When writing about outsider musicians, we often reduce them to a couple of lower-rung social archetypes that you wouldn’t think as musical: the mentally unstable(Daniel Johnston) or the vagrant, who might be a bit mental themselves (Willis Earl Beal). But Shelhiel, better known as Supershelhiel to his fans, is an outsider not because he is an outcast, it’s due to his status as a local Chinese popstar whose popularity rose from participating in a reality show.
He just happens to make pretty great beats.
Latest release ‘Baby!!!’ is an extended version of his minute-long Midnight-Oil Vol. 3 entry, one of the better submissions for that iteration. Here stretched to a complete track, Shelhiel makes full use of what he’s learnt since joining Kuala Lumpur’s beat scene. With chopped and filtered vocal samples on loop, trap tempo, anodyne synths and keys, and a hip hop influence wrapping everything together, the track wouldn’t be out of place in the relatively new canon of jersey club music. Next to ‘Galaxy Love’, this might even be his best production yet.
Listen to more Shelhiel here.