In celebration of Singapore’s 50th year, record label S2S has released State of Rock, a compilation of music from 30 local artistes in partnership with audio maker Klipsch.

As every Singaporean who hasn’t been living under a rock (or overseas with no Internet connection) knows, this year’s the year to celebrate all things Singapore as part of the SG50 celebrations, and as far as we’re concerned, no celebration is complete without music.

Singapore’s music scene has slowly been evolving and maturing since the birth of the nation, and after 50 years of experimenting and music making, many bands and artists have slowly but surely found their sound and identity. The result is State of Rock, a compilation of local music celebrating all Singapore music has to offer, and boy does it look promising.

There is something for fans of any and all genres of music. Thirty tracks on this two-disc compilation are divided into segments, each focusing on a music genre. The album starts with highly charged hip-hop and rap, mellows with pop, mixes things a little with indie folk sounds, and ends with rock. Also included in the album are a number of tracks that are released for the first time.

State of Rock

Photo courtesy of S2S

Local music connoisseurs would be delighted to find familiar artists like Jack & Rai and ShiGGA Shay and their notable songs listed alongside indie acts like Gentle Bones and Debra Khng. The album does a good job of balancing the energetic charge of hip-hop with the softer sounds of pop on Disc One. Exchange the disc jockey for an acoustic guitar, close your eyes and slow down, and let the rhythmic notes of a single clean guitar wash over you with accompanying vocals.

Put on Disc Two and the energy builds up again. Folk and indie rock sounds blossom into solid rock. Incidentally, my favourite tracks have got to be the rock numbers by bands such as The Pinholes and Bear Culture. The spirit of rock lives on through distorted guitars, jam heavy riffs and late 80s vocals.

The compilation album closes with a selection of spaced-out, electronic ambient tracks by bands such as Giants Must Fall and Cosmic Armchair to show the new and innovative ways that music could be made.

Undoubtedly, however, one of the glaring things is the absence of some prominent artistes, particularly those from House of Riot. We would have loved to see some of our other favourites in there like post-progressive rock boys ANECHOIS, In Each Hand A Cutlass, or I Am David Sparkle, young pop lad These Brittle Bones, long-time rockers Shelves, and more, but that problem in itself shows the potential for great things here – we’re simply spoiled for choice when it comes to good music.

State of Rock showcases an array of musical genres that have been developing in Singapore over the past 50 years and is a must have for anyone who wishes to have a compilation album that provides a good sampling of the current local music scene. Overall, this compilation will give you a pretty good idea of the landscape of Singapore’s music scene, and we are in no way worse off for having it.

State of Rock is available on CD now at HMV, CD Rama and Roxy Records & Trading.

Chi Weng Hui