The Straits Times Interview, 26th August 2011
Indie-Music Review: Peter Braidis
"Joshua Chia is a native of Singapore and provides soothing, tranquil sounds on his album Paper Plane. Elements of Classical, New Age, World Music and such encompass the many styles on display here.
This is very well played music and most importantly it resonates with the listener on several levels. The music can operate as background music or as a way to drift off into a reflective state. Among the best examples of this are tracks such as the beautiful "Another Century", "Beginning Of A Dream" and "A New Grey".
"A New Grey" and "Another Century" in particular are stunningly hypnotic with gently plucked classical guitar, simple keyboard touches and emotive violin. "Clouds Woke Me Up" is a very dreamy piece as well. One of the best facets about these songs is that none of them overstay their welcome. A lot of New Age-styled music drones on endlessly (and repetitively) but that is not the case here.
"Germs" is a track with quite a bit of variety, starting slow and tranquil then picking up midway through, turning into World Music with percussion, wordless chanting and ample violin work. The piece then concludes with a breakdown to delicate piano.
Joshua Chia has created an enjoyable palate of sounds with Paper Plane."
Review by Juice Magazine
July 2011 Issue
"Homeboy Joshua Chia is one brave soul to present all new original works via an instrumental album.
Having scored many a musical piece for product TVCs and documentaries, it's no surprise that the eight tracks
on his debut sounds like a cross between new age, classical, folk-tronica and soundtrack work. But don't diss: Joshua's got enough deem guitar playing skills, talent and of course, balls, to make originals that recall The Album Leaf and Moby."
Review by Straits Times (Life! Section)
12 August 2011
Singapore musician Joshua Chia clearly doesn’t care much for labels. On his debut album Paper Plane, he has alchemised a cross-genre fusion that is neither too willfully experimental nor conservative. Let it drift like spa incense, or tingle your senses.At times, the graduate from Berklee College of Music reminds one of David Sylvian and Brian Eno in his meticulous architectonics. Such is the case with Gravity, underlined by a subterranean bassline and shaded by whispery chanting by Stasia Neo that veers on the right side of China’s Enya, Dadawa.
Elsewhere, nylon guitars, accordion and strings collude gently in an Arcadia that dips into Orientalia before it goes on its way.
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
CD Baby review: Matthew Forss
Singapore-based, Joshua Chia, sets the stage for an avant-garde adventure with all of the sparkling, melancholic sounds of new age and experimentalism. Paper Plane is a sweetly, melodic collection of mostly instrumental songs that are perfect for relaxation, contemplation, and dreaming.
“Beginning Of A Dream” opens with the drone of an accordion, followed by the harp-like consistencies of the nylon guitar. The lilting melody is rather meditative, but cheery in tone. The mellow vibraphone-like sounds are matched with indiscriminate female voices that seem to float along with the music. Even though the song is only two-and-a-half minutes in length, the song still manages to elicit an entrancing candor. The light, experimental feel of the song borders a bit on new age and smooth jazz with the warm charm of avant-garde.
“Paper Plane” starts with a fluttering rhythm of strings delicately squealing amidst a cascade of meditative, albeit acoustic-driven, notes on lead guitar. The fluttering sounds end and the jazzy, experimental guitar work ensues. The slow playing allows for the notes to carry on awhile. Halfway through the song, the fluttering-type melodies from earlier in the song commence again, but with more strings for a fuller sound. The end of the song features the languid, guitar sounds from the introduction. The song is completely instrumental, too.
“Gravity” begins with a staticky background noise, percussive drum beat, and pensive guitar work. The array of sounds is quite delicate, though difficult to describe. However, the percussive beat adds a little experimentalism to the trip hop-tinged melody. In addition, indiscriminate female vocals ride the waves of sound early on. The flamenco-type guitar playing seems to match the melody with additional electronic sounds that coalesce without fault.
“Germs” is the longest song at five-and-a-half minutes. The nylon guitar is joined by a few rings of a high-pitched bell and a percussive, slapping noise with sparkling, metallic sounds. The odd mixture of guitar, electronic accompaniment, percussive noises, and similar sounds merge into a trip-hop medley of avant-garde delight. The latter half of the song combines a bit of flamenco-style with experimentalism, neo-classical strings, piano, and operatic vocalizations that create an almost indescribable concoction of musical candy.
“Clouds Woke Me Up” opens with a scratchy, string sound and delicate guitar playing with a hint of xylophone thrown in halfway through the song. The relatively wispy guitar work and airy accompaniment suggests a lighter side of Paper Plane. The lighter nature of the song does not indicate a musical weakness or lack of creativity. On the contrary, the music is more than appropriately-matched for the atmospheric song title.
Joshua Chia’s Paper Plane strikes a delicate balance between spacious guitar-playing, avant-garde, experimental, and new age idioms without resorting to meaningless dance beats, random noise, or uninspiring melodies. The light melodies, unobtrusive percussion, and airy vocals signify a magnificent musical achievement. Most of the music would be ideal for dramatic film scores. Fans of the nylon guitar, accordion, piano, and strings would be most satisfied. Interestingly, none of the instruments were particularly overpowering in performance or sound, though the nylon guitar carried a little more weight overall. Simply put, Paper Plane is a relatively flawless work of art that touches on various genres, moods, and melodies. Despite this, Paper Plane suffers from a production shortfall in the form of running length. For example, the entire album length is around thirty-minutes. Nevertheless, Paper Plane is an angelic ride of sound that would be essential for anyone interested in traveling to a world of beauty and sound.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)