Singapore Scene

Funky tunes

Subsonic Eye.
Subsonic Eye. PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SIM, JOEL LOW, SONY MUSIC SINGAPORE
Jazz pop singer Joanna Dong.
Jazz pop singer Joanna Dong.PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SIM, JOEL LOW, SONY MUSIC SINGAPORE
Benjamin Kheng.
Benjamin Kheng.PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER SIM, JOEL LOW, SONY MUSIC SINGAPORE

The crop of releases from the home-grown scene in the past month includes jazz-pop singer Joanna Dong's first Chinese New Year song, which was fashioned from an American indie band's recent Christmas tune.

Subsonic Eye continue to be one of the most productive bands in the indie scene and have released their third album, while singer Benjamin Kheng has a funky collaboration with Taiwanese singer/rapper J.Sheon.

Check them out on music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp.




1 INDIE POP

NATURE OF THINGS

Subsonic Eye

Nature Of Things is the third album from indie band Subsonic Eye which made their debut in 2017.

The nine tracks see the quintet pivot from the sonic fuzz of their past to clarity and purpose, finding beauty in disharmony. The lyrics tackle intimate experiences, ranging from a tribute to cats to a lament on the loss of nature.

The band are set to mark the release of the album with a sold-out concert at Esplanade Concert Hall on Saturday.




2 ALTERNATIVE/ POP

THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE

Shawn Tok

Singer Shawn Tok, who first made his name as the winner of reality Mandarin singing contest Campus Superstar in 2007, is back with his second EP. Comprising two Mandarin and two English tracks, the lyrics explore escapism from the rigours of adulthood. The songs traverse various genres, from disco to rock to lo-fi.




3 POP/R&B

THERE YOU WERE

Miss Lou and Owen Li

Singer-songwriter Miss Lou's new song, There You Were, is a collaboration with fellow artiste Owen Li.

The song is taken from the debut episode of her weekly Web series, A Song A Day, which sees her come up with new songs with different artistes. The topics for the new songs, which cover genres ranging from pop to jazz, were suggested by her followers on Instagram.

Upcoming episodes, launched every Friday, will feature collaborations with other acts including Tim De Cotta and Haneri.




4 POP/JAZZ

KUAI LE LE LE

Joanna Dong

Jazz pop singer Joanna Dong's (above) new single is also her first Chinese New Year-themed tune.

A fun track titled Kuai Le Le Le (or Happy-py-py in English), it is based on a Christmas ditty Merry Merry (2020) by American indie band duo The Bird And The Bee.

"I've always wanted to release a song for Lunar New Year, but I never thought the melody would be from a Christmas song in English," she says.

"In spite of this, in a strange beautiful way, I think it works: Both celebrations are very similar in their fundamental form - families make a point to gather and visit, there is feasting and the exchange of gifts, and we greet loved ones and strangers with words of blessing."




5 ELECTRONIC

DESIRE

SWTLKR

Electronic artist SWTLKR, whose real name is Vijay Singh, is back with his latest EP. Comprising three new tracks, the tunes reflect his desire for transformation and ruminate on love lost.

The EP also includes two remixes of the title track, a bachata version for Latin dancers and a bass version for the club crowd.




6 R&B/POP

MOVE

brb.

R&B trio brb.'s first single of the year, Move, is an infectious and upbeat tune made for the dance floor. The trio of Auzaie Zie (Disco Hue), Marc Lian (Fulses) and Clarence Liew (CLO) are reportedly working on new collaborations and are expected to put out their sophomore EP later this year.




7 POP

NAME DROP

Krysta Joy and Zionn

Krysta Joy, winner of the 2017 Noise Singapore Award, teams up with electronic music producer Zionn for a pop track that is a departure from her soulful roots.

It is one of the tracks produced under the *Scape ALT. Residency that sees musicians pair up with seasoned electronic music producers.

"Name Drop addresses a hole many of us fall into as aspiring artists in Singapore - feeling the need to mention an association or affiliation with someone more successful than you in hopes of adding value to yourself," she says in an Instagram post.




8 POP

FRESH FEELINGS

Benjamin Kheng featuring J.Sheon

Singer Benjamin Kheng's (above) single Fresh Feelings, an ode to the joy and uncertainty of new love, features guest vocals from Taiwanese R&B singer/rapper J.Sheon. The song, which also features a choir, was a blast to make, says Kheng.

"Music's always been a communal experience for me, so it was crazy fun and an honour to write for a choir of some of my favourite Singaporean voices like Alemay Fernandez, Dru Chen and Dominic Chin.

"Having J.Sheon on board was a blessing. We got to speak about the project only over texts and video calls, but the energy he brought was insane and I can't wait to perform it live with him."




9 POP

DOORBELL

Matilde G Doorbell is a catchy new dance-pop single by Singapore-based Italy-born singer Matilde G.

She says: "This song really vibes with me because it's about a girl who wants to live however she wishes to and have a blast along the way. Looking at the bright side of things is the only way to get through these crazy days of insecurities."




10 HIP-HOP

REPACK

Ihasamic! x Wovensound

Rapper and visual artist Ihasamic! and producer Wovensound's EP, Repack, is accompanied by a short film directed by Ihasamic! that weaves the four songs into a single story. Wovensound says in a statement: "We wanted these four tracks to be like a short, reflective therapy session. They cover the theme of repetition and mundane cycles... on a much more personal level - an internalised conflict instead of an externalised struggle."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2021, with the headline 'Funky tunes'. Subscribe