To the uninitiated, the barrage of beats coming out of the bassbins may seem like whitenoise, but upon a closer listen, it is actually a pastiche of syncopated eardrum-busting basslines, glitched out beats and dubby blips juxtaposed against a surreal backdrop of awesome visuals.
The culprits for this auditory and visual onslaught? Syndicate: A ragtag band of like-minded folks hell-bent on trotting against the approaching curve of off the shelf auto-tuned beats.
“We are an audio-visual collective consisting of music producers, visual artists and DJs. We’ve been doing regular nights since 2010 and this year we have managed to bring the Syndicate experience to various shows in the UK, US and France. Other than music performances, we also do multi-media art installations for various art shows, events & brands,” says founding member Safuan Johari or otherwise known by his DJ alter-ego Max Lane. Other members of the group include Jonathan Nah (Kiat), Brandon Tay, Cherry Chan, Darren Tan (Darren Dubwise), Rafi Dean, Elias Soh (Izaak Stern) and Sammy Panamuga.
Video of Syndicate’s recent gig at Zouk Winebar
Their music ranges from instrumental hip hop, dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass, broken beat and anything off-kilter. The group was recently invited to perform in Los Angeles and San Francisco for dance music label Brainfeeder, the Low End Theory club night as well as performing in France earlier this year for Gilles Peterson Worldwide Festival in France.
The group will be holding its first concert at Esplanade’s Recital Studio on November 25 after holding court at Home Club since it first formed. “We thought of challenging ourselves by doing a show in a concert environment. In a club or party setting, details or nuances of a performance can be easily missed or go unnoticed and on the flipside, we can get away with many things too. So with this Esplanade gig, we want to create an environment where the full focus and attention will be given to the content that we are presenting,” explains Safuan.
Performing a special live set on stage will be two of the Syndicate members Kiat and Max Lane. They will be joined on stage by turntablist DJ Koflow, jazz pianist Aya Sekine as well as Octover which is made up of electronic producer Jason Tan and vocalist Vanessa Fernandez. Rafi Dean and Brandon Tay, on the other hand, will be providing the visuals.
Fans of the group can also get their hands of its first release--SYNDICATE The Album which will feature music from Max Lane, Kiat, Cherry Chan, Izaak Stern, Octover and Trytoplay. “It is also to mark the launch of the Syndicate label. It will set the tone for our future releases,” adds Safuan.
If your taste for music borders on the experimental and offbeat, mosey on down to the Esplanade this November 25.
Esplanade Late Nite: Syndicate Sessions is on November 25, 9:30pm at Recital Studio, Esplanade. Tickets $25 available from Sistic.