Best Tracks of 2016

Ali Aiman ft. Talitha Tan
“Cover You”

One of Malaysia’s most promising young musicians, the singer, songwriter and producer Ali Aiman teamed up with Talitha Tan for this single off his new EP, “Transcend”.

The new single is as captivating as his best earlier songs, with a minimal electronic arrangement that gives Ali and Talitha’s aerial voices as much space as they deserve.

For the video, director Nadiah Hamzah poetically captures the change of seasons while keeping black-clothed Ali and Talitha in a single space.

Ali Aiman on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Amir Jahari

With both global and local influences & instruments, Borneo’s self-made musician Amir Jahari creates this special kind of folk rock that’s able to set your mood for a whole day, or a whole week.

Three years after his colourful debut album, “Penghibur Jalanan“, this young artist came back last year with a song better than anything we’ve heard from him yet, “Ingga”, also a great promise for his upcoming new album.

“Ingga” is sung in Sarawak Malay dialect, and it features a traditional instrument called sapeh along fantastic melodies and an excess of positive energy rays.

Amir Jahari on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, www.

“Ice Cream”

Former punk rock group Beatburns released a new album “Rebirth” last year, and this expressive electro pop single was the first taste of this record.

The title “Ice Cream” comes here from as a metaphor of love, one that’s not accepted but impossible to escape. Maruxa Lynd’s vocal parts in the song happen to be as irresistible.

Beatburns’ reach, with some major label’s support, has been steadily growing and they fully deserve it.

Beatburns on Facebook, YouTube,

Gerhana Skacinta
“Perusak Cinta”

Click play first, because words cannot do justice to the pleasures the legendary Kuala Lumpur ska collective Gerhana Skacinta bring with this black-and-white, yet incredibly colourful video.

Over the two decades since they originally formed, the band has had a few different configurations, and recently they went on hiatus for a while. But hey, they’re back again in a great shape,

Hopefully the song “Perusak Cinta”, which features singer Liyana Fizi (look for her lower in this list), is just a first taste of more irresistible tunes to come.

Gerhana Skacinta on Facebook, Instagram.


When we first heard of Heymun, she was standing on a cliff. A year ago, we found her sitting in front the carrousel in the Tuileries Garden, travelling back in time.

“I waited till there was no one on the carousel there. It was so cold, but such a beauty Paris is, dont you agree,” she told us about “Drift”.

While she admits she couldn’t get up from that bench after filming, “mesmerised or frozen”, these two words fittingly describe her music, which she continuously keeps somewhere in between ambient music and airy songwriting, elusive yet entrancing.

Heymun on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Laila’s Lounge

The chorus of this fantastic single alone would be a sufficient reason to include it on this list.

But the alternative quartet Laila’s Lounge also present here well-balanced arrangements in the first part, and some classic oldschool jams closer to the end. And quite a drama in the clip which accompanies the music.

“Bebastereo” is the best comeback single this acclaimed band could give us, and possibly one of the best songs in their catalogue yet. But it is also a bitter commentary on the reality surrounding us.

Bebastereo on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud.

Liyana Fizi

With this gentle video released just before the end of 2016, singer-songwriter Liyana Fizi attempts to slow you down so that you celebrate, at least for a few minutes, the smell of the sea, the touch of sand between your toes, and the sound of her voice.

The unhurriedness of “Sini” is just a part of the song’s general subtlety. The chorus isn’t too catchy, the piano takes a step back as soon as you start noticing it, and Zul Luey’s video seems to have been directed almost incidentally.

But as soon as it ends, you might find yourself playing it again for the third time.

Liyana Fizi on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


Scroll down a little bit and you’ll see Orang in a quite different musical entourage. With the band Lust, last year he delivered one of the most energizing rock songs we heard in 2016 not only in Malaysia.

Featured on a five-track EP called “chingichanga“, it is an instant rock classic that combines vintage sound with this kind of modern thinking about guitars and rhythms that bands like Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective have developed over the last decade.

Powerful guitar riff, immediate melodies, and almost too much energy for just one short song to handle.

LUST on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook.

“Uda Dan Dara”

Kuala Lumpur-based group monoloQue delivered this beautiful song as a part of their soundtrack for “Pekak“, a movie about a young deaf man who tries to escape the drug business for his new-found love.

The song has a guest featuring of the Singaporean singer Aisyah Aziz in a perfect duet with monoloQue’s very own loQue. You can see both of them in the video for this unforgottable song along with some shots from the movie itself.

“Uda Dan Dara” has one of the most catchy vocal themes of the last year, but don’t miss the delicate arrangements behind all these memorable verses and choruses.

monoloQue on Facebook, Twitter, www.

OJ Law
“After All”

After last year’s album “Let’s Be Adult”, one of the best Malaysian releases in the recent years, OJ Law returned with a brand new single titled “After All”.

The synth-driven love tune is accompanied by a video directed by actor and director Gavin Yap. The clip stars the famous TV, radio and stage personality Patrick Teoh in a rather child-like demeanor as he gets ready for his date.

The ending of this heartwarming clip is being left open ended, so it is up to your interpretation. Another great anthemic tune by OJ Law to keep us company.

OJ Law on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, www.

“R U Down With It”

Before Orang a.k.a. Azfar Abu Bakar released his first EP “Everyone” last year, it was preceded by this impressive debut single.

The producer, also known from the group Lust, adheres to the classic avant pop ideal of never letting yourself be trapped in any kind of music category, even “avant pop”. Each of five tracks making up “Everyone” show a different approach, balancing what’s articulated openly with things listener has to figure out for himself.

“R U Down With It” is something that might happen if you found yourself in between two stages, with The Avalanches occupying one of them and Animal Collective playing on the second one.

Orang on Soundcloud.

“Hafiz Sufian”

Led by three brothers – Ilham, Yasin and Hidayat Mohd – the indie rock quintet Pitahati formed six years ago and have released two full-length albums to date.

The newest, “Selamat Datang Ke Panggung Suara”, came our last February and brought a variety of new and old influences filtered through local nusantara sensibility. Among its 18 tracks, “Hafiz Sufian” is the longest and maybe the most captivating one.

Psychedelic guitar parts, cosmic synths and a powerful chorus make it a song any progrock group from the 60s/70s would love to have in its repertoire, though just a few would deserve it.

Pitahati on Facebook, Twitter.

“Oh Dewiku”

It’s one of those songs that take you a few decades back and if you found this video without any description, you might actually think it’s some forgotten gem from the golden era of psychedelia.

But actually, Ramayan is a very new band from Sungai Buloh (near Kuala Lumpur) who started sharing their music just over a year ago, and in the collaboration with the label Luncai Emas released this official debut clip “Oh Dewiku”.

The song appears on their self-titled EP, released in October, which will immediately take you to the colourful 60s.

Ramayan on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud.

Sekumpulan Orang Gila

What may seem like a tribute to Pink Floyd’s classic songs “Wish You Were Here” and “Mother”, is actually a very special tribute to real mothers.

Initially, Sekumpulan Orang Gila’s twin brother Raja Nazrin Shah and Raja Nazmin Shah decided to pay homage to their late mother, who lost her life to cancer.

Eventually, the idea has become a much larger initiative and with the collective video it’s a touching gift from children of any age to those who brought us to this world.

Sekumpulan Orang Gila on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.

Talitha Tan

Apart from a captivating collaboration with Ali Aiman in the single “Cover You”, Talitha Tan also released a video for her wonderful song “Okay”, produced by Darren Ashley.

If you have been following Talitha Tan’s career, you might have come across a couple of acoustic performances of this single on YouTube. Ashley definitely helped to carry this tune into a more commercial value and “Okay” helped Talitha break out from the typical acoustic singer-songwriter mode that she’s been known for.

She is slowly, but surely moving up the scene with her soft and dreamy vocals. And the video showcases her acting skills alongside GTXperiment member Jude Macson playing out the boy and girl roles in this lyric video directed by Irfan Nadzree.

Talitha Tan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

The Impatient Sisters
“Hey There Young Sailor”

Three sisters from Kuantan who share a passion for folk pop music released their long-awaited self-titled debut album in 2014. Two years later, we got a dazzling video for one of the highlights off the record.

This clip was beautifully directed by Ling Low, who’s best known for her fantastic video for OJ Law’s “Tongue-Tied“. In her latest work, all the Impatient Sisters – Soraya, Nazeera and Irena Taib – impersonate three helpful mermaids as they guide her to him.

Starring two professional actors, Ho Lee Ching and Alfred Loh, the video is like that little letter in a bottle and you will hardly get a more pleasant message today.

The Impatient Sisters on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud.

“Places To Go”

Yuna Zarai has become Malaysia’s international ambassador and now, over 10 years after puting her first tracks on MySpace and stepping on stage for some acoustic mini-shows, she can name Pharrell Williams and Usher among her collabolators.

At the same time, she’s been able to maintain her very own distinct style that blends western and Malaysian inspirations, as well a very special relationship with her fans. Last year brought her third album, “Chapters”, which was preceded by a great single “Places To Go” produced by legendary hip-hop producer DJ Premier.

A black and white video with a rather lengthy intro on her reminiscing her dream, the slow motion video of her flawless run across the street is that metaphor of all of us chasing for something.

Yuna on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, www.


There has been a burst of new independent R&B and hip-hop acts coming out from the Hoax Vision collective and Zsyia is one that caught attention for her boldness.

She’s been busy releasing new materials with her fellow label mates, but “Lost//Home” is the highlight that really introduced us to who Izzah Batrisyia a.k.a Zsyia is. She got that uniquely haunting vocals that brings the f r s-produced tune a neo-soul vibe.

This clip directed by Amzar Hafizi is a pretty straight-forward and simple video concept of ZSYIA performing the single at back alleys to the beach, with some spoken word materials about her idea of “home”.

Zsyia on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.