Archive for December, 2011

Youth Revival Vol. 3 @ Shalien Studio, Kuantan – 24/12/2011

Instead of going to the gathering outside the Indonesian Embassy in KL in solidarity with the Aceh punks that were detained and “reformed” last week, I followed my friends Shh…Diam! on another of their road trips to play a gig on the east coast – this time in Kuantan. There were a lot of bands playing, but I recorded these four and two others but those recordings aren’t uploaded (yet) because I don’t actually know the name of the bands.

Loop Analysis
37 min 27 sec / 51.4 MB / 192kbps MP3
Just before Loop Analysis started, the guy in the band closest to a microphone introduced the band as a post-rock band. The last song on Magic Dirt’s Young and Full of the Devil, is an instrumental version of the first song off the album – Babycakes. If you can take that as a reference point, you can start to understand the kind of “post-rock” Loop Analysis play – the more noisy, heavy, grunge form of “post-rock”. Three guitarists, a bass player and a drummer experimenting with a bunch of different ways to make noise with their instruments (for example, using a cello/violin bow). And at one point, they sound like they’re playing Zombie.

The Midnight Meeting
12 min 19 sec / 16.9 MB / 192kbps MP3
I started recording the Midnight Meeting just before they played a “Poster the People” cover. I had no idea who Poster the People were until I went home and googled “Poster the People” and google told me that I was probably looking for “Foster the People”. Of course, that Malay tendency to make F’s into P’s. I also had no idea who Foster the People were anyway, but maybe it sounds a little bit like the Midnight Meeting.

Reason to Resist
22 min 17 sec / 30.6 MB / 192kbps MP3
There’s nothing like a bit of crust to make me feel seventeen years old again. If I was to describe Reason to Resist with 2007 references, they are thrashier than Scum System Kill but crustier than Smash N Grab.

24 min 38 sec / 33.8 MB / 192kbps MP3
Finally, I have a recording of Shh…Diam! in their rockstar mode (as opposed to their acoustic mode and other less noisy modes). The vocals sound a bit weird on this recording, like the treble got cut out, but maybe I’m just underestimating Farah’s low register. As usual, they were just a lot of fun to watch and listen too.

Bedroom Producers & Garage Bands

I went to a lecture at MMU. I’m not sure what was the name of the class, but the lecture was about post-production in sound design (if that’s the correct way of articulating such a concept).

During the lecture, the lecturer, I can’t remember who he was but he was a guest, started talking about “bedroom producers”. He said that because some bedroom producers use headphones and not super awesome monitor speakers to listen to their work, there has been a “lowering of the bar” in recent times.

That didn’t seem right. He seemed to forget that before we had “bedroom producers” we had “garage bands” and the equipment that garage bands used back in the day is a lot worse than what bedroom producers are using. In fact, with the spread of technology through pirating proprietary software or sharing open source software, quality means of musical production are now available to the poor “bedroom producer” or “garage band”.

I’m not very good at maths, but it would seem that its not so much a “lowering of the bar” but a shift in the opposite direction as more people are able to make higher quality recordings. Quality, of course, with regard to production. Composition and content could still be complete shit but no amount of monitor speakers can save you from that.

Rantai Art Fest 2011 @ Urban Village, KL – 18/12/2011

Last day of three day art festival at Urban Village, some place in Bangsar that I’d never heard about before. Music, art, lectures, clothes, etc. It was kind of like Frinjan but it lasted three days and wasn’t in Shah Alam.

Goodbye 20th Century
8 min 31 sec / 11.7 MB / 192kbps MP3
Unfortunately I arrived at the end of Goodbye 20th Century’s second last song. Fortunately their last song was over 8 minutes long. I enjoyed them. They call themselves “atmospheric rock, punk rock, krautrock, indie rock, shoegaze” but to me, it just reminded me a little bit of Nipples, Magic Dirt and the Cranberries.

Iqbal M
15 min 9 sec / 20.8 MB / 192kbps MP3
Just give a guy who prefers to not be quiet a wireless microphone and watch him dance and run around and sing and talk to random girls. Unfortunately, you can’t see that in an audio recording but you might be able to imagine. Or just fast forward through all the talking and listen to the songs.

Census of Marine Life
17 min 39 sec / 24.2 MB / 192kbps MP3
Post-rock. That’s about it, really.

The band that played after Iqbal M was also pretty good, I think their name was Keladak. I sat outside talking to a friend and watching cats while they played. After a while, I realised the music I was hearing was pretty cool and decided to go back in and record them. As I got ready to record them, it turns out they just finished their last song.

Fahmi Reza gave an awesome presentation about his different artistic and activist pursuits and how he combines the two. He went through punk music, street art, theatre, video and film making, and lecturing. It was pretty inspiring to find out that  one of Malaysia’s better documentary makers and history lecturers is neither formally educated in film making, graphic design or history.

After the last band played, Akta Angkasa came, moved some gear in and then after a few minutes, move their gear back out. In the end, they didn’t play. Hopefully I get the chance to see them before the beginning of February.

RRREC Fest #2 @ Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta – 5/12/2011

Monday night was the last day of RRREC Fest, a three day festival held in various venues in Cikini, an area in Central Jakarta. There were actually three different gigs at three different venues on the night, all within walking distance from each other, but I ended up just hanging around Taman Ismail Marzuki. And although a lot of bands played, I only recorded two.

21 min 24 sec / 29.3 MB / 192kbps MP3
And of the two bands I recorded, I recorded a band that I had already recorded a few days earlier. Not much was different from the first time I saw them. Of course, the venue was different, and the sound was a little different, but they played mostly the same songs in their same post-rock style.

Cambodian Space Project (Cambodia)
I didn’t record this band, but I feel that I should have. The band is from Cambodia, but only the singer, is actually Cambodian. There’s an Australian guy and I think the other two guys are French. They actually played really shitty old person rock n roll music but the singer had a pretty interesting voice and her energy made an otherwise boring band quite enjoyable. Apparently you can listen to a live recording of them on the ABC website.

Deerhoof (USA)
1 hr 6 min 31 sec / 91.3 MB / 192kbps MP3
I probably should have, but I’d never listened to Deerhoof before I saw them. I’d heard the name a few times, but I never really knew anything more than that. I don’t really know what to say about them, but they were pretty awesome. And as I began using different batteries at the last gig I was at, I was able to actually record the whole one hour set. Among all the Deerhoof songs, they also covered a Beck song (I think), during which the bass player played drums and the drummer played guitar and sang.

Rotasi Off the Air @ Rolling Stone Cafe, Jakarta – 30/11/2011

I went to Rolling Stone Cafe to watch a free gig. I didn’t know who was playing, but I heard L’Alphalpha were a post-rock band so the “free + post-rock” side of the equation was enough to get me there. I also learnt that Indonesians get into that stupid fake French name shit just like Malaysians do.

9 min 3 sec / 12.4 MB / 192kbps MP3
They were ok. Not amazing. But not shit. I can’t be bothered trying to find words to describe them. Just listen lah.

Stars & Rabbit
25 min 32 sec / 35 MB / 192kbps MP3
Stars & Rabbit are from Yogyakarta and they were amazing to watch. The singer had so much energy and at times did some mad vocal wailing a la Delores O’Riordan and/or Joanna Newsom. At least that’s how it was to my ears. My friend said she thought she sounded more like Bjork. But no one is as good as Bjork.

7 min 57 sec / 10.9 MB / 192kbps MP3
The “D+apostrophe” probably makes them cooler. And I have no idea how to speak French but I’m certain its grammatically incorrect, unless Z has a vowel sound, but I’ve never heard a Z pronounced with a vowel sound. Anyway, they weren’t that exciting, hence the 8 minute recording. I just thought it sounded like Coldplay or Train or something like that. But maybe you’re into that.

25 min 9 sec / 34.5 MB / 192kbps MP3
According to Google Translate “l’alphalpha” means “the alphalpha”, but I don’t know what “alphalpha” means, maybe its a different way of spelling “alfalfa” that I wasn’t aware of. So maybe they are called “The Alfalfa” which is kind of cute. Anyway, L’alphalpha are made up of a whole lot of people – maybe 8 or 7 or 9, I forgot to count – and they play what I like to call the more happy style of post-rock. Kind of like if Khottal listened to more Sigur Ros. Maybe. It was good.