Our featured picks this week - rock 'n' roll from KAZZMIR , a cross-genre beat collaboration from KoFlow and David Loke Kai Yuan, and heartbreaking indie rock from kotoji!
“When It's Done”
When It's Done / Peringatan
To be completely honest, at the first listen I was not impressed. Fortunately, over time upon multiple plays while doing housework, I found myself instinctively bobbing my head. This might be KAZZMIR's best release so far – its stylings remind me of 80s rock staple Jane's Addiction, while the bassline reminds me of Jane's Addiction's fellow 80s contemporaries, Talk Talk. To me, it is a perfect blend of both, and could possibly be my favourite parts of the song.
In line with the prior singles, the vocals for When It's Done sound great and is mixed well. The reverb is applied just nicely to bring out the singer's vocal stylings while maintaining their grit. However, I can't help but think that it could use just a smidgen less of the dry signal. Normally, I would advocate for harmonies in vocal tracks – but I feel the lack of it works for this song. That being said, I would have loved it if it was perhaps doubled on the chorus – it is quite verbose.
I especially enjoyed the three-section bridge, and the time signature changes in the first and third sections. While maintaining the band's intention for the song, it manages to taking us away for a moment. That being said, I would have loved it if the final chorus had more of a crescendo – after all, the vocal fry ad-lib leading into it was so heartfelt! Whatever their approach was to writing and recording this song, I hope they do it again for their future releases. I would absolutely love for them to come to Singapore and perform!
Listen to "When It's Done" here:
- by Chester
KoFlow & David Loke Kai Yuan
Tangent / 19SixtyFive Pte Ltd
A project aimed at cross-genre experimentation, the first release of releases from Tangent Moves seamlessly matches the dynamic beatwork of turntablist KoFlow with the exuberant string work of distinguished classical violinist David Loke Kai Yuan. Forming a concisely crisp listening experience, KoFlow’s boom bap bounce and psych-funk sonics spring to life with delicate composition – its sustained energy almost as if were synthesised in an organic manner rather than the confines of a turntable or computer. Loke Kai Yuan’s articulate violin phrases and solos are the cherry on the cake, adding a welcome living breathing element to the otherwise digitally concocted grooves. Opener Call Me is an instant standout - with house-esque vocal samples standing side by side with its ridiculously funky midi-bass work and Loke Kai Yuan’s lively strings. Title track Tangent presents itself with shimmery synths, longing string refrains, and an infectiously walking groove. And on later parts of the EP, Blues melds spectacular beat work with understated guitars - leading into beautifully narrative violin solos.
A dazzlingly enjoyable debut, Tangent bands together two artists from starkly different musical backgrounds in an experimental affair that reaps the best of what both artists have to offer. Here’s to looking forward to the next batch of releases from Tangent Moves.
Listen to "Call Me" here:
- - by Isaac Yackem
“Please Don't Do It"
Please Don't Do It
The first taste of kotoji’s upcoming debut album, Please Don’t Do It, is an emotional ode to vulnerability. Very much in line with the Mitski-influenced colour of her previous singles, the single builds upon the artistic narrative established in her “Prequel Era” –detailing heartbreak, doubt, and self-destruction. Clocking in at slightly over 2 minutes, the track’s strength lies in its earnest simplicity and concise nature. It leads to a significantly breezier affair than its more indulgent predecessors – here, every melancholic chord, bass lick, or synth line lingers just long enough to convey the emotions it has to. Before you know it, the track is finished, but what remains is its residual impact. As she builds on the song’s refrain (“I’m not ready”) into a soaring crescendo to close out the track, kotoji artfully drives home the song’s intent - an admission and exploration of her own human vulnerabilities.
Listen to "Please Don't Do It” here:
- - by Isaac Yackem