Albums Of The Week

.gif get more seductive

.gif's Nurudin Sadali and Chew Wei Shan (both above) sound more self-assured in Soma.
.gif's Nurudin Sadali and Chew Wei Shan (both above) sound more self-assured in Soma.PHOTO: JONATHAN KIAT

Electronic duo thrive on gadgetry in sophomore release while Anise strips it down to bare essentials on her debut

Two weeks to go to 2016 and the spate of quality local music releases this year has not dried up yet.

Electronic duo .gif (pronounced "dot jif") launch their sophomore release, a full-length one this time, with a show at cafe and roof top bar Golden X The Great Escape tonight.

Soma comes two years after their debut EP, Saudade, and expands on its seductive, downtempo vibes. The songwriting is stronger and the prismatic beats, synths and arrangements by songwriter-producer Nurudin Sadali and singer, songwriter and producer Chew Wei Shan - also known by her stage name Weish - sound bolder and more self-assured than their past works.

Like many of the eight tracks, opening song Blanche has a distinct swagger, with Weish crooning confidently over a strutting beat, while Juvenile envelops the listener on a blissful, trip-hop landscape.

  • ELECTRONICA

  • SOMA

    .gif

    Syndicate/Dunce

    4/5 stars

Godspeed, one of the strongest tracks on the album, propels along on melancholic melodies and sparse, economical beats as Weish croons: "Brother, you were the best of us and it should have been me/ And you've never been heavier on the pillion seat".

  • FOLK

  • INWARD

    Anise

    Self-released

    3.5/5 stars

The hip-hop touches only hinted at in the debut are a lot more pronounced this time. Rising rapper Mean (The.XS Collective, H Y B R D T H R Y) trades a few choice verses with Weish on Money while Timothy De Cotta (TAJ, L.A.B) plays minimal bass, sings and raps on Sate.

While .gif thrive on electronic gadgetry, budding singer Anise strips it all down to the bare essentials on her debut release, Inward - an acoustic guitar, violins, cellos and her beguiling, fragile voice, which ranges from a quivering soprano on Aoraki to whispery on Underwater.

Anise is a member of folk music collective The Diarists, and the mood on the five-track EP, produced by Victor Low (ex-The Observatory, Affixen), is sombre.

But look through the shroud and you will find a reassuring and comforting tone on contemplative tunes such as Midnight Sweepers ("Midnight sweepers they come, running round from dusk till dawn / They jostle and they broom, through the carcasses of noon") and Bones ("Lead me into the sanctuary, not of gods and holy men /But of eyes that weep only for me, and lines that never bend").

A fitting soundtrack to accompany quiet, pensive evenings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline '.gif get more seductive'. Print Edition | Subscribe