Channelnewsasia.com / TODAY Newspaper, 28 October 2010. By Kevin Mathews
Synthpop, aka synthesiser-based pop music, has never quite been the genre of choice for most Singapore bands.
Back in the ’90s, local synthpop pioneers Corporate Toil even suffered the ignominy of being heckled and booed by rock fans during a live performance. But things have changed.
Take Cosmic Armchair, for example. The synthpop duo, going by their monikers Cosmic Jane and Cosmic Ben, came together two years ago after meeting at the NUS Electronic Music Lab. They recently performed at this year’s Baybeats Festival and released a second EP, “A Second Look”.
Synthpop was “a natural choice” for the duo, but they stressed that they are “also influenced by current music like trance, progressive and future-pop”.
These influences are evident on the new EP. The opening track “Conversations” has strong trance elements and an interesting voice-over from actor friend Gemia Foo.
According to the duo, “the track is based on a conversation between a couple whose relationship was breaking down”.
Elsewhere, “Don’t Leave Me Here”, a melancholic electro-ballad, is, Jane said, about “how different people faced death”.
“It’s something all of us have to deal with one day, and also the question of what lies beyond,” she explained.
Despite the strengths of their music, Cosmic Armchair know that they’re not exactly a household name yet.
“As an electronic pop or synthpop band, people are still trying to decide where we fit in,” said Jane.
The duo has so far played gigs alongside death metal, industrial bands, electronic shoegaze and electro pop artists as “the local electronic pop scene is small but growing”.
Nevertheless, they said: “At all these gigs we found new fans from people who also enjoyed these other genres.”
Still, Cosmic Armchair is working on its full length album for 2011, and looking to collaborate with other musicians and remixers.
“We want to take our music as far as we can go and reach as many people as we can – starting from Singapore, and going out to the rest of the universe.”
Cosmic Armchair’s “A Second Look” is out now.