Jonny Ong returns with his out-of-this-world sound to bring the first full length since his debut. Boasting tracks such as the exquisite ‘Fools’, as well as sumptuous collaborations with fellow Singaporean singer-songwriter, Inch – ‘Taking Silence’ and ‘Wishful Thinking’ – Isolation is truly a delight for the senses.
Latest release, ‘The Ballad of J and J’, is a clear reference to Ong’s love of the Beatles, painstakingly and carefully setting out the story blocks in an autobiographical flowchart of a relationship which went bad. Written in seclusion, there is always an air of mystery to Ong’s work in this album, something secretive that it seems we are privy to in his private rooms as – it feels – we watch him paint pictures for us in song form.
“I wanted it to feel cinematic,” Ong points out. “That’s why I went for a lot of strings and horns.” As such, he worked with virtuoso Cuban-born trumpet and flugelhorn player Yelfris Valdés – known for releasing his own acclaimed retro-futurist albums and collaborating with the likes of Moses Boyd and Madonna – to help put together the intricate string arrangements. “It’s that mix of the cinematic, with modern touches influenced from trip hop bands like Zero 7 and Morcheeba. There’s also my love of jazz and ’60s psychedelia in there,” adds Ong.
With its cinematic sumptuousness, fusion of the classic and contemporary, and songs that unfurl gracefully, Isolation is an album destined to make people feel less alone.