Azzief Khaliq

Freelance Writer and Journalist


Malaysia-based freelance writer and journalist with ten years of experience writing about consumer technology and popular music.


Features and Guides

Linear vs. Tactile vs. Clicky Switches Explained - Voltcave

One of the trickiest parts of getting into mechanical keyboards is deciding on switches. Even before choosing a specific switch, you'll have to pick between clicky, linear, and tactile switches. That can get confusing if you're new, but don't get too discouraged! Let's dive in and discuss clicky vs. linear vs.

How to Find the Best Fan Curve Settings - Voltcave

Having trouble with fan noise? You're not alone. Default fan settings often aren't ideal, usually running too hot or too loud. And then there are those overly-sensitive fans that constantly speed up and slow down during everyday use. While there's no perfect solution, this fan curve guide should help you strike a good balance between noise and cooling.

No Good: "We're not traditional people, so why do we have to be traditional punks?"

It's difficult to think of another Malaysian band in recent memory that's had as meteoric a rise as No Good. With their stripped-down punk anthems and unapologetically Kelantanese bent, it's taken only a couple of years for the trio - vocalist/guitarist (and bandleader) Smek Almohdzar, bassist Mat Yie (also known as Wan Azry) and drummer Ali Johan - to cross over beyond the boundaries of the Malaysian punk underground.

20 years of Soundscape Records: How the label shaped post-rock and live music in Malaysia

T wenty years is a long time to be doing anything, but 20 years spent heading a record label and concert promotion business in Malaysia is something else. Just ask Mak Wai Hoo. From relatively humble beginnings in the Chinese independent scene, Mak, as he is better known, and his label Soundscape Records have become one of Malaysia's most well-known label-promoters.

How to Choose RAM for Your New PC - Voltcave

When choosing components for a new build, RAM often gets overlooked in favor of the CPU and GPU. That makes sense, as the latter two generally have the biggest impact on performance. But your RAM has a significant role to play, too.

SSD vs. HDD: The Hard Drive Decision - Voltcave

Expanding your computer's storage or picking parts for a new PC? Then you'll be interested in what we have to say about SSD vs. HDD. Choosing between a solid-state drive (SSD) and a traditional hard drive (HDD) is a fundamental choice to make when it comes to storage.

How to Pick PC Parts in 7 Simple Steps - Voltcave

So you've decided to build a rig yourself instead of going with a prebuilt. That's great! We think building a computer is one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences a PC user and gamer can have. Before embarking on the journey, though, you need to know how to pick PC parts.

How to Choose a PC Case: All Considerations Explained - Voltcave

When you're picking parts for your new computer, it's easy to forget how important choosing a PC case is. Sure, a case isn't going to improve your FPS, nor will it make your renders run faster. But the right case will make for an effortless build, look great, and have all the expansion that you need.

How to Choose a CPU: Clocks, Cores, and More Explained - Voltcave

One of the most essential skills every PC enthusiast should know is how to choose a CPU. Your CPU, along with your motherboard, is the beating heart of your system. The choices you make here will directly affect what your rig will be good and, unfortunately, not so good at.

Mechanical vs. Membrane Keyboards: Why Mechanicals Are Better - Voltcave

The mechanical vs. membrane keyboard decision used to be simple. Have $100 or more laying around to spend on one peripheral? Get a mechanical keyboard. On a budget? Stick with membranes. The price premium and limited availability meant that mechanical boards were strictly for the dedicated.

NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM
The Observatory: "We've been looking to Asian sounds as opposed to looking to the West" | NME

Many things have changed in The Observatory's camp since the long-running Singaporean band's last album, a split with Japanese psych rockers Acid Mothers Temple in 2018. Now a three-piece of Yuen Chee Wai, Dharma and Cheryl Ong, and with a greater focus on improvisation, this isn't quite the same group that released albums such as the monumental 'Oscilla'.

Music As a Weapon: A Quick Chat With Tinariwen

Tinariwen are one of the few bona fide crossover stars of "world" music of the past decade. From their beginnings in the Alegrian refugee camps in 1979 to representing Algeria at the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and winning a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 2012, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib and his group of Touareg musicians have seen, heard, experienced, and said a lot.

Android Fragmentation: The Story So Far

This post was first published on: Jan 16, 2014. Android fragmentation is often brought up as the Achilles' heel of the OS. Critics often point to


Skyloong GK75 Review: A Good Board at a Great Price - Voltcave

Skyloong's GK75 Optical is a perfect example of how much better budget keyboards have gotten over the past few years. $60 gets you a good keyboard with smooth optical switches, a programmable knob, and a classy transparent black ABS case. The software still isn't great, but it's an acceptable setback considering the price.

Skyloong DIY GK61 Review: Solid Keyboard, but Choose Wisely - Voltcave

Depending on how you configure it, Skyloong's DIY GK61 keyboard builder can either net you a solid sub-$100 value keyboard or an awkwardly-priced half-premium product. The GK61 keyboard has solid typing fundamentals, but the sub-par software and unspectacular switches hold it back once you break past the $150 barrier.

Vissles V84 Review: A Good-Value Starter Keyboard - Voltcave

Vissles' V84 mechanical keyboard gets the basics right and offers good value at its $110 retail price. It's not perfect, but minor software and keycap issues don't detract from what should be a solid first or second keyboard for budding keyboard enthusiasts. Mechanical keyboards can get expensive.

Intehill PN15F/P17D Review: Great Value Portable Monitors - Voltcave

Portable monitors have come along in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Modern examples now sport high-quality LCD panels and all the tech we expect from our desktop monitors, making them a great companion for mobile workers or anyone that needs a screen they can pack up and take with them.

The Wknd
Uwalmassa - Malar - The Wknd

Rhythm is perhaps one of the most underappreciated elements in modern (Western-popular) music. This isn't to say that modern listeners can't "feel the rhythm" or something of the sort, though; far from it.

Ichu - 'Ini Kisah Benar' review: Third time's the charm for Malaysian rapper-producer

The past few years have been good for Malaysian rapper-producer Ichu. Whether it's his work on Clumsygang's 'Volume 2' mixtape (especially on highlight '7AM di KL') or the numerous guest spots and collaborations with the likes of Emir Hermono and rising crew FORCEPARKBOIS, Ichu has put in the work and made himself a player to watch in Malaysia's modern hip-hop landscape.

Marsback Zephyr Pro Review: Hands-on With the "Sweat-Proof" Gaming Mouse - Voltcave

The Marsback Zephyr Pro is a solid gaming mouse that does most things right. But build quality issues and uncertainties about the fan's effectiveness mean that it's not a straightforward recommendation, even for the sweatiest of palms. The lightweight gaming mouse market is arguably the most crowded market segment for PC peripherals.

JUU4E - 'Crazy World' review: gleeful, 420-fuelled trap hopscotches through genre

Thai rapper JUU4E likes marijuana. That is obvious from the very beginning of 'Crazy World', his second offering for Japanese label EM Records: it opens with a distorted percussion loop and the sound of a righteous bong rip. As JUU4E piles on the reverb, another thing becomes clear: 'Crazy World' is going to be a bit of a trip.

NME | Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Pop Culture News
Senyawa - 'Alkisah' review: Indonesian avant-garde titans continue to evolve | NME

Rully Shabra Herman and Wukir Suryadi, better known as Senyawa, have been together for a decade. By the 10-year mark, most avant-garde bands would have settled into a groove, churning out by-the-numbers albums designed to meet expectations instead of subverting them. Fortunately, there's no such stasis for the Yogyakarta duo.

NME | Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Pop Culture News
Blue Ocean Project - 'Lunar' review: Ambitious, jazzy delights undermined by immature concept | NME

To say that 'Lunar' is a surprise would be an understatement. Released to little fanfare and barely any promotion, it's the debut of Bandung-based quintet Blue Ocean Project. Formed in 2014 by pianist Ditra Prasista and drummer Rio Abror - and operating under the radar since then - Blue Ocean Project have debuted with a surprisingly confident and ambitious set of songs that's unfortunately hobbled by an underdeveloped narrative framework.

NME | Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Pop Culture News
LUST - 'Vantablack' review: Kuala Lumpur indie darlings bring the hooks and embrace the jam | NME

While it wasn't exactly a perfect album, LUST's debut full-length from last year, 'Tekesima', was something of a high-water mark for contemporary Malaysian "indie". After an enjoyable, if shaky, debut EP, the band found their footing on 'Tekesima', turning in a confident, catchy, and intelligently crafted set of songs that cemented their place as a band to take seriously.

NME | Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Pop Culture News
Keiji Haino & The Observatory - 'Authority Is Alive' review: thrilling and vital

Recorded live at Singapore's Playfreely Festival in 2019, 'Authority Is Alive' is something of a pairing made in avant-garde heaven. For any fan of experimental rock, "The Observatory meet Keiji Haino" almost sells itself. Sure, there's always the risk of improv groupings being lesser than the sum of their parts, but that's not the case here.

NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM
Rollfast - 'Garatuba' review: barnstorming, eclectic psych rock from the Island of the Gods | NME

While there isn't always a direct link between a band's sound and their place of origin, it's often hard to avoid lapsing into cliched notions of how bands "should" sound depending on where they're from. Initially, it's hard to square Rollfast's second album 'Garatuba' with the fact that they hail from Bali.

Review: LUST - Tekesima

Listen: Bandcamp | Spotify Format reviewed: Digital The high point of the 30-ish years I've been alive was somewhere during my early teens, when a bearded bloke with a D. Boon avatar on a forum called me a "martyr for musical understanding".

Killeur Calculateur: Book of Flags

Text Azzief Khaliq NOT KILLING IT The first time you drop the needle on Killeur Calculateur's new LP, Book of Flags, you might be forgiven for doing a double take; most of the running time of the three-and-a-half minute opener 'Red Marquee' consists of noodly clean guitar, run through delay and reverb, with the distortion only kicking in for the final 20 seconds or so of the track.

News and Press

Other Writing/Editing Work


The Wknd
Under the Influence: The Observatory - The Wknd

For the final episode (for now?) of Under the Influence, host Azzief Khaliq sits down will all three current members of Singaporean avant-rock icons The Observatory to talk about topics dear to the hearts of all involved: improvised music; the intersections of humanity, technology, and memory; and non-4/4, non-Western (dance) music.

The Wknd
Under The Influence: Kareem Soenharjo - The Wknd

From his hardcore punk project, BAPAK, instrumental releases under yosugi, to his recent critically acclaimed and well-received hip hop release "MOMO'S MYSTERIOUS SKIN" under his moniker BAP., host Azzief Khaliq speaks to Indonesian producer and musician, Kareem Soenharjo, on music that has influenced his multifaceted music journey so far.

Mix for 100.000

Contributed an hour-long mix of experimental and noise music to Indonesian label 100.000's ongoing mix series.

BFM 89.9
Very Noise #62: 23 December 2016

Guested on BFM 89.9's Very Noise show to play and discuss some of my favourite albums from 2016. In Malay and English.

BFM 89.9
Very Noise #56: 16 September 2016

Popped in to BFM 89.9's Very Noise show to celebrate Malaysia Day 2016 by playing and talking about heavy music from 14 Malaysian states (13 states + Kuala Lumpur). In Malay and English.