Best Albums of 2016
selected by Hidzir Junaini

et aliae <BR>“Rose” EP

et aliae
“Rose” EP

Made up of elegant instrumentals and ambient pop, et aliae’s gorgeous electronic EP on NYC-UK label Cascine is both exquisite and experimental.

Reflecting a wide variety of influences ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach and Chopin (the producer is also a classically trained pianist) to Ana Caprix and Aaliyah – her five-track offering twinkles with polyphonic textures and future-pop influences.

Do look look out for a spectacular collaboration with renowned R&B and indietronica vocalist D∆WN on “Sober”.

♪♫ Listen: “Sober (feat. D∆WN)” + album stream

et aliae on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Paris In The Making <BR>“Solve et Coagula”

Paris In The Making
“Solve et Coagula”

Screamo outfit Paris In The Making always sound huge, but the band absolutely takes it up to the next level with their sophomore LP “Solve et Coagula”.

Featuring their signature blend of post-rock, hardcore punk, and shoegaze – sprinkled with a dash of dramatic old-school heavy metal flair for good measure – this is outstanding showcase for the band on a technical and songwriting level.

The frontwoman of indie-pop band Pleasantry, Samantha Teng, also makes a surprise appearance here, immersing her autumnal vocals within the band’s stormy soundscapes.

♪♫ Listen: “Cadence of Dissension” + album stream

Paris In The Making on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

FAUXE <BR>“Half of my love”

“Half of my love”

Production wunderkind FAUXE is easily the most prolific artist in Singapore over the last year. In between his own tacks, guest features, work-for-hire productions and stray collaborations – the guy averages nearly a release a week.

But even among his avalanche of quality content, his debut full-length album “Half of my love” is undoubtedly his boldest and heart-rending offering to date.

Epic, thematically cohesive and lengthy – this freeform electronic album also features a star-studded list of collaborators such as Anise, Mediocre Haircut Crew, Bravepaper, MONSTER CAT’s Wang Wei Yang (aka Yllis) and Timmy Autumn, among many others.

♪♫ Listen: “Be Brave (feat. OmarKENOBI)” + album stream

Fauxe on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

sonicbrat <BR>“MURMURATIONS”


An award-winning pianist, sonicbrat is a modern classical mastermind backed by renowned Japanese-Singaporean publishing house Kitchen. Label.

His newest album, “MURMURATIONS”, is an incredibly intimate series of compositions recorded entirely on the acoustic piano. Pristine and heartfelt – the beauty of sonicbrat’s universal appeal lies in the beautiful simplicity of his instrumentals and nowhere is that more evident than on “MURMURATIONS”.

This is a magical journey that showcases the acclaimed pianist at the height of his powers.

♪♫ Listen: “MURMURATIONS III” + album stream

sonicbrat on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

The Observatory <BR>“August is the Cruellest”

The Observatory
“August is the Cruellest”

The Observatory can be artful, they can be experimental, and they’re undoubtedly some of the finest musical craftsmen (and women) in the world – but nothing beats The Obs when they also have something urgent to say.

Veterans of the Singapore industry, The Observatory already command towering respect due their long history of obsidian and innovative works, but “August is the Cruellest” feels like their most muscular and crucial material to date.

Subversive, sharp and sonically-invigorating – this album is one of Singaporean music’s most important documents in 2016.

♪♫ Listen: “August is the cruellest” + album stream

The Observatory on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Cosmic Child <BR>“Untitled”

Cosmic Child

A relatively young outfit, Cosmic Child is probably the best new Singaporean band to have popped up in 2016.

Debut record “untitled” feels like it’s been displaced from the mid-2000s indie rock revival, but conversely feels fresher today because that sound is no longer as saturated or prominent. Nevertheless Cosmic Child seems like the loveliest rose-tinted reverie – soundtracked to just the right emotional mix of dream-pop, shoegaze and lo-fi psychedelia.

You should be keeping tabs on this band because they’re certainly one of the most promising prospects Singapore’s encountered in a while.

♪♫ Listen: “Kaleidoscope” + album stream

Cosmic Child on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Yllis <BR>“Exodus”


Absurdly fresh and way ahead of the curve, Yllis is by far the most revolutionary Singaporean producer at work today.

While his first album of the year, “ISLAND-01”, was a breathtakingly alien take on post-Internet pop – his second, entitled “Exodus”, is where he truly makes his mark. Released via Beijing’s Do Hits, this a groundbreaking, Sinogrime masterpiece exploring the sounds of human immigration, culture clash and what that means in terms of pop culture.

But as globalized as it gets sonically, it’s still melodically grounded by Yllis’ cultural and historical roots as a Chinese Singaporean.

♪♫ Listen: “” + album stream

Yllis on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

SA <BR>“Flow”


Focusing on mood, texture and illuminating psychological concepts – SA’s latest LP is an unbelievably adventurous fusion of ethnic instrumentation and experimental electronic sensibility.

This improvisational album showcases the sonic versatility of its three multi-instrumentalist members beautifully, resulting in elegant and shape-shifting compositions.

“Flow” doesn’t just recontextualize traditional Chinese music in a meaningful way, it also immerses the listeners’ minds in a whole of new sonic plane beyond established musical structures.

♪♫ Listen: “II” + album stream

SA on Soundcloud, Bandcamp.

Forests <BR>“Sun Eat Moon Grave Party”

“Sun Eat Moon Grave Party”

A big crossover success between the heavy music community and the larger indie fanbase in Singapore, Forests’ sophomore album appears to be the rare gem that transcends scenes.

Not that the irreverent trio even really care about any of that – they’re all about self-deprecating fun – and that personality is what carries this Lithe Records release.

Combining math rock and emo may sound like a weird combination, but under Forests’ inspired songwriting – emo-math sounds like the catchiest, most cathartic and joyously sad experience you’ll ever have.

♪♫ Listen: “Tamago” + album stream

Forests on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Wormraot <BR>“Voices”


Dealing with the departure of drummer Fitri, the future of legendary grindcore trio Wormrot was left uncertain over the last couple of years. But boy, have they found a brilliant replacement in Vijesh Ghariwala.

And the new unit haven’t just put out a masterpiece in a Singaporean context, their latest album “Voices” is also being hailed by hailed by international media as one of the greatest grindcore albums in the world.

The band’s abrasive, thrashing form is vintage, and the their technicality is beyond reproach, but where they truly shine is their ability to push the genre beyond its tropes. There’s groove amidst the grit and space punctuating their brutish speed.

♪♫ Listen: “Fallen Into Disuse” + album stream

Wormrot on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.