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The Theory For Our Revenge is the artistic project of Japanese fashion stylists, producers and visual artists: COLD FAITH and JHas. Last month, the duo unleashed their breathtaking debut single ‘朧(OBORO)’, an electronic number that’ll have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. From its cryptic lyrics to the equally mesmerising and unsettling production, ‘朧(OBORO)’ is a sonic powerhouse that serves as a wonderful introduction to the pair’s musical output.
Sam Rui has established a name for herself in Singapore over the short span of two years through her incredible covers and spellbinding original material. The singer/songwriter has performed in numerous local music festivals, collaborated with international acts such as Alextbh, and has created a distinctive, sultry sound. In ‘Solid Gold’, Rui teams up with LXX & High4 20 and encapsulates the essence of R&B whilst igniting a perfect, late night mood. The track wonderfully sets the scene perfectly for her forthcoming sophomore album which is set to be released later this year.
India-born, California-raised singer-songwriter, Zoya is carving a home for herself in the Indie pop world. Graduating from the world renowned Berklee College of Music with a music business degree, one can notice the sincerity and truthfulness in her work as she unmasks her conscience in her confessional songwriting and orchestral arrangements. Her music encompasses a diverse variation inspired by her country of birth, connecting North Indian traditional music through her captivating vocal style merged with deep stirring harmonies, emphasising her wanderlust nature. With three albums to her name, she’s gained recognition from heavyweights such as A.R. Rahman, as well as touring worldwide alongside various international acts. ‘Closer to Closure’ hails from her Afterglow Single Series where she released a new track every ten days – the song encapsulates the idea of finding a sense of closure in life with the unspoken issues and unfinished relationships she formed whilst living a dual life between India and America.
Paraphoniks was formed when Shatrunjai Dewan and Sid Shirodkar began to explore their shared love for modular synthesizers. In 2016, the duo promoted their second release, ‘Yarns’, with a string of audacious surround-sound shows that featured their music in an 8.1-channel incarnation. Since then they’ve continued to evolve into an increasingly genre-agnostic project, embracing various forms of electronic music with a unique sense of sonic experimentation.
Their latest offering, ‘Silhouettes’, was conceived during a two-week writing stint in the Himalayan hills. It retains the synth-heavy sound the duo are known for, while elevating the production levels, treading more expansive musical territory and conceptual ground. Featuring collaborations with singer-songwriter Azamaan Hoyvoy and drummer Sahil Shah, the album’s non-linear narrative takes inspiration from various modern-day cults and quasi-religious movements.
Smokey The Ghost has been a pioneer in the Indian hip-hop scene for the past 15 years. A socially conscious artist from Bangalore, Smokey has been involved in all aspects of the culture, from participating in rap battles to rendering his voice for commercial movies and giving due importance to collaborations. His raps emerge out of his observation and tackle various social issues; ‘Her Name Is?’ is a concept mixtape to be heard in sequential order, hailing from a personal experience that led to the realisation of the dishonourable oppression faced in various subtle forms by women on a regular basis. While the tracks form a coherent theme, the production is an amalgamation of the work of different producers based on different ideas emerging from the same concept of abuse of female identity.
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Amongst a wave of Malaysian artists on their way to international prominence, Alex Bong is one to watch. Under the moniker Alextbh, the 22-year-old’s sound infuses R&B with a slick pop energy, especially evident in his latest single, ‘walls’; the track is a continuation of his previous single, ‘still mine’, reminiscing on love, loss, and longing. Using his platform to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community, the self-taught artist continues to capture the attention of many.
Fopchu are a three piece electronic band from New Delhi who create alternative music unlike any other band in India. Their effervescent sound evokes a loopy ride through time with synthesisers, samples, and a rhythmic guitar-driven groove, in an intoxicating brew of charismatic vocals drawn from soulful blues, jazz and gufunktry chants. The band explores the ominous world outside with their debut EP ‘Milk Bred’; an amalgamation of funk and rock, lead single ‘The Undulating Brood Swing’ sounds exactly like the title suggests, riddled with a contagious bounce that’s guaranteed to get you moving.
Five-piece indie/nu-wave band Device have been shaking up the Filipino music scene since their formation in 2015. Formed by a group of friends studying together at university, the band emerged with their debut EP “The Element of Surprise” a name originally taken from one of their first demos. True to its title, the record catches listeners off-guard with a distinctive blend of traditional instruments and electric synths to create a textured, dynamic sound.
HAON celebrated the release of his debut project last month, encapsulating the development of a talented newcomer with huge potential. The winner of Korean hip-hop TV competition “High School Rapper Season 2”, the 18-year-old demonstrated ambitious determination and a youthful spirit to impress audiences across the nation, and has transitioned from amateur to professional rapper with ease. His first EP ‘TRAVEL: NOAH’ alludes to the biblical figure of Noah (also conveniently HAON’s name spelled backwards), as he describes his journey across seven songs. On the titular opening track, HAON delivers his mischievous vocals over a Latin-infused melody, holding his own as he ably exchanges verses with elite Korean stars Jay Park and Hoody.
Ape Echoes represent the creativity of the nascent Indian independent music scene. The brainchild of Mumbai based producers and multi-instrumentalists Nirmit Shah and Sid Shirodkar, the project sees the pair combining traditional acoustic and electronic instrumentation with experimental sampling, weaving together a complex immersive musical narrative. The duo formed in early 2016, with drummer Sahil Shah joining soon after, and their debut EP ‘Ape Machines’ was released in August 2017, moving through territories influenced by crossover jazz, electronica, noise, hip-hop, prog-rock, funk, and soul to create a distinctive original sound.
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Seedhe Maut represent the next stage in the evolution of Delhi’s hip-hop sound. Comprising of rappers Encore ABJ and Calm, the duo dole out verses packed with social and political commentary, mastering the art of sharp, antagonistic and inventive rhymes through their rapid-fire delivery in both English and Hindi. The first single from their upcoming debut album ‘Shaktiman’ is produced by Sez On The Beat, and constitutes a fiery declaration of working class struggles; riffing off the metaphor expressed in the cult Indian TV series of the same name, the track imparts an underlying emancipatory message of self-belief, encouraging listeners to break free from the shackles of everyday life and empower themselves.
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Mumbai-based MC and producer Tienas is a breath of fresh air in the city’s hip-hop community. Bringing to the forefront a Nujabes-inspired sound that hasn’t been seen before in a region dominated by ‘gully rap’, Tienas’ ability to craft together complex narratives on fluctuating, chaotic beats has earmarked him as one of the most interesting new artists to emerge on the Indian independent music scene this year. His debut mixtape ‘Unavailable’ is a brazen showcase of his mercurial talent, oscillating between old school, chaotic hip-hop beats and a future-soul sound that showcases his songwriting ability. The project was released to widespread critical acclaim, and a show-stopping performance at the Azadi Records Roster Showcase has ramped up anticipation for his debut full-length album, scheduled for release next year.
Amidst the growing popularity of the dark, late-night sound in the Philippines’ emergent scene, Alisson Shore’s blissful falsetto and sweet harmonies stand out amongst the crowd. A producer/singer songwriter in Manila, he identifies his style to be a mix of lo-fi R&B and futuristic pop, reflective of a blend of influences into which latest single ‘Watercolor’ fits perfectly. Shore uses his vivid songwriting ability to tell a tale of failed relationships and bad chemistry, using a painting motif to explore the “symbolism of two non-identical colors that when blended in, no matter how hard we mix or add/lessen, it just doesn’t seem to look or blend well.”
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Korean duo Offonoff met at university, and developed such chemistry in their musical collaborations that they decided to drop out of school together. Comprised of vocalist Colde and producer 0channel, the pair released their official debut single ‘Bath’, and Colde has now made his solo debut with a project called ‘Wave’. Crossing multiple genres, the enterprising singer’s drowsy but absorbing voice has a unique quality to draw in the listener and create an easy, laid-back atmosphere; lead single ‘Sunflower’ sees Colde’s murmuring voice spinning a relaxed melody, describing his adoration towards his crush with a hazy energy reflected in the song’s visuals.
Kumail is a musician from Mumbai, India with an experimental electronic sound. His music stems from a myriad of influences, particularly jazz and hip-hop, while exploring more ethereal regions through heavily manipulated live recordings with atmospheric synths, meticulously panned rhythm sections and vocals forming the fundamental characteristics of his live performances. His album ‘From You To Blue’ was released in March 2017 on Knowmad Records. The project is about the end of relationships; addressing these experiences was something Kumail had never done before, giving birth to a new sound through his inner exploration.
New Delhi singer-songwriter Kavya’s roots in music go back a long way, to memories of growing up with her mother and sister and their version of lullabies being songs by ABBA, George Michael and Boney M. A multi-instrumentalist, she encapsulates a diverse range of styles within her music, with her band Mosko dealing in upbeat party starters while her solo work features more understated sombre soulful vocals, ‘Underscore’, her latest solo release, expresses the gut need to not take things too seriously and the rewards of misdirection, as the best lessons in life are learnt when you dust yourself off after a fall. The shimmering lo-fi electronic pop number features Rohan Rajadhyakha laying down the mean piano snippets and Rohan Ramanna on production duties.
Born in Korea and raised in the US, rapper pH-1 was making music alongside his day-job as a web developer when his delightfully uplifting sound began to attract attention on both sides of the Pacific ocean. The musician wanted to distinguish himself by making respectable music that he could sing for his family without any shame, whilst staying true to his emotions and artistic vision in creating his own style, earning him a record deal with Korean label H1GHR MUSIC and gaining recognition from the likes of Jay Park. His latest release sees him team up with PENOMECO; on “Cupid” the mischievous duo exchange romantic verses in both English and Korean over a uptempo synth-heavy beat.
Ruru delivers flair and originality to the Manila’s vibrant music scene. Her use of mellow synths and percussion alongside a smooth and soulful voice hold influences of RnB and bedroom pop for a captivating mixture on her latest EP ‘Far Out.’ The artist, born Ru Qumbo, describes her music as “scenes that seem to have been taken straight out of a living room party involving balloons, aquariums, fizzy drinks, and a lot of introspection.”
- Sid Vashi is a recording artist from Mumbai, India. In 2017, he released the concept album ‘Azuma Kazuma,’ which received critical acclaim for its ambitious narrative arc and intricate musicality. The final collateral release from the album’s universe, the single ‘Birds’, was released in May of this year. Azuma Kazuma is a Bildungsroman set in the outer solar system in the far-flung future, telling the story of a young nondescript man overwhelmed by existential fear, the finality of capitalism and wistful memories. Over seven tracks, the album swings wildly from bass, to jazz, to indie ballads, all coloured in the tones of Sid Vashi’s warbling voice and labyrinthine electronica. In 2019, he plans to begin a fresh release cycle inspired by new surroundings and old musical traditions, tempered by his own unique irreverence.
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Sidharth Ezhilan writes genre-defying electronic music as Ezzyland. Starting off as a committed fan of hip-hop before discovering electronic music through Soundcloud, his music reflects his broad range of influences; though fluid in form, the core precise note selection drives the narrative with an emphasis on melody and a full sound run through experimental downtempo motifs. With his latest release ‘Kryptonite’, the Chennai-based musician creates a compact but satisfying piece, with hedonistic, melancholic lyricism marking his first attempt on vocals. His experimental approach, fusing hip-hop and electronic music with an organic groove, leads to the creation of an evolutionary sound and makes Ezzyland a definite artist to watch.