Artist: Meor Yusof Aziddin
So much that astonishes about Malay folk singer-songwriter Meor’s album run comes from their soulful melancholy and disarming directness. Seven albums in the last 10 years paint a prolific haul for this 43-year-old independent musician who also has a resume that reads: guitar teacher and licensed busker.
Meor, while finishing his autobiography Gila Muzik, leafed through his tattered songbook and found time to head to the studio to rethink some of his personal favourites. The result is this Kompilasi Komplikasi album, featuring a new track (Selapis Kaca) and nine re-recorded cuts from five of his albums.
This limited edition CD, a companion to Meor’s upcoming book, reflects his austerity of performance that is crucial to the folk aesthetic. The labour-of-love scale of the project is its own best explanation.
Meor’s style is aimed squarely at the listener, clearly sung and with raw, unaffected emotion – just voice and guitars to warm the soul. With producer R.S. Murthi, who adds guitar textures, sympathetic to Meor’s material, this shoestring production is one that tugs at the heartstrings.
These one-take recordings – be it the mortality blues on Masih Ingatkah Kita? or the stark poetry of Itu Padang ... Aku Di Situ – with lyrics and chords stripped to their barest bones are quiet triumphs to savour.
The soulful reflection on new cut Selapis Kaca lets his raspy, weathered voice fill the room (haunted by visions of “Jibrail and syaitan”). The whimsical, playful side, a usually dormant but altogether delightful aspect of Meor’s personality, is evidenced on the gypsy swing of Lagu Sofa Biru and the acidic blues of Hayati Kecewa Ini.
That Meor has maintained a strong identity as a solo tunesmith for so long is an achievement. Not only is Kompilasi Komplikasi a useful introduction, it is the sound of a Malay folk rebel still fighting the good fight.
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