Check out Spectres LIVE, an experimental music concert inspired by Singapore’s disappearing sounds

Law Xiao Xuan

June 15, 2017

Between 5 to 9 July, 72-13 transforms into a world at once familiar and unnervingly unrecognisable.

Haunting bird calls echo across the space, before a wave of digitally-distorted sound rises to drown it. Shadowy shapes and glitch art splay across white cloths cascading from the ceiling. Message fragments  reveal themselves throughout the installation. This is Spectres, a one-of-a-kind audio-visual exhibition by sound designer and artist Zai Tang, who has recorded sounds under threat from development in Singapore’s natural habitats and ingeniously brought them back to life.

Come 6 to 8 July and the exhibition transforms into Spectres LIVE, an experimental concert where three invited musicians from the local experimental music scene perform with Zai.

Rehearsal Bani Dharma Natalie2

I drop by one of the discussions between Zai and the musicians and I can’t help but feel I’ve been dragged into the deep end of a pool. The ideas that float back and forth aren’t necessarily what one expects to hear at a discussion about sound and music (Accelerationism and hyper-objects, anyone?). Yet the more I listen in, the more the pieces fall into place around Zai’s theme of “disappearance” in Spectres, and my excitement bubbles – how will these abstract ideas translate into fresh, improvised sounds in Spectres LIVE?


Image courtesy of Zai Tang

The 9 musicians, including Bani Haykal, Cheryl Ong, Dennis Tan, Dharma, and Fuzz Lee, amongst others, will bring to set their own unique musical sensibilities. From the classical (guitar, percussion, even the guzheng) to the highly experimental (DIY electronics), the sheer diversity of genres and skill sets present in the line-up hints at a delicious playground for experimentation at Spectres LIVE.

Psst. Ever heard experimental music performed with a guzheng? Check out this cool improvised piece by Spectres LIVE artist Natalie Alexandra:

And there are no hard and fast rules for creation here.  A musician might bring their instrument along for the show, either choosing to play it the conventional way or try something different. They could also forgo said instrument and toy with found objects instead to create sound. There may or may not be a stage. Someone even joked about dragging around a ball-and-chain around in the space (which most probably won’t happen, but then again who knows?)


Image courtesy of Zai Tang

So what can we expect from Spectres LIVE? Anything, really, and it’s this spontaneity that makes the show all the more dynamic and exciting. Each night promises its own distinctive set of surprises and happy accidents, unexpected even to Zai and the musicians themselves!

 Spectres LIVE is definitely one live experimental concert not to be missed!

Purchase your O.P.E.N. Pass, or if you’ve already bought one, register for Spectres LIVE here:

Find the latest updates for Spectres LIVE here:

  • 2017