Saturday, April 03, 2010
VARIOUS ARTISTS- + 65 Indie Underground Digipack 3 CDs Set
(Universal Music Pte Ltd 2009)
First and foremost I would like to thank all the good people at Universal Music for citing “rockinthefinecity” in this compilation. Thanks to Teck Kheng especially. Secondly, it is about time that Singapore indie music gets its due recognition. I've said this so many times and I've even doubted the potency of my words but finally someone answered my call (or our calls). The magical significance of “+65 Indie Underground” is not just uniquely Singapore but YOUR Singapore. The number of songs here also do not add up to 65, but aside from the obvious: country telephone code, we have our final “Independence” (not counting the British one) in 1965. So it makes sense that 65 and indie go hand in hand. The underground part is open for interpretation. This handsomely packaged 3 Cds compilation features 50 exemplary Singapore bands and their music in retrospective, from the 1984 new wave of Zircon Lounge all the way to the 2009 supergroup TypeWriter. A large part of the material contained therein falls in the '90s range. And I thought that in this period, Singapore music sounded the best.
I'd wish that this compilation can hold more material than the three Cds worth of music, which is still already quite a feat in itself considering that alot of the older recordings are difficult to source and reproduce these days. Each CD represents an era, from the most current to the 90s mainstays and last but not least the pioneers. In my opinion (especially after hearing every tracks on this compilation), I find that the Singapore bands of this age have the technology and the bands of the past have the grit. The bulk of the '90s bands are a mix in between. Some popular '90s Singapore bands like Kick! are obviously not included here because the contenders need to be struggling amateurs with little radio appeal and bad sounding demos. Just note the word “Underground”. Some of these bands attained cult status over the years but alot of the others are forgotten and forsaken in time and oblivion yet sounding good and brilliant. Some people may ask, “if the bands are so good, why are they still underground?”. Well, to answer their questions, “because they are from Singapore.” Here you will find some of the underground gems unearthed and excavated for the first time on digital format, like Corporate Toil's “Johnny Says”, the Razor's Edge's “Winds of Change” (not a Scorpions cover), as well as Nunsex's “Ripride (Tons of Black Clouds)”, all very original sounding experiments created from the budding period of the Singapore underground, and which can also serve a lesson for some aspiring local avantgardists who thought Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the most special thing they've heard.
Chances are a second series of the compilation might be in the pipeline. I hope it will materialize because there are at least few dozen more well known Singaporean underground bands that didn't make it to this compilation. Take for instance Teck Kheng's own Mindrape Protestants and Kim, Raw Fish, Mortal Flower, Fection Dasche, Rocket Scientist, etc. And if somebody wishes to do an anthology on Singapore hardcore and metal a 10 disc boxset will not even suffice but that is another story altogether. .
--sojourner at 12:47 AM