Headline: Right AIM
Publication: MM
Date of publication: May 3, 2007
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 19
Byline / Author: By Joe Lee


FOR want of a better word, the best description for the 14th Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) would be "lacklustre".

While such grouses are almost common in most award shows, this time around, it's, perhaps, no fault of the organisers as there's so much that they could do to make it the best production possible.

"Mediocrity" would be the other choice of descriptive adjective, though it's not certain where to put the blame on.

Maybe, there's not much to shout about.

EVIDENCE of hard times is everywhere when it comes to music. Album sales worldwide have declined, or plummeted, and the Malaysian music industry has been hit especially hard through the years.

The fault lies with the shortsighted ones who are too business-minded in the community to under-appreciate our musical legacy.

Back to the show last Saturday night, this year's AIM was the most apt reflection of the industry's hard times.

The performances were supremely uninspired, ranging from the lukewarm efforts to the dull-edged pop sounds, which we have become accustomed to.

The lacklustre award show reflects not only the industry's thin condition, but also the struggles of the Persatuan Akademi Industri Muzik Malaysia (PAIMM) in trying to revive it. Kudos to them for the effort, at least, no matter what comments one makes about the ceremony itself.

What perhaps set, or more appropriately killed the mood, for the night was the performances and the lack of variety in approach in presenting the same old routines we had come to expect.

Despite the low expectations, the lineup did not result in the yawns as predicted. Credit where credit's due, most of the performances were pretty entertaining, though they lacked the punch in delivery, making it all appeared like watered down presentations of the enlisted artistes during some Secretaries Week show.

M Nasir's show was indeed worthy of an opening slot, with the industry and the whole country who tuned in, treated to seeing him dance to his bouncy number, 7 Nafas Lagi. It was so captivating that it even blanked out the almost gaudy accompaniment of the backing dancers who resembled a third-rate cabaret ensemble.

Ignore, too, the screeching backing vocalist who decided that her voice was deserving enough to overpower whoever she was backing throughout the night. If you can get past that, it was what you would call... an opening number.

This followed with a few more episodes worthy of mention.

There was Anuar Zain and his beautiful rendition of Perpisahan, which will surely go down as the greatest moments in AIM's annals, resplendent with music director Ramli MS's magic and lots of live strings thrown in the mix with his orchestra.

Now, if a recent mediocre presentation of this song in a reality TV show had earned a perfect 10 score, this was way off the tape.

The combination of Ramli Sarip and Mawi was a vocally powerful showcase by the performers in their element in every aspect of presentation which mesmerised and captured the audience. Despite the devotional nature of the song, the sheer explosiveness of the show, thanks in huge part to the strength of the song, was one than could have induced anyone to mosh to the tune.

Indonesian act Samson was predictably enough to rock the house, though the best show of the night had to be the most interesting performance, visually and vocally, from Reshmonu, with his wardrobe tribute to Boney M complete and the backing of a carnival-esque presentation which saw capoeira dancers and fire flying in every direction.

Pop rock outfit Sofaz showed maturity, but lacked the confidence to take the stage, even though their hit tune was noticeably one of the most mimed by the live audience.

When the four divas and the only full female performance took to stage, expectations ran high but evaporated as quickly as the hope for the no-show of cheap looking sequins adorning the togs of those who graced the red carpet earlier.

With Noryn Aziz, Siti Nurhaliza, Aishah and Jaclyn Victor onstage, on Bermula Di Sini, a tribute to the late Seha of Freedom, the anticipated show of vocal prowess failed to materialise with the four very different divas.

It ended up being a Jac show, with the remainder in Aishah and Siti Nurhaliza as glorified backing singers while Noryn was simply trying too hard to outshine.

The closing show was headbanging heaven with the united front of Search and Wings under the moniker of Double Trouble. Still, it was only at the very last seconds did the crowd stir to their feet for a standing ovation, not so much for the powerful performance which had veins popping all over vocalists Amy and Awie, but, out of respect to the staying power of the rock legends.

One positive thing did emerge out of the performances, at least some hope was offered when the line-up for the medley of Best New Artiste showed that there was quite some raw new talent out there.

Sean Ghazi's performance was a bit of a disappointment while Izwan Pilus and Fazli Zainal were in need of an X-factor each before they could even think of becoming a crooner.

Farhan and Bob may not have won, but they have earned the respect of the audience with their impressive delivery and sheer vocal power.

Performances aside, the results were not as predictable, though they hardly inspired any emotion and only managed to raise a murmur, with quite a few unexpected twists.

It provided the much awaited moments of reaction from the crowd, with minor gasps from them for the surprise factor, with favourite in M. Nasir shut out of the Best Performance In An Album (Male) category as underdog Reshmonu took to the podium. Ahmadi Hassan's win for Best Nasyid Album was one that silenced the audience.

It was almost a pleasant surprise that Lefthanded's expected win did not materialise and Search well deservedly took home the trophy for Best Hard Rock Album.

More moments of raised eyebrows with Sean judged the Best New Artiste. While he was a popular choice, the showcase of the new talents proved that there were deserving names to be mentioned.

Jaclyn Victor's win in Best Vocal Performance In An Album (Female) was one of the few shocks, which was good though, breaking Siti Nurhaliza's domination with a record of eight wins since 1999. Siti got her back by winning the Best Pop Album that qualified her and subsequently winning her the Album of the Year.

And we couldn't think of anyone better than Freddie Fernadez, (for now, that is) for the Wirama Award.

Yes, the wins were quite evenly distributed this time around, and the judges must have thought a round of back-patting was necessary for the finalists this time around.

The last element, which contributed to the rather ho-hum nature of the show, was the hosts themselves. Apart from the tickling opening, hosts Afdlin Shauki, Adibah Noor and Bob Lokman were reduced to merely announcers for the presenters coming on and the alarm for the upcoming commercial break.

Never mind the blatant promotion of Sumo-lah as it came as to no surprise that Afdlin's long service to the industry's big night had always earned him and his products favourable mention.

It may have been the case of too many cooks spoiling the broth or that they didn't have time to finish a decent script.

Adibah Noor's debut performance as the co-host of AIM this time around justified her presence, as she literally overshadowed the other two without even trying.

One good thing which made the very manicured show more bearable this time around was that it was cropped to fit the timeline of the production, with the sound engineers and the hosts himself mercilessly cutting short almost all of the recipients who decided to engage in longwinded and self indulgent acceptance speeches.

One of the only acts that escaped the embarrassing fate, was Samsons (who surprisingly showed up AND won) apart from a couple of other names who sped through their acknowledgements to avoid being unceremoniously chased off the stage with the booming music which drowned them out by the end of their allocated time.

The Malaysian music industry is at the crossroads, and perhaps, next year will see which direction it's really headed to. Oh well, at least we're back on track to some degree.

Winners' list

Best new artiste (artiste)

Sean Ghazi

Best vocal performance in an album (male) - (artiste/album)

Reshmonu/Superfine

Best vocal performance in an album (female) - (artiste/album)

Jaclyn Victor/Inilah... Jac

Best group vocal performance in an album - (artiste/album)

Raihan/Tawakkal

Best album cover - (designer/album/artiste)

Marcus Ericsson/Television/Pete Teo

Best engineered album (producer/album/artiste)

Alip, Mamak, Omi, Kamal and Zairie/Analogi/Kristal)

Best music video (director/song/artiste)

Jordan Suleiman/Lost in America/Pete Teo

Best ethnic pop album (album/artiste/producer)

Syahda Berdendang/Syura/Pak Ngah, Eddie Hamid and Idzhar Azwa)

Best nasyid album (album/artiste/producer)

Bahagia Berkasih/Ahmadi Hassan/Omar Nawab, Ali Hussien Mawla

Best pop rock album (album/artiste/producer)

Sang Pencinta/M. Nasir/M. Nasir)

Best hard rock album (album/artiste/producer)

Gothik Malam Edan/Search/Edrie Hashim and M. Nasir

Best pop album (song/artiste/producer)

Transkripsi/Siti Nurhaliza/Aubrey Suwito, Jenny Chin, Mac Chew, Yasin, Cat Farish, Firdaus Mahmud, Damian V.E

Best new local english artiste (artiste)

Dragon Red

Best local english album (album/artiste/producer)

Television/Pete Teo/Nick Lee and Pete Teo

Best Indonesian album (album/artiste/producer)

Naluri Lelaki/Samsons/Samsons

Best musical arrangement in a song (arranger/song/artiste)

Bruce Hurn/Hujan Di Tengahari/Sean Ghazi

Song of the year (composer/lyricist/song/artiste)

M. Nasir/M. Nasir/Juwita...Citra Terindah/M. Nasir

Album of the year (album/artiste/producer)

Transkripsi/Siti Nurhaliza/Aubrey Suwito, Jenny Chin, Mac Chew, Yasin, Cat Farish, Firdaus Mahmud, Damian V.e

Wirama award

Freddie Fernandez

(END)





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