Terengganu with a Twist: Awang Samrow debuts album with an East Coast charm
Their album debuts on 31 July complete with the lilt and grit of 'Ganu-speak and delirious experimentation.
All photos are credited to Kaizerine (@kaizerine)
Awang Samrow (aka Fahmi) is no stranger to the flamboyance and showmanship required to leave a mark in the alternative music scene. Their aura probably doesn't really reach the saturated arena of mainstreams transmissions, but to the lucky few who has seen them perform, there's an indelible quality to his many manifestations. And their manifestations are many. My first exposure to Awang Samrow was from the song "Barely A God", a project he released under the moniker NIDUSMAS. On October 2020, this lo-fi pop track with a smattering of darkwave caught my attention. It felt naked and scattered, the kinda contained messiness that promises an artist trying to find something uniquely their own. Beyond NIDUSMAS, they're more prominently known as the frontman of Plong! alongside Pitahati members Hidayat and Yasin, and as a member of Kyogg with Kimal, the vocalist of Margasatwa. Both of these bands inhabit a wide yet identifiable sound of Nusantara sentimentality and New Wave synth-y obsessions. Like New Order, but if they grew up with Exist and Black Dog Bone. Plong! even gets a little disco sometimes, subtly grooving along while belting out mantras of multitudes. A year later, at a small gig I can barely remember, I saw Fahmi as Awang Samrow. Armed with a small keyboard and an electric guitar, Awang Samrow somehow found a psychic bridge between the sensual and the odd. Through his baritone and the left-field arrangements (that I want to call psychedelic but truly it's hard to define), he inhabited a space in which people struggled to still define what he was. The reason I'm sharing all of this is because the Terengganu dialect that seems to be at the forefront of his new sound is not just a gimmick. When Awang Samrow, who is from the state on the east coast of the Peninsula, sings in Ganu, he doesn't just return to his roots. These roots are decorated with an acute sense of oddity and groove that teases an interesting solo act. I have no idea how much he's evolved since last year really. But if you're keen to check out his debut, there's no better platform than the show this Sunday at Livefact, Kota Damansara. The show also features up-and-coming bands Hawa, Monotones and Runs. Awang Samrow will be releasing the first single entitled “Dok Degih” from his debut
album “Pok Snahu” later this year.
Check out Awang Samrow's other personas: