New albums by Miss Ko, GBOYSWAG and more

The title of Miss Ko's new album sounds like typical rapper braggadocio.

Then again, she does have something to boast about as she was the first hip-hop artist to win the Golden Melody Award for Best New Artist for her debut Knock Out (2012).

But it also points to her roots as the Taiwanese-American grew up in Queens, New York.

Her third album finds her in fine form and ready to reclaim her throne. Her comeback to naysayers who nitpick over her Mandarin: "Did win a prize, wrote a song for A-mei/I'm not your idol, I'm your idol's idol". She then raps smoothly in English on Started From Scratch: "Never settin limits/representin for da women".



    Miss Ko

    Universal Music


    4/5 stars



    B'in Music


    3/5 stars

There is a less combative side of this queen as well.

She rails against an inferior offering on Pizza, but also waxes lyrical about the perfect pie. Athletic Shoes Centipede finds her in a playful mood as she raps about her beloved sneakers. Everybody Ride gets into the groove with a piano riff and an invitation to hang out and chill.

It is a more varied album compared with the party-hearty vibe of GBOYSWAG's album. This is the debut of Taiwanese outfit Magic Power's DJ Gu Gu and it does not stray far from the dance-floor and radio-friendly electro-pop formula of the group.

He raps in English as well and on Make It Real, he offers to: "Talk n talk n share them thoughts/Maybe chill out for a while." But I would rather listen to Miss Ko.

Boon Chan

The works for piano four hands by French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) amount to well over three hours of music.



    Massimiliano Damerini & Marco Rapetti, piano Brilliant Classics 94448 (3 CDs)

    4.5/5 stars

In this chronological survey dating from 1880 to 1915, one will discern his stylistic evolution from ambitious teenager to that of an established master.

Some works will be familiar to general audiences - the pretty Petite Suite (1886-1889) for piano duet and the more modernistic En Blanc Et Noir (1915), his last but greatest work for two pianos.

Then, there are the faithful but monochromatic transcriptions of orchestral favourites, Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun (1894) and La Mer (1905).

The music to be found in the first two discs is virtually unknown, such as a single-movement Symphony In B Minor (1880) and Diane Overture (1881) - early works which were never orchestrated.

With Printemps (1887), Marche Ecossaise (Scottish March, 1891) and the Spanish-flavoured Lindaraja (1901), his more distinctive voice begins to emerge.

The Italian duo of Damerini and Rapetti give sympathetic and best possible accounts of the obscure pieces.

Chang Tou Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline 'Hot Tracks'. Print Edition | Subscribe