With the charismatic and soothing vocals of Sarah Cracknell, the English group have won die hard fans worldwide. I-S speaks to Cracknell prior to their debut in Singapore.

It has been almost six years since your last studio album Tales from Turnpike House.
We are working on another album and have recorded a couple of songs. It took us so long because we had no time. Pete and I had children and Bob’s writing a book.

Any plans for a new release?
We just felt that now was the right time. It was a very natural and organic process. We got the itch, started sharing ideas and are fully inspired.

How do you think music has evolved over the years?
One of the things I go on about is that in the 90s, you will have a secret band you liked. Now, everything is out there thanks to technology. I guess it’s a natural progress with more online music stations, blogs and people have become more in-tuned to leftfield music. I am not a big fan of technology.

Do you think your vocals have changed over the years?
Yes, it has gradually changed. Bob and Pete think that my vocals has gotten deeper and stronger -its melancholic. Other than that we are still keen on melody and write our songs mostly in the third person.

What can we expect from your gig at the Mosaic Music Festival?
It’s going to be up-tempo and danceable. We’ll be playing a lot of our singles that spanned the last 20 years.

Catch St Etinenne on Mar 19, 7.30pm and 10pm. Esplanade Theater Studio, 1 Esplanade Dr., 6828-8377. $40-48


Leave a Comment

The 10-day music festival returns with some of the most highly acclaimed names jamming on our shores.

From the inimitable Raul Midón to the cutting edge work of Aphex Twin and the soothing sounds of St Etienne, the fest is worth its weight in aural gold. Zul Andra picks out the top acts to catch in the lead up to the festival.

Want to know why Japanese jazz instrumental outfit Pe’z was called a “samurai jazz band” back when they first broke out on the streets of Shibuya in 2000? Check out their unique mishmash of jazz-funk, ska and punk at this high energy gig. Mar 11, 10pm. Esplanade Theatre Studio, $30-38.

Vocalese: A Double Bill by The Manhattan Transfer & New York Voices
Known for their breathtaking jazz and pop vocal renditions, witness not one but two award-winning vocal ensemble. Mar 11, 7:30pm. Esplanade Concert Hall, $40-120.

Tierney Sutton Band
Experience the way Tierney Sutton has grown as a singer with her band of 15 years in a spiritual evening of jazz as they play tunes off their latest album Desire. Mar 12, 7:30pm. Esplanade Recital Studio, $30.

Christian Prommer Drumlesson II
Drummer, DJ and producer Christian Prommer’s instrumental jazz covers of classic techno hits like Josh Wink’s “Higher State of Consciousness” are remarkable. Witness Prommer’s distinct sound marrying electronica, jazz and house in this exclusive showcase. Mar 12, 10pm. Esplanade Theatre Studio, $40-48.

The Bad Plus
The trio from America combines new-age jazz with rock and pop to create a high-octane performance promising to blow you off your feet. Mar 11, 9:30pm; Mar 13, 7:30pm. Esplanade Recital Studio, $40.

Fans of fast, wordless and angry music shouldn’t miss this Sheffield-based post-rock outfit in action. They will be performing songs off their latest album We Were Exploding Anyway. Mar 13, 7:30pm, 10pm. Esplanade Theatre Studio, $40-48.

Raul Midón
Emerging from a tough childhood to become of the most distinct musicians of our time, Midón mesmerizes with his inspiring vocals and impressive guitar work. Mar 14, 7:30pm. Esplanade Concert Hall, $40-80.

Angélique Kidjo
The charismatic performer has spread her rhythmic Afro-funk fusion to the four corners of the globe, picking up awards and Grammy nominations for works like her 2007 album Djin Djin. Mar 15, 7:30pm. Esplanade Concert Hall, $40-100.

The National
The Brooklyn-based band led by enigmatic frontman Matt Berninger has moved stages worldwide with their critically-acclaimed brand of indie rock and post-punk.

Ana Moura
Portuguese fado singer Ana Moura’s riveting voice is unlike anything you’ll ever hear, a rich and mesmeric blend of sorrow and beauty. Mar 16-17, 7:30pm. Esplanade Recital Studio, $30.

Immerse yourself in an evening of post-rock revelry as this experimental five-piece band takes the audience on a journey of myriad sounds, from heavy synths and throbbing bass lines to the din of crashing drums. Mar 17, 7:30pm. Esplanade Concert Hall,$40-80.

Jamie Lidell
Accompanied by his five-piece band, singer and songwriter Jamie Lidell will be reviving songs off albums like Multiply, Jim and Compass. Mar 18, 7:30pm. Esplanade Concert Hall, $40-80.

Joanna Newsom
Newsom’s unique voice, beautiful harp playing and string and trombone accompaniments make up the haunting atmosphere that typically surrounds her every performance. Mar 18, 11pm. Esplanade Concert Hall, $25-60.

Os Mutantes
Founded 35 years ago, the influential Brazilian psychedelic rock band led by original member Sérgio Dias Baptista will be dishing their unique tropicália sound and pop tunes. Mar 18, 7:30pm, 10pm. Esplanade Theatre Studio, $40-48.

Aphex Twin
Lauded as the most inventive electronic music producer of this generation, Richard David James aka Aphex Twin's avant-garde soundscape is layered over contemporary genres like techno, dub and electronica. Mar 19, 11pm. Esplanade Theatre, $75-100.

Gotan Project
What happens when traditional tango music meets electronic beats and melodies? Answer: The Gotan Project. Expect sizzling tunes and sensuous moves. Mar 20, 8pm. Esplanade Theatre, $40-120.

Saint Etienne
The ever impressive trio has moved music scenes across genres and styles with their refined and organic production work. Find out more about the group in our exclusive interview.

Charlie Haden’s Quartet West
See upclose the iconic talent of this revolutionary double bassist as he performs live some of his groundbreaking works from albums like Haunted Heart and The Art of Song. Check out the interview here.

Mosaic Music Festival is on Mar 11-20. Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Dr., 6828-8377. Log onto www.mosaicmusicfestival.com for more information.


Leave a Comment

The maverick female filmmaker behind upcoming romantic comedy Forever talks to I-S about her love of movies and where she looks for inspiration.

I really feel I was raised by movies, by VHS rentals at my favorite video library every weekend. And going to the cinemas was nothing short of a religious experience. But I never thought of being involved in film as a career.

I started filmmaking while I was in college and shot my first short film myself. I guess I was about 20, and something just “clicked” in me. It felt really, really right.

The university I went to did not have a film department, so I had to become an Art Semiotics major in order to do more film classes.

In school I learned to think laterally, turn clichés on their heads and that eating too much turkey causes drowsiness.

My relationship with my family was a bit distant and as with lots of families, a bit dysfunctional. But when I graduated from college and moved back home, my relationship with my family slowly blossomed. Probably explains why I’m married and still living at home!

My handful of best girlfriends have shaped my character, some of whom I’ve been blessed to have in my life since I was in primary school. I love and admire them greatly.

I’ve found a gratifying and creative outlet for my OCD tendencies, without which, I would likely become like Joey, the eccentric love-a-holic lead in Forever.

My husband’s talent as a visual artist inspires me to be a better filmmaker and his honesty inspires me to be a better person.

I perceive myself as hardworking and goofy but I guess the world perceives me as privileged and goofy.

The most interesting moment in my life was when I was about seven, my father was very good friends with Matthew Tan, a Singapore country and western singing sensation. One day, my dad told me that he was in fact Matthew, and he moonlighted as the Singapore cowboy at night and went to work in the day at a tire factory.

They kind of looked alike and I was somehow convinced and thrilled that my father had a double life. But shortly after that he told me he had been bluffing and I was really disappointed.

The challenges of filmmaking in Singapore seem to be getting less and less, and I’m feeling optimistic. There seems to be a groundswell to ensure filmmakers with worthy projects get a chance to realize their stories and attain some form of distribution.

Audiences are warming up to local movies due to several excellent Singapore indie and studio films being released these past two years. This is encouraging.

My peeve is that there seems to be this pressure to define what a Singaporean film is with tiresome clichés.

My films are not perceived to be very “Singaporean,” but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

The way our local film industry can grow is when we focus more on the people and less on the pizzazz.

The most important thing needed to succeed is to love what you do and never get cynical about it.


Leave a Comment

The newly opened MBS showpiece features three astounding exhibitions on showcase. Check out what’s in store at Singapore’s grandest arts museum.

At first glance, the eye-catching geometrical shape of Marina Bay Sand’s ArtScience Museum looks like hands reaching for the skies. And aptly so, as the museum is expected to showcase some of the most highly acclaimed art and science exhibits from around the world. Described as “the welcoming hand of Singapore” by Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman, Shedlon Adelson, the lotus-inspired architecture by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie opened last week to much acclaim.

With three floors of gallery space sprawling across 6,000 square meters, each of the 10 “fingers” that make up the building hold different exhibitions. The museum is also surrounded by a 4,000 square meter lily pond, making it look like it is floating on water. And water plays an integral part in the museum’s architectural eco-friendly makeup by recycling rainwater harvested from its roof. As Safdie explains, “The rainwater is harvested and is channeled down through the center of the structure and is recycled and redirected through the water feature to create a continuous cylindrical waterfall,” and as part of the museum’s participation in Singapore’s Green Mark program, the recycled water will be used in its bathroom and around its compound.
One of the permanent exhibitions, the ArtScience Gallery, explores the nuances that evoke the emotions of art. Segmented into three spaces—Curiosity, Inspiration and Expression—the gallery demonstrates how creative minds meld the disciplines of art and science to make objects that transform the world. Objects featured include replicas of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, a Kongming Lantern and an ancient Chinese scroll—all symbolizing the power of art, design and science. Museum director Tom Keller explains, “The space allows visitors to ponder about the very nature of how we define art and science, what it means to us and how it influences the world.”

And the world’s finest exhibits have already found a temporary home in the museum, allowing visitors to step into a world that they would have never known. From tracing the magnificent historical pathway of the greatest trading route known to man in Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World, to an exhibit of one of the oldest and most important marine archaeological finds of the late 20th century in Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds, it looks like the ArtScience Museum is pulling out all the stops en route to becoming one of the premier art destinations in the world. 

The ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8868. Open daily 10am-10pm. $10-30 from Sistic.


Leave a Comment

Kick off your shoes and enjoy a drink by the water.

Tanjong Beach Club
For the retro hedonist, head over to this 1950s-inspired beach resort complete with a restaurant, two bars, a pool and a sprawling chill-out space. Get a suntan on the daybeds while sipping on the signature Tanjong Martinis or cool yourself off in the pool. Come in your skimpiest and sexiest outfits. The club also dishes some of the hottest disco and house music around, courtesy of local jocks Has, Hook and KFC.
120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa, 6270-1355. Mon-Thu 11am-midnight; Sun 11am-midnight; Fri-Sat 11-2am.

Café Del Mar
For lovers, the Ibiza-franchised beach bar is the perfect getaway. Lounge on the club’s rustic private daybeds or chill out over a lovely meal at the alfresco area. Known for their sound music selection, expect ambient tunes and Ibiza’s famed house music for some aural stimulation. Don’t miss out on their deliciously potent Lost Bikini cocktail to add more zing to your evening.
40 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, 6235-1296. Sun-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11-2am.


For sporty types, the 1,870-square-meter Azzura Hydro Sports Centre will satisfy your need for that adrenalin rush. The club offers a variety of sea-sports, such as boating, kayaking and wakeboarding. Enough thrills and spills for the day? Then take a much needed breather at their bistro with a cocktail in hand or chill out on the verandah as you watch the sunset. 
46 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, 6270-8003. Mon-Fri 10am-10pm; Sat-Sun 10-2am.


Leave a Comment

The band's founding member will take on a different role as he mans the decks up at Ku Dé Ta solo. I-S sneaks a quick chat with the living legend.

The most unique thing about Depeche Mode is that…we have consistently written good songs throughout our career.

The band found success because…we were lucky to form the band when we were very young and lucky to meet Daniel Miller who guided our career through all these years.

The New Romantic movement…only lasted a few years, and the bands involved moved in very different ways.

The biggest highlight of my career was when…we released our first single “Dreaming of Me” in 1981 and our Rosebowl Concert California in 1988.

If I could do it all again, I would…reshoot our early videos as some of them were very embarrassing.

On my DJ sets I play…modern electronic dance music with a touch of retro.

My idea of a perfect set is when…I perform well and the audience are enjoying themselves.

My 2010…finished with our Tour of the Universe and spending quality time with my family.

In 2011 I am going to…continue my DJ-ing and hopefully start a new album with Depeche Mode.

In my upcoming gig at Ku Dé Ta, you can expect…pandemonium.

Don’t miss Blue Velveteen Sessions presents Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) on Feb 25, 10pm at Ku Dé Ta, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-7688. $88 includes one drink.


Leave a Comment

The German duo Nic Chagall and DJ Bossi deliver captivating live sets and chart-topping releases. I-S speaks to Nic Chagall ahead of their much anticipated set at Zouk.

You’ve remixed tracks from some of the biggest names in the dance scene. Which of these remixes are you most proud of?
When a remix or a production leaves our studio we at least like it and are happy with it, otherwise it will not leave the studio. Sure, there are some mixes that we are more proud of when they perform great than others, like our remix for Vincent de Moors’ "Fly away" for example or Tiësto`s "Suburban Train," to mention just two.

Your latest album features your original tracks being remixed by a host of top-notch producers. What was the intention behind the release?
The idea behind Back 2 The Future started when we still wanted to play the old tracks in our DJ sets. But the sound and style of these early works simply does not fit the feeling of our current sets anymore! For these reasons, we decided to first do some new versions ourselves for festivals we played in. Seeing the great reactions from the crowd and people asking for these new mixes over and over again, we thought maybe its time to rework the old tracks, and make a whole CD for the fans. The result is remixes from Rank 1, Wippenberg, Markus Schulz, Arty, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Alexander Popov and Robbie Rivera, to mention only a few.

Cosmic Gate is a name synonymous with trance … what about the genre appeals to you?
For us trance is the most emotional and touching electronic dance music. When we talk of trance, it starts with house or progressive beats with only trance-y pads; this is trance to us already. It goes from melodic to more uplifting tracks using melodies and harder basslines and all this is what we like in trance also. It’s a very wide genre and we try to pick the best out of it and include it together with our own productions for a real Cosmic Gate set.

You seem like a perfect pairing when playing and making music together but sound so different when playing separately.
Actually the music played by us individually is about 90 percent the same as when we play together. So musically, there’s not much of a difference. Of course the performance is different—two guys behind the mixer look different from one DJ performing. Also, there is more time to party with the crowd and the visual impression is different when we play together.

How was last year for you?
2010 was maybe our busiest year ever. We clocked half a million air miles, played about 120 gigs, got nominated in the International Dance Music Awards, were Beatport award winners, and we had the pleasure of remixing the title song for Avatar! A really fantastic year for us!

What can we expect on your return to Zouk?
Zouk is really one of our favorite clubs worldwide, plus it’s Bossi’s birthday night, so we will party extra hard, spin a lot of tunes from our Back 2 the Future compilation plus the best of current trance and progressive. Don’t miss it!

Join perennial trance leaders Cosmic Gate on Feb 26, 10pm, Zouk, 17 Jiak Kim St., 6738-2988. $28-33 includes two drinks.


Leave a Comment