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Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm nearly awake. Nearly.

So Jesse asked me one day, “How was your 2007?”

And at that moment in time I didn’t have the mood to write out a full length essay for him or anything of the sort, so I just came up with a miserable four sentences or something.

Well, looks like I do now.

So, how was my 2007?

Like many others would say, this year has simply whizzed by me. In some ways, that is good, and in others, not so.

At the end of it all, I’m relieved that certain things have ended quickly, like preparation for SPM and all the pressure that came along with it. I mean, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever studied harder than I ever have done before. Then again, there are things which I wish just didn’t pass in such a short time, or didn’t ever end, like the three MPYO camps as well as the end year tour.

Over the past year, I’ve become more mature, to mention a few instances, I’ve learned to control myself a little better when it really matters and have also learned to appreciate things in general. Besides, I’ve also realized several other aspects of life, such as friendship bonds that are bound to either strengthen or bend, not necessarily break.

It must have been either late last year or early this year, I made one of the bravest decisions I’ve ever had to make. It was hard, and sometimes I look back and wonder as to why I made that decision. I quit the band Rosewood. I won’t state the reason here, cause that would take another hour of your time or more, plus I probably wouldn’t even want to publish it, as it would only be for my personal read. To keep a long story and explanation short, I did it for personal reasons. And I still wonder whether I disappointed my bandmates Adrian, Nigel and Syabil. I still wonder whether it did them and/or me any good. Trouble is, what’s done is done and there are no regrets.

Since 2007 was SPM year, it was inevitable for me to miss out on some things, like several movies which I had been dying to watch. The most notable thing I missed out on this year was probably my prom. While everyone was busy camwhoring and just enjoying each other’s company in that luxurious ballroom of sorts in Ritz Carlton, I was busy doing something that has completely changed my life. Seriously. It was the 13th of December, and I was performing in the final concert of the inaugural tour of the MPYO.

Somewhat MPYO has made me wake up to my senses and find my true calling. Truth is, when people used to ask me what I was going to do in the future, I could never give them a proper answer, all the time just giving the standard “See first la” or “Not too sure yet”. Now however, at least I have something to aim for – a degree in music. Some may say I’m a fool, some may encourage me to go for it, but whatever it is, I’m going for it. There’s no certainty to whether I can get in to the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music but I’m gonna do what it takes.

And that’s where MPYO came in, really. Ever since the first camp in March, my whole mindset took a huge turn. Before that, I was pretty much only into mainly modern stuff, and I was doing my exams for the sake of it. But ever since March, I became used to classical music in a sense that, I appreciated it more. Of course, now I still admit I’m still not too knowledgeable when it comes to classical, but I’ve definitely been exposed to more of it. As a result, I kind of put my songwriting on hold – which included songs which fall in the category of ‘less-mainstream sounding, not your average radio music’. But that surely can wait, right? Plus, after the camp, I upped my game and since then felt myself improve in terms of playing. Even my teacher noticed it. The bonus of being involved in the MPYO is I was fortunate enough to meet many new people of different types, really.

So I did miss out on prom. So I did miss out on the after party. But I sacrificed that for something I find to be more valuable to me at this stage in life. We’re at the crossroads, guys. This is where you make it or break it. Well, not really. But to a certain extent, yes. For SPM leavers, this is a pretty crucial period.

Oh, and I finally managed to watch Manchester United lift the Premiership crown after years. I still remember the first season when I decided they were my favourite team. It wasn’t the treble year, it was the year Arsenal won the title. That proved I didn’t support MU simply because they were winners. After years of watching them playing sublime football and not winning the coveted prize, I was so glad when Arsenal drew Chelsea in that vital game which ultimately gave United the win.

This year was the year of applying for scholarships too. I had never applied for a scholarship before, but this time around I was given a condition which required a scholarship – if not, no college for me. Fine, I admit, I was quite desperate for one and I went all out to get it. Luckily, my hard work paid off and with that, I’m entering HELP University College next week to do A Levels under partial scholarship. It’s not much, but at least it’s something, right? Oh, and I doubt I’m doing any science subjects. YES. FINALLY.

All in all, 2007 has had its ups and downs, just like every other year. God I sound so cliche. Will this year be a turning point in my life? Will it be in yours?

I think so. Every year is. It’s just the way whether you decide it to be.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Capital Records

Release date: 26 Sept 2006

Back in the times when Anthony Green stood at the helm as the frontman of the band, Saosin perhaps had different sort of followers and fans than now. Most likely, many of them wouldn’t have wanted Saosin to become a band apparently drifting into the ‘mainstream,’ as they currently have.

However, once Cove Reber stepped into the huge shoes of Green, Saosin progressively became more and more open to suggestion of actually becoming known to the outside world.

Truth is, their debut LP has displayed their true craft and musicianship as a band which previously belted out tracks with what has to be said as aimless screaming at times, similar to the old Alesana. There is no doubt that Reber has done a very decent job indeed in replacing Green. No surprise as to why the record peaked at #25 on the US Modern Rock Charts.

For listeners who find Saosin fairly foreign, the band actually formed in 2003 and have produced quite a number of unreleased and compilations tracks, plus two EPs before actually deciding to come up with an LP.

That experience of making music certainly helped in the production of their album, which has to be said, is a very, very good debut in several ways. For one thing, right from the opening track, It’s Far Better To Learn, the band sound as if they’re masters at the trade, sounding very tight indeed inside the first 20 seconds. Every element of the music, from the guitars and drums are carefully planned and when the vocals come in, Reber proves he can definitely emulate his predecessor. From then on, the rest of the song is simply brilliant and perfect to kick off the album.

The lyrics on the album are also extremely original. At times, it’s seemingly impossible to interpret the meanings of the songs. On Sleepers, the second song, I could instantly hear something oh so familiar. Indeed, after some research, it was found that Sleepers was actually a finalized version of one of Saosin’s songs on the Saosin EP, “I Wanna Hear Another Fast Song.” Several other songs on the record are also finalized versions of their previous songs, all perfected with the help of producer Howard Benson.

From a general point of view, Saosin play a slightly darker and heavier type rock, with more edge and urgency than normal. Down tuned guitars and several effects also contribute to their very interesting, original sound. Nevertheless, they do well on the slightly slower tracks on the album as well, such as Finding Home, I Never Wanted To, and the excellent second single You’re Not Alone, which is perhaps the best track off the record.

And while the song structures are somewhat similar, the band don’t quite make it seem that way, with every minor detail waiting to be picked up by the ear of the listener. Saosin also do well in picking their first single, Voices, which begins with an outstanding guitar riff followed by intricate drum beats in the verse. At one point close to the end of the song, Reber shows he can hit high notes just like Green, who had such a distinctive vocal style. His vocals plus the lead guitar riff combine to formulate a perfect climax to the song. One aspect of the band’s music cannot be denied, excellent guitar riffs, whether in a chugging or clear cut style.

Perhaps a slight (very slight) disappointment was the penultimate track Bury Your Head, which was originally included on the Saosin EP. After the very impressive You’re Not Alone which proved Saosin have a more sensitive side, I was somewhat alarmed at the tempo and feel of Bury Your Head which was somehow lost from the original. Sure, it sounded tighter and more musically advanced, but the Saosin could really have let themselves go a little more on this one. Never fear, as the lyrics on this track made up for the minor lack of drive.

Some say leave the best for last, right? Well, I wouldn’t say the final track Some Sense of Security is the best track of all, but it does well to end the album in style. The bridge of this song possibly comes out tops in comparison to the others, beginning with a hushed Reber repeating the line “This won’t mean anything” before the rest of the band gets back on track superbly.

All in all, Cove Reber and Co. give a really good account of themselves on this debut. As previously mentioned, Saosin have a very original sound. Although some songs on the record sound alike, everything else seems to cover up in perfect fashion. Certainly looking forward to the next release.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Everything good is happening somewhere else.

Oh my goodness.

I can't believe this is actually happening.

Jebat is actually blogging.

Yup. It's been 6 months since the last time, and come to think of it I don't even know if the last post was actually a valid post. Whatever.

So many things have happened in the past few months or so. To recall everything would simply be impossible. For one thing, I'm still coming to terms with several bare facts, such as the fact that SPM is over and I am no longer in school, the prospect of entering college when I'm not exactly sure whether I should, the fact that I decided to sacrifice my prom and the after party for company of my orchestra friends, and the what have yous in between.

And I come home from MPYO's inaugural tour feeling somewhat empty. As usual. Except this time it feels even more empty since the tour was what, one and a half weeks long if you include the rehearsals prior to the tour in DFP. My 18 hour straight sleep probably helped me get rid of a little of the empty feeling, but there's no doubt it's still there.

I swear I haven't touched my violin in like a week. And I don't know why. It's as if after the tour everything vanished. I goddamn know I've got to get back to practising. I just can't feel the urge now strangely enough.

And the one thing I'm so worried about now is my future. Time and time again, people have been asking me what I'll be doing long term and I just have no definite answer. However after the tour I kind of have a plan. Or at least I think I do. But then again, I'm still lost in the wilderness of who I should approach to replace my current teacher.

Okay. So I suppose this isn't quite working. I doubt I'm even making myself clear about certain things. TRYING to blog after like six months isn't exactly a walk in the park. God now I'm making it sound like a freaking chore.

Well to make things slightly better, 12 or 13 of the members of the tribe from KL had a sort of gathering of sorts at Dylan's house yesterday. It started off reaaaaaally slowly, but began to pick up when people like Nami, Su Yin and Jia Rong arrived. SORRY GUYS I don't mean anything in a bad way. Perhaps cause we had people like James and his poker face staring silently around Dylan's living room making everyone feel all nervous. Haha. Just joking James.

And we kicked things off with a game of Cluedo, which I used to play pretty often with my family and loved. Everything seemed to be all a blur and the next thing we knew we were eating food which everyone had brought at like 5 in the evening.

There was my Greek salad, spaghetti from Tiki, pizza ordered by Su Yin, sushi made by Nami, KFC brought by Jia Rong, sandwiches and donuts from Myles, and god knows what else. Can't seem to remember. Simply enjoying each other's company was very pleasant indeed, talking, laughing and watching videos taken by Eben on Duncan's Mach Book. Actually, we were supposed to bake I don't know what, fruitcake or something, but turns out we had more fun doing simpler things as a tight knit group.

And then we ended up bundling upstairs to Dylan's room again to play twister. Ahh twister. Honestly, before yesterday I had never played it before. Imagine us playing it like 15 or 30 minutes after eating a whole load of food. Anyway, the first game 'featured' Dylan the host, James the serious, Jia Rong the cat and Su Yin the HAHAHAHA. Hoookay. Jia Rong and James seemed to be like in the thick of everything going on while Dylan and Su Yin were kinda isolated on the twister mat or whatever you call it. Anyway it looked as if we were kinda cheating and not really following the real rules of the game cause there were times when James and Dylan were lying down on the floor while awaiting their turn.

Everyone else got their chance to play except I think Nami and Myles who either didn't want to play or didn't get the chance to. And guess what? We went downstairs to eat. Again. This time we had strudel brought by Kah Yan and the rest of the pizza and donuts.

Bah. Then was it Nami who just had to suggest we tell ghost stories.

I will not further elaborate.

Okay so some people find the game Truth of Dare quite lame, but I'll tell you something. Last night's was actually really fun cause the game became pretty much only Truth since Dare wasn't very practical in Dylan's house with his parents just downstairs in their rooms, probably sleeping. So anyway, just as I was saying, we got to find out some very interesting things about ahem and ahem and ahem and other things here and there.

Then people started leaving and the empty feeling began manifesting in my heart again. If I'm not mistaken Myles was the first to leave and it went downhill from there, really. We ended up asking each other about first impressions we all had of each other and that was actually pretty fun too. Unfortunately I didn't have first impressions for everyone. SORRY GUYS.

I'm feeling empty again. I had to leave and Eben followed me home to stay a night. God did I feel like shit when everyone was like saying "Tell your mum 11 or something la." Oh well. That's life.

Okay. So once again, this didn't quite work out did it? Blogging after such a long time feels kinda strange and as I close up this post, I wonder to myself, is this really worthy of being posted? Well, whatever it is, I'll just sit back and relax.

At least I have one thing to look forward to now. Comments. x)