This 4-track demo by Singaporean act Pastelpower (an electronic side project by Cherie Ko) was released back in October 15, 2014. The tracks are:
2. Mrs. Wolfe
4. Oh, Louie!
I’m not sure how I found out about the release but I do remember being fascinated with the aesthetics and sound. Anyway… after years (actually almost 10 years) I felt like writing my thoughts on this demo, relistening to it again.
All the four tracks are about specific people. The first one, v4mpb0i is about “life of an edward cullen” and is pretty much all about Edward Cullen (the vampire boy from the Twilight novel/movie series) and the fact that he watches Bella Swan while she sleeps. It’s part romantic, part creepy but that’s what happens in the stories. Sound wise, it’s a swelling dreamy slow ballad before it changes into a slightly more rhythmic retro 80s Casio keyboard vibe meets implied chiptune asthetic. The song alternates between these two feels.
Mrs. Wolfe is about a cat lady who loves her cats. The song has that whole bubblegum pop vibe but meets a slightly displaced percussion/drums. It kind of works for the song though and is charming.
Jean-Paul talks about having a crush on the mailman and willing to do anything to see him. Perhaps this verse best illustrates this:
I put on a stamp
On an envelope
And address it to myself
I’ll do anything
Just for him to come
I just wanna speak to him
Jean Paul is one of the two names that the protagonist speculates might be his name. The repeated sung “Jean Paul” line is nice and the keyboard lines create a great counterpoint to the main sung vocals.
Oh, Louie! is an electronic lo-fi take on the classic 50s 6/8 or 12/8 ballads with nice stereo “Oh la la la”s. This is nice ear candy and a perfect close to the demo.
All in all, there’s a real charm to this demo especially with repeated listening. As I listened back to this music I wondered whether Cherie Ko released any new music and after looking on Facebook, she did have a duo project called Kekko with her husband Tim Kek, and they had an EP entitled Dreaming Life in March 2021. Maybe I’ll listen to that… till then, if you haven’t checked out Pastelpower, you know what to do.
Listen to this demo on Bandcamp here: https://pastelpower.bandcamp.com/album/sparkling-eyes-demo or the songs as part of her album Farewell Cruel World here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2V3Un93X1mYg73AW8wLAlJ?si=qWw1VAJFS_uFIqkAnwc01g
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Pastelpower is the pop-up electronic bedroom project of Cherie Ko, who is also the lead guitarist of fuzz-pop quintet Obedient Wives Club, and lead vocalist of noir-pop duo, TOMGIRL. Contrary to her guitar heroics in her bands, Cherie weaves off-kilter tales of quirky and eccentric characters from her cleverly crafted imaginary world, all on the keyboard and in pastel colours.
Touted by MTV Iggy as part of the “future sounds from across the globe”, Pastelpower has released two EPs: Sparkling Eyes Demo (October 2014) and Pastelpower: Broadcast Live (December 2014) under her own label, Deer Island Records, and played various festivals (Baybeats, Verve Arts, and 100 Bands Festival) in Singapore, as well as regional shows in Thailand and Malaysia.
After a good three-year run, Pastelpower made her swan song at the last leg of the Singapore: Inside Out exhibition with a full length album release titled Farewell Cruel World on December 2, 2015. Featuring a talented girl gang of musicians from various local bands, the finale performance was a spectacular blip and a culmination of the magic and glitter that made up Pastelpower and more.
While good byes are never easy, the story of Pastelpower is like a collection of life’s magical moments – always fleeting and ephemeral, and there will always be beauty in letting go. Instead of losing oneself somewhere at the end of the story, perhaps this will be the prelude to the beginning of another one.