An uncommon occurrence, instrumental guitarist Bennett Bay had already hit his stride early on with his first few songs.
Sporadically uploading his tranquil, introspective pieces online, culminating with his first fully-fledged single 'Komorebi', he quickly went on to perform at the first Neon Lights Festival and collaborate with artists like singer-songwriter Linying.
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Also holding court as a member of post-rock trio hauste, Bennett Bay has a firm grasp of melancholy, and his adventurous sense of meditative songwriting has led him to his debut full-length, titled Compass.
On the album, Bennett Bay has this to say.
I wrote the concept behind Compass a long while ago, it started out as a short film idea based on a Nautical Compass, a totem of which I hold dear.
It was only just before the very first show I was set to play, at the Esplanade Concourse in August of 2015, that I wrote the title track for the album, Compass. The song came at a time when a dear friend was lost, and I wanted nothing more than for her to find her path — her way back home. Around the same time, I wrote many songs inspired by my family, their love and their life and what they had taught me over the years.
Compass is the story of a child who ventures beyond the safety of his/her home, who finds a place that resides several wonderful things. But at the end of the day, the child grows weary and tries to find his/her way back home.
And to those who care to listen, may you one day find your way back onto the path laid out for you, while you forge your own to the best of your ability. For no path is crafted in vain, and there will always be a home at the end for you to return to."
On the sprawling list of personnel involved in the album, Bennett Bay roped in a host of close collaborators and friends.
The violins were recorded by Samuel Choon and Tsumugu Misugi, cello by Nadene Law, glockenspiel by Lee Yu Ru, and drums by Ian Tan.
"These few people have played with me since the very first show in 2015 and are some of my closest friends," Bennett elaborates. "They will be joining me at the launch next week as well. The trumpets were recorded by Cui Yihao, who's a new friend I made this year — really talented young man from YST (Yong Siew Toh Conservatory) and he's only 18!"
Notably, the vocals on the swelling title track were recorded by Linying. "I'm really thankful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to come down and lend her voice for this song," Bennett says.
Mixed by Roland Lim and mastered by James Plotkin, it's sonically enchanting.
Listen to the album in full here. Additionally, you may want to book your tickets for the Compass launch show, happening on January 20th.