Malique’s label Qarmamusiq keeps churning out great rap tracks among all of the trap songs circulating the cybersphere, but we also have some great trap rap songs this week too! Catch stoner rock band Berdosa, and also the two dream pop bands that released two very dreamy singles. Not forgetting to mention, Misha Omar has got a new single out! Follow us on Spotify to get the latest music updates. Click here!
Gong Nekara – Kmy Kmo, Luca Sickta
We know it’s been a while since the release of this song, but the music video released a month ago renders Gong Nekara worth mentioning. There isn’t much of a horrorcore genre in Malaysia, but Gong Nekara comes close to capturing a feeling of spiritual eerieness in its production – via the deft hands via the hands of producer and rapper, Luca Sickta. This response to Altimet’s Mambang fares way better than your typical fiery diss track as Kmy Kmo & Luca wax poetry around haunting gamelan sound, especially those that cite this newfound fire that is present in the current hip-hop scene (e.g.,“mungkin dulu rimba tebal semua berbekalkan pisau, Ini zaman sembur pucuk lagi laju dari santau”). People have referenced Malique’s influence in sharpening the skills of Luca Sickta, but in this track he’s truly come to his own with his own unique fiery bars. (Apa lagi? Mahu jadi? Terikat dengan bayang sendiri dari dulu sampai hari ini, haaaaa.. ) Named after a percussion instrument based upon Vietnamese traditions (it’s called Dong Son drum in Vietnam), Gong Nekara is definitely a track with battle spirits that can chill you to the bone.
4.2 / 5
BalDoh – Krayziesoundz
On the other side of hip hop is this trap banger from Krayziesoundz. The true hero of this track is I-Sky’s magnaminous production. The beats match the self-aware ‘humbrag’ of the lyricists, with SENNA, Eylsoul, NVKA solidifying the ensemble of Krayziesounds hard-hitting flows. The track talks about living it up even with very little possessions, exemplified in lyrics like “Saga macam ferrari, minyak tak isi lagi”. It’s cheeky, jokingly braggadocio. Although some of the flow is clumsy, but definitely a smooth transition from Krayziesoundz from his previous “horror show trap” sounds in tracks like BGYMAN and Lost House with hook for days.
Sampai Bila – Misha Omar
After all these years, Misha Omar has never lost the lustre in her powerful vocals. As a veteran pop balladeer, there is always a risk of releasing similar-sounding stale soundbites and pass it off as a mere platform for a strong voice, but the composition in Misha Omar’s Sampai Bila feels fresh. It’s modern without feeling forced, and at this rate Misha Omar is probably going to keep releasing compact heartfelt ballads sampai bila-bila.
4 / 5
Noktah – Sekumpulan Orang Gila
Noktah might have been released a while ago, but incidentally, it seems to be the most ironic song to review from SOG after they’ve announced that their last show as a band would be on the 21st of July. They have not expanded upon the reasoning beyond statements pertaining to “this is the best for SOG’s future”. When it comes to the song itself, Noktah is more of a thundering train of hardcore aggression than Dermaga. The impact of the song is carried wonderfully through by the dynamic between Riko and Nazrin. It’s one of the more powerful songs in their Dermaga EP and harnesses the rawer metalcore side of Sekumpulan Orang Gila. If you’re looking for some semblance of lilting melodies you won’t find it here, Noktah is a belligerent headbanger, no-holds-barred with fighting lyrics like “Pantang menyerah sebelum kalah/Takkan kita hilang di dunia Noktah, noktah!” . Other than that, it’s pretty run-of-the-mill and not one of SOG’s interesting productions, but still a decent song to rock to.
3.5 / 5
Debar Lembut – Salammusik
Irama Melayu & idyllic serenity are married beautifully in Salammusik’s latest single. The word seloka has never been more of a suitable synonym in a long time, but Debar Lembut weaves lessons of civility in living, as one goes through emotional turmoil or bouts of disagreement with other people. It’s rare to find a song filled with advice that isn’t preachy, but reaches the heart in a soothing manner. Simultaneously, Debar Lembut feels epic and homely. Even though Debar Lembut strays slightly away from their rap or reggae roots, it is one of Salammusik’s best spiritual song to date. It also makes me miss my kampung even though I just came back last week.
4.7 / 5
Digimon Democracy – Berdosa
Digimon Democracy varies wildly from Berdosa’s first single with much clearer psychedelic roots. With this track, the three-piece band brings out more of a stoner rock vibe, with minimal guitar but still – as quoted in the band’s Bandcamp page – ‘with a healthy serving of fuzz’. It’s a rugged track with a personality, especially with the subtle digital SFX interspersing hardass guitar riffs. The dramatic lyricism in the song also adds a bit of an apocalyptic atmosphere embodying a kind of a technological dystopia. (I’m not trying to cure us/I’m part of that great sickness that plagues us all/So let us now destroy us/And celebrate the fall and the end of us all). Through it all, Berdosa feels like a deadbeat hybird of Stone Temple Pilots and Queens of the Stone Age. Great track with fuzz galore.
4.5 / 5
I Know – Takeout Boyfriend
When Takeout Boyfriend’s first single, Back 2 U, came out at last year, we were intrigued by the soporific vocals and sultry production. I Know feels slightly contrived unfortunately, with the coherence of the track falling slightly flat without any moments to relish in a hook that just barely reaches the register. He’s still just venturing into discovering his sound however, so there’s still a lot of potential that can be tapped.
3 / 5
The Pills (I Know) – Bear Scouts
Synthy dream pop guitar bands are growing like mushrooms in the Malaysian music scene – all seeming to worship the dust left behind by The 1975’s Matt Healy. Midnight Fusic’s success with Lovesick and Heart of May has apparently started (or at least popularized) this movement again. Although newcomers, Bear Scouts definitely carry some of these influences, the dream pop in their 80s heart sticks out like a bright sore thumb more than the recent edginess of bands like the 1975. Pills is a super bright track that feels very floaty – thanks to the union of Aliff Azhar’s softspoken voice and the jangly guitars which feels like a match made in heaven. The morbidity of the lyrics alluding to a pill addiction makes this an even more joyful listen, as you bask in the irony of the melody and reluctantly (or enthusiastically) sing-a-long ot the lyrics. A great tune, for sure, and Bear Scouts is now definitely in our scopes now.
4 / 5
fake.guitars – lost.spaces
Speaking of The 1975, another band entering into the scene is lost.spaces Drawing inspiration from HalfNoise & Seoul and The 1975, fake.guitars is a dream pop songs with melancholy in mind, with the right amount of hopelessness and darkness. It’s a tight pop song, that’s seamlessly produced, but at times the sort of pastel aesthetic they’re going for doesn’t suit how crisp-sounding the track is. Or maybe I’m just used to lo-fi sounds coming out of bands with nostalgic vibes as opposed to high-fidelity chart pop. Still a good song, nevertheless, and lost.spaces is a promising band to look out for.
3.8 / 5
Terkemuka – Benzooloo, Zizi Kirana & Sandra Dianne
There are so many amazing people on this track it is hard to choose where to start. In Terkemuka, label Qarma Musiq brings out the big guns with Benzooloo & Zizi Kirana each taking turn dropping poetry that wax a million chills. Takahara Suiko’s contribution to the composition is in the hook; a poetic visualization of being bathed in light which on the surface seems like a braggadocio way of conveying your own greatness, but there is also a sense of ephemera to it – like all that’s remain of your glorious life is your lost individuality, since now you are nothing more than light. Whether it’s simply a cooler way of swagging up your credentials or I’m reading too much into the meaning and that there was no complex metaphor for fame is not the point, the point is that it’s well-written. Even Benzooloo’s lyrical choices reveal why he gels so well with Taka musically, especially with Taka’s tendency to combine her scientific trivia & Wikipedia affinities with her lyrics. This is most evident in Zizi’s line, written by Benzooloo: “Masuk kebun sub atomik partikel bersentuhan/Gabungan menjadi kalau kodisi mengizinkan”. It’s the type of songwriting that goes well with the styles of Malique’s proteges who are slowly coming to their own. Zizi’s execution rolls through with precision and Benzooloo chimes in with bar tempos of early 2000s hip hop. Benzooloo is not short of his acrobatic verses either, with triple inner rhymes in lines like “Pasal dalam parsel ada puzzle” and profound hopeful lines like “Nampak macam kalah tapi sebenarnya bukan/Belum orbit sepenuhnya nampak sinaran bulan”. Nothing falls short from Benzooloo in this track. Sandra Dianne’s singing however, leaves somewhat a lot left to be desired. The child-like quality to the voice adds a certain quaintness to the chorus, but at times it feels like the hook goes on too long or doesn’t do much to add to the richness of the song except in just punctuating the different verses of Benzooloo & Zizi. That being said, the flaws of this are drastically overcompensated with the tight production by Malique, with the classical score carrying the spirit of the track through and through – using that surefire Malique formula of a simple but stirring beat that leaves for room for the words to elevate the song.
4.7 / 5
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CORRECTION (3.7.2018) – Takahara Suiko only wrote the hook for Terkemuka. Benzooloo writes his own verses and Zizi Kirana’s.