While DJs still get the big festivals, club bookings, and the attention of organisers, local dance and electronic talents have turned to their bedrooms and the ethers of the web for exposure. JUICE browses our Soundcloud connections to seek producers previously unheard of, and it turns out we’re not far off from this gen’s zeitgeist sound.
ALIUDDIN & ALPHA DRACONIS: SEAPUNK ACOLYTES
Aliuddin and Alpha Draconis aren’t really a duo, we grouped them together here because the two are the closest Kuala Lumpur has to post-seapunk/witch house producers. Like Pictureplane, Alpha Draconis can oscillate between the industrial bass of rapegaze (try his Salem-esque remix of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’) and something more in line with Travis Egedy’s trance-y preference (minimal rave track ‘Feel It’). Aliuddin’s musical inclination leans towards Shlohmo and Nosaj Thing – tracks like ‘Never Thought’ and ‘3scenes’ remind us of vintage Low End Theory-born beatmakers. Combined their respective influences on one song, such as their joint effort ‘N451 4R48’, and out comes a genre-ambiguous genuine dub track that almost made it seem like KL had its own sound system culture to speak of.
IWAZ: ELECTRONIC NATIVITY
There is a rise in Malay artistes seeking to find the “nusantara” in the contemporary music they make. The quality varies, most acts come off as trying too hard in attempting to insert the traditional into the bleeps and bloops of modern music. However, Menikmati is one of the more successful ones out there – no wonder then that bandmember Iwaz’s solo incarnation is just as adroit at combining native instruments with electronica. From transmogrifying Fadzil Ahmad’s ghazal tune ‘Lenggang Lenggok’ into downtempo future pop (with a surprisingly vicious coda) to down pitching Tamil songstress Swathi Krishnamoorthy’s ethnic vocal styling on ‘Swathi (Remix)’, turning it into something of a post-witch house dream pop (think Purity Ring), Iwaz has an ear for both globalised and cultural sounds. Iwaz is also adept at adapting a specific genre and transcending it beyond its limitations, such is the case with his non-gamer pandering chiptune track ‘Malam’.
DAI-KAN: BORROWED VOICES
While Faris Malik’s solo tracks are fine on their own (although going further down his Soundcloud history would reveal some unfortunate EDM-influenced production), there is more promise in his project with Aizi Aminuddin, Dái-Kan. Borrowing the vocals of upcoming singer-songwriter Nabilah Musa and one Hilmi Yassin, on ‘There’s Nothing’ and ‘Fields Part 1’ respectively, the duo makes the kind of deliberately dawdling chillstep tunes that use voices only as another layer to the instrumentation. That’s for the better, Nabilah Musa’s voice sounds best on ‘There’s Nothing’ as something of a sound effect rather than the twee vocal intonation you’d hear on her own songs. If you prefer your cathartic ambient music without the distraction of someone singing over it though, Faris Malik’s solo tracks ‘sa’ and ‘1607e’ should do the trick.