AUDIO JUNKIE: Songs to diversify your taste

Published August 29, 2020, 4:47 PM

by Punch Liwanag

Music as an industry is ever-expanding. It sees so many changes in the span of a week, a month, let alone a year. 

But, of course, you can’t be blamed if the artists you follow and the music you enjoy are firmly situated in the realm of the familiar, and yes, from the countries that you know best and in the language that you understand the easiest. 

With the practice though, it’s easy to miss out on other talented artists and great music. 

To help you out, here are two artists within Asia that we suggest you check out.

A group that has so quickly and successfully distinguished themselves in the EDM scene are Indonesian electronic dance group Weird Genius. 

Their single “Lathi” (released last February 2020), with its compelling fusion of haunting vocals courtesy of Indonesian singer Sara Fajira, layered beats and synth sounds influenced by Gamelan (Indonesian roots music) mixed with western pop melodies and industrial sounds in their dance  production certainly was a sure formula for internet success.  

Sara Fajira (Facebook)

The music video for “Lathi”  to date already has over 87 million views on YouTube and has even spawned its own TikTok challenge. 

There can be no doubt that Weird Genius has truly appealed to the tastes of EDM enthusiasts from across borders.  

And speaking of borders, Weird Genius—whose members include Reza Oktovian, Eka Gustiwana and Gerald Liu also recently released a new track entitled “Hush” made in collaboration with Dutch EDM giants Yellow Claw. 

Weird Genius

Here they distinguish from their prior hit by going for a more mellow, synth pop feel. 

The track features Indonesian R&B singer Reikko, whose clean but edgy melodies would have made for a pretty-sounding acoustic ditty if not for the signature flavors of synth, beats and electronic sounds that envelop her thick, velvety vocals. 

Reikko

The result is a simultaneously emotional and heartfelt song that also happens to be a definite head-bopper that you can easily lose yourself in.

Then there’s extremely talented and versatile artist, Vivian Hsu is primarily known in East Asia for her successful modeling and acting career.

Vivian Hsu

Nevertheless, she is very much active in the music scene with multiple hits under her name both as a vocalist and a songwriter, either for herself as a solo artist or as a member of other bands or even writing for other famous artists. 

It’s not difficult to connect that impressive reputation with her most recent song “再見錯的人 Goodbye”, an emotionally charged, dramatic piece that is sure to tug at your heartstrings regardless of your ability to understand the Taiwanese dialect it is sung in.

The track opens with Hsu’s melodious vocals being accompanied by a soft guitar, instantly and effectively setting up the morose mood of the song. From there it gradually builds up as a steady addition of drumbeats electric guitar and synths to support the initial foundation. 

Sure enough, the song hits a crescendo in the chorus all the way to a understated but effective guitar solo. A captivating sampling of mellow rock, Taiwan-style! All the while, Hsu’s serenading voice remains the most striking feature in its powerful yet melancholy delivery. When all is said and done, this song of sorrow and farewell is only at its bitterest if you miss out on the chance of listening.

 
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