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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Queen to release new tracks with Freddie Mercury

Posted: 28 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Tapes with the late frontman singing with the band found; compilation album to come at year's end.

Queen are to release new tracks featuring Freddie Mercury's vocals by the end of the year, the British rock group's guitarist Brian May said.

The songs, dating back to the 1980s, will be released on a compilation album, May told BBC radio.

Lead singer Mercury died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1991. Four years later, Queen released Made In Heaven, their final studio album with the iconic frontman, painstakingly constructing some fresh songs from lines of vocals he left behind.

But May said more tapes in the vault had come to light.

"We found a few more tracks with Freddie singing and all of us playing, and they're quite beautiful, so people will be hearing this work towards the end of the year," the 66-year-old said.

"We're going to put out an album which probably is called 'Queen Forever', and it's a compilation, but it will have this new material on which nobody in the world has ever heard. And I think people will really enjoy it."

Members of Queen: (from left) Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon and Brian May.

In their current form, the songs do not have the bombastic Queen sound, but May and drummer Roger Taylor – bassist John Deacon retired in 1997 – are giving them the band's trademark anthem touch.

"Most of it comes from the eighties when we were in full flight, so it's quite emotional. It's the big, big ballad and the big, big kind of epic sound.

"It wouldn't have been if we hadn't done this restoration job on it because you have to start from scratch really, because we only had scraps.

"But knowing how it would've happened if we'd finished it then, I can sit there and make it happen, with modern technology."

May is also working up some rough tracks that Mercury recorded with Michael Jackson in 1983. – AFP Relaxnews

2NE1 in concert: Sassy and fierce

Posted: 28 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Psychedelic music and bold female empowerment thrive at 2NE1's sophomore concert in Malaysia.

IN a scene where girl groups are made of seductive stuff masked behind suggestive aegyo, 2NE1 (pronounced "twenty-one" or "to anyone") could be regarded as a kind of triumphant anomaly in K-pop.

Where other all-female exports champion empowerment through girly sass (think SNSD, Miss A, Sistar and – if you'll excuse the generalisation – the other gazillion or so Korean girl groups out there), the quartet's approach of fierce grit is somewhat relatively unconventional.

And so, when a fellow member commented during the group's appearance on hit television variety show Running Man that they've garnered a reputation for being "scary unnis" (a Korean term for "scary older sister" as addressed by younger girls) in the industry, it's an observation that is not without its merit.

That particular remark has Running Man regular Yoo Jae-suk jokingly reply that the girls' notoriety probably stems from their heavy eyeliner makeup.

But superficial aesthetics aside, the group plays a crucial role in delivering futuristic-sounding hip-hop and accessible R&B to audiences who ironically frown upon fluffy music in a market that's famed for churning carefully manufactured saccharine pop by entertainment conglomerates.

Leader of the group, CL performed with fierce tenacity during her solo turn at the show. (Above) Fellow labelmate Winner injected some boyish flair during 2NE1's two-hour set.

Leader of the group, CL performed with fierce tenacity during her solo turn at the show.

Above all, 2NE1's success lies in its clever exploitation of a universal template – powerful women, incredible danceability and infectiously catchy sound.

When a loud bang erupted to the cheers of thousands and the stage curtains fall over the sound of Crush's pulsating electronic intro to reveal CL, Dara, Minzy and Bom at Stadium Negara last Saturday night, you know without a shadow of a doubt, that the aforementioned elements are irrevocably present at the group's sophomore concert in the country.

"They love me cause I'm real, they love me cause I kill," the girls sang in the booming chorus of the group's latest full length studio release's opening track.

It's this sort of brash ethos that resonates with Blackjacks (as 2NE1's fans are known). Some even camped out at the venue the day before the event and that devotion certainly paid off.

During the two-hour set, the group whipped up plenty of frenzy, performing a 23-song setlist that included mostly signature hits such as Fire, Clap Your Hands and Don't Stop The Music interspersed with newer numbers such as Gotta Be You and Scream. Fans were even treated to a couple of numbers from guest boy band and the group's labelmate Winner.

Just like the many colourful costume changes they don, the girls of 2NE1 are an eclectic bunch. CL was definitely the firecracker of the show, pumping plenty of bold attitude throughout the evening. She's both aggressive and sultry as she danced, rapped and writhed during her solo turn on a medley of The Baddest Female and MTBD.

On the other spectrum, we have Dara who's all skittish and sings in a luscious albeit thin tone that fares better on pop-esque tracks than powerhouse ballads. Minzy held her own, busting some serious high-strung dance moves on the stage. As for Bom, she performed with a coy detachment that's both intriguing and deterring at the same time.

When it comes to vocal prowess though, they're intent on shattering the autotune stereotype that's often associated with K-pop on an unplugged rendition of the reggae-infused Come Back Home. But the crux of 2NE1's music lies within the periphery of raves, as evidenced on the group's high-octane performance of I Am The Best which saw the girls mounting massive motorcycles on stage.

Co-directed by renowned choreographers Travis Payne and Stacy Walker, the All Or Nothing concert features quirky stage setup and props that does well in enhancing 2NE1's colossal sound. It's just really unfortunate that a ludicrous stage design that's deeply concave deprived those who packed the far left and right of the indoor arena from the complete view.

That little blot in the landscape aside, the girls of 2NE1 excelled at delivering a bombastic show that is worthy of their status as the Queens of K-pop.

Aizat releases music on vinyl; album up for bid

Posted: 27 May 2014 11:00 PM PDT

Singer's release is inspired by local music legends.

Aizat Amdan was just a boy when he first thought about releasing a vinyl record.

"Growing up, I was always very fascinated by the collection of vinyls my parents displayed all over my house," he recalled during the launch of his first vinyl record, Legasi, at the historic Coliseum Cafe at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday (May 27).

"I especially loved the covers, they're so beautiful and I thought to myself, 'one day, I would love to release a vinyl record,'" he added, showing off his family's vinyl collection including local artistes Sharifah Aini, DJ Dave, Anita Sarawak and international acts The Beatles, Neil Diamond and Queen at the event.

Now at 25, Aizat, who has nabbed numerous awards at the Anugerah Industri Muzik and Anugerah Juara Lagu following his stint on the fifth season of local reality singing series Akademi Fantasia, is in no better position to make his childhood dream a reality.

"Legasi is inspired by all those who have gone before us such as the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee and many others who were around during that time. They have given our music a unique identity and it is something I need to pass on to the next generation," he said on the meaning behind the album title.

Musically, the record reflects this, for instance, on Dwihati (featuring Yuna) which is inspired by the duet between P. Ramlee and Saloma while Catwalk Ke Balai (featuring Lan of Azlan And The Typewriter) has an 1980s disco pop feel.

Despite Legasi containing only five songs, it took more than a year to complete, the longest yet for the singer. "Not all the artistes I collaborated with are in Malaysia, it was difficult for me to get them to record all at once plus the process of making the vinyl also took some time," he reasoned. Besides Yuna and Lan, the record also features duets with Zee Avi and Noh Salleh.

The vinyl, which was pressed in Germany and had to be shipped in, is packaged in a minimalistic black box set and also comes with a hardcover book explaining the artwork on the vinyl cover plus a USB drive containing the songs in digital format.

Each set is signed by Aizat and has a handwritten serial number (from 001 to 222).

Created by Muhammad Najib Timiran or Art:tech, the vinyl cover is a piece of art in itself, featuring a unique illustration of Aizat flanked by each of the collaborative artistes on Legasi.

As only 222 copies are available due to its high cost price, fans can obtain a copy only via online bidding. Bidding will start at cost price, RM150, and will last for 10 days beginning from its launch on May 27.

On why Legasi is released strictly on vinyl, managing director of Kasi Gegar Entertainment and Aizat's brother Amar explained: "We don't want to sell other physical formats such as CDs because we don't want it to dilute the attention from the vinyl."

However, Aizat added that listeners can still get a hold of the songs individually as they have been released on iTunes.

Asked to predict the amount of the highest bid on the vinyl, Aizat joked, "RM500,000". He continued, "We're happy to be able to just cover the cost, anything above it is really a bonus."

Borrowing the words of P. Ramlee, he concluded, "Seni bukan untuk wang, tapi untuk masyarakat (art isn't about money but for the society)."

To bid for Legasi, visit


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