Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Walking the line
BY RIZAL JOHAN
Not many singer-songwriters can emulate openly-emotive statements like Meor's voice of heartbreak.
What life holds for you is anybody's guess but for Perak-born folk singer-songwriter Meor Yusof Aziddin, music is his life force and inspiration. Having actively written music and produced ragged recordings since the late 1980s, this soft-spoken artiste is a true pioneer and is regarded as one of the country's best Malay singer-songwriters. His music, often wedged between intense and openly-emotive statements, has found a keen new audience in his young fan base.
At last year's KL Sing Song festival at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Meor received rapturous response. This, despite his being out of the live circuit for over a year.
An unfortunate incident in late 2005 proved to be a life-changing experience for Meor, who was then busking regularly at Central Market in KL. He was rounded up by the police on suspicion of drug use and although the results came out negative, Meor had to spend four days in the lock-up.Singer-songwriter Meor is targeting the mainstream audience with his fifth album, Yang Terlintas Di Fikiran."I graduated from the 'university of life' when that happened," recalled Meor, 39, in a recent interview. "After that, my family and I moved to Ipoh and I've been working in an engineering firm for a little over a year now."
Busking didn't seem like a good idea with the authorities clamping down on street musicians without a valid reason. Meor's love affair with music might have suffered a bit after his relocation to Ipoh, but that didn't stop a bunch of singer-songwriter friends in the Klang Valley from getting him back in the groove. The KL Sing Song fest appearance was his biggest show to date and he was also featured in the Voices From Next Door compilation.
According to Azmyl Yunor, a fellow singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Troubadours Enterprise, it was important for the live scene to continue having a voice as distinctive as Meor's.
"It would have been a tragedy if Meor had given up his music. Something had to be done. A few of us (singer-songwriters) got in touch with him and asked if he was interested in recording a new album," said Azmyl.
With the help of Troubadours Enterprise and recording support from Purple Sound Productions, Meor set aside time to nail down some new tracks.
His new album, Yang Terlintas Di Fikiran, his fifth independently-produced album, is a collection of songs penned over the last 10 years. This is the follow up to 2004's Aku Dan Bulan.
"Yes, I moved to another city after being thrown in jail but to me, it's just something that happens in life. I'm not complaining about it," said Meor, who still comes down to KL and busks whenever he gets the chance.
"I'm still busking but not as much as I used to. I think busking is very important. It's something practical in life. You get to know your environment and the people around better when you're a busker."
The new album was produced by his friend, musician Ariff Akhir (of The Sofa Sessions fame). Ariff decided to make a recording of the Meor's music after setting up his own post-production company, Purple Sounds.
"When I started it in the middle of last year, I had no intention of recording an album because what I have is not a studio. But I decided to record Meor's album and make it the flagship product for Purple Sounds," said Ariff.
As reported earlier, Meor took just two hours last July to record the basic tracks for the album – retaining his usual no-nonsense approach to keep his music spontaneous. It was Ariff's job to fill in the other musical parts – but Meor's raw compositions can be clearly identified on this CD.
"I'm targeting the mainstream audience with this album."It's for people who like to think. That is why the album is called Yang Terlintas Di Fikiran (loosely translated as 'what crosses the mind')," said Meor.
Meor's Yang Terlintas Di Fikiran is priced at RM25 and can be obtained through http://www.pestajiwa.net/ or http://www.purple-sound.com/