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Album Review

Alatas, Muchsin – "Pilehan Muchsin" – [MRC (Malaysian Record Company)]

Thurston Hunger   9/23/2020   12-inch, International

Sometimes you got to go out and find your own sublime frequencies. A 2019 trip to Singapore opened a portal to the past via Red Point Record Warehouse and sends us back spinning Indonesia in the 70’s. This choice “Selection” (Pilehan) of pop beauties showcases Muchsin’s velvet crooning over amazing orchestrations, percussion is at the driving heart, but swirling about it are flutes, melodica/harmonium, fuzzed out guitars, penting (like a mandolin). Extremely catchy, and the duets are superb. The two with Titiek Sandhora are a harmonious union that produced more than music, but a family as well. The album starts with a playful cat and bird duet with Anna Bahfen, “Jangar Gusar” (“Don’t Be Upset” – the album has plenty of “Cinta” (“Love”) and “Bahagia” (“Happy”) but it does flit thought the sweet and the sour on tracks like on this track and “Ku Berdosa” (“I Sinned.”) The guitar on both “Jangan Gusar” and “Magdalena” adds a “nice funky feeling” (as Mr Ong from Red Point said), and both songs have these little tantalizing trills that zip between the steady swing of the drums. Muchsin’s voice should not be overlooked, listen to his gentle wavering on the verses to “Semoga Bahagia” and then he soars on the choruses. I’m limited to google translating, but the conflict of desire comes through loud and clear.

-Thurston Hunger

PS : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVENdMtc3t8 Mr Ong interview

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