THANKS to young, quality acts such as Najwa, Ali Aiman, Pitahati and Yuna, contemporary Malaysian music no longer has to bear the sneers and side glances it once garnered from local youths.
But time to add another one to your playlist if you haven’t already; former Butterfingers member and indie wizard Loque has a new single out with his current band monoloQue and it’s something you’ll want to listen for days to come.
On first listen, “Badang Kotaraya” is a quirky, catchy beast with enough detail to keep millennials focused throughout its four minutes. After opening with Loque’s aggressive questioning and an “一,二,三,四!”, the song kicks into riff-rock and crunchy guitars.
It all leads into a stunning psychedelic coda which repeats until the end, combining traditional Malay elements — we’re talking gendang for percussion and a joget melody — with contemporary indie-pop. There’s also a harmonium and a female choir in there somewhere for that special something.
Written and produced by Loque and performed by the band, the song was mixed by Greg Henderson and Hafiz Ahmad. Listen to a preview of the track on Youtube (which unfortunately cuts off just before the really good bit) or the full thing on Spotify!
In terms of lyrics, Loque claims that “Badang Kotaraya” is for “the oppressed and the weak-willed, the misunderstood and the low-spirited” and the ones who “try and try but continue to be stifled by ironic conventions and the vicious cycle of modern urban living”.
On the surface, the song tells a fantastical story based on a Malay folk tale — the track’s titular character becomes powerful after swallowing the vomit of a water demon — but look deeper and it could reveal itself a satirical take on Malaysian society.
“Pahala syurga, lu paling ‘terror’ / Lu ingat lu doktor,” Loque taunts. Through his on-track persona, he dismisses those who claim to be experts in not only worldly matters but also the afterlife.
The song marks the final appearance of drummer Loko, who leaves monoloQue with a final gift: the “Malay blues swing” evident on “Badang Kotaraya”.
Replaced by new member Bakri, the band is now in its unofficial third incarnation, dubbed “monoloQue 3.0” by frontman Loque.
Imagine all the sex appeal and energy you got from “Kupu-Kupu Malam”, but with monoloQue’s mystic nusantara vision clearer than ever. “I finally achieved the sound I’ve been hearing in my head for so long, captured on tape at last,” Loque confessed after the release of “Badang Kotaraya”.
The song is the official second single off Hikayat Halimunan Abad Ke-21: Jangan Puja Sampai Kecewa, following last year’s “Ringgit”.
Make sure to get “Badang Kotaraya” from iTunes!