LETTERS by Deon

After leaving Berklee College of Music in 2008, Deon Toh transited from the role of a drummer to a singer-songwriter. Years of supporting acts in the localeah  scene through his drumming has gifted him the ability to piece melody and rhythms together harmoniously.

Deon’s original “Little Lives” was one of the top submissions in the NOISE 2011 open category. Deon was also invited to Power98FM to perform his originals live on air.

LETTERS – Deon’s debut demo- features four songs out of many that he wrote in the span of a year. Inspired by friends, family and strangers that he met in his travels and back home, these tracks act as personal letters written to them.

To achieve his goal of sharing his music with everyone, LETTERS has been released for free digital download.

Cheating Sons: Masters, Wives, Daughter

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Cheating Sons sparked to life in late 2008. Borne out of the magical brew of life, love and music, the sons are rooted by the blues and rock & roll, and grounded by the salty banks of the Kallang River. While Dylan sang of the valley below, Springsteen sought the Promised Land and the Clash went to the market, the sons are finding their place here in their sprawling, unforgiving home the best way they know how – by watching, writing and playing.

For most of their recording career which began in mid-2009, the sons comprised of Renyi (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica), Cheez (lead guitar, banjo, bass guitar), Don (bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, slide guitar, backing vocals) and Jem (drums, percussion, organ, backing vocals). Jem left the sons and Singapore in early-2010, but not before procuring a friend’s little brother, Andy, to assume stick and skin duties.

The Last Queen is taken from the band’s debut Masters, Wives, Daughters, now available at HMV and Gramophone.

Catch the band for an acoustic set on 8 March, and a full electric set on 9 March from 7:30pm onwards at Timbre @ The Substation.

Whispers in The Wire, CloseApart

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The story of CloseApart begins in 2006. Formed from the ashes of a number of late ’90s bands that graced the local scene, the band initially thought their initiative would amount to no more than a couple of ad hoc jam sessions. But this quickly took on a dynamic of its own, as they began churning out their own material, then started playing gigs and committing their efforts to disc.

“Given our crew’s diverse musical influences (U2, Led Zep, Kasabian, Fleetwood Mac, The Verve, Daughtry), labels are something CloseApart would rather stay away from when describing our work. We think that it’s just rock n roll in all its myriad forms – from indie to punk, electronica to funk and glam to garage, there’s a little bit of everything in a CloseApart song. Call it a universal groove. Call it music with no limits.”

Close Apart are Aloy Lim (lead vocals), Shahn Isaac (lead guitar), Harold Seah (drums) Ronald Rajan (rhythm guitar), Christopher Derek See (bass),and Mera J (vocals).

Take a listen to “A Whisper in The Wire” from their debut album, Whispers in The Wire, which came out earlier this month.

Jupiter, a mash-up of sonic and visual trickery

An unprecedented collaboration of four creative minds, -Adrian Yeo of ktone.fm (music production), Clara Teo of Fakenylon (interactive), Ryan Lee of Frommetofu (video) and James Khing of Bangers & Mash (graphic design)-  Jupiter is the result of a freejam.

The inspiration of the artpiece is designing for, from and with music. It stemmed from James‘ background in Zouk and LifeBrandz where he had to design flyers and other collaterals to showcase the musicians who came to the clubs.  From there he created many unique design styles, the most popular being the deconstruction of machines and re-creation into more futuristic contraptions.

When tasked with the launch project of ktone.fm, James decided to revive this style and Jupiter is reanimated to make the experience for the user more interactive. “Users click on each individual image of the DJ to produce an electronic sound (clips from tracks produced by Adrian), and can click it again should they wish to stop the sound. They can play up to four different electronic sounds simultaneously, thus becoming “music producers” in their own right, as they try to match the sounds with each other.”

Exhibition: SING (星), fashion+film+music

Fashion designer/musician Lilia Yip presents her first fashion + film + music exhibition SING (星) in Singapore opening this Friday. Inspired by her love for Hong Kong film comedies from the 1990s starring film artiste Stephen Chow, SING (星) is a collection of ethical women’s and men’s clothing that uses light-hearted surrealism to convey ideas of ethical design and design activism.

SING (星) also features the first screening of a short film (of the same name) made in collaboration with filmmaker Jessica Kneipp for the collection, as well as a short film by video artist Alvaro Collar. There will be two evening performances by local band morphy, fronted by Yip, whose music is used in these films.

The exhibition runs through 24 February at Night and Day. Short films will be screened throughout the day as part of the exhibition. Live gigs by morphy on 18 and 19 February at 8.30 pm. Free Admission with selected works for sale.

The Observatory+Andy Yang=Anitya 1

Borrowing from the Buddhist mandala ritual, Singapore art-rock band The Observatory presents Anitya, a performance series exploring the relationship between music and a non-musical art form.

In the first instalment, The Observatory and Artist-Illustrator Andy Yang enact this ritual with sound and painting. From start to end, the musicians and the artist search for inter-connectedness and synchronicity. There is no script, no rehearsal, and no grand design. Everything is created instantaneously and destroyed as soon as the point of completion is reached.

Observe how music and art interact. The work of Yang is dynamic and subtle, produced in a manner that places emphasis on the physical act of painting as it connects intuitively with sound. Anitya is about the process, a reflection of the temporal nature of life and art. Experience this mutability in the sounds of The Observatory, arising from a wordless dialogue with the collaborating Artist.

24 January, 7:30pm and  25 January, 1pm at the Earl Lu Gallery, LASALLE College of The Arts, 1 McNally Street. Admission is free.

Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme

To help aspiring local musicians be heard amidst the clutter of the massively crowded YouTube, Noise Singapore and Timbre are launching a platform to provide young, talented singer-songwriters in Singapore with the first step to becoming the next big thing. The Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme aims to uncover unknown gems on YouTube and have them trained by top musicians in Singapore before giving them the chance to perform live at Timbre @ The Substation.

From 14 December to 16 January 2011, local youths aged 18-35 can take part as an individual or duo by recording videos of themselves performing one original song and one song of their choice, and uploading them onto YouTube. Participants then have to visit the noise website to become a member and submit their YouTube video links to take part in this competition.

The first winner will be picked by Noise Singapore and Timbre in February 2011, while ten other finalists will be unveiled at the same time for public voting on Noise and the Timbre Music Academy Facebook page. Based on the number of “likes” for the videos and ratings by judges from Noise and Timbre, one winner will be chosen each month from March to July 2011.

Winners will undergo a fully sponsored four-week workshop series helmed by Mang Irama Dusique from Goodfellas/Zero Sequence and music veteran Kevin Mathews to hone their songwriting skills, performance technique and musicianship before taking to the stage for a 20-minute set at Timbre @ The Substation.

I Am David Sparkle: Swords Are Drawn

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Presently consisting of Amran Khamis, Djohan Johari, Farizwan Fajari and Zahir Sanosi, I am David Sparkle is one of the pioneers of the instrumental post-rock scene in Singapore. Since its inception in 2001, the band has garnered a strong underground following in Singapore and internationally with its music and emotionally charged live sets.

2010 sees the release of Swords, their second full-length album, and fifth release in total after The Apocalypse of Your Heart, This is the New, Nosferatu Makes Me Nervous and the Live in Houston bootleg EP. ‘Swords’ is a title that transpired from the band’s vision of incorporating a heavier regime and rhythmically complex elements into their sound than previous releases.  It is  a compilation of new and previously unrecorded material, making it a record that is more guitar driven, when compared to ‘This Is The New’ (2007) which was gently laced with ambience and electronic elements. The traits of the new album could also be attributed to the chemistry in the current lineup, after the departures of Yamani Ismail (bass) and Nick Chan (guitar/electronics) in 2007. While still maintaining their love of soaring melodies, ‘Swords’ takes the band to a more abrasive language -as heard on tracks “A Bad Corpse (Your Majesty)” and “Ghostfuck”- in conveying their ideas and thoughts. Maybe it’s their fascination for most things heavy and ostracized, or just as a token of discontent, nonetheless the new album marks another flag in the band’s passage.

The launch of the album will be celebrated at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 3 December, 9.30pm. Tickets are available from the Esplanade Box Office and Sistic.

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