On Eye Parade, Martin Baltser doesn’t hold back in his excavation of love, regardless of gender. “Feverish flashes of an eye. A man stares into another man’s eyes, falls in love, and gets caught,” begin his liner notes for the release. Continuing, he doesn’t sugar-coat it either. “Sometimes love feels like a prison. It sneaks up on you like a fever dream with a thousand flashes and glimpses in the night: Morning-moons, cups and crumbs, sturdy metal, oat, and lines below. It’s like an Eye Parade that never ends.” The organic motifs in the spellbinding music video capture the allegory beautifully, dovetailing with the gentle-yet-haunting tapestry of electro-folk that has become signature to his sound.
Eye Parade comes hot off the tracks of the rapid success of Martin’s first single, Call Me Wild -afragile snapshot of the complexities of childhood as one comes of age- which garnered more than 200k combined plays on the digital streaming platforms. The song has clearly struck a chord with listeners, with a contemporary interpretative dance tribute already making its internet rounds by Los Angeles-based dance choreographer Sabrina Phillip.
Fresh off the Singapore boat, Ben Jacob (vocalist, keyboardist), Jonathan Tan (lead guitarist), David Andrew (rhythm guitarist), Benjamin Mah (bassist, back-up vocals) and Eugene Lims’ (drummer) young faces should fool no one – it belies the experience they’ve had in the local gig circuit, playing alongside esteemed artists like Charlie Lim, Tim DeCotta, Disco Hue and Stopgap.
With Kryptonite, the band sound ready to light up the nation’s music scene on their own terms, with their unique pop stylings of old-school funk and R&B that feels like a veritable lovechild between Jamiroquai, Bruno Mars, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
The single comes after the band’s previous releases, “Get Close,” and “I’m No Good” helped them to success at the much-hyped Stärker Music Carnival in Singapore. The quintet has not been shy to pay tribute to the work of other artists as well, notably their late-night-R&B-drenched take on Samantha Rui’s hit single “Better.” Listen to “Kryptonite” in the links above and catch their Samantha Rui cover below.
In true ORIENTAL CRAVINGS fashion, their latest single, Toxic, blends Eastern influences into a myriad of frantic synths and brass, with a shattering drop to top it all off. On working with Ned Philpot, ORIENTAL CRAVINGS described the collaboration as a perfect fit:
“It’s often hard to find a good male vocal, but with Ned, the artistry and passion you can hear in his voice makes it perfect for the emotional track,” says ORIENTAL CRAVINGS.
Over the past 12 months the duo have made a steady name for themselves as tasteful remixers and producers, with their sublime melodies and Asian-inspired hooks, dropping ear-pleasers and dancefloor-lighters like Sakura, Nomad, and Falling 4 You via their collaboration with the Singapore-based Umami Records. Backed by the likes of RL Grime, Alison Wonderland and Carmada, ORIENTAL CRAVINGS are full steam ahead in 2018 – with exciting new originals, collaborations and remixes lined up in the coming months.
Denmark-based folktronica artist MARTIN BALTSER announces a partnership with Singapore-based label Umami Records,beginning with an Asia re-release of his debut hit, “Call Me Wild.”
A striking single, Call Me Wild delicately captures the complexities of childhood as one comes of age – a bewildering time of existential confusion, hormonal embarrassment, notwithstanding the first fissures of regret, uncertainty, anger and loneliness that complicates every child’s experience of growing up. Written one evening when Baltser looked back on his time at the school bench in a small town in Denmark, he explained the song’s warm origins:
“Back then I was one of those boys that had way too much energy and I could never really concentrate for more than a minute before I found myself jumping on my chair, drawing on the table, whispering to the others, or gazing out the window dreaming of running around in a muddy forest somewhere. The teacher would then tell me to sit still, stop drawing, shut up and stop looking out the window. So there I was, stuck and sweating over numbers and math that I honestly never used since then.
My song is the story of a boy with all the possibilities in the world, and a school that tries to tear down this raw and wild potential by teaching a ‘there-is-only-one-right-answer-to-everything’ policy.”
Accompanying the song is a beautiful stop motion video directed by Linnea Lorenzen Fabricius. OHESTEE praised Call Me Wild’s Bon Iver-like quality to the production -“intimate electronic atmosphere fused with folk elements”- and “a tenderness in this story that feels near yet distant like a younger different version of the present you.” GOING SOLO noted Baltser’s Anthony Hegarty-esque falsetto that could take listeners away from the first listen, with other critics (see below) welcoming Baltser as a refreshing addition to the folktronica sound.
Landing on a fresh sound in the mosaic world of pop is no easy task, but Evanturetime’s proclivity towards collaborating with other artists keeps bearing fruit. From last summer’s sleeper hit “Vultures” (with Linying and Charlie Lim) to his own take on The Weeknd’s “Starboy” with Jasmine Sokko, listeners have invariably -positively- responded to the producer’s ability to make music that moves people.
On “Sober”, this approach has not changed – only the end product. Combining the pop sensibilities from all three songwriters, the result is a outrageously catchy pop piece that still bears Evanturetime’s signature restraint in production. “I wanted to marry Ben (Benjamin Kheng) and JX’s pop songwriting approach with Nathan’s jazz crooner tendencies. I thought it might be fun to get them together and blend all that pop songwriting goodness with some quirky sounds and beat choices that they wouldn’t normally try in their typical pop setting,” Evan notes.
With Benjamin Kheng and JX coming off the back of The Sam Willows’ recent hits (“Save Myself,” “Keep Me Jealous”), and Nathan Hartono’s Sing! China success not far behind in memory (where he was handpicked by mentor Jay Chou, no less), getting the four boys into the same mental environment was not going to be easy; they managed it with the (unexpected) help of a childhood game. “We spent a lot of time playing Street Fighter before I managed to get everyone in the same headspace but it was really fun overall and I think the music definitely reflects that,” Evan said, recalling their brainstorming process.
Though the song title may recall alcohol-imbibed heady nights, the songwriting was approached with anything but. Each artist brought his own tangent to the lyrics, but all of them found common ground in the idea that reaching for real honesty in love was a difficult endeavour. “Love is inherently a selfish endeavor, and much of it is a do-si-do of taking from your lover. We’re not painting a very glossy picture of a modern relationship; sometimes you’ve got to demand pieces of that person, and all this talk is very hard to be done when sober,” Benjamin Kheng said.