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Weekend set to get loud
Catch jazz-pop giants and more in town
SO you didn't get tickets to Coldplay and won't be one of the 100,000 set to sing along with Chris Martin at Singapore Sports Hub on Friday and Saturday; well, don't miss the forest for the trees because there are plenty of music acts spanning all genres that you can still catch this weekend (and beyond).
The fourth and largest edition of the annual Singapore International Jazz Festival (Sing Jazz) kicks off on Friday and runs until Sunday, offering 30 hours of music from over 180 artistes who will play indoors and outdoors at Marina Bay Sands.
The star-studded line-up includes the likes of Esperanza Spalding, Chaka Khan and Gilles Peterson, as well as local favourites Aaron James Lee (The Steve McQueens) and Ernesto Enriquez.
Grammy Award-winner Corinne Bailey Rae headlines the outdoor main stage on Friday but don't leave when her set ends. A newly-introduced The Late Show segment will take the festival indoors as Al McKay's iconic Earth, Wind & Fire Experience and Basement Jaxx will keep the party going till 4am.
Saturday opens with Raw Earth paying tribute to blues icon BB King, before Parker Jr, Spalding and Youssou N'Dour all play the main stage.
The action then moves indoors as Rudimental and Sing Jazz faves Incognito round off the night at The Late Show.
The festival closes with a bang on Sunday as local jazz diva Alemay Fernandez, Nik West and Raúl Midón warm the main stage before the "Hit Man" himself, David Foster, performs alongside Brian McKnight, Khan, and YouTube sensation Thirdstory.
David Lyndon Smith, co-founder and artistic director of Sing Jazz says: "(We are) fast becoming one of the most prominent and favoured music festivals in the region and this is reflected by the amazing and diverse talent that we are able to attract and present. This is very encouraging and we look forward to growing the festival to even greater heights."
Peterson is looking forward to introducing his all-star line-up of UK jazz artists to Singapore. "This is such an unbelievably good time for British jazz. Not since my early years listening to the jazz funk of groups like Incognito and Level 42 have I felt such a sense of community around a music scene. We're fortunate to have a very solid buzzing base for jazz and improvised music in the UK - both Nubya and Zara are two of the newer stars of recent times ... I'm so excited to share this unique collaboration at Sing Jazz 2017."
If you prefer something a little more intimate, head to the nearby Monti restaurant, where Singapore's "King of Swing" Jeremy Monteiro performs with singer Melissa Tham on Friday before bringing on the Jeremy Monteiro Trio Nouveau (featuring two "outstanding Young Lions of Jazz", Ben Poh and Aaron James Lee) on Saturday evening.
Those who really want to let their hair down should head to The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay for Armin van Buuren's headlining show. The concert on Saturday promises to be one big party.
There is no need to feel the blues when the weekend is over either because Carlos Santana returns to Singapore next Tuesday at Suntec Convention Centre as part of his Transmogrify World Tour. So don't hang up those dancing shoes yet; you'll definitely be needing them to groove along to classic hits like Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va and more.
- For more information on Sing Jazz, check www.sing-jazz.com. There is no cover charge for Jeremy Monteiro's shows at Monti. Armin van Buuren and Santana concert tickets are available from www.asiaboxoffice.com and www.apactix.com respectively
Hunt down that long-lost LP
MOST vinyl-lovers live for crate-digging, where they leisurely go through stacks of old records in hope of finding a long-lost classic. But for those who are time-strapped, there is now another option to crate-dig from the comfort of your own couch.
#vinyloftheday is a homegrown mobile app that is the brainchild of music-lover and DJ Kurt Loy, who started it as a vinyl community page back in 2012. "It was a just a blog site with an Instagram page ... (and) the initial idea was to allow music-lovers and vinyl-collectors to share what they are listening to each day," he shares.
But, as the number of record stores in Singapore grew strongly over the last five years, the community became bigger.
#vinyloftheday launched its marketplace app earlier this month for iOS, with the Android version to follow in April to coincide with Record Store Day.
Asked what inspired the making of the app, Mr Loy says staying relevant and evolving as a community are #vinyloftheday's key values. "In an age when the Internet has transformed how consumers pay for their products, we believe that this marketplace platform is the next logical step," he explains.
The app has an easy-to-use Instagram-like interface with two main sections: Marketplace for buying and selling, and Collections for, well, showing off or sharing photos of your prized LPs. There is also a Play button to preview the record before you decide to buy it.
"With a simple interface that requires only a photo, basic release information, price, shipping region and condition, our marketplace allows collectors to sell directly to one another on the go," says Mr Loy. "Our marketplace also provides a more social element to record-buying (via) interactions and open chat with the community, and users are able to create their own photo-based collections and wantlists."
Though the app is up and running, he says the work doesn't stop there. "We're constantly working on adding new features, improvements, looking to scale this platform, and expanding into the key territories where the vinyl culture is more robust," explains the 36-year-old, who was a digital strategist and used to work as the head of marketing for the Asia-Pacific region at streaming service provider Rdio (Asia) before it got acquired by Pandora.
He cites Japan and Australia as key markets that #vinyloftheday are looking at expanding into, followed by Indonesia, Thailand, and China. "However, we also have a huge audience coming from the US and Europe," reveals Mr Loy, who adds that the biggest goal is to become the No 1 worldwide platform for all things vinyl. "For now, we're keeping to a more realistic vision and aspiring to be the No 1 in Asia first ... Our focus (currently) is to continue making a good product and innovate."
Play music like a pro
SOME musicians are able to play by ear but for those who can't, don't despair because there is now an app that will have you nailing that tricky Jimmy Page guitar solo in no time.
AudioStretch is a music-transcription application that allows users to alter the speed of audio files without changing the pitch, making it ideal for those who need to listen closely to any piece of music so they can learn, teach or rearrange it for another instrument.
The app recently won the Best Tools for Schools award in the Advanced Learners category at the Winter NAMM Show, the world's largest trade-only event for the music products industry. It was acquired by homegrown next-generation social technology music company BandLab Technologies earlier this year.
AudioStretch's founder Gerry Beauregard, who is a trained classical guitarist and pop-rock music-lover himself, says he was inspired to create the app after having difficulty finding accurate sheet music on the Internet. "If I tried to learn a piece by ear or transcribe it, it took a long time and I wore out a lot of tapes and LPs replaying sections over and over again," he shares. "But what I really wanted was to be able to hear the piece played accurately but more slowly so I could pick it apart."
He came up with the idea of a tool that operates like a sonic microscope - one which would allow the user to zoom in on details - and began tinkering with the idea around 2000.
Mr Beauregard launched a "primitive version" in 2009 as a free online service but it got shut down because his Internet server complained it was straining the shared server.
It wasn't until 2012 that he bought an iPhone; six months later, he coded the first version of the app and released it on the App Store.
Since joining forces with BandLab Technologies last year, Mr Beauregard says he has been able to take AudioStretch to the next level and it now has a cleaner user interface and has added features like the ability to transcribe music captured directly on video from a phone camera.
He also explains that the app will "do the heavy lifting" when dissecting music: "By introducing the world's most powerful music-transcription tool, we want to help musicians transcribe music efficiently and accurately, and encourage music-makers of all levels to hone their skills."
AudioStretch joins BandLab Technologies' stable of products including the company's flagship social music platform BandLab that enables creators to make music and share the creative process with musicians and fans, as well as a 49 per cent stake in Rolling Stone magazine.
"We've already seen BandLab being adopted by educators as the primary music creation platform for their students due to its extensive functionality, collaborative and social tools and the fact that it is completely free and works seamlessly on any desktop device via Google Chrome," notes BandLab Technologies CEO Kuok Meng Ru.
He adds that the app is very close to crossing the million-user mark and has users from over 180 countries globally sharing hundreds of thousands of songs monthly. "AudioStretch is just one example of our approach to education, building on the success of our flagship BandLab product."