Singapore Music Reviews: Charlie Lim, WUKONG, LEW, Verdant, Haneri, Firefly Search Party, $ain't and per[sona

Singapore Music Reviews: Charlie Lim, WUKONG, LEW, Verdant, Haneri, Firefly Search Party, $ain't and per[sona

Every Friday, many local musicians release new music that flies under the radar. To bring you the best new local music releases this weekend, we've compiled a playlist featuring some of the newest songs out from artists such as Charlie Lim, LEW, WUKONG, Haneri, Verdant, per[sona, $ain't and Firefly Search Party.

Charlie Lim – ‘Welcome Home (ft. BIBI) [Swimful Remix]’

Remixes, when done as effectively, as it is here, on one of the best songs off Lim’s 2018 CHECK-HOOK, offers the song and its players a chance to live again, and more crucially, anew

 While the original cut of ‘Welcome Home’ was a soulful masterpiece from one of Singapore’s most vital voices, Swimful flips the script for his remix, and turns in an unpredictable, but thoroughly enjoyable house edit, featuring Korean vocalist BIBI in the process. 

As Lim’s performance remains untouched, BIBI’s verse breathes new life into the track, especially when she harmonises with Lim. Songs like this can only exist because of the expansiveness and generosity of the vision of its makers, and the triumvirate of Charlie Lim, BIBI and Swimful have knocked this one out of the park.

WUKONG, Tumult – ‘See The Light’

WUKONG’s meteoric rise in the Asian dance music landscape is undeniable

In just one calendar year, the Singaporean DJ has amassed a following not to be trifled with, and his latest single, ‘See The Light’ with Tumult is a prime example of what that is. WUKONG’s releases leading up to his newest offering have been nothing short of exquisite, as he perfects his blend of the harder genres of EDM and Asian influences, culminating in a sound that WUKONG can proudly call his own. 

 ‘See The Light’ masterfully toes the line between inspirational and being an all-out club banger. The two producers slowly build the track up, making it more ominous as it progresses, letting listeners know that something big’s coming. And when the drop hits, it hits

WUKONG shows no signs of slowing down, and if his upcoming releases follow in the same vein as ‘See The Light’, he’s poised to make 2020 his year.

LEW – ‘Red Flags (Reprise)’

If you’ve heard LEW’s original cute of ‘Red Flags’ featuring Joie Tan, then you know just how powerful and personal the track is. The thought of being in love with someone that you know isn’t good for you leans on the more painful side of life. LEW’s original duet showed both sides of that tumultuous relationship; two completely different people from two completely different worlds colliding, making the relationship a bittersweet one to sustain. 

 For this reprise, LEW focuses on his side of the story, making the topic all the more relatable, as we often only see things from our perspective. The instrumentation on the reprise is a lot more solemn, and cosmic, with a lone piano at the forefront of the track. If the original cut of ‘Red Flags’ impacted you deeply, LEW’s reprise is going to destroy you.

Verdant – ‘Senescent’

If you need a rush of energy coursing through your veins, look no further than Verdant’s ‘Senescent’. Opening up with a frenzy, Verdant makes its debut single stand out from the pact immediately. Combining a bevy of influences and inspirations together, the band puts forth a heavy, and cathartic single that sound so much like a tribute to Of Mice & Men; and that’s not a bad thing. 

 Instrumentally, the band lets you know right from the start just how technical they can get when they want to, but they balance it out nicely as the track progresses, as they show restraint, and highlight the power of simplicity in its breakdown. The band’s debut single makes a great first impression, and expectations for its follow-up are high. Verdant has arrived, and you best pay attention.

Haneri - ‘IDWLY’

Pop artist Haneri returns after a year of silence with ‘IDWLY’, a dynamic fusion of pop and funk that reflects the uninhibited self-expression she is chasing after with the rebranding of her music under her new moniker. She is resolutely upbeat and optimistic in this new dance beat, and comes off as someone who is more than willing to laugh at herself and charge through life, taking in all the good and bad it has to offer with the same vitality that her high-energy song inspires.

 per[sona - ‘Version’

Pegging rock bands Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails as his musical influence, per[sona delivers a debut single that combines ambient textures with heady, melodramatic percussion. Existential without allowing the lyrics to swallow the sound, the entire track is an exercise in immersion. He is almost sullen, unwavering, insisting I like this version of you , over and over, like a prayer only he can hear. As the last beat fades out, we are left with the flickering mirage of the selves we all yearn to become. 

Firefly Search Party - ‘With You’ 

‘With You’ is sweet and lilting, with vocals that melt together to complement each other. Dian’s airy crooning is suitably balanced with Nathan’s warm, rough-around-the-edges sound, producing a gentle folk track about companionship. They are singing, but it feels as if they are in a room of their own, speaking plainly to each other about the sights and skies they’ve seen. As we travel to the second verse, we can almost see them get up to dance, flitting around in easy confidence and inviting us to do the same.

Their heartfelt delivery holds true to the intention of the tune - with the right person, any place can be our dance floor. Anywhere can become home.

$ain’t - ‘Altar’ 


$ain’t goes for a change of pace with his newest single - ‘Altar’ is slower and more languid than his previous releases, conjuring a dreamy landscape with the distant synths. The song is a romantic Renaissance love conceit in itself - an ode to his beloved, and a worship of all that she is.

In the short 2-minute track, $ain’t wastes no time dwelling on anything isn’t necessary. He strips down his usual rapid flow, and plays with space and reverb to create an ethereal soundscape so casually hypnotic that before you know it, the song is over.