New wave of electronic sounds

New wave of electronic sounds

SINGAPORE - Electronic dance music might have crossed over into the mainstream, what with the Billboard success of international DJs such as David Guetta, Avicii and Calvin Harris.

But an emerging breed of home-grown electronic acts from the club scene are producing left-of-centre music that is challenging, cutting-edge and stretches the boundary of the genre.

Syndicate, Darker Than Wax and Midnight Shift are record labels-cum-event organisers formed in the last few years. They are not only driving the local scene but are also making global impact with the acts on their roster.

The DJs and producers of audio-visual collective Syndicate have performed in festivals and live shows in France and the United States, while Darker Than Wax and Midnight Shift release music by local artists and also those from the Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada.

An EP release by Syndicate artist Octover, a local duo consisting of singer Vanessa Fernandez and producer Jason Tan, was critically acclaimed by tastemaking US-based music website Pitchfork, which praised it for "stylistically heavy production" and sounding "both vintage and contemporary".

On the home front, two of the three Singapore acts playing for the first time at global indie music festival Laneway here next month are from the Syndicate stable - Fernandez and Gema.

Midnight Shift's home-grown act Eddie Niguel has been highlighted by Grammy-nominated English electronic act Disclosure, who included his track Absolute in their list of essential music for the BBC.

For Darker Than Wax, founded by electronic scene stalwarts Dean Chew and Kevin Guoh, 2013 has been a watershed year, with a tenfold fanbase increase based on its social media presence, streams and downloads.

All three labels organise regular and well-attended shows at local clubs such as Zouk and Home Club and also at venues such as The Substation. Syndicate will stage a show on Saturday at The Substation headlined by Octover and Cherry Chan.

Veteran DJ and producer Godwin Pereira, 39, one of the partners of lifestyle and entertainment group Limited Edition Concepts, says the rise of these labels and collectives is a sign that the home-grown electronic dance community is getting stronger.

He atttributes this to how technology has made it easier for Singapore labels to enter the game.

"The Internet and social media have helped make it easier to get your music out there, be exposed to new music and get in touch with your counterparts from anywhere around the world," he adds.

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