16 March 2014

My Music Odyssey



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Music was no longer driven by energy alone. It had various elements that require intellectual intervention. Everything had to be synergised like pieces of puzzles - chord arrangements, melody, genre, beat, lyrics, types of instrument and the most epitome ingredient, the "feel"


USIC has always been a significant part of my life. Not because I grew up with music, but because I made a conscious effort to have interest in it. I grew up in a typical conventional traditional Malay family where the ultimate focus was being put on education and religion. Music was never part of that. It was all about tuitions for the core subjects like maths, English and the like. Music class was unknown in my family. I wanted to become a fine artist but responsibly pursuaded otherwise by my father. I became an Accountant instead. Having said that, where did the opportunity to love music came from? My father do listen to music but it was not fresh enough for the liking of a kid like me (back then). We are talking about names such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole alongside the local counterparts such as Ahmad Nawab, Syed Agil and of course, who cannot resist, P. Ramlee (Tan Sri). The radio scene was also quite limited to Zainal Din Zainal or Nuramin from Radio Malaysia Ibu Kota (popularly known as RMIK).
 
So what had opened my eyes (or rather my ears)? It was a few names as listened from cassettes bought by my father - Alleycats (Kerana), Kembara (Duit-Duit) and Sudirman (Chow Kit Road). This showcased music as a point of interest to me. The point where I begin to request my father to buy more cassettes of those artists. On the foreign influence side, Michael Jackson was at that time winning all trophies possible via Billy Jean, Beat It and of course, Thriller. The first foreign cassette I'd ever listened to was the compilation of 1984 Grammy Award winners simply because Michael Jackson was on it. This exposed me to more good tunes such as Uptown Girl (Billy Joel), Telephone (Sheena Easton), All Night Long (Lionel Ritchie) and many more. But soon, foreign influence (on me) depleted as the popularity in school (primary) was heavily fuelled by Search (Rozana), Lefthanded (Tiada Lagi Kidungmu) and a few more Malay Rock'n'Roll bands.

Secondary school was a bigger pool of musical experience. We were having super bands from both local and foreign scenes assimilating into our hungry sponge for entertainment. Search (Fenomena album) continued being the No.1 band in Malaysia and Wings (Hukum Karma album) rouse up to be of equal strength to Search. The guru behind Kembara (whom I was listening to initially) now decided to expose himself as M. Nasir storming Malaysia with his solo album featuring Mustika. On the English path, along came Guns'n'Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Manowar, U2, Helloween, Sepultura, Nirvana and many more. During that time I begin to learn how to play the guitar. That opened the gate to a new realm of music, the instrumentalists such as Yngwie Johann Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. As you can see, my musical inclination moved away from the Pop genre that Grammy Awards was dominated by, to Rock'n'Roll and Heavy Metal.

By the time I left for Australia for my tertiary studies, I had made a myopic decision to only accept "Rock" as my preferred genre and closed the doors to any other genre. Being a rocker was cool and that accepting other genre was pathetic, or at least, that was what I was thinking. Metallica became my favourite band and I begin to do a retrospective journey tracking the roots of "Rock". From contemporary (at that time) Heavy Metal bands like Metallica, I managed to trace musical influences to the grandfathers of Heavy Metal, namely Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. These bands had strong blues influence. That led to the discovery of a softer "Rock" such as Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Double Trouble, the Police and of course, The Beatles. These bands introduced me to great musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, David Gilmore, Dr. Mark Knofler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sting and Sir Paul Mcartney. Of course I knew Elvis Presley is the king of rock but I never went that far. He did not fit in into my appetite. What did fit in naturally was and still is, the modern Rock King, inventor of freakish blues, Jimi Hendrix.

Occasionally I do enjoy some pop songs but it was more because of the sexy girls singing - Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Shakira, Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and the list goes on. Hip Hop was not in my DNA except for Will Smith. At that time the Rock influence was deeply embeded especially when jamming sessions (I play the bass guitar) were filled with Rock songs, or, if not, derivative of Rock, such as Alternative or Grunge. That myopic dimension was soon broken when I met Ahmad Izham Omar, a Malaysian song writer and producer (who produced Innuendo's albums). We talked about music. We strategised genres to capture audiences when he was the CEO of 8TV and radio stations such as Hot FM, Fly FM and One FM. We had some jamming sessions, of which, some of it involved stars such as Amy Search and Jacklyn Victor. He was well balanced in his interest. He appreciated both "Rock" and "Non-Rock". He simply appreciates music... full stop.

He (Izham) provided me with a new realm of discovery - music was no longer driven by energy alone. It had various elements that require intellectual intervention. Everything had to be synergised like pieces of puzzles - chord arrangements, melody, genre, beat, lyrics, types of instrument and the most epitome ingredient, the "feel". It is as if music is supposed to give some transcending enlightenment. As a result, I started listening to  Chick Corea, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Jeff Buckley, John Mayer, Mike Stern, Tracy Chapman, Living Colour and had intensified my listening to Izham's favourite, The Beatles. I learnt a hell of a lot about music from Izham. It gets interesting when he makes fascinating observations on song structure. For example, most songs have even bars in a verse (eight or four) but the song Yesterday, by the Beatles, has seven. He also gave me insights on how my bass guitar playing should fit in bridging the beats from the drums to the other instruments and laying out the rhythms for the vocals and guitars to ride on as well as providing the notes and melody that fences a song together. This all sounds very philosophical but when comprehended, it is the substance of that "intellectual" intervention that makes a song really, really good to listen to.

In the end, I had embarked on a wonderful journey into the music world retrospectively and prospectively; and jumping from one genre to another. I accept all genres of music for a better understanding of music universally. I also utilise, where possible, the various techniques that the different genres can offer, and, in my mind, appreciation of music cannot be guided by the musicians solely as it must reciprocate the interest of the listeners. In other words, musicians should not limit their musical creativity to what he or she believes in but also to include what the listeners believe in. Despite all that, when asked who or which band had the most influence in my musical journey, I'd answer, Metallica!!!!! ..... and hail Burton.


METALLICA
(Original Lineup excluding Dave Mustaine)
L to R:
Kirk Hammet (Guitar), James Hetfield (Vocals/Guitars),
Lars Ulrich (Drums) and Cliff Burton RIP (Bass)




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09 March 2014

MH370 Membuka Mata : Rintihan Hati atau Tuduhan Bodoh Sesetengah Pihak




www.kopihangtuah.blogspot.com




Tumpuan dunia sekarang amat fokus kepada Malaysia bukan sahaja dengan adanya tragedi MH370 ini, malah, sejak beberapa hari yang lepas sudah ada pemangkin perhatian hasil isu perkataan Allah yang dialih bahasa di dalam komik Ultraman dan juga isu Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim yang didapati bersalah dengan hukuman penjara 5 tahun oleh mahkamah atas tuduhan meliwat.


ALAM kebingungan kita menelan air liur dan menitis air mata menerima tragedi hilangnya pesawat Malaysia Airline System (MAS) MH370 pagi semalam, ada pula manusia-manusia yang tidak sensitif di ruang media sosial seperti Facebook dan Twitter. Apa yang ketara adalah kebodohan mereka. Sungguh tidak diduga adanya manusia-manusia yang membuat tuduhan-tuduhan sewenang-wenangnya. Ada yang menuduh bahawa ini semua konspirasi Kerajaan untuk menutup perhatian rakyat daripada isu-isu politik seperti Pilihanraya Kecil Kajang dan hukuman penjara 5 tahun Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim. Mereka juga menggambil kesempatan untuk menekan lagi suasana yang kononya Kerajaan tidak efisyen atau efektif dalam mengendalikan tindakbalas krisis seperti ini. 
 
Yang paling menyedihkan ialah ada di kalangan mereka yang tidak berhati sensitif menggubal jenaka ataupun mencaci dan mempersendakan tragedi di kala keluarga mereka yang hilang bersedih. Antara yang mengejutkan ialah komen seperti, "Biarkan mereka mati. Pergi Beijing nak buat maksiat lah tu." Adakah ini orang kita? Bukankah budaya kita budaya yang lemah lembut gemalai. Sifat kusut ini amatlah memalukan bangsa dan negara. Seelok-eloknya mereka ini dibuang negara, ataupun, jika kita mahu bersifat bodoh dan dungu seperti mereka, kita juga boleh berkata, "Mungkin kau yang sepatutnya tersekat di dalam MH370."
 
Alhamdulillah di kalangan kita banyak juga yang berfikiran positif. Yang pertamanya pihak Kerajaan dan juga MAS yang bertungkus-lumus menguruskan tragedi ini. Alangkah ringan beban di bahu apabila pertolongan gerak khas mencari pesawat MH370 dibantu oleh negara-negara jiran seperti Singapura, Vietnam, Filipina dan juga China. Tidak ketinggalan Amerika Syarikat yang datangnya dari arah Pasifik walaupun pada firasat ramai, mungkin ada udang di sebalik batu. Walau bagaimana pun, pertolongan amat diperlukan. Rakyat secara keseluruhannya merintih mengenangkan keperitan keluarga mereka yang di dalam pesawat MH370. Banyak yang berdoa, bersolat hajat di masjid-masjid dan ada juga yang berdoa di gereja, kuil mahupun di tokong.
 
Tumpuan dunia sekarang amat fokus kepada Malaysia bukan sahaja dengan adanya tragedi MH370 ini, malah, sejak beberapa hari yang lepas sudah ada pemangkin perhatian hasil isu perkataan Allah yang dialih bahasa di dalam komik Ultraman dan juga isu Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim yang didapati bersalah dengan hukuman penjara 5 tahun oleh mahkamah atas tuduhan meliwat. Bayangkan yang ini semua mendapat liputan agensi berita dunia seperti BBC. Diharap tumpuan dunia sebegini boleh diketengahkan untuk menyelesaikan isu MH370 yang kini bergelumang dengan pelbagai teori konspirasi pengganas dan politik antarabangsa.
 
Di dalam keresahan kita menunggu-nunggu apa akan diwartakan perihal MH370, marilah kita sama-sama berdoa untuk keselamatan mereka di dalam pesawat MAS MH370. Seperti selalu, blogger Buanaseni tidak gagal untuk menukil puisi semasa apabila adanya peristiwa hangat seperti ini. Dengan izinnya, dipersembahkan semula puisi beliau mengenai MH370 seperti berikut: 
 
 
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TIGA TUJUH KOSONG

Berpusu-pusu tingkahnya umat
Yang tidak sabar bersolat hajat
Dengan sendunya yang masih
.... belum tersejat
Untuk insan-insan yang tersesat

Ada juga yang gundah gulana
Yang di kuil mahupun di gereja
Dengan gelora titisan air mata
Untuk kehilangan ahli keluarga

Sudah dua kali jelmanya mentari
Yang ujanya tiba di malam hari
Dengan pelbagai teori konspirasi
Untuk gandingan bahu mencari-cari

Sana-sini manusia mengeluh
Kerajaan sedunia turut menyuluh
Dengan pasukan yang berpuluh
Diharap keadaan dapat disembuh

Kini yang tinggal kita bertenung
Menanti cahaya di hujung terowong
Agar pedih tidak lagi diharung
Dari tragedi MH Tiga Tujuh Kosong
Dari misteri MH Tiga Tujuh Kosong
Dari hati
.... yang kekosongan

(Dipetik dari blog Buanaseni - http://www.buanaseni.blogspot.com/)





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