After establishing his name with a string of tightly produced 90s-style house bangers, Halal Sol comes through with a deeper, diverse sound on his latest Darker Than Wax outing, “Dijamin”. Meaning ‘guaranteed’ in Malay, “Dijamin”’s title refers to the producer’s promise that each track on the record is genuinely crafted out of love and passion, and signalling a step forward in musical depth and polish. “Dijamin” was also built with variety in mind. Not wanting to be pigeon-holed as simply a classic house producer, the record showcases Halal Sol’s diverse influences, spanning broken beat, acid, techno, jazz, and garage. The diversity of EP is pushed further with offerings from fellow Singaporean remixers – Bongomann delivers a euphoric breakbeat reimagining of ‘Rushin’, and Darker Than Wax co-founder Kaye puts his signature soulful touch on ‘Hearing Deficit’. With all this in mind, DMCWORLD thought it a perfect opportunity to grab a Back To Mine 10 from this intriguing producer…
Eiffel 65 – New Life
Eiffle 65 has got to be one of my first exposures to electronic music. As a kid, I got hooked on their hit track “Blue”. I remember begging my mom to get me their latest album at the time Contact”. She got me the CD (which i still have to this day) and instantly was addicted to the second track, New Life. I set my DiscMan on repeat and listened to it all day. The infectious funky bass line, typical house drum beats and the chord voicing was what got me. I think, subconsciously, it influences the music I make today.
Eiffel 65 - New Life
Aqua Bassino – Baby C’mon
This track was one of my first “real” house music that I fell in love with during my late teens. It was during the time before music streaming platforms were a thing. I was on YouTube and fell down the rabbit hole of the recommendations. Track after track I listened and then I got to this track. The chord work is really addictive. The way it forms a rhythm on its own. And then comes the vocal samples which take the track to another level. And the lack of a complex bass line really makes you focus on the simple elements that make this track what it is. I forgot many of the track I discovered during that time, but this one sticks with me.
Aqua Bassino - Baby C'mon
Micatone – Playmobile Soldier
Another of the tracks that I discovered through YouTube. It is one of the first Nu-Jazz tracks I discovered that I really liked. Again, the chordwork and the vocals of Lisa Bassenger really sell this one. I think this was back in 2008. This track brings back a lot of memories as it was one of the handful of tracks that remained in my MP3 player during my secondary school years.
Mokadi – My Favourite Things
My Favourite Things was one of my favorite songs as a child. I think I first heard it when I was five or six years old. It is such a warm song that will always comfort you when you are down and out. I discovered this Nu-jazz cover by Mokadi a couple of years ago. I wish this was more popular. I love how chords just move all over the place. And then there’s the killer mid-track synth solo. Such a masterpiece and a respectable cover to a classic song.
Future Jazz / My Favorite Things
Soil & Pimp Sessions – Satsuriku Rejects
There was a yearly jazz festival in Singapore called Mosaic Music Festival. It was 2009 and I was an edgy 16 year old trying to listen to other forms of music than what was on the radio. The line up came and a few friends and I booked tickets to the weirdest sounding band there was. “Soil & Pimp Session”, I was like what the heck is that. Little did I know it was one of the best live shows I have attended to date. The music was nothing like I have heard before. It was super high intensity Jazz and it opened my ears to the little known world of Japanese Jazz. This is one of my favourite tracks of theirs. The high intensity but short horns coupled with a broken beat style drums and seemingly regular sounding keys sounds like nothing on this earth.
Soil & Pimp Sessions - Satsuriku Rejects
Fizzikx – Piano Vibes
I totally love the stuff Fizzikx puts out. While relatively modern (2010s onwards), his tracks could have sounded like they came out of the late 90s to early 2000s. This is one of my favourite tracks of his. He uses classic sounds like the piano and bass. The choppy vocal samples and high pitch synths that come once in a while has influenced my music. I think Fizzikx is one of my biggest influences in my music style.
Piano Vibes (Original Mix)
Sweely – It’s Over
Sweely is next level. I feel that this track encapsulates his style well. It’s dirty, grimy and heavy. Yet it is addictive as hell. I have tried to emulate his style but I always sound like bricks in a washing machine.
Daniel Leseman – Drums
Although this track is called Drums, the focus is not on the drums. The focus is on those killer chords. I think this track is a great example on how repetitive chords can be addictive as hell. Daniel Leseman uses the same chords but with different instruments and dynamic effects to create a flowing track of varying intensity throughout.
Daniel Leseman - Drums
Cinthie – Everything I Say
I think by now, you could have guessed that I love good chordwork. Cinthie takes the same addictive house chords and plays with effects throughout the track to vary the energy of the track. This is one of those tracks that will always make me groove no matter my mood. You can dance to it and even sing along to it. Perfect for anything from a party to a late night drive.
Cinthie - Everything I Say [Beste Modus 09]
Jazztronik – King of Dance
Back to the interesting world of jazz music from Japan, Jazztronik has some really interesting electronic jazz music. I love this track as it is one of his few house inspired tracks. Things I love about this track; funky bass line, nice chords, that insane mid-track saxophone solo, the little elements like marimbas that make this track great and how Japanese it sounds.