Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Madeon's Adventure Review

This is the debut album by French Wunderkind, Madeon. Aptly titled as Adventure, you can be sure of an amazing journey that ends with nothing less than a satisfaction. Before we delve more into the world of Adventure, Madeon (or his real name, Hugo Pierre Leqlerc) is a music producer-songwriter-DJ from Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France. He became popular through a YouTube video known as “Pop Culture”, but obviously, he doesn’t stop there. Madeon has given his magic touch to a number of popular artists such as Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, and Coldplay. His brand of House, Electro, and Synthpop is unlike the others you may have heard nowadays. And that is a good thing, since electronic music scene is saturated with commercialised production nowadays. On one hand, it’s good since electronic music is now receiving a wider coverage and new listeners, but the negative side is that sometimes, it also turns generic, the same beat, the same sound. Trying to be different and staying true to the soul of electronic music, are perhaps now rather important elements now.

Hugo Pierre is belongs to those who dare to be different and craft a rhythm that he can quite call his own, which is not surprising since Madeon is quite a lanky, baby-face guy. If you look at him, you won’t probably believe that he is an amazing artist. But his music proves that his maturity and credibility and creativity far outweigh his small stature. Adventure is a work three years in the making. He perfected his trade, learnt from his surrounding, and through some connection with his emotions (and trust me when I say that), this is an all-rounded pop-influenced dance record.

Beginning with an intro track called Isometric with its arcade-game-like beats, it moves to many kinds of sounds. Two of the catchiest songs in the album will surely make you bop your head while singing the chorus, the retro-influenced You’re On, featuring the British singer, Kyan, and the summery, guitar, up-tempo Pay No Mind that features the group Passion Pit. Those two are radio-friendly synthpop offerings. OK with its retro sounds samples the voice of Charli XCX saying well, ‘OK’ here and there. La Lune is perhaps one of the most interesting, with Dan Smith of Bastille lending his soulful voice in a melancholic delivery of the lyrics that are probably one of the best in the whole album. Nonsense, with Mark Foster, from Foster The People, is another song that could pass as an indie pop song if Madeon doesn’t put his craftsmanship in it. That being said, this catchy song (although not as up-tempo as Pay No Mind or You’re On) is still as addictive. Innocence is one of the much slower songs in the record, a soothing serenade punctuated with Aquilo’s soulful voice.

Two instrumental tracks, Pixel Empire and Imperium showcase Madeon’s credibility in creating great electronic songs, with Pixel Empire being the more subdued one (as if it’s somewhat a continuation of Innocence), although it turns heavily-laden as it finishes, while Imperium features a more upbeat, powerful rhythm, replete with angst and darker sounds. A few songs are sung by Madeon. Beings is one of those songs, and if not for the electronic beats, it could very well be an song by an indie pop band. While the middle part features a sudden breakdown, the rest is pretty cheery. In Zephyr, the fast disco beats provide a backdrop against Madeon’s voice which is warped here. In the emotionally-fraught Home, Madeon sings with an isolated, vulnerable, yet personal voice, while piano, snare and drums pulsate higher and higher making this song anthem-like. Home closes the standard album flawlessly, bringing us a sense of closure.

From the beginning until the end, from the fun side of the album, until the more contemplative section of the music, he does not fail. All songs have that Madeon identity, the sounds that can only be created by this Frenchman. Adventure is perfectly driven by Madeon, and now, I think the next ride may even be more thrilling. This album is an adventure made on music.

Adventure is on sale now in Madeon Official Store at MyPlay Direct for USD12.99 (MYR48.00)

SPP Interview for Future Teachers!

Hello people. It’s been a really quite eventful March for me seeing that a lot of things happened. For instance, I managed to cook a number of dishes (hahaha), creating or editing Wikipedia articles (you don’t know how nerdy I am), Sushi King’s opened in Terengganu now (huzzah!!!), I finally received my legal copy of Madeon’s Adventure (which I will review soon heheh), and oh yeah, I was interviewed by SPP, and that is what I’m going to talk about. This is your short guide to SPP interview success (okay... maybe that's an exaggeration).

Anyway, SPP interview is a prerequisite for all teacher graduates (from both IPG and Universities). Before you are posted to anywhere in this great nation of ours, you will need to face the wrath of officials (okay, they’re not that bad… hahaha) from Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran, where they will assess you based on your appearance, teaching method, and knowledge in general issues and education-related issues.

Here’s the thing, before you start thinking of being nervous for the interview, there are a few documents that you should have, and they are:

Birth certificate
SPM certificate
Degree certificate or full exam results transcript if you don’t have the certificate
IPG letter of offer
Degree letter of offer
PPISMP certificate
The confirmation letter from JPA (on the website)
SPP documents checklist from the website
Passport-size photo

Make sure that you have two copies of the documents coloured in red. If you don’t have the letters of offer, go to the main office and threaten the staff to give you what you need: the confirmation letter that you are the freaking student of that IPG. When you have the copies of the documents needed, get the signature and confirmation from Pegawai Kerajaan Kelas A (well, they are the people who always give announcements at your IPG’s morning assembly hahaha or you know that important guy from HEP that I somehow can’t remember what his job is… uhhhh~) or if you can’t find Pegawai Kelas A, you can be like me, go to the nearest solicitor or advocate and tell them that Agatha is the one who tried to kill Lovelia… wait not that… tell the lawyer you need his or her signature and confirmation, though you may need to pay a fee. Only the copies are required to have the signatures, mind you. Anyway, IPG will help with most of the processes needed for you to be able to go for the interview, so don’t forget to be good with your IPG staff.

So, once you get the date for the interview, then it is time to study the things needed for you to pass the interview. Manners matter too, so…

Be clean and sparkling (not Edward-sparkly of course)

Cut your hair (for guys duhhh) and do not colour it (for both genders)

Wear shirts that have light colours (baby pink, or baby blue, or pastel maybe?). Do not wear dark-colour shirts. A blazer or coat is good too so wear it.

Clean your shoes.

Be in your best behaviour even if you’ve managed to destroy Manchester United in FIFA 2014 (which I don’t play because I hate football (and I don’t have a PS4))

Speak clearly and do not mumble.

Know your teaching methods and pedagogy and all the stuff related to education and general knowledge.

Bring your RPH! Complete everything!

Be confident (which unfortunately may not happen sometimes hahaha).

Here’s one thing, the interview may take somewhere between an hour (in my case) to three hours (in Putrajaya’s case because they had lots of times in their hands…). You may have between five to seven other interviewees with you so always respect them. The interview is not the time for you to start pouting your own opinions when you disagree with others. It’s okay to disagree, but do it in a civilised way because you guys are totally not going to besmirch your names by behaving like a babbling, bumbling band of baboons! (I love McGonagall~) Answer the question in a concise and precise manner. If you don’t know anything, just say it, do not lie. In certain interviews, you may even be told to conduct a short microteaching. Not all do that though. Your interview may be conducted with those who are not under the same course as you, or vice versa. In my case, all of us were TESL graduates, thus the interview was carried out mostly in English.

The SPP staff will check all your documents and after that, you will need to sit outside the interview room when you are good to go. Wait until the bell is rung and then politely like you’re the last Victorian gentleman in the whole planet walk into the room. Well, you get the basic idea, or do I have to teach you basic manners too? Anyhow, my interviewers asked us about GST, the countries of ASEAN, how to teach vocabulary to students are less proficient in English, how to apply higher order thinking skills in the classroom, the Education Blueprint, and FPG… yes, FPG, and most of got confused and damn well answered with FPK (dang it!), but hey, I think I did quite well… I hope~ So, make sure you know your stuff, and try to take note of the recent events of the country, be it education-related or not (because even Sultan of Johor’s coronation ceremony was asked in Kedah). Oh, since the Blueprint is somewhat an important matter nowadays, it won’t hurt to look at it.

So, I hope this post will help you a bit with your own SPP interview. I also consulted a few other blogs when I did mine, so I guess another one would be good for all of us graduates. Best of luck, peeps!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Seconds, Moments, Today

The scariest and most beautiful part about life is that you will never know what comes next. Every second is a surprise, and yes, some of them can make you sad, or angry, or confused, but how about all those that mean the whole world to you, that change your life, no matter how small or big they are? Today you decide to take a ride on a bus line you never get on before and that becomes your little adventure. Today, you decide to wear something that you have never tried before and you know that you are beautiful. Today, there’s a quaint little bookshop at the corner and you go in and see this very awesome book. Today you want to forget that you’re an adult and play with those huge bubbles because you think it’s fun. Today, you see something that inspire you to be creative. Today, you receive a letter saying that you get the job you want. Today, you walk alone in a park and meet someone new, someone good, someone that will take you further than you have ever been, emotionally, spiritually, physically. You can never be sure what will happen tomorrow. Afraid? You can be sure all of us are. But there are so many still-hidden moments that can make us happy too. That makes life the most exciting thing.