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Lost in the sound: 5 Singaporean ambient acts to deep dive into

Let these soundscapes nudge you into the zone

  • Kevin Ho
  • 27 January 2021

Lie back and go deep. Let these soundscapes nudge you into the zone. In the chaotic noisiness of the state of the world today, the quietude and escapism of ambient music has become a source of intrigue for many aspiring producers in the Singaporean scene. They have dreamt up open worlds of experimentation; sonic terrains that have the ability to both soothe and unsettle. Bound by no rules except the dogmas they adhere to, these ambient acts are inviting you into the limitless realms of their imagination.

1. Kin Leonn

There’s something inherently potent about the timbre of a piano. A masterly virtuoso of this instrument is Kin Leonn, adopting and melding it into the realm of ambient electronica. Interspersed with loops of mellow synths and tranquil field recordings often plucked from nature, the London-based Singaporean uses the piano to insert an organic, breathing force of improvisation, adding life to the languor. Watching his live set is like tumbling through an endless tunnel of sound, with seamless transitions abstrusely blurring the line between classical techniques and modern gadgetry. Follow his music here.

Key listen
'There Were Days'

2. Anti Shift

Uprooting your senses from the cacophony of urbanity, Anti Shift pieces together dense soundscapes that offer the possibilities of escape, albeit a momentary one. Taking inspirations from the notion of metropolitan dystopia – exhibited in his Post Structural EP that captured foley from the streets of Singapore – the ambient producer creates experiences that are both abstract and eerily relatable. These are auditory snapshots conveyed in prolonged synth hums, scarce percussive trails and elusive melodies that come and go like a whisper in the wind. Anti Shift is the brainchild of Clifford Chong, who also runs the Dead Inside clothing line and its series of experimental podcasts. Follow his music here.

Key listen
Peripheral Vision

3. Yeule

Like a hypnotic siren, there lies a bewitching essence in Yeule’s vocals. While the lulls of ambient compositions evoke sensations of ephemerality and detachment, Yeule’s enchanting oeuvre keeps listeners tethered with distant, more structured elements of synth-pop. Gossamer in texture yet hefty in experimentation, her song's take on a dark disposition aided by hazy, echoing vocals that add to the daze of sound. The Singapore-born artist — who also possesses an outlandish visual style — has had tracks signed to American indie label, Bayonet Records, affirming her breakthrough status and worldly appeal. Follow her music here.

Key listen
'Blue Butterfly'

4. Planeswalker

Some musicians never break out of their shell, trapped in a creative rut where progress remains an unachievable ideal. For Planeswalker, his classical training as a violinist served as a cocoon that defined his ambient endeavours. His Perihelion EP is akin to a four-movement symphony, with an instrumental narrative at its core, drifting between sombre stupors and resplendent climaxes. His expertise with the strings comes into play sparingly but effectively, materialising in legato stretches and dotted accents within the fogs of sound. The cinematic maestro has also graced the stages of high-profile events like the Singapore International Festival of Arts, illustrating his multi-disciplinary charm. Follow his music here.

Key listen

5. Anhedral

A stark departure from his seismic guitar roles in rock bands, Anhedral is where Roystan Tan diverges inwards towards meditative introspection. Influenced by the brooding infinity of drone and loftier potentials of ambient music, his Anhedral project is captivatingly murky with glimmers of light within. Weighty pads and chords often lie at the heart of each song, pulling in chimes, trills and growls from a medley of instrumentation like an abyssal blackhole. His debut album, Maiden Jaunt, is reminiscent of a grandiose sci-fi soundtrack; a premise of infinite wonder. Follow his music here.

Key listen
'Fresh Eyes'

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