Friday, 10 February 2012
Everyone has senses, be it from your nose, the touch, how you feel, and of course, what you hear.
Everything is linked, just like everyone is linked together. They always say, you only need 6 friends to know the whole world.
Our trend has moved into a faster pace. Though the music genre has differed from the past, majority enjoys easy listening and light contents. Pop culture is never 'old' thats why new musicians, and new artistes comes and goes all the time.
So what makes it so special. I believe that human, as a whole, is being built to be strong as individuals, coming together to be even stronger to excel in the things/vision they have. In the music context, this shows team building and it also shows alot of expressions of different emotions. It is not just a job where you go in and do your 9-5. Passion is built on FAITH. The Faith to be able to do something you have never done before and making it happen.
Have you wondered, if you have no hearing sense (deaf). For someone who is born deaf, they definitely wouldnt quite understand and probably will not feel much as life still goes on. Here I am saying, what if you had the taste of good music, but one day, when you wake up, its all gone? No sound from the TV, no music playing of your favorite band, no nagging from your love ones etc. Then what?
My purpose of writing today is really hoping that we as individuals really learn how to appreciate music, appreciate life. For the fact things are moving so quickly, have we really 'seen them all' or its all too quick we only looked on the surface and didnt really digest. No food's good for us if we gobble them all in without digesting. No good if you dont know what someone is really saying if you know listen and not try to understand. No point saying the ocean is just and ocean when you have not even any idea how deep it is when you havent swim into it. No point saying 'I already know it all' when God made this world and said, do not always know by your own understandings. It simply means, there is so much more we dont know. Then, why do people think everything is so easy and sometimes, have you heard people saying, you think too much?
Lets all learn to think a little more. Dont fall into depression just because you refused to listen carefully, and digest, doesnt mean the world is against you.
Music and Life is the same. Music is Life.
Monday, 13 December 2010
Having come from the United States, one of the world’s leading sources of Western Rock, Pop, Electronic/Dance, Hip Hop and R&B music, it was certainly a colorful myriad of experiences for me in this musical hot bed. Even though I was brought up in the city of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), my soul cried out to the sounds of Detroit.
In the annals of electronic dance music, there is no place more iconic than Detroit. Detroit was the heart and soul: a collision of social, economic, technological and musical ingredients that launched a new movement worldwide. Without the efforts of a small group of mostly African-American youth from Detroit and its surroundings in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, dance music would be very different today. Many people would say that Electronic music lacks the soul of live music, however in it lies the life of a new digital era – and no James Bond movie would be complete without its signature Electronic Dance Theme song like ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’.
From the birth of Chicago house, the legacy of New York disco to other scenes and sounds around the world (Japanese synth-pop, Italo disco, European EBM, UK Acid, Industrial, Techno, House, and so on), Detroit has, without a shadow of a doubt, proved its influential power over the kingdom of dance music, even till today.
Moby, an Electronic musician-producer based in New York, is also one of the great musical totems of the electronic dance music scene. A true musical genius, Moby started making music from the young age of 9. He introduced a whole new world of strange sounds, sampling, effects and different world musical cultures fused into electronic music. This was apparent in his hit song ‘Voodoo Child’, where the hypnotic sounds of Africa were blended seamlessly into the techno sounds of Electro. Electro music no longer belonged exclusively to the Western world – it became the sound of the world. Very soon, Electronic music took its dominance over the world, absorbing the sounds and cultures of the different continents and countries that it spanned across. Every year, DJs from all over the world and in the U.S would congregate in celebration of the Miami Winter Music Conference that is held in the month of March (we liken this to the annual ‘ZoukOut’ dance event in Singapore, and the famous ‘Ibiza’ dance party in Spain). It is always exciting to experience different sounds from around the world at such large-scale music parties, where sounds from Japan, Iceland, Europe, America, Brazil, Singapore (yes, even Singapore, with Zouk being ranked the Top 10 club in the world!), Korea, Africa pulsate in one heart beat.
GACKT (the beautiful man)
We now shift our focus on Asia, to the leading icon of fashion, technology and music – Japan. Japan has never failed to enthrall me with its creative and experimental sounds of eclectic music. Known to be great innovators in Electronics, it is no wonder Japanese Electronic music never fails to bear this similar nature. I am intrigued at how the Japanese come up with interesting Concept bands like ‘Visual K’, ‘Engineer’, ‘High-School’, ‘Asian-Goth-Lolita’, ‘Anime/Manga’, ‘Harajuku’, “Pretty Boy’ etc and the list goes on. Concept bands like the ‘Engineering Company’ concept band ‘MEIWA DENKI’, ‘Visual-K’ bands like ‘THE GAZETTE and ‘GLAY’, ‘Beautiful man’ artiste like ‘GACKT’ (I hear the gals screaming now at the mention of this name), ‘Pretty Boy’ band like ‘SMAP’ and its ever so popular member ‘TAKUYA KIMURA’ (*sings the ‘Gatsby’ TV commercial jingle now), anime band artistes like ‘NANASE AIKAWA’ and ‘MIKA NAKASHIMA’ etc paint such a colorful graffiti of boldness over the audio landscape.
I would like to bring to your attention the Industrial Engineering Company concept band 'MEIWA DENKI'. This band is really worth checking out. The band consists of the 'President' of the 'Engineering Company' and workers dressed in Engineering Overalls and jumpsuits. Every musical instrument played by the band members is handmade and invented by the company, and powered by 100 Voltage switches. I have included some photographs of some of the band's musical inventions below, which prove to be really amazing. Apart from that, the band also invents its own merchandize and toys like its popular 'Knock Knock' toy series (these toys are always sold out!) and it's a thrill to watch their inventions of Robot dancers and flowers dancing on stage to the music in their live shows.
This photo shows the 'wearable winged musical instrument' on the left band member, where he dances and snaps a series of castanets in percussion rhythm. The guy on the right is holding a DIY invention of a 100-voltage switch powered drum machine.
The MEIWA DENKI 'Guitar Fan' musical instrument invention. The guitars are automated and controlled by playing the keyboard (played simultaneously in harmonized chords), powered by a 100-Voltage switch.
Not to neglect my favorite Electronic Dance music genre, my favorite Electronic Dance music DJs/Producers would have to be ‘TOWA TEI’, ‘KEN ISHII’ and ‘JAZZTRONIK’. New age artiste ‘KITARO’ also creates ‘haunting and mesmerizing’ sounds that fuse traditional Japanese sounds with Western sounds. It is very interesting to hear Japanese music, as these experimental artistes are really good at combining Western and Asian sounds like Western Folk, Country, Dance, Jazz, Traditional Japanese music, Classical, Metal, Rock etc, yet achieving that sense of balance and harmony in the mixes.
Now we come to my favorite country: Singapore. Many people wonder why I would even like Singapore, a place many regard as ‘small and boring’. There are many things that I love about Singapore, and one of them is the diversity of cultures and music – all found in this tiny little sunny island! I feel that it was really apt to hold the inaugural Youth Olympics Games (YOG) in Singapore, as this is the country that truly displays such a fine example of a multicultural society that speaks of racial harmony in its finest. Another thing is, Singapore is a sunny place, and where the sun always shines, it is a happy place! I am absolutely in love with the local music scene, and bands like ‘The Great Spy Experiment’, ‘B Quartet’, ‘Aphradistra Fly’, ‘The Fire Fight’, ‘The Observatory’ and others resonate in my mind. This little island city really has many talented musicians and songwriters.
The Fire Fight
Being pretty much ‘Asianized’, I even like listening to Chinese music sometimes! It is interesting how Chinese Pop music infuses Western R&B with Chinese melodic lines. Love ballads still take predominance in the Chinese music arena, and form the staple for popular Karaoke joints like ‘K-Box’ and ‘Party World’. I do notice one major difference between the U.S and Singapore when it comes to ‘Karaoke Culture’. In the States, we have Karaoke bars where anyone could go up to the stage to sing and perform their music selection in front of an audience, whereas in Singapore, Karaoke bars usually have several private rooms with individual karaoke systems. Even when it is a bar with a shared microphone concept, the arrangement would be individual groups of tables and seats with separate TV screens, maintaining that aspect of privacy. This could be due to the fact that Asians are shier and more modest than their Western counterparts. Nevertheless, I do love a good Karaoke session anytime (even though I am not the best singer to begin with)! I also love to treat myself to music havens like the Esplanade (I certainly love the live bands at the Waterfront and during music festivals like the ‘MOSAIC’ music festival), SCAPE, ZOUK disco club, HOME club, Timbre, The Substation, The Fort Canning and other independent underground music events and concerts whenever I hear of any! However, I do wish that the Singaporean audience could loosen up a little more at the gigs and concerts and just enjoy themselves and lose themselves in the music. It would be fun to see more head-banging, morshing and body-surfing at the ‘pits’ during such dynamic gigs! And it would be cool to have house parties where friends could exchange and share music, or perform in bands together with a live DJ, immersed in beautiful music and conversations over home-concocted drinks, and food. Good music doesn’t have to be heard only at the usual places – the home can be transformed into that dream music haven too, even if it was just for a day. In conclusion, I feel that there really is so much choice of music in this world, and the selection is boundless. How could anyone find life a bore with such limitless fun? The world is never a boring place with music J
Sunday, 12 December 2010
有谁知道 聖傑 ，对自己的音乐要求非常严格，每天写歌，录歌到半夜，还远到美国去录制，要求最好的品质给歌迷们,对音乐有很多想法的他，真的很认真！每次和他吃饭，喝咖啡，一定离不开音乐和他对自己的要求，一个大男人对自己的音乐理想，他的人生真的不同。。。
李聖傑&楊韻禾~時差 － 词，曲： 李聖傑
康康-哥们儿 词，曲： 康康
大同，对音乐的态度，是不商业，音乐坚持自我风格。 他，是个很有家教的孩子，对人完全没有明星架子，是个好艺人！ 我喜欢他。。 他真的很棒！！
方大同 - singalongsong
快樂就好 詞：林俊欣, 陳孟奇 曲: 陳孟奇
马克, 施于淳是个新加坡很棒的编曲人及作曲人，A-lin 的分手需要练习和郭采洁的烟火出自于他手，他对自己的音乐，很有自己的一套看法，新加坡有优秀的音乐人，你们发现了吗？他琴弹的很好哦！
咬字 - 何維健， 作曲：施于淳
谭志华写的 － 擦肩而过
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
‘Castle of Cagliostro’ and ‘Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind - 鳥の人’. I fumbled a little on the keys at first, but as I got the hang of the notes to the keys and matched the keys to the melody in my head, I found myself beginning to play the songs and imagining the scenes of the animated films in my mind as I played. I felt as if I was taken away to another magical fantasy world. It was just then that the Principal of the school walked up towards me and asked me where my mother was. I realized that I was lost and a public announcement was broadcast for my mother to find me. When my mother came to fetch me, the Principal had a word with her and told my mother that I had a natural gifting in music, and urged her to sign me up for piano lessons to nurture my talent. Disbelieving at first, my mother finally signed me up with the school after I replayed the song for her on the piano.
Youtube video of the theme song for ‘The Castle of Cagliostro’ below:
Growing up in my teenage years, my rebellion struck again when I secretly self-enrolled myself into design school (which had both animation and audio-engineering/music modules in the Interactive Media Design course). Even though my mother did not regard art and creativity too highly (she felt that it was an utter waste of time and that art, design and music did not have much prospect), I chose to follow my heart and pursue my passion. I never regretted my decision and I became one of the better students in the faculty; I even topped audio-engineering class, under the discipleship of the German DJ John Kompa. I moved a step further and formed a band in design school and became an active member of the Campus Music Club. An avid fan of the Japanese J-Rock singer Nanase Aikawa, I wore the same hairstyle of heavily layered and textured hair in bright red streaks, and was regularly spotted clad in Rocker-chic street wear on campus grounds. Being in the design school and the Campus band meant that I was constantly exposed to new forms of eclectic and outrageous music styles. It helped all the more with multi-national friends from around the globe, where I raved over Dance and Electronic music from Iceland, France, Japan, USA and so on. Tunes from Electronic, Trip Hop and Indie bands/artistes like Gus Gus (Iceland), Bang Gang (Iceland), Bjork (Iceland), Towai Tei (Japan), Ken Ishii (Japan), Jazztronik (Japan), Portishead (UK), Moby (USA), Fat Boy Slim/Norman Cook (UK), Chicane (UK), Massive Attack (Bristol, UK) constantly filled my Discman back then (we did not have MP3 players during that era), and my leisure times were spent together with my equally crazy ex boyfriend (who was a trainspotter - bedroom DJ) scouring the aisles of Tower Records in search of new vinyl 12-inch records and CDs. I later moved on to start new bands (my current band being the Goth-Alternative Rock band ‘Scarlet Resonance’) after my graduation, and took part in gigs, performances and songwriting/band competitions. It gave me a sense of self-fulfillment whenever I won an award, but even if I did not, I walked out from that experience learning something new.
My band 'Scarlet Resonance'
Having gone through this whole journey of musical discovery, I have learnt that after all this; going back to the basics is still the key. With all that clutter of information that I had accumulated over the years, my songwriting began to reveal the signs of clutter as well. In my quest to make my music sound better, I kept trying to add on layers and effects, instrumentation, samples and other stuff, and ended up losing myself in the muddiness of it all. There was one time when someone commented that he did not know where my focal point in the song was, and he felt that the instruments and vocals were clashing with one another. He told me in all honesty, that he had much preferred my earlier works, where things were kept simple but beautiful – whereby the lyrics, melody and crisp vocals could be clearly heard and conveyed the emotions and story of the song well. Another time, I was too focused in making the music sound good, that I neglected the lyrical aspect, and the end result was a song idea (it wasn't even fir to be considered a song!) that did not execute the true expression and emotions of the lyrics. When I reflect back on the theme song of ‘Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind - 鳥の人’ and what made me fall in love with that song when I was four years old, I realized that I had been captivated by the simplicity of the song, and its expressive simple strings and piano despite the lack of lyrics. It was then I truly knew, that in order to write a good song, one has to be true to oneself – to be genuine and not pretend to be something that he/she is not. What is the mood that one is in? What is that one belief? What is the message that one wants to bring across? It isn’t such a complicated thing – life’s pleasures lie in sheer simplicity. Take my favorite Chocolate Truffle cake for example. It looks just like a simple chocolate cake but when I bite into its soft yet rich and light texture, I feel as if I am in heaven. Any additional decoration or icing on top of it would further enhance it, however, icing on a distasteful cake does not do much to make it a better cake.
My music video where I played the piano and sang the cover song 'Storm' by Lifehouse
My first Mandarin Song Composition, song titled '黑暗光明 - Darkness To Light' (Lyrics written by Chen Lin, Melody and Vocals by me)
I would encourage others to believe in themselves and to persevere in their dreams and beliefs, no matter how others try to put one down. Every dream starts with a conception: an idea, thought or plan. But like a pregnant woman who is conceiving a child, one day, this child has to be birthed, thus, an action plan has to be tied to every conception of a dream. Never let negativism or other dream crushers pull you down – always think Positive. Even though music is still very much my interest/hobby, rather than my profession, I am still working on this passion of mine, with the belief that it would take me somewhere in the future. Concentrate on the small successes and take it step by step, and as for my case, I see myself moving nearer to my goals as I take part in more competitions and win awards, or writing better music, getting involved in more gigs/performances, and actively looking for opportunities. Opportunities do not come to you in perfect conditions, and often times, you have to create/search for the opportunities. Do not let your dream become dormant, for time waits for no man, and when the time has past, would you be able to live in the regret for not having done the things that you wanted to do?
Lastly, I would like to end with a few inspirational quotes and words of advice from world-renown guitarist Steve Vai, below:
Steve Vai's 'Words of Advice' Video
“Identify what is it that you really want. Cos whatever it is that you really want – that’s what’s gonna come out. The things that you are most comfortable with, that you do the best.”
“Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. I don’t work on my weaknesses, I ignore them, and I cultivate my strengths.”
“The level of achievement that we have on anything is a reflection of how well we are to focus on it. Cos the only thing that is holding you back is the way you’re thinking”
“Pick a song in your head that you would like to play, that you would like to achieve. PICTURE yourself playing it, imagine what it sounds like, keep visualizing. See yourself playing it from beginning till the end. The more you see yourself crystallizing that vision, the more it will become a self-realization prophesy.”
“There’s no work involved, becos it’s all a joy. Cos u know you’re reaching your goal. There are challenges, but never struggle a day in your life.” – Think Positive
“So you break it down piece by piece by piece, bar by bar. Eventually you will be able to play that piece of music. That’s where you keep sticking on it, until you own this piece of music – then it flows. Then you will become the music.”
When I was a kid growing up under the church, there was just 2 kinds of music,
Sunday school music and secular music.
The lines between genres were never really clear to me until later on.
So I guess you can say yes, Jesus found me
…But the Spice Girls were not far behind.
Pop raised me up, and out.
Some kids were raised by the heavy metal bands and the smell of guitar polish.
The funny thing was that my family only realized the existence of Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon way later, we subscribed to those channels when I was like 13 or 14.
But before that, at 6 years old, I had…MTV.
From the flashy music videos to the countless awards shows starting up and raving audiences, pop music was everything and everywhere.
It had begun absorbing little bits and dits from the Hip Hop genre, to the Rock Genre.
It was borrowing elements from every kind of popular sound, and revamping it tenfold, for a much bigger community.
It is tempting to confuse Pop music with, ‘popular’ music, but it came to exist near around the 1950s, when artistes started releasing tunes to evolve out and away from the then-revolutionary, rock and roll season.
Music Television used to be pretty much, ‘Rock TV’.
And over the years you can trace the shift of hands, like to the hip hop community at one point, but Pop music by then had pretty much deaded the old MTV.
In other words, you’d be able to find Britney Spears back to back with a Daft Punk music video, then to a Busta Rhymes video, but you won’t see AC/DC come near that playlist.
Pop music suddenly had this identity and as you may guess, made a few enemies too.
I never understood that exclusivity.
A lot of people just…slam the pop genre on their day to day conversation, commonly calling it ‘music for the braindead’. But those same people, have a Kylie and Prince record on their CD shelf. Then when you catch them, they’d say ‘hey it’s just guilty pleasure’.
I love how fans of the Rock genre are so sensitive and proud of the music they listen to—actually they don’t need my love—the rock family is more than happy being oh so fearless.
We all know a someone in our social circle that wears the black band print T-shirts and is finger friendly every time he plugs in a bass. Yet millions and millions of more people subscribe to Pop music every day, request it, vote and buy all that merchandising that come with it, but aren’t strong advocates of what they listen to. I really want to see a change in that.
I will not apologize for my indulgence in Pop, where’s my parade?
Growing up influenced by the world of pop, heck it even taught me how to speak, like this is weird but since a very young age, I could do a British accent, American accent, African American accent from just the stuff I watched on TV.
That was my exposure for me, my playtime. The reason why I don’t really use singlish a lot is because, I wasn’t often meeting up with the other kids to ‘reauthorize’ the way I’m supposed to sound.
Music taught me how to spell. No kidding.
I would visit the CD stores and memorize as many artistes and their albums and singles, just for fun.
MTV taught me how to sing, how to dance.
I’d pause and play ‘till I picked up Michael Jackson’s dance choreography.
I would tape record Janet’s performances and pick up moves as well.
Kids around me played with toy cars then, I couldn’t care less, I was turning shampoo bottles into microphones and… practice hosting the Video Music Awards.
That was my childhood, that was my school I wasn’t enrolled for.
Is pop music a genre with the verse-to-verse and chorus-over-chorus structure?
Is it a bunch of superficial artistes singing about how hot they look, how warm the summer is, how good they are in bed and how we all ought to hit the clubs as much as we shower?
Or hey, does it contain subliminal messages, and metaphorical references to other issues not crystal clear until reviewed under close observation?
Is this new thing I’m hearing, about pop music being all about mind control and its links to Satanism true?
There are so many questions we have about Pop music.
As much as I’d love to get a go and start answering questions, I’ll let the music do the talking.
We’ve heard so many pop songs, without ever, really listening to it.
Like the jungle book, I was raised by a bunch of wolves.
From Madonna to Gaga, pop music has never failed to capture and ensnare my senses and emotions. I can’t keep still when I hear a good pop record. I can’t fake a smile, when I hear my favorite song. I’m. Not the only one.
In this website, I will be the writer updating you with what’s new today and what’s coming tomorrow. I’ll educate you on the classics you ought to know, to better work your taste buds. You will get to hear a universal sound as well, with songs from all around the world. All the while, tackling the many questions we have about the genre and invite you in to share your thoughts and opinions.
You won’t look at music the same way.
Pop Pride begins today.