Send Us Your Sounds - DROPBOX

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

RELEASED 08-08-08

Creative quest

By N. RAMA LOHAN



Roslan Aziz has completed, much to his joy and satisfaction, a musical project of his own.CONTRARY to popular belief, Roslan Aziz isn’t just some opinionated dude in a bunch of talent-based reality shows. Neither is he the local equivalent of American Idol judge RandyJackson. Sure, he shares record production credits like the African-American but Roslan has way more going than meets the eye.He could roll out a lengthy résumé but Roslan has, through the years, remained a class act in the Malaysian music industry and prefers to let his work do the talking. Following critically-acclaimed productions for Street Lights,Sheila Majid and Zainal Abidin, right down to Datuk Siti Nurhaliza more recently, the home-grown talent has remained ahead of the competition in the music scene.His latest endeavour, aLi, is scarcely a surprise. Record producers, such as Alan Parsons and Pharrell Williams (of The Neptunes’ fame), have been known to embark on musical projects of their own, and Roslan has embarked on the same path.The forces behind aLi are Roslan and his long-time collaborator Mukhlis Nor, a songwriter who’s remained the “silent” driving force behind Sheila Majid and Zainal Abidin’s successes.“There are two versions of the album ... a more concise variant of about 42 minutes and the full 72-minute version, which we plan to market via the Internet. The longer version will feature quite a few extras ... the songs are also extended versions. For the shorter version, listeners still get the whole album, just minus two songs.”

The album, titled aLi, for the normal release and The Box for the expanded version, features a musical potpourri of slick rhythm and blues, as well as jazz and pop vibes.Music listening, as an experience, isn’t what it used to be anymore. In the digital age, music is now simply downloaded for a fee (or illegally, in many cases) from host sites and a large number of listeners enjoy their music via the computer. Thus, aLi is logically cashing in on this technological advancement.“The music will be available as downloads . This is definitely the future for marketing music . After that, we plan to release the cds, following which the expanded edition will be made available,” enthuses Roslan. The expanded edition will feature more literature and even a souvenir programme.As an added bonus, listeners can log onto aLi’s recording sessions on Pro Tools (recording software) and mix the songs to their own liking. “We’re thinking of having a competition for this where we gauge the quality of the mixes that are submitted to us, but concrete plans for this have not been finalised. Basically, we’d really like to develop our website for networking.”The album took a year or so to be completed, teething issues notwithstanding. “If you factor in the composition process, songwriting and getting into shape, it all took about two years. We had started recording in 2005 but my involvement with the musicals , Puteri Gunung Ledang and P Ramlee set us back a bit, Akademi Fantasia also kept me busy and also the Haru Biru soundtrack. But the actual production process took about a year.”It’s Roslan’s philosophy that there’s unity in diversity, which is what gives him faith in the varying tastes of the Malaysian public. “I have a lot of Chinese and Indian friends. My brothers are Chinese and Indians. That’s why we consciously wanted to make sure this wasn’t a Malay album, by Malays for Malays. There are no racial boundaries at all, and please, no religion, either. Honestly, the opportunity to make this album is a dream come true for us.”Roslan is realistic about this music catering to a more niche. “I always think about how people will view this. I would love for people to listen to it and like it, of course. This is a producer’s album,naturally,aesthetics won’t be much of an issue.. I can assure you there’ll be a second, third and fourth.”

After toiling in the studio for years for the benefit of other artistes, it was only natural that Roslan directed his creative talents into a product, and while it may have taken awhile, the results obviously seem worth it. Not only am I happy with this release, but I’m also relieved, because if I were to die tomorrow, I’d peacefully ... at least I have left something behind for our children.”

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