SYN019 : Tigers In Tampines
Tampines is the third largest residential new town in Singapore, lush with a community spirit supports over 258,000 residents. Before evolving into an urban-planning success story filled with high-rise technicolour housing blocks, bustling markets and air-conditioned malls, the area used to be covered with forests, swamps and sand quarries. And based on many historical accounts, this was the area where tigers used to roam.
With the neighbourhood’s history and heritage as the backdrop, this project sent 8 music artists out to the area to compose original tracks inspired by the the surroundings & the people. They surveyed the neighbourhood with an audio recorder in hand. Environmental sounds, neighbourhood chatters and direct interaction with the residents were the range of materials recorded by the artists. These sonic vignettes then served as a base for the artists to start their compositions.
Tigers in Tampines is the end result of this artistic exercise. The 7 tracks cover a wide range of sounds and emotions. Some reimagined the past while others celebrate the present. As a whole it reflects the neighbourhood’s colourful characteristics and history. Individually, each song tells a unique story that presents the town’s memories and aspirations through a mix of sonic snapshots and impressionistic compositions.
STREAM/PURCHASE LINKS AVAILABLE ON APR 30
Mastered by: Intriguant | Artwork by: Kiat
Project Creator: Cherry Chan
First commissioned for the National Arts Council’s Arts In Your Neighbourhood March 2019, in collaboration with Hear65.
_____ Tigers In Tampines EP / Artist & Track breakdown _____
.gif / EATING AIR
Tampines Court, once a compound with residents that have lived there most of their lives, it is now a landmark that has emptied itself out, due to a recent en bloc sale. Though its residents mourn its loss, some stick around in the vicinity neighbourhoods, unwilling to give up on the distinctive community spirit that is Tampines, because home is home. It is with this event that indie duo .gif, singer Weish and producer Din, captures the twists and turns of loss and nostalgia in their song.
*Photos taken by .gif on their sound collecting trip.
“While walking through Tampines, we could feel a real sense of community; there is a kampung spirit in this town that is sadly disappearing due to Singapore’s rapid modernisation. From the playgrounds in the HDB estates, to the Jiutiaoqiao Temple, and the iconic Scissors Plus barber shop, we watched how people from all walks of life, amiably and genuinely interact with one another. However, with the recent en bloc of Tampines Court, we could not help but feel a tinge of sorrow. Tampines is a special town and it would be sad to see her lose her distinctive character. As such, our track reflects this sense of loss and nostalgia.” - .gif
Known for their dark beats and immersive vocals, electronic duo .gif has graced stages all over the world with their lush soundscapes. Made up of Weish and Din, the pair’s debut EP “saudade” was released in 2013 and followed by the full-length album “soma” in 2015. They have played packed-out live shows and festivals such as Inside Out in London and BIGSOUND Brisbane in addition to the Sundance Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/Fest. Their music features on the acclaimed Singaporean film “A Land Imagined” while weish’s vocals can also be found on the soundtrack of the award-winning film “Shirkers.”
nada / Village Vestiges
Away from the concrete sprawl and largely left untouched by suburban development, this is a journey into the area around Hun Yeang Road. Landmarked by a row of dilapidated shophouses, they stand like monuments ready to bestow forgotten memories of Hun Yeang Village. In its heyday, this very spot was a natural hive of activity with the existence of a community centre, roadside food stalls and shops catering to the daily needs of the people. This piece attempts to capture the sonic remnants to remind us of the once bustling village life of Tampines Road.
*Photos taken by nada on their sound collecting trip.
With nada, we are always interested in the exploration and enquiry of forgotten eras; especially the spaces and artifacts that have been left behind. It is not simply a nostalgic trip. We are obsessed with reimagining how the past can be resurrected in the present. Hun Yeang Road as a geographical landmark presented itself as a perfect spectre of what Tampines' past could be like. With pockets of spaces unaffected by development, we captured the sights & sounds for us to start stirring our (re)imagination. - nada
Consisting of Rizman Putra and Safuan Johari, nada celebrates forgotten sounds through a contemporary lens that fuses fiction with reality. Conceived as a visual arts and sound project that specialises in conjuring up lost eras through music, particularly the golden period of Malay ballads from the 1960s to the 1980s. Since 2014, nada's music has gone beyond Singapore to Paris, Beijing, London and New York.
Fauxe / RED BUILDINGS
The Tampines HDB block is recognisable to the eye. As producer Fauxe remembers, it is one of those buildings made of red brick that is now so hard to come by, which stands out to him. This is of no surprise, as HDB managed the construction of the town until 1991, building many of the blocks that are so familiar to residents of Tampines and other Singaporeans. Tampines New Town was later awarded the World Habitat Award in 1992 for the developed world category. It is through these striking images that Fauxe seeks to connect with his song.
*Photos taken by Fauxe on his sound collecting trip.
“The piece I intend to make encompasses my journey and experiences about the sights and sounds I found within Tampines HDB blocks. Using beats and melodies, I seek to capture the vibe of what Tampines residents could feel and see on a daily basis. I have a striking memory of BLK 497 Tampines Street 45 with its monumental arches, long pillars and red brick growing up visiting the area. As someone that lives in Yishun, I understand how a heartland moves and grows, so I hope this entity is felt in the music created.” - Fauxe
FAUXE leaves no sound unturned. A producer known to churn out albums faster than most music journalists can keep up with, the young Singaporean likes to play with futuristic and historical concepts that often leave listeners with a lingering sense of intimacy. His self-produced tracks traverse a range of genres, from experimental jazz to hip-hop, and while it may be tempting to categorize him as a beatsmith, the label isn’t wide enough to address the complexity of his work. He’s performed across Asia and recently released on pan-Asian label Chinabot.
Vandetta / Infinity
The fields in Tampines are home to relaxation and play, a spontaneous meeting ground for solo and community recreation. Kite-flying and cricket are just some of the impromptu activities that dot the grasslands on weekends and weekday nights. Whereas Sun Plaza Park provides an array of urbanised fun and discovery, with its unique Sense Discovery Garden of textured walls, talking tubes, chimes and organic textured pathways; its Woodball Course hosts a number of local and international wood ball tournaments as well, while its amphitheatre provides outdoor concerts and band performances. It is from these places filled with laughter and wonder that Vandetta draws inspiration from in her song.
*Photos taken by Vandetta on her sound collecting trip.
“I want to explore the areas in Tampines where people come together in relaxation and play. Some of them are more organic, like the unused open field at the junction of Tampines 10 & 5, where the SCDF building is - I’ve heard that people play cricket and fly kites there. Others were created for the community, like the Sun Plaza Park, Tampines West Community Centre or the iconic watermelon-shaped playground. It’s in these areas and activities that I want to capture moments of joy and see if they somehow translate into the music.” - Vandetta
Vandetta is a soul-electronic artist who spreads positivity through a fusion of beats, loops and lush harmonies. Pulling together inspiration from Motown soul, underground Asian rap and urban pop, the vocalist has released two EPs, “Vandetta” and “Mindkiller,” with new music forthcoming on her inprint Ownself Records. She’s performed at Worldwide Festival, V Rox Festival and BIGSOUND, Brisbane.
Kiat & Deborah Emmanuel _ Human / Nature
Tampines Eco Green Park is a haven for biodiversity and should be on any nature-loving trekker list. Though surrounded by concrete HDB blocks on all sides, the park is still enriched by the nearby river, Sungei Tampines. The park boasts open grasslands, freshwater wetlands and a secondary rainforest. Linked via park connectors from Tampines Biking Trail and Sun Plaza Park, it is best enjoyed on foot. It is from this natural juxtaposition that producer Kiat and poet Deborah Emmanuel find the words and sounds for their song.
*Photos taken by Kiat and Deborah Emmanuel on their sound collecting trip.
“We wanted to present a two-part track entitled “Nature/Machine” Inspired by Tampines Eco Green park. The track was an audio collage from the park’s wilderness as well as ambient slices from the surrounding concrete jungle to reflect the juxtapositions in modern life.” - Kiat & Deborah Emmanuel
Kiat & Deborah Emmanuel
Kiat is rooted in a sense of adventure that’s closely linked to his fascination with emotions and freedom. Well known in Singapore and abroad for his signature brand of leftfield electronica, Kiat is a sought after musician by international DJs and regularly receives radio airplay on BBC Radio 1 and 1XTRA. A designer by trade, he likes to work across various mediums. On any given day, he can be found making music for clubs, catwalks, theatrical stages and art installations. Kiat’s work has been featured by Peranakan Museum, Art Science Museum, Adidas, Dior, Selfridges, and SHOWstudio.
Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet, performer, author and four-time TEDx speaker. As a slam poet, she has won competitions in Singapore, Germany and Australia while her solo work has been presented in Spain, Nepal, the U.K. and the U.S She has written three books—“When I Giggle In My Sleep”, “Rebel Rites” and “Genesis Visual Poetry Collection”—in addition to performing in three bands. She also regularly teaches workshops, paints and devises independent theatre.
Tampines occupies a special place in a kid’s heart. Home to iconic play areas such as its fruit-themed playgrounds and the water playground in Tampines Hub, you can always hear the laughter of children in the late afternoons. Electronic producer, Intriguant, hopes to channel that infectious energy in a playground-inspired song, by recording audio samples of children in their unself-conscious states––an exercise that will allow him to revisit his own childhood as well.
*Photos taken by Intriguant on his sound collecting trip.
“Remember the time as kids when you got to discover the outdoors, run around and shout at the top of your lungs? I have fond memories of play areas from my childhood years and feel that Tampines has some of the most iconic playgrounds in Singapore, be it the fruits farm playground or the water playground in Tampines Hub. For my piece, my intention is to speak with children from the Tampines West CC Yeah! club about their memories of playgrounds and play, and to also record sounds at various play areas, in an attempt to create a playground song.” - Intriguant
Intriguant is a Singapore-based electronic music producer and DJ who is constantly exploring human perceptions of environments. He uses textural sounds and syncopated beats to fuse the physical with the spiritual. His debut full-length album “Recluse” was released in 2017 under Singaporean audiovisual label Syndicate with acclaim from global audiences. Intriguant has previously contributed to film, theatre and art installations and has performed at major international music events such as the St. Jerome Laneway Festival, SingJazz and BIGSOUND Brisbane.