Send Us Your Sounds - DROPBOX

Monday, December 7, 2009

asia's best kept secret: Roslan Aziz oleh ariapertama

asia's best kept secret: Roslan Aziz oleh ariapertama


L - Ali (8tahun) R - Zayn(18bulan)

Ramai kenal beliau, baik hasil kerjanya, karektornya malah kontraversi yang pernah dilaluinya. Semua ini menjadikan beliau Roslan Aziz yang kita kenali hari ini. Lahir dalam komuniti Melayu Bandar, Keramat Kuala Lumpur. Agak ironik, komuniti melayu sebegini walau di Bandar sesak seperti Kuala Lumpur - yang masih agak konservatif pemikirannya ( suatu waktu dulu ), bisa melahirkan pencipta muzik yang sangat liberal sifatnnya. Asalnya, Roslan Aziz seorang pelajar aliran sains di salah satu universiti di kawasan Lembah Klang. Berguru dengan ramai orang. Pernah merantau jauh kerana muzik. Beliau juga pernah mencipta fenomena muzik.

Kemenangan karya-karya dibawah penerbitan beliau tidak diragui. Sekitar zaman 1989 hingga 1996 telah membuktikannya. Ketika itu, pada peringkat awal, katanya ‘kita bergerak dibawah kemampuan kapital dan kurang sokongan publisiti’. Namun ‘kemampuan’ yang kecil itu mampu merakam muzik-muzik yang tinggi kualitinya. Ini jelas menunjukkan, disiplin yang ‘ketat’ sebagai seorang penerbit, bisa ‘menggagahi’ kekurangan capital dsdnya. Ini sahaja rahsia bagaimana hasil kerjanya berjaya. Hingga kini, pencapaian beliau masih belum dapat di atasi oleh mana-mana produser, baik di Malaysia mahupun di rantau Asia Tenggara. Menariknya di sini, keadaan ini disedarinya termasuk kita.

Umumnya, ‘tokoh-tokoh’ besar dalam apa jua bidang memiliki ‘pride’ mereka sendiri. Pride ini zahirnya pada kita yang bukan ‘tokoh’ kelihatan seperti ‘arrogant’ atau ego. Hakikatnya elemen ego ini bukanlah sikap tiru-tiruan atau dibuat-buat olehnya, tetapi terjadi dengan sendirinya akibat ‘ketat’nya disiplin sehingga menjadikan mereka ini ‘tokoh’ dalam bidangnya. Hal ini berlaku dengan Roslan Aziz.

Pencipta muzik ini bukanlah seorang yang demand pada harga kerjanya. Tetapi beliau seorang yang sangat memilih dan cerewet. Sifat ini kita sedia makllum pada mana-mana tokoh sekalipun. Nafsu muzik beliau sangat besar, tetapi berbeza dengan karyawan muda yang bernafsu besar tapi gelojoh. “..k*h*t*k kau..!!!” Ekspresi beliau sebeginilah yang menjadikan muziknya ada ‘passion’. Pemuzik yang mendengar ekspresi beliau sebegini secara tiba-tiba ‘jadi pandai’. Pemuzik itu sendiri tak bisa menjelaskan keadaan ini.

Rata-rata pemuda-pemuda yang baru dalam muzik ‘takut’ padanya. Takut ini membawa pelbagai tanggapan. Ada yang takut ‘salah’, takut lambat, takut tak kena dan macam-macam lagi. Secara tidak sedar, dengan ‘sikap-sikap’ inilah Roslan Aziz memanipulasi kelemahan ‘pelajar’ muziknya menjadi sesuatu yang di gelar orang sebagai ‘magic’. Barangkali ramai tak menyedari kebolehan utama Roslan Aziz ini. Jika beliau seorang penyanyi, inilah juga yang dikatakan ‘x factor’. Bagi seorang pencipta muzik sepertinya, inilah yang dikatakan karisma – bagaimana permulaan yang negatif ditukar menjadi sesuatu yang sangat positif, atau bagaimana sesuatu yang kurang/lemah menjadi kekuatan selepasnya. Faktor ini amat sukar dijumpai dalam mana-mana pencipta muzik.

Beliau memilih untuk menguasai salah satu cabang yang secara sejarahnya ‘gagal’ di kuasai oleh seniman lampau, termasuk P.Ramlee. iaitu, teknologi muzik atau kejuruteraan bunyi. Beliau berkorban minat (asalnya sebagai komposer dan pemuzik) hanya untuk mengatasi ‘krisis’ kualiti muzik tempatan. Ramai juga yang tidak sedar hakikat ini. Dengan adanya karyawan seperti beliau, maka terisi sudah kelompongan besar yang tidak orang industri sedari iaitu ‘understanding of music technology’. Kefahaman beliau tentang bidang ini bukan bermaksud teknologi multimedia atau IT, tetapi lebih dalam dari itu – the nature of sound. Inilah konsep asas yang membawa kejayaan muzik Roslan Aziz. Beliau tidak begitu mendengar ‘gaya’ muzik melayu sebaliknya dia mendengar ‘bunyi’ muzik melayu. Perbezaan ini amat ketara kesannya dalam lagu-lagu terbitan beliau. Bau-bau muzik eksotik, Jazz – afrika – ghazal – inang melayu – malah yang terkini seperti techno dsdnya menjadi keunikkan falsafah muzik beliau. Sebagaimana muzik tradisi Melayu yang ‘observe’ pada instrumentasi barat dan timur. Sedang Roslan ‘observe’ bunyi-bunyi dari timur dan barat. Baginya “…dalam kepelbagaian muzik…muzik itu memberitahu apa yang akan kamu rasakan”.

Sebagai seorang pembaca, umumnya kita memilih untuk membaca pada apa yang ingin kita ketahui. Pengalaman diri akan mendorong seseorang itu memilih bahan bacaan yang dapat membetuk hidupnya. Roslan Aziz memilih untuk tahu tentang ‘manusia dan kemanusiaan’. Topik ini pasti ‘memaksa’ beliau untuk bekerja lebih keras dengan membaca segala yang tertulis mengenai ‘kehidupan’. Nah! Ketatnya pengetahuan muzik belum dapat menjanjikan kualiti karya, maka sumber bacaan juga telah memainkan peranan besar pada Roslan. Elemen ini sangat kurang pada pemuda-pemuda yang sedang ‘asyik’ dengan idea muziknya.

‘ALI’ – Roslan dan Muklis cuba ‘bercakap’ tentang satu konsep kehidupan dari apa yang mereka rasa selama ini. Kolaborasi ini menjadi signifikan selepas ‘rehat’ Roslan Aziz selama 5 tahun lalu. Kekemasan muziknya sangat ketara, muzik-muzik dalam ALI telah berkali-kali di adun bunyinya. Terdapat pelbagai ‘sound version’. Hingga kita pendengar sendiri sukar menilai yang terbaik dari yang terbaik. ALI cuba memberi ‘kunci’ kepada khalayak pendengar bagi menilai kembali keinginan sebenar pendengar muzik di Malaysia. Mendidik taste ( citarasa ) pendengar muzik di Malaysia sama kerasnya dengan usaha ‘mereformasikan’ pemikiran rakyat dalam jalur politik dan sosial. Maka nama band ALI menjadi pintu masuk segala macam perubahan yang Roslan dan Mukhlis inginkan. Barangkali bagi kita yang meminati muzik, sokongan awal bukanlah kerana ‘muzik ALI’ ( yang dianggap sofistikated ) itu sendiri, tetapi kerana konsep dan idea ALI yang kelihatan masak ranum untuk dikunyah. Kemudian barulah fenomena muzik itu bisa wujud - barangkali. ALI pada Roslan ialah ‘vehicle’ kepada suatu yang lebih utama ( matlamat ).

Roslan Aziz bukanlah penganut syiah seperti yang digembar-gemburkan selama ini. Beliau muslim sepertimana teman-teman lain. Perbezaan pendapat bukan bererti berbezanya agama. Agama dan beragama adalah 2 perkara yang tidak seharusnya disalah erti, apatah lagi bagi insan yang ‘memahami’ agamanya. Malah lebih ironi, islam sendiri memerlukan insan yang berbeda pendapat sebagai batu uji pengetahuan penganutnya. Dalam hal ini Roslan memilih untuk berbeza pendapat.

20 tahun selepas hari ini, kita berharap akan dapat mendengar lagi muzik-muzik yang lebih segar, dari mana-mana karyawan sekalipun. Apprisiasi kecil mengenai tokoh besar ini sekadar ingin meraikan (secara kecil-kecilan) 20 tahun penglibatan beliau dalam arus muzik di Malaysia. Banyak lagi yang bisa di ungkap mengenainya, namun biarlah ungkapan itu beliau sendiri zahirkan dalam muzik-muzik beliau. Memadailah bagi kita yang bekerja dan meminati muzik untuk berusaha menyanyingi keazaman beliau.

Beliau sudah berkata “ muzik ini buat anak cucu kita..”

Roslan Aziz oleh ariapertama

Thursday, March 19, 2009
20 Tahun sudah berkarya – Roslan Aziz.




Ramai kenal beliau, baik hasil kerjanya, karektornya malah kontraversi yang pernah dilaluinya. Semua ini menjadikan beliau Roslan Aziz yang kita kenali hari ini. Lahir dalam komuniti Melayu Bandar, Keramat Kuala Lumpur. Agak ironik, komuniti melayu sebegini walau di Bandar sesak seperti Kuala Lumpur - yang masih agak konservatif pemikirannya ( suatu waktu dulu ), bisa melahirkan pencipta muzik yang sangat liberal sifatnnya. Asalnya, Roslan Aziz seorang pelajar aliran sains di salah satu universiti di kawasan Lembah Klang. Berguru dengan ramai orang. Pernah merantau jauh kerana muzik. Beliau juga pernah mencipta fenomena muzik.

Kemenangan karya-karya dibawah penerbitan beliau tidak diragui. Sekitar zaman 1989 hingga 1996 telah membuktikannya. Ketika itu, pada peringkat awal, katanya ‘kita bergerak dibawah kemampuan kapital dan kurang sokongan publisiti’. Namun ‘kemampuan’ yang kecil itu mampu merakam muzik-muzik yang tinggi kualitinya. Ini jelas menunjukkan, disiplin yang ‘ketat’ sebagai seorang penerbit, bisa ‘menggagahi’ kekurangan capital dsdnya. Ini sahaja rahsia bagaimana hasil kerjanya berjaya. Hingga kini, pencapaian beliau masih belum dapat di atasi oleh mana-mana produser, baik di Malaysia mahupun di rantau Asia Tenggara. Menariknya di sini, keadaan ini disedarinya termasuk kita.

Umumnya, ‘tokoh-tokoh’ besar dalam apa jua bidang memiliki ‘pride’ mereka sendiri. Pride ini zahirnya pada kita yang bukan ‘tokoh’ kelihatan seperti ‘arrogant’ atau ego. Hakikatnya elemen ego ini bukanlah sikap tiru-tiruan atau dibuat-buat olehnya, tetapi terjadi dengan sendirinya akibat ‘ketat’nya disiplin sehingga menjadikan mereka ini ‘tokoh’ dalam bidangnya. Hal ini berlaku dengan Roslan Aziz.

Pencipta muzik ini bukanlah seorang yang demand pada harga kerjanya. Tetapi beliau seorang yang sangat memilih dan cerewet. Sifat ini kita sedia makllum pada mana-mana tokoh sekalipun. Nafsu muzik beliau sangat besar, tetapi berbeza dengan karyawan muda yang bernafsu besar tapi gelojoh. “..p*k*m*k kau..!!!” Ekspresi beliau sebeginilah yang menjadikan muziknya ada ‘passion’. Pemuzik yang mendengar ekspresi beliau sebegini secara tiba-tiba ‘jadi pandai’. Pemuzik itu sendiri tak bisa menjelaskan keadaan ini.

Rata-rata pemuda-pemuda yang baru dalam muzik ‘takut’ padanya. Takut ini membawa pelbagai tanggapan. Ada yang takut ‘salah’, takut lambat, takut tak kena dan macam-macam lagi. Secara tidak sedar, dengan ‘sikap-sikap’ inilah Roslan Aziz memanipulasi kelemahan ‘pelajar’ muziknya menjadi sesuatu yang di gelar orang sebagai ‘magic’. Barangkali ramai tak menyedari kebolehan utama Roslan Aziz ini. Jika beliau seorang penyanyi, inilah juga yang dikatakan ‘x factor’. Bagi seorang pencipta muzik sepertinya, inilah yang dikatakan karisma – bagaimana permulaan yang negatif ditukar menjadi sesuatu yang sangat positif, atau bagaimana sesuatu yang kurang/lemah menjadi kekuatan selepasnya. Faktor ini amat sukar dijumpai dalam mana-mana pencipta muzik.

Beliau memilih untuk menguasai salah satu cabang yang secara sejarahnya ‘gagal’ di kuasai oleh seniman lampau, termasuk P.Ramlee. iaitu, teknologi muzik atau kejuruteraan bunyi. Beliau berkorban minat (asalnya sebagai komposer dan pemuzik) hanya untuk mengatasi ‘krisis’ kualiti muzik tempatan. Ramai juga yang tidak sedar hakikat ini. Dengan adanya karyawan seperti beliau, maka terisi sudah kelompongan besar yang tidak orang industri sedari iaitu ‘understanding of music technology’. Kefahaman beliau tentang bidang ini bukan bermaksud teknologi multimedia atau IT, tetapi lebih dalam dari itu – the nature of sound. Inilah konsep asas yang membawa kejayaan muzik Roslan Aziz. Beliau tidak begitu mendengar ‘gaya’ muzik melayu sebaliknya dia mendengar ‘bunyi’ muzik melayu. Perbezaan ini amat ketara kesannya dalam lagu-lagu terbitan beliau. Bau-bau muzik eksotik, Jazz – afrika – ghazal – inang melayu – malah yang terkini seperti techno dsdnya menjadi keunikkan falsafah muzik beliau. Sebagaimana muzik tradisi Melayu yang ‘observe’ pada instrumentasi barat dan timur. Sedang Roslan ‘observe’ bunyi-bunyi dari timur dan barat. Baginya “…dalam kepelbagaian muzik…muzik itu memberitahu apa yang akan kamu rasakan”.

Sebagai seorang pembaca, umumnya kita memilih untuk membaca pada apa yang ingin kita ketahui. Pengalaman diri akan mendorong seseorang itu memilih bahan bacaan yang dapat membetuk hidupnya. Roslan Aziz memilih untuk tahu tentang ‘manusia dan kemanusiaan’. Topik ini pasti ‘memaksa’ beliau untuk bekerja lebih keras dengan membaca segala yang tertulis mengenai ‘kehidupan’. Nah! Ketatnya pengetahuan muzik belum dapat menjanjikan kualiti karya, maka sumber bacaan juga telah memainkan peranan besar pada Roslan. Elemen ini sangat kurang pada pemuda-pemuda yang sedang ‘asyik’ dengan idea muziknya.

‘ALI’ – Roslan dan Muklis cuba ‘bercakap’ tentang satu konsep kehidupan dari apa yang mereka rasa selama ini. Kolaborasi ini menjadi signifikan selepas ‘rehat’ Roslan Aziz selama 5 tahun lalu. Kekemasan muziknya sangat ketara, muzik-muzik dalam ALI telah berkali-kali di adun bunyinya. Terdapat pelbagai ‘sound version’. Hingga kita pendengar sendiri sukar menilai yang terbaik dari yang terbaik. ALI cuba memberi ‘kunci’ kepada khalayak pendengar bagi menilai kembali keinginan sebenar pendengar muzik di Malaysia. Mendidik taste ( citarasa ) pendengar muzik di Malaysia sama kerasnya dengan usaha ‘mereformasikan’ pemikiran rakyat dalam jalur politik dan sosial. Maka nama band ALI menjadi pintu masuk segala macam perubahan yang Roslan dan Mukhlis inginkan. Barangkali bagi kita yang meminati muzik, sokongan awal bukanlah kerana ‘muzik ALI’ ( yang dianggap sofistikated ) itu sendiri, tetapi kerana konsep dan idea ALI yang kelihatan masak ranum untuk dikunyah. Kemudian barulah fenomena muzik itu bisa wujud - barangkali. ALI pada Roslan ialah ‘vehicle’ kepada suatu yang lebih utama ( matlamat ).

Roslan Aziz bukanlah penganut syiah seperti yang digembar-gemburkan selama ini. Beliau muslim sepertimana teman-teman lain. Perbezaan pendapat bukan bererti berbezanya agama. Agama dan beragama adalah 2 perkara yang tidak seharusnya disalah erti, apatah lagi bagi insan yang ‘memahami’ agamanya. Malah lebih ironi, islam sendiri memerlukan insan yang berbeda pendapat sebagai batu uji pengetahuan penganutnya. Dalam hal ini Roslan memilih untuk berbeza pendapat.

20 tahun selepas hari ini, kita berharap akan dapat mendengar lagi muzik-muzik yang lebih segar, dari mana-mana karyawan sekalipun. Apprisiasi kecil mengenai tokoh besar ini sekadar ingin meraikan (secara kecil-kecilan) 20 tahun penglibatan beliau dalam arus muzik di Malaysia. Banyak lagi yang bisa di ungkap mengenainya, namun biarlah ungkapan itu beliau sendiri zahirkan dalam muzik-muzik beliau. Memadailah bagi kita yang bekerja dan meminati muzik untuk berusaha menyanyingi keazaman beliau.

Beliau sudah berkata “ muzik ini buat anak cucu kita..”
Posted by ariapertama at 1:39 PM
Labels: Tokoh

Thursday, September 10, 2009



 
vocals / songs / words

Roslan Aziz  
basses / drums /sounDesign

DISCOGRAPHY

2003  single - NONTERRO
2004  album ( special edition ) - UNA
2005  album - RADIO EDITS
2007 - album - HARUBIRU
2008  ( online ) - INAUGURAL RELEASE

ALBUM CREDITS

Produced by Roslan Aziz

Executive Producer 
Sandy Monteiro

Associate Producers
   Kamarudin Meranun & Tony Fernandes

All songs written by Mukhlis Nor except
NONTERRO by Roslan Aziz & Mukhlis Nor

All songs published by Adhicipta Publishing
administered by Universal Music Publishing

Musical Arrangements by
 ’aLi and Jason Voo

Engineered & Mixed by Roslan Aziz
at The Shaolin Temple KL

Mastered by Tony Cousins
at the metropolis London

Master Preparations & Editing by
Emily Lazaar at the Lodge NYC
BAND

Bass - ANDY PETERSON

Drums - ZAHID AHMAD

Guitars - JAMAL WILSON
 PATRICK & FAUZI MARZUKI

Keyboards - JASON VOO

Saxes - GREG LYONS
Horns -  DAMON & BRUCE
Sax Solos - RAZAK RAHMAN

Rebana & Gendang - RAMLI MOHRAM
Assorted Percussions - STEVE THORNTON


Adhicipta (M) Sdn Bhd. Semua Hakcipta Terpelihara. Artwork/XHTML 
© 2008 Troka Estate. [All Rights Reserved]

Monday, September 7, 2009

ATILIA - LIVE !




Mujik Productions
presents

Atilia @ No Black Tie

A night of bossa nova and soul..
songs from her upcoming album

INDAH.
Fri 2 Oct 2009
No Black Tie
10.30pm

Cover charge applies
For information & reservations:
03-2142 3737 (After 5pm) - Daphne Nasir
www.noblacktie.com.my

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Music for the masses

CrossTalk 
Music for the masses
Singer-songwriters in Malaysia deal with the challenges of musical creation and surviving in the musical landscape that surrounds them. Mukhlis Nor, the songwriter famous for 'Hijau', and Reza Salleh, a current staple in the indie music scene, talk about the importance of support, timing and being true to one's self, with KOH LAY CHIN listening in


Mukhlis Nor (right) and Reza Salleh giving their input on the local music industry.
Mukhlis Nor (right) and Reza Salleh giving their input on the local music industry.
THE GOOD OLD TIMES?

Reza: The Ikhlas Tapi Jauh times was a very magical, harmonious time for local music. It kind of transcended race.I felt that with those concerts, which I didn't go to but heard of, it didn't matter who you were or where you came from. Do you feel like it has changed a lot since then?
Mukhlis: Yes, maybe. It was about coming in at the right time. When there was a need for something like that, no one had grabbed it.
Reza: So it was timing that made it so "magical"?



Mukhlis: Not entirely. But yes, it had to be some kind of timing and need which the audiences wanted and we were delivering.
The mindset was not to think about what the public might want and feed that to them, but to...
Reza: Just do it.
Mukhlis: Yes, just do it. I think the binding force was the fact that we never set any boundaries. Everybody felt like they were not left out.
It's true, between the ages of eight and 18, you are at your most impressionable age. Friends that you meet and things you learn and discover in those years will last forever.
It's indirectly going to shape you. Maybe that was also the time when everybody needed the connection. And there was nothing in music at that time and this was something.

Reza: Also music beyond the country was not as accessible as it is today. Today we have so many global benchmarks.
I find that the local music industry is kind of a planet by itself. You sing a certain way, a certain kind of song, and you have to sing a certain language.
I think the level of appreciation is kind of behind, so for me, the struggle is what do I do about that. I feel like I can't stop at Malaysia, I need to go beyond.
Mukhlis: Oh definitely. The online concept is that there are no boundaries. That doesn't mean you just stay at home and do your work and sell your music. That's too idealistic. We have not reached that. You have to go out, you have to decide where and how.
Reza: I think that when it comes to the level of appreciation here, whether high or low, it's really not the public's fault. (The market is) too small.
Mukhlis: We are just so underpopulated. Yes, it makes you feel good when everybody recognises your name but so what? It doesn't make you the best in the world. I think the important thing is to challenge yourself, and if you play well here, go out and have a look.
Asia is so untapped. For the western world, Asia has infinite promise. They know Africa already, they've already done Latin music for 50 years.Look at Indonesia. There are so many (musicians) over there, it's very competitive.

Reza: And also just from working with Indonesians and organising events involving bands from that country, I see their level of professionalism.You can see that they are light years ahead of bands here. It's so competitive there, and they are so professional.
Mukhlis: In order to get on in Indonesia, you really have to work hard. Over here they ask if you have paid your "dues". "Yeah". "Where?" "In KL". And that's really not that much. You have to go beyond. Definitely. Even if it's across the Causeway.
Reza: To me, the music industry here feels like a big comfort zone nobody wants to step out of.
Mukhlis: And it's not bread and butter, it's just nasi, okay? (Both laugh) So at the most, you make porridge and you still can survive. And it's low standard anyway.
I'm not trying to put down our country, I love Malaysia but yeah, it's too bad, it's just like that.

Reza: I've met a lot of bands who think "I'm not too bad".And then they go to, let's say Canada, and see the bands there. And they'll go "What have I been thinking all this time?"
Malaysians are quite behind in terms of music, business and the industry.
Mukhlis: Actually, we've never been out of this planet. We have many caretakers, as I call them, who are good at looking after people and containing problems.
In a way it has worked against all of us because now we think that it's okay, everything's okay. A lot of people say "It's okay".


THE MUSIC TEAM & SUPPORT

Reza: Was there a big team behind you guys?
Mukhlis: Not at all. That's what we learned early on. I think 10 years into my association with Roslan Aziz, we went into RAP (Roslan Aziz Productions), a big team, and suddenly at one point it just sort of fell apart.
Everyone wanted to pursue his own thing, freelancing, or have his own small unit.
And then we realised that the big team can sometimes be costly in the end. You want to use the same people because you enjoy teamwork, but then later everyone's not on the team anymore.

Reza: I would love to have a team of people, a support cell group of sorts. It'd be great. But sometimes meeting those people can be tricky.
It's not like I put signboards or something. Sometimes, you meet them, and sometimes they help out.
Mukhlis: Sometimes, those cells are public relations work. They aren't necessarily activated. They are there, they know you are there, but they don't have to do anything for you now or you don't want them to do anything.
But then the moment something happens, jalan (move it). That is very important now.
You probably know a little more about this social networking.
A lot of people are really wondering how they can best tap this, without being annoying and looking like you're doing business and all.
People from my generation, who have seen the shift from analogue to digital, from photographs to digital photos, or to handphones, they still seem to me like they're a bit stunned by all the change.

Reza: I used to have a daytime job, then I chose to stop because I found that I ...
Mukhlis: Couldn't focus.
Reza: Couldn't focus. It was nine-to-seven, and then organising shows and performing myself.
I found that I couldn't write. I felt like I was burning out after a while. I quit to see if I could free up some brain space to make it this year.

STARTING TO PERFORM

Mukhlis: I think we experienced the same things. We both started out in school.
To me it was the popular culture, when you are 12 or 13, to listen to music which your parents bought.
It was vinyl back then, and I liked reading the covers and seeing the names in the brackets -- the producers and the songwriters. I realised that music involved this and that. And then I taught myself.

Reza: Did you start as a performer or writer?
Mukhlis: I started writing and performing to guests. My first "victims" were my sister, mother, aunties and cousins.
Reza: Oh, I spared my family that.
Mukhlis: I got some self-esteem and confidence after that, and somebody then hooked me up. Along the way you get to know people who start along with you.
Reza: So music business-wise you started as a composer first?
Mukhlis: Yes, at about the same time. I released one album, and all these producers in that very small circle, whether EMI, Warner or BMG, were friends. Everybody poached each other's writers. Immediately you had producers asking you to write and people asking for songs.
At the time I was 18, and had not finished schooling yet. After I finished schooling, I shot up from being a recording artist to songwriting and producing. I'm still doing that, actually.
Some people just like going on stage. And I wish I had more confidence like that. It's not being nervous or whatever, it's just that smaller crowds are easier to deal with.
 
Reza: What's interesting is that when I play at no-black-tie events, and I've organised shows there for bands who play at bigger venues, the bands get very intimidated.
I think it's because they are not used to being so up-close. They say "I don't know how you singer-songwriters handle it".
Mukhlis: It's because of that intimacy. It's not like you have more control over smaller audiences.
But if you're not really having the right repertoire, and people are chit-chatting, etc, you will know and feel it immediately. But if you are in a crowd of 10,000...

Reza: You can't even see them.
Mukhlis: Yeah, and you become a robot with the spotlight on you , and there is no connection. And to me, you'd really have to be someone who enjoys that and be in control.
Reza: I really like Yuna, she's from Kuantan, studying to be a lawyer. She writes beautiful songs and has a beautiful voice.
I like her because on one level it is very hard not to like her, but she doesn't attach herself to the game.
Mukhlis: I have this good feeling, seeing you and the younger ones just believing in what you are doing, really. Back then, 25 years ago, there was basically nobody or venues to support and help lead us. If there were, they would be more like pub performances.
Reza: Yes, for someone like Yuna, she had 20,000 people as fans on her Facebook, She's the kind of performer that will play any gig.
Mukhlis: It is so nice to see every few months new talent like this.
Back then, there was just Sheila Majid, who was something different when she came out.
And you would just have that one, for many, many years.

Reza: Are you listening to anybody in particular now?
Mukhlis: I'm listening to Zee Avi now, my brother passed me her work.
Her production is a bit loose but she's got everything set up. It's Los Angeles-based and she's got the networking all set up so it's rezeki dia (her good fortune).

Reza: It's a machine on another level.
Mukhlis: Machine yang dashyat punya (An incredible machine). Automatic, clockwork.
You just have to keep doing your best.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An interview with AainaA...

Roslan Aziz

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Truly one of Malaysia's most lionized music producer with a positive attitude towards Life, and awards in his repertoire, Roslan Abdul Aziz Saad Ismail {otherwise known as Roslan Aziz of RAP | Universal Music} has garnered interests worldwide from as near as Indonesia to as farthest as South America.

Roslan Aziz, Mukhlis Nor in `aLi
A skilled and gifted sound engineer, he has been awarded Most Promising Producer at the Music Producers' Award 2002. A prodigy at five, Roslan is behind unrivaled Malaysian accomplishments the likes of Sheila Majid and Zainal Abidin, Amir Yusoff, Prema, Zubir Ali, Raja Atilia and 'aLi.

AamarnA Lifestyle {AA}: What was your reaction when Obama won?


Obama's presidential victory would have had an impact on me way back when I was much younger and more easily impressionable. But at this day and age I have learnt to be less naïve when it comes to bureaucratic and governmental matters. Although such a sweeping change in the US political landscape does seem somewhat drastic and at the same time hopeful, I feel that the change is merely cosmetic. The way I see it, Obama's image, and him being the first elected African-American president, gives the impression of breaking away from the existing system to give way for bigger and better things to happen. But in reality the change is just superficial because it would take more than one person to change the world.

On that note, there is a similarity between music and politics, when the public calls for a change we have to do our best to give them something different and new. Success can only be measured by how well people respond to the transformation and how widely it is received.


AA: Having come a long way with Sheila, Zainal Abidin, Amir Yusuff amongst others, who are you most likely to bank on in the next five years?


It is difficult to say, the music industry back then was not what it is now. Then, when I came raw natural talent and I saw potential, I would take them under my wing to help them nurture and develop their craft until they are finally ready to be revealed to the public. The process is tedious, taxing, and above all costly. You would have had spent thousands of ringgit on a single artist for even before they are known. Today, it has become simply impractical for a label to sign an unknown budding talent and take him or her through the various pain-staking processes necessary to become a full-fledged artiste.

Roslan Aziz - Pre & Post production
But with the rich pool of talent within the industry today, it is more advantageous to collaborate with other artists. This way collectively we would be able to pursue a wide assortment of projects as we would each bring to the table our niche area of expertise and can still achieve what we set out to do.Like what we did with Atilia,Siti Nurhaliza, Puteri Gunung Ledang.....For now it is 'aLi.

Having said that however, I find there are a lot of talented singers and artistes who are doing more than the pop and mainstream but are not given due exposure, coverage or airtime. For instance, Laguna Records, Butterfingers, Love Me Butch and Kartel… with their hard work, passion and love for their art, they have braved, and still braving, their way through the industry seizing every opportunity they get to have their music heard. But talent alone can only go so far, we need to be more musically literate. Singers and artistes should pursue higher education and fully understand the science behind the art. Most of the younger generation artistes are too ignorant and they will have trouble sustaining themselves in the industry.


AA: What genre will you be promoting and will it be more stylised?


I can't think of an existing genre that defines my brand of music accurately. It is eclectic and not limited by the boundaries of a particular genre. You may sometimes find tints of soul, jazz, rock, or R&B, but every piece possess a common and distinct traditional Malay, or rather, Asian element. As a 'Music Man', I cannot run from my identity, my soul. While I make the kind of music I love, I am very conscious about how the public would react. Ultimately, I produce the kind of music I love which I feel would also satisfy the masses, especially my fans.

After all, what good is making music if there is no one to listen?


AA: Will we see the RAP label internationalized breaking off its Asian soil, going abroad?


I see no need to break away from 'Asian soil', as it were, just to be able to make an impact in the international front. In fact, R.A.P had been the first local recording label to generate interest from abroad back in 1987. We stirred quite a following throughout the regional music scene and had staged sold-out concerts in Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

We didn't stop there, the R.A.P footprint extends to Europe, North America and South America as well.

More recently, I had produced Dato' Siti Nurhaliza's 'Live' Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2005. And in 2006 the production of the second season of Puteri Gunung Ledang - The Musical was staged in Singapore where I had been Musical Director. But the primary focus of R.A.P now is aLi and together with Mukhlis I want to bring back the good old days of R.A.P where we brought our sounds all across the globe. With 'aLi' I believe we are able to once again rise to that level of success. Now, with such advancement in technology and the infinite prospects provided by the internet, going globally is made a lot easier. That is why we {Mukhlis Nor} decided to launched "aLi - The Album" digitally last year before we released it in physical format.

The response so far has been very encouraging.

AA: Of all the ones you've written, which one is your best?


I am what I like to call a 'man of music', a 'Musicman'… I am not a composer per se, and although, I have composed songs several songs, I am a more competent music producer producing albums. So if your question meant of all the albums I have produced of which do I consider I best, my answer is Sheila Majid's 'Ratu' album {or Zainal's GAMAL}.


AA: What is your pre-writing process like?


Pre-writing process ? I don't think I ever had a 'process'. I would sit with my 'tools', a musical instrument{s}, a computer {fixed with the necessary sound processing software}, or any sound mixing equipment at my disposal, and just tweak away. The idea is not to sit around waiting for inspiration to strike; you have to start by doing something, anything; and once you get in motion you will see things fall into place.


AA: What is the catalyst that spurs you to create?


I would have to say that my kids are my primary source of inspiration. I would be paralyzed without them. And I firmly believe that my talent is a God-given gift which is not only mine, it is meant for everyone. So as long that there is more music in me and as long a God would allow, I will make more music.


AA: If your music can be classified as book titles would it be fiction, or non-fiction?


Both but Non-fiction mostly, my music's real and is driven by true feelings and emotions. Although, some can be quite abstract, like 'Merung' {a mystical folklore}, the title and lyrics is based on something fictional.


AA: Would it be based on local or world events?


More local, I suppose. It is only natural to be affected by things that happened to us or to the people we know. It is hard to isolate the familiarity of my surroundings and not have it reflected in my work. On the same note, I cannot escape or ignore what goes on in other parts of the world either. Despite all external influences, my music comes from within and there is a slice of me in each and every piece of music which I worked on.


AA: How did you discover your passion for composition, and producing? What drives the inner you to spin the yarn so to speak? Who is your greatest inspiration?


If you were to ask my mother, she would tell you how music has been in me ever since I was born. It was not something I had 'discovered' one day because my passion for music had been innate and came naturally. I guess it was my 'calling'. But I never would have thought I'd make a career out of it. My number 1 driver is my children. And I have found that the greatest source of motivation comes from my family. If not for the firm foundation of my upbringing and their continued support I can't think how I could have made it so far and have achieved so much.

I still hear my grandfather's voice in my head telling me to keep my faith in God and that faith will lead me down the right path intended for me. Music is not just something I found myself good at, it is in my blood, it is in me. During my break from the music industry, I could not find the same passion I had for music in anything else. There was this huge emptiness and a great sense of loss.

And that is what drove me back.

I try to always give my all and do my utmost best, no matter how big or small the task may be. It's probably because my grandmother always said, "If you do something, give it you best shot and make sure it is your BEST."


AA: If you had not chosen to share your gift of music, what else would you have done? Would it be in the creative industry or something totally independent and different?


Roslan Aziz Production | Universal Music
Now, I can't imagine my life not making music. But if I hadn't taken the road I had, I probably would've become a football player. I was crazy about football and I bet I would've made quite a football star too...hahahaha...{not here in Malaysia though} But seriously, in university I had pursued a degree in actuarial science which had nothing at all to do with creativity. If I had stuck at it I could now be working in the finance sector, or perhaps even running my own business, or maybe be a part of the nation's think-tank.


AA: Are there any dreams, or goals that you have yet to fulfill?


I want our homegrown music out there and listed amongst other cultural music genres which managed to cross geographical borders into the international music arena. Latin music, Chinese music, Brazilian music, Spanish music, and even Hawaiian music… people can immediately identify with their distinct sounds. My goal is to serve the world a taste of Malaysian tradition and soul.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Obituary: Wednesdays with Zubir Ali



BEE ALI
2009/03/12

Zubir’s look of consternation was just a bluff, the big give-away being the twinkle in his eye.

JUST like how American author Mitch Albom had his Tuesdays with Morrie, many former students of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) had Wednesdays with the late Zubir Ali.
Zubir died of heart complications at Damansara Specialist Centre, Kuala Lumpur on March 6. He was 59.
To the world at large, he was a singer-songwriter and a good one at that. But to the students who had chosen to join Peska, the cultural unit in UiTM some 30 years ago, he was Cik Zubir, the department’s head honcho and mentor, who gave meaning and motivation to their creative and artistic dreams.

I was among the thousands of impressionable young people who entered college then, streamlined as we were into our chosen vocations as diverse as engineering to hotel and catering and computer science.
I studied Mass Communications but while subjects such as Fundamentals of Journalism and Communication Law were necessary tools of the trade, the picture wasn’t quite complete.
There was this need to express (and perhaps impress) that hovered like a shadow. It vanished as soon as I found my soul mates in the cultural unit — boys and girls who wanted to act, dance, sing, recite verses or just play a musical instrument or two.
At the centre of it all, to advise, supervise and even reprimand at times was Zubir.

He was a diminutive man but his spectacles gave him a severe look that, when displeased, could put the fear of God in you.
More often though, his look of consternation was just a bluff, the big give-away being the twinkle in his eye.
The building, a small section in the sprawling Shah Alam campus where lessons were held in the name of the arts from playing traditional instruments to studying the intricacies of asli dances, was one bustling place especially on the compulsory Wednesdays.
If one’s skills weren’t in any of the abovementioned areas, one could find a niche as a member of Himpunan Penulis dan Dramatis and be encouraged to write, read and recite the various forms of verses, be they sajak, syair or plain citations.
As you approach the cultural unit and hear the beats of the gendang and cak lempung get louder and louder, you feel uplifted!
After all, you would also have made firm friends. For me, there were Atuk, Aida, Aina, Boon, Lloyd, Hazlan, Jamal, Ogie, Putri, Roslan, Zailan, Nizam, Wak2, Zurina, Zubli and Zuraidah, to name a handful.

The rigorous practices led to actual performances, of course. There were small ones involving maybe just a group of “poets”, and others that required the presence of the entire troupe such as at convocations or inter-college cultural shows with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Regardless of the scale of the show, we were taught that one’s input and commitment to a performance was the same. You have to give your all. Come what may, the show must go on. You learnt all these and more. Looking back, these stuff prepares you for life.
Exhausted by the rehearsals? It would surely be nothing compared to the midnight oil-burning “marathons” when one prepares for a presentation in the real world later.
Chagrined by the dancer beside you? Well, you’d had better learn to grin and not bare it onstage because your prospective business contact 20 years down the line may not be the sweetest of women.
The pointers you learnt then were just as invaluable. Zubir would spend hours explaining the theory or philosophy behind anything that you queried, selflessly sharing his deep knowledge if it would help make you more insightful. Where was I in the scheme of things, you might want to know? Zubir was the founder of Kumpulan Harmoni, a vocal group that sang songs shaped from poetry written by luminous literary figures including the late Datuk Usman Awang, Firdaus Abdullah and Zurinah Hassan.
The members (Joei and Roslan on their acoustic guitars plus Ogie and I as vocalists) always felt special because the group was, after all, Zubir’s “baby”. Zubir played the guitar and sometimes the harmonica, and was mighty proud of us.
We used to perform at cosy and even exclusive puisi events attended by leading thespians in the country. After having heard a whole string of poems, our songs always made for a welcome break, at least that was what I thought.
Moreover, Zubir had the knack for putting even the most complicated of verses to beautiful music. One example was Firdaus’ Patricia Takamoto. Zurinah’s Sepanjang Jalan Ke Pulau Pinang was also my personal favourite.
Kumpulan Harmoni went on to release an album, Penantian, in 1981. Being in my tougher final year then, I stupidly opted out and often wondered whether Zubir had ever forgiven me.
Anyway, the title track became a hit. The group cut another album, Nyanyian Ombak, before Zubir joined Roslan Aziz Production later and was featured in the outfit’s compilation album, RAP 96.

Being the trouper that he was, Zubir made a solo album titled Zubir 06. His songwriting talent was also heard in Datuk Siti Nurhaliza’s latest album, Lentera Timur.
To the end, this man remained a crusader who was happy making songs out of literary works. Proof of this was when he formed Trio Harmoni two years ago (with Joei still!) to sing tunes in the same vein and verve as his other compositions.
He performed with the group at a fund-raising event, Malam Puisi Utusan Demimu Palestin, at Istana Budaya on Jan 23.
His commitment to culture and entertainment never wavered. He established Koperasi Industri Muzik Malaysia (along with some members of the Music Authors and Copyright Protection Bhd not too long ago to champion the rights of artistes and music practitioners.

Zubir is survived by his wife Faudziah Ismail and three children — Fauzul Azhan, Badiatul Adawiyah and Raihan Nurani.
To the many young minds that he has nurtured, Zubir will remain more than a memory.

Like many great teachers, he’s lit candles that no wind can put out and he has our doa that he will be in a good place...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nadi Pglm



Gemalai irama nadi PGLM

TIDAK dinafikan, kehebatan Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical (PGLM) sememangnya terletak kepada naskhah dan emosi para pelakonnya yang cukup bijak mewarnakan watak masing-masing.

Bukan itu sahaja, kecemerlangan rekaan set pentas dan busana yang indah turut menyumbang kepada fenomena PGLM sehingga ia berjaya menjadi persembahan yang cukup hebat untuk ditonton.

Namun, harus diakui kesemua aspek yang disebutkan itu sebenarnya tidak cukup untuk melengkapkan PGLM sehingga ia menjadi sebuah karya yang cukup gah.

Antara sedar atau tidak, irama gemalai muzik yang melatari pementasan PGLM juga memainkan peranan yang cukup penting dalam PGLM dan ia tidak seharusnya dipandang sebelah mata sahaja.

Alunan indah muzik nusantara yang ditampilkan banyak memainkan peranan penting untuk terus memastikan PGLM terus hidup dan menjadi santapan halwa telinga penonton.

Namun, tidak ramai yang tahu betapa sukarnya untuk mencipta muzik indah dalam PGLM tetapi dengan sentuhan magis si bijak bestari ini, tiada apa yang mustahil untuk merealisasikan sesuatu yang sukar.

Roslan Aziz yang sudah dua musim diberi mandat sebagai pengarah muzik PGLM kini sudah bersedia untuk menggegarkan musim ketiga PGLM yang hanya akan membuka tirainya beberapa hari sahaja lagi.

"Mungkin orang akan beranggapan apabila sudah dua musim saya mengendalikan muzik untuk PGLM, ia akan menjadi sesuatu yang mudah dijangka.

"Memang saya tidak menafikan perkara itu tetapi untuk musim kali ini, saya melakukan beberapa perubahan agar muziknya menjadi lebih indah seiring dengan jalan ceritanya," kata Roslan sewaktu ditemui pada sesi latihan PGLM di Istana Budaya baru-baru ini.

Tambahnya, 50 peratus perubahan telah dilakukan untuk PGLM musim ini namun bukan mengubah apa yang telah dilakukan tetapi ia lebih kepada memperhalusi muziknya agar ia mampu meninggalkan impak yang besar kepada penonton.

"Untuk dua musim terdahulu, saya telah mengesan beberapa lompangan dalam muziknya. Memang nampak kecil tetapi bagi saya, ia satu yang cukup besar. Kelemahan itu saya ambil lalu diperbaiki untuk musim ini," ujarnya.

Mengenal Roslan, dia merupakan seorang yang cukup teliti dalam penghasilan muzik dan dengan itu, maka tidak hairanlah, apa sahaja yang melibatkan dirinya, ia akan menjadi sesuatu yang tidak harus dilepaskan.

"Sebelum menghasilkan muzik PGLM, saya membaca skripnya selain berbincang dengan Datuk Zahim Al-Bakri selaku pengarah untuk mengetahui apakah yang dikehendakinya.

"Kami banyak melontarkan idea masing-masing dan daripada situ, saya gabungkan dan memikirkan apa yang terbaik untuk saya lakukan.

"Yang penting, saya tidak mahu berlebih-lebihan membuat perubahan kerana identiti muzik PGLM sudah termaktub. Jika saya tersilap langkah, ia akan menjadi buruk dan merosakkan segala-galanya," ujar bapa kepada lima orang anak ini lagi.

Kali ini juga, Roslan banyak dibantu oleh dua orang pemuzik profesional iaitu Jason Voo dan Zee Wan yang akan bermain muzik sepanjang 16 hari PGLM dipentaskan nanti.

Ketika ditanya, dari manakah beliau mendapat ilham untuk mencipta muzik PGLM dan ini jawapan yang terpacul dari mulutnya: "Saya pecinta muzik Melayu dan saya mahu muzik nusantara pergi jauh serta diangkat martabatnya di mata dunia."

Berbanding dengan muzik dalam P. Ramlee the Musical, PGLM sebenarnya lebih mencabar kredibilitinya sebagai seorang pengkarya.

Ini kerana, muzik P. Ramlee sememangnya sudah diketahui umum dalam kepelbagaian genrenya. Malah, melodinya juga sudah biasa didengar tetapi tidak untuk PGLM.

"Bukan mudah untuk mencipta muzik yang baru untuk dihidangkan kepada penonton apatah lagi dengan muzik nusantara yang saya lihat agak sukar untuk diterima dengan meluas.

"Pada saya, muzik kita memang cukup indah dan mengapa tidak digunakan dalam pementasan kita sendiri. Tidak perlu untuk mengikut acuan Barat kerana kita perlu ada identiti yang melambangkan budaya kita.

"Disebabkan itu, saya percaya, muzik PGLM mempunyai magisnya yang tersendiri dan apa yang saya mahukan, setiap muzik dan lagu yang dipersembahkan, akan terus meresap dalam diri penonton agar mereka menghargai muzik kita sendiri," jelas Roslan lagi.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Puteri Gunung Ledang - The Musical Season 3

A Review by Jiman Casablancas



I mean, I can't see anyone else sliding into the role of the absolutely beautiful, all singing and all dancing demure princess turned curse-spelling rebellious damsel in distress Puteri Gunung Ledang. AC Mizal and Adlin pulak, jangan cakaplah. They played their character with much gusto like only they could. With their characters as Gusti Adipati and Sultan Melaka, it is very easy for them to go really over the top, but they played it down just nice. Just enough. Which I thought was just fantastic.

Ida Mariana as Bayan is also a favourite. I need to tell you this story though. Ida is my senior in law school and she has always been one of my favourite seniors. I always knew that she loves singing, and I even sang for her once during Matriculation orientation week. (I-kan ingat tak???hahhaha). We then grew apart after she graduated but then met again through - you guessed it, facebook. So obviously I have a soft spot for her. But those of you who watched the show must also agree with me that she just nailed the part. Having had the chance of first watching Sukania Venugopal as Bayan, all I can say is that they both brought something different to the plate. Whilst Sukania was more maternal in approaching the character, Ida was both soft but firm. A caretaker who truly cares for her Puteri and want nothing but the best for her.


Another original cast of PGL, Stephen Rahman Hughes made playing Hang Tuah look easy. When he lifted his voice in song or lifted his feet in dance, it always seemed natural. The Mat Salleh accent which was soooo evident in Season 1 is now gone. The awkwardness in performing the silat is now replaced with fluid motions of the pencak. This time, Stephen really becomes Hang Tuah. It doesn't hurt that he's also very nice to look at.

The chorus boys and girls are also a joy to watch. They all sing, act, and dance their heart out with enough distinct quirky sensibility that made the cast so invigorating. I especially love the two dayangs who were referred to as "Badut Kembar" and also the nenek kebayans.

These characters were a major foundation of PGL and helped give the production a real sense of heart and emotional purpose. With brilliant directing, brilliant music and brilliant set design (kudos to Cik Lik!!! clap! clap! clap! standing ovation, pat on the back, the works) PGL is thoroughly entertaining - from the word go. I left Istana Budaya, both times, with a sense of pride. It gave me a reason to be proud of being Malaysian again - and that's a fantastic thing. Good job all around!

1000 VERSES feat Joe Flizzow

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