s post punk/early electro, vaguely alternative music... and so one day, he put on a Wierd Records compilation. It was a vinyl set of like 4 pieces or something. There were so many good bands on there... however, Automelodi stuck out in my mind as being an authentic, genuine, NON-cheesy version of the 80s I wish I was a part of. The song in particular that gets me going in the morning is called "Schéma Corporel".
mp3: automelodi - schéma corporel
bani haykal from b-quartet:
often enough, it’s the early morning rush which gets me excited about shutting my eyes. and by morning, we’re looking at the 4 a.m. time frame where all you hear is yourself in a foggy blur, thinking if sleep is really all that important because the early few are storming off for work. in all honesty, there is no ipod nor a single earplugging devicetron which i’d attend to. often enough, it’s someone else’s sonic leak i’m getting addressed by. but, i’m listening to Steely Dan’s “Babylon Sisters”. in my head, at least. sanity ‘from the point of no return’, personally. it’s a breath of fresh air. despite its age. everything is beautiful then.
mp3: steely dan - babylon sisters
naomi yang from galaxie 500:
The perfect song to start the day is “A Tonga Da Mironga Do Kabuleté” – the live recording from 1971 by Brazilian artists Vinícius + Bethania + Toquinho. It is like a beautiful sunrise – although I think that the lyrics are actually some sort of political commentary disguised as a Candomble/Afro-Brazilian curse – but whatever! And then you should just leave the CD on, and listen to the rest of the album while you have your coffee. And you will have a great day.
mp3: vinícius + bethania + toquinho – a tonga da mironga do kabuletê (live in buenos aires, 1971)
jamie stewart from xiu xiu:
i have a nico button on my guitar strap and her excess eyeliner has been burning the dirge "janitor of lunacy" into my waking ears as of late, at least 20 times in the last week. until yesterday we have been on tour in scandinavia, russia, poland, austria, germany and czech. these grey locations held hands with her harmonium perfectly.
mp3: nico - janitor of lunacy
justin ringle from horse feathers:
i have been obsessively listening and waking up to this tune by gillian welch called "annabelle". it's a song about a sharecropper in alabama and it is so sad, beautiful and timeless that I can't help but listen more than once in a row. the harmonies in the chorus make my hairs stand up... beautiful song.
mp3: gillian welch - annabelle
tracyanne campbell from camera obscura:
my favourite song at the moment is called 'one in a million' by steve miller. it's really beautiful. his voice is like honey in the sun and it totally melts my heart. the lyrics are quite simple and i guess
corny but it's a great tune and the production is so good it really doesn't matter. i wish i'd written it. in fact i'd love to do a cover version of it. i was recently in stockholm visiting my friend victoria (bergsman) from taken by trees and we were singing it in the flat and talked about recording it. watch this space...
mp3: steve miller band - one in a million
stuart murdoch from belle and sebastian:
every day when i leave the house and walk over the iron bridge and up to the glasshouses, i listen to “what for” by james. i have a habit of dropping back 20 years in my thoughts, and having a parallel soundtrack running in my head so that i may be walking in a street in 2008, but my head is in 1988. i don’t know why that is. this is an up and hopeful song of the period from a band i used to care for deeply.
as we slip into the autumn here, i am prepared to let my new song of obsession become “the game” by echo and the bunnymen.
“everybody’s got their own good reason why their favourite season is their favourite season”.
mp3: james - what for mp3: echo and the bunnymen - the game
alison eales from butcher boy:
I'm waking up to Labi Siffre, and wondering how I managed to stay asleep for so long. His songs are diverse, unpretentious, and performed with tangible joy. I'm literally waking up to him as well - I have 'It Must Be Love' set as my alarm, and it is proving to be a very nutritious musical breakfast.
mp3: labi siffre - it must be love
who we are
i love music, but i can't play it for the life of me, so i might as well try writing instead. hope you like it. i'm from singapore, where there really is good music if you look hard enough. i'd love to hear from you (yes, you): email@example.com
I'm a four stringing minstrel of doom, and hired gun for the odd band or two. Few things excite me more than music, and whiskey soaked vocals are a definite plus, so please be sure to send some my way. When I'm not contributing to I'm Waking Up To and MAP, you should follow my misadventures at http://litford.wordpress.com And yes! I'd love to hear from you too: firstname.lastname@example.org
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