Stretched between acoustic melancholia, indie-R&B, post-rock and electronic-pop – the extremities that mark Charlie Lim’s music, is a certain sense of cinematic gravitas that takes you on a sonic journey set against the rich narratives of life’s tales.
When singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Charlie Lim released his self-titled debut EP in 2011 – a compact parcel of perfectly designed pop eclecticism – critics were led on by the infectious nods to folk-rock and neo-soul. Not only did the tracks have the ability to move with heart-wrenching honesty, they showed unusual range from a young, relatively unknown Singapore-born talent.
Garnering solid reviews and airplay across Asia-Pacific, the EP opened doors to the region’s biggest stages – with a 7-city tour across Asia, playing key festivals such as The Gathering, Singapore International Jazz Festival, Mosaic Music Festival, Clockenflap (Hong Kong), Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Urbanscapes (Kuala Lumpur), Jarasum Jazz Festival (Seoul) and Music Matters Live alongside international artists such as Kimbra, Sigur Rós, Robert Glasper Experiment, Hiatus Kaiyote, Snarky Puppy, Elbow and De La Soul.
Charlie’s latest release, TIME/SPACE, is a double EP containing two collections of songs – with TIME reflecting his singer-songwriter sensibilities and SPACE a manifestation of his DIY approach to experimental pop production. From the satirical ragtime-piano intro of the opening teaser ‘Blah Blah Blues’ and the apocalyptic alt-folk meltdown of ‘Bitter’ on TIME, to the dark electronic grooves and Prince-inspired vocals on ‘Conspiracy’ and the slow-burning cinematic closer ‘I Only Tell the Truth’ on SPACE, the record is a meticulous representation of Charlie’s inimitable artistic brooding.
The journey of this new body of work explores the gamut from darkness to light, sadness to joy – and like a slow inhale and exhale, is ultimately uplifting. Even within its ambitious stylistic arc, the record never strays from being seamless in its execution and intimate in its storytelling, tied together by a delicate thread that is Charlie’s velvet vocal.
Within an hour of its release, TIME/SPACE clinched the top spot on the iTunes Singapore chart, and his songs have reached more than 1.3 million plays on Spotify since. The Straits Times gave it a glowing review of 4.5/5 stars, and was awarded Best Pop Album of 2015. Other popular media outlets such as Time Out, TODAY, Bandwagon, Popspoken, Beehype, Honeycombers, and JUICE all considered the album as one of the Best Music Releases of 2015.
The quintessential Charlie Lim experience ultimately lies in the live show. Whether as a solo act; or with his super-band The Mothership, Charlie meticulously sculpts a musical narrative so mesmerising that audiences often find themselves rudely jolted back into reality upon its conclusion.
Following two landmark, sold-out shows at The Mosaic Music Festival in 2014 – an achievement never claimed by a Singaporean artist – Charlie premiered TIME/SPACE at Singapore’s premier music venue, the 1,600-seat Esplanade Concert Hall; yet another first.
We love watching new audiences drop their jaws when they hear that magnificent old-soul croon coming from Charlie’s bespectacled figure. Truly a blues-man for the new age.
A million miles removed from the high-gloss jangle of pop acts today… His talent, anchored on lyrics that are as intimate as they come as well as a voice that is both grand and sweeping, can draw the interest of both mainstream and musical elite.
Music News Asia
Trademark sky high falsetto register, check; off the cuff improvisational vocal solo-ing, check, kickass band, check. Seriously, what does the lad feed on? It is absolutely certain that Charlie Lim is headed for the big time. Watch out world.
10 June 2016
31 Marina Coastal Dr Berth 1, Marina South Pier, Singapore 018988
3 July 2016
2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
Bitter (music video)
I Only Tell The Truth (music video)