White Noise: Love In Theory & Practice #LoyarBerkasih

White Noise | Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/weexinsitu

White Noise | Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/weexinsitu

Frustrated over the outcome of the Tenang by-election? Nauseated by yet another attempt of the Government to muzzle the internet? Unable to get it up as high as Warisan Merdeka?  Here are three brilliant albums to distract you, reviews in our brand-new music column, White Noise, courtesy of Chen Mian Kuang.

Screamworks | Credit: Screamworks

Screamworks | Credit: His Infernal Majesty


For a band hailing from Finland with an acronym that stands for His Infernal Majesty, one would naturally think Viking black metal. One couldn’t be more wrong. This is friendly rock, with tunes so poppish that it could easily soundtrack any of the currently in-vogue teen-angst filled vampire TV series. They sound as American as boob jobs and Botox. The melodies are addictive and lead singer Ville Valo’s vocals are a perfect fit. Try “Scared to Death”, “Disarm me (With Your Loneliness)” and “Shatter Me With Hope”. In fact, try everything; it’s that good! You will be hooked, resistance is futile.

Watershed | Credit: Opeth

Watershed | Credit: Opeth


This Swedish band is currently one of the leading lights of the progressive metal world. They are the first prog metal act to have played the Royal Albert Hall, which occurred last year (captured on DVD and CD; buy them!). Their fame and huge following are amply justified, as one listen to this album, their ninth, will attest. The opening track “Coil” is a song of ethereal folk beauty, which is followed by the brutal death metal of “Heir Apparent”. This stark contrast of light and dark is a theme that recurs throughout, oftentimes in the same song. Don’t expect linear melodies or standard four by four time signatures. Like most prog rock songs, the tracks here are mostly 10 or more minutes in length. They twist and turn, taking the listener on an adventure through sound, incorporating even elements of blues rock and jazz. Equally flexible is the vocals of Mikael Akerfeldt, one of the best voices in the hard rock industry, who can transit smoothly from guttural growls to clean vocals. This is essential listening for anyone with a serious interest in contemporary heavy music.

Balance | Credit: Lee Burridge

Balance | Credit: Lee Burridge


From its beginnings in progressive house, the Balance DJ mixed series has become more exciting after it veered into techno with Chris Fortier’s “Balance 007”. Four instalments later, we have the inestimable Mr Lee Burridge, who really should be more famous than he is now. This is by far his best work yet, surpassing even his mixes for Global Underground. If you thought listening to minimal techno is like watching paint dry, think again. Joining the dots between house, tech-house, techno and minimal without dropping the ball, the 3 CDs are best listened to in a dark room, with strobe lights and a giant sound system, at 3 am in the morning. Disc 1 is more downtempo, but Discs 2 and 3 rock hard. Muscular beats, bottomless bass and irrepressible ass shaking rhythm. Underlying it all is the unmistakable presence of the funk. The best passage (and there are many, many good ones to choose from) is probably Babyford & Mark Broom’s “Bubblebath” to Onur Ozer’s “Red Cabaret” in Disc 2. You get kick drums that can shatter tectonic plates.  If you ain’t dancin’, you gotta be deader than a dodo.

Aside from practicing law, Mian Kuang is an avid listener of music.  Trawling through his backlog of CDs (currently at those purchased in 2007), he wonders how he is going to find time to play the 500 over electronic dance music podcasts he has downloaded in the past 4 years.

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Mian‘s favourite musician is Lord Bobo. His Supreme Eminenceness is well known for his ability to play a total of 25 instruments, and to compose, perform, and produce albums all by himself. A veritable one-manmonkeyband (some say control freak), his career started its meteoric rise in the mid eighties with the release of his soundtrack to a movie starring him and the babelicious Apollonia Kotero. His songs about smooching, velvet rain and crying birds are considered modern classics. Waitaminit! Is His Supreme Eminenceness the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As…?

Posted on 9 February 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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