Foreword by Jocelle Koh
Playlist Notes by ELE而樂
Photos provided by Maker Records
Mashing together avant-garde electronic influences with a love of dark, soulful strains of Mandopop, Singaporean duo ELE 而樂 may be a new set of faces, but present a mature and intriguing sound that bursts onto the scene fully-formed. Sound designer Bings creates a brave new world of unique synths and textures upon which melodies warm and inviting are delivered in vocalist Jeanly’s effortless vocals.
Professing their love for Mandopop dark horses Sandy Lam 林憶蓮 and Guo Ding 郭頂 as well as electronic acts such as Frou Frou and Chvrches, ELE 而樂 seem to have mastered the art of reconfiguring these influences, turning them into their own sound. Check out their favourite picks as they unpack the meaning behind each of them, and check out their latest single “我只想要 I Just Want You” to see if you can spot hints of all their varied influences in the track!
Track 01: 柿子 – Sandy Lam 林憶蓮
This song is from the album Gaia 《盖亚》，a jaw dropping collaboration between Sandy Lum and Chang Shilei. This album marks the start of Sandy Lam’s creative self-exploration and has shown her versatility as a brilliant singer and artiste. 柿子 is a performance that fully utilises the voice as a medium to express the desperation in our climate crisis together with the well-thought arrangement to present a spine-chilling song.
Track 02: Let Go – Frou Frou
Guy Sigworth and Imogen Heap form a duo called Frou Frou, each a great artiste in their own right. Let Go’s arrangement & mix weave in and out behind the voice engaging its audience from start to finish. The song was used in the movie “Garden State”.
Track 03: Reset – Mutemath
Brilliantly spatially designed psychedelic song by Mutemath, a band formed as collaborations between Darren King and Paul Meany started. A song I like to get lost in to distract myself from the drones of daily routine.
Track 04: 巴黎的憂鬱 – Waa Wei 魏如萱
Waa Wei is an artiste whose repertoire comprises a wide range of emotions and this song brings out such a blend of frustration in its storytelling performance through its voice, production and instrumentation that it has its unique appeal from this respectable artiste.
Track 05: K/Half Noise – Múm
A slow burn electronic masterpiece by Icelandic experimental music group, Múm. If you have a good idea, sometimes it’s better to wait it out before presenting it. There’s so many little surprises scattered all over the track, some of it occurring only once, making the track feel like a treasure hunt for sonic nuggets.
Track 06: Gun – Chvrches
Every Chvrches song is like a goldmine for amazing synthesizer sound design and Gun is perhaps the most iconic of Chvrches’ songs in that aspect. That bright cascading opening line just draws you in like a moth to open flame. The way the energy of the song ebb and flows through the use of different synthesizer sounds is the textbook example for crafting a perfect synth pop hit.
Track 07: You – Kyson
A master of combining folky guitars with edgy electronics in the most delightful way. The album “A Book Of Flying” was really a springboard of inspiration for us, pushing us to try many different elements which we otherwise wouldn’t.
Track 08: 我只想要– ELE而樂
We wrote this sort of right when Singapore was going through a lock down and many other countries were doing the same. Even though the song talks about the separation anxiety that lovers who are passionately in love experience, the truth is the idea came from the fact that we really hoped to be able to see our loved ones soon. So yeah, this is our light-hearted take on seeing one another again.
Track 09: 說 Say – Eve Ai 艾怡良
黃少雍 is probably one of the most prolific arrangers/producers working today, he has an electronic sensibility that’s both surprising and fresh in the Mandarin Pop world. His work on “說“, really blew me away when i first heard it, the rhythm is odd yet hypnotising, the synths are not attention grabbing yet intriguing, every sonic idea is used just enough to not bore but satisfy.
Track 10: 把你的外套留在深巷 – Guo Ding 郭頂
Infectious guitar riffs, groovy drums, soulful singing. “把你的外套留在深港” shows us that you don’t need bells and whistles to make a catchy tune. I’m still bitter over the fact that this album didn’t win at the 2017金曲獎, that polished indie rock pop sensibility is hard to find, the whole album is just so brilliantly put together, from the writing to the production, everything flows like a river thematically.