Aussie Rules: The Malaysian Indie Scene

Taking it to the Bassment for his new column, Matt Shea begins his journey in Malaysia
By    April 10, 2015


Matt Shea’s neck is linked with gold in Bukit Bintang

What you expect to find in Malaysia: Vertiginous office towers, swish bars, urban sprawl, corruption. What you don’t expect to find when you visit Malaysia: A vibrant, independent music scene.

I was introduced to it on a recent press trip via independent singer-songwriter (and Berklee School of Music student, and terrific jazz performer) Razlan Shah. The kings on the scene are Bassment Syndicate—Ask anyone who you should see live on a night out in Kuala Lumpur and they’ll refer you to these guys.

The four-piece are known for their blitzing, muscular live shows, but in recent times have knuckled down to produce more recorded music. “Where Did You Go” is the result. Actually, it’s the result of an almost-discarded and then reworked b-side—an illustration of how bands can often be at their best when sneaking up on themselves.

It’s simple stuff: Skull-crushing bass matched to a searching melody and unfussy vocal line. But when the song pushes behind its swollen refrain it slings itself straight into another universe (the slick video with Kuala Lumpur DJ Moslem Priest helps plenty too). Something this simple shouldn’t be this good—it speaks to Bassment Syndicate’s quality. Next time you’re in Malaysia, check them out.

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!