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[Album Review] Perk Me Up

When it comes to the Singaporean dance music scene of the past, you can only name a handful of veteran DJs who introduced house, techno, and a couple of cheesy electronic dance music tunes to the clubs and into the minds of the teenagers of those days. Fast forward to today’s raving, clueless generation in which cheesy electro tunes with earwormy lyrics are rife on the airwaves – it seems that the once booming oasis of self-produced electronic dance music from the bedroom DJs of yore is slowly becoming a desert. However, there are still some who manage to come out with something that they’re truly interested in, with Perk Pietrek being one of them.

Perk Pietrek started DJ-ing when he was 13, barely into secondary school and exploring the world of turntablism with hip-hop vinyls. Three years later, he started producing, later attending a course in polytechnic related to audio production. Without letting school bog down his craft, he released numerous remixes, some of which caught the attention of international record companies.

Pietrek’s style can be classified under tropical bass, with a tinge of crowd-friendly electronic dance music, which could gain traction in the mainstream. His tracks in his début EP, What You Waiting For?, are bass-laden with minimalist, easy to catch filler melodies, which draw the listener in with each track.

With a haka-esque grunt at the start of the title track, “Waiting”, the synth melodies that follow it gives off a Swedish House Mafia vibe. The bassline introduces the listener to a signature tropical bass vibe – the use of bongos and what seems like an upbeat African danceoff. As the track goes on, Pietrek skillfully uses modulations and alters the signature melody which pleasantly leads to Younkers“, when more synth melodies are explored – yet not deviating from the original idea that was already established in “Waiting”. Which gives rise to a detriment of staying true to original ideas: the track proves slightly repetitive after a while, though it is a good track to be used as a filler between songs in a full set.

“Workflow” is a surprising change from the first two bass-laden tracks, but with the main whipping sound of the synthesizers still present. With the involvement of deviating vocals at alternate beats before the distinct ‘drop’, and after the ‘drop’, a further introduction of other sample sounds, it is the most unusual track of the EP.

“Fool’s Anthem” rounds up the entire EP nicely, with a softer take on the genre of tropical bass as compared to the first three songs. Pietrek’s playful take on alternate beats with the use of various synthesizer samples, with the catch ‘Don’t Sleep, Let’s Dance’ teasing the synchronized beats, shines through as the EP comes to an end.

On a whole, it is certainly not a bad production for a first EP; just that Pietrek could probably infuse something that could differentiate his future productions from the maelström of generic club music. With such tight production skills, we certainly look forward to hearing more from this tropical bass wunderkind.

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Check out Perk Pietrek on his Facebook page, or download/purchase his music at Soundcloud.

Image Credits: Perk Pietrek

Entertainment Writer. Aspiring music journalist/DJ. Shuttles between Berlin and Singapore. Purveyor of philosophy, good wines, and fast love. You can babble with her in German, ask her out to festivals and gigs at @elextrify.