Adding Credibility to the Local Easy Listening Scene

While the current local easy listening scene is littered with derivative bossa nova cover acts, one should remember that there are still bands that can make interesting, creative bossa-influenced music. For every ten or so “In Love With Bossa Nova”s, there are also some gems to be found in today’s easy-listening music crowd. Falling into this category are Sound and Liquid Jane, two of the current music scene’s better jazz/bossa acts.

Sound is probably best known for their single Habulan, a grabbing commentary on the brevity of human life and opportunity. The band blends a mix of influences from bossa, acid, and more traditional rock elements to produce an aural experience that is relaxing yet still lively. If my Filipino reading skills are still functioning correctly, they are also one of Armi Millare’s favorite groups. Certainly, they play a style of music that is different in today’s music scene. The band has undergone lineup changes, but have released two excellent albums in their debut Bossa Manila and the follow-up in Blue Monsoon.

Here’s Sound’s Habulan, from Bossa Manila:

and Bossa (Reprise) from Blue Monsoon:

Meanwhile, where the music of Sound is more laid back, Liquid Jane is more aggressive, like a  traditional rock act, at least some of the time. Like Sound, the band features strong influences from jazz and bossa. The two bands also share a tendency to have extravagant  titular track openings in their albums, as well as band members- at least one of them has been affiliated with both at one point in time. Nevertheless, the band, composed of Chad Rialp (bass & vox), Erwin Fajardo keyboards & vox), Dru Ubaldo (drums), and Gino Aguas (guitar), plays music that is decidedly different, but equally listenable. Their full-length release Newspaper, Bottle has a bit of the Dave Matthews Band sound in it, and mixing that in addition to an otherwise jazz-based feel, results in a interesting pastiche of genres that can drag at times but is ultimately a very worthwhile listen. In addition to their full-length debut, the band has also released a self-titled EP. Overall, the band doesn’t sound quite as tight as Sound, but they’re certainly very good in their own right.

This is Guillotine from their EP:

Meanwhile, this is Paumanhin, which was featured in both the EP and their subsequent full-lengther:

Remember, the local jazz/easy listening scene isn’t all bossa nova covers, and these two bands are testament to that.

For more on Sound, here are a few links:

A review of Blue Monsoon by Jewel Regal of Pulse.PH

More Sound coverage from Pulse

Listen to both Bossa Manila and Blue Monsoon on OdysseyLive.net

For Liquid Jane:

Liquid Jane’s Myspace page

Liquid Jane’s Soundclick Page

Listen to Newspaper, Bottle on OdysseyLive.net

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Random Musing On Cambio and Music Television

While people are lauding local videos for their increasing production values and similarity to foreign acts (hello, colonial mentality), one does have to keep in mind that it doesn’t take a million props or top-of-the-line-studio lights to make a memorable music video. Think of Radiohead’s Just or that adobo recipe video that I keep talking about. One recent video that shuns the extravagant production values would be Cambio’s latest, You Wear Me. The video fits the tone of the song, and it is most certainly one that is unlike any other video in rotation right now. Hey, bigger isn’t always better, and all the bells and whistles might just detract from the video anyway. Here’s You Wear Me courtesy of Youtube:

One thing that could be considered a problem with the video, though, would be the sound quality. Of course, since it was done live and in one take (check the comments), I guess we should just appreciate the rawness of it all. For contrast, this is the album version:

And hey, at least they didn’t make another desert-themed video. It’s getting almost as offensive as the light graffiti thing.

Also, the next bastard that calls a “music video” a “MTV” should have his/her mouth washed with soap. Not only does it sound retarded, MTV hasn’t really played music videos since the 90s, just countless crap reality shows, the equally annoying Punk’d (yes, accusing someone of pedophilia is funny), and the stupidly exorbitant excuses for entertainment (My Super Sweet 16). To be fair, the MTV playlist is still better than MYX’s (no masa singers). I have heard that a local TV station played some pretty good music, but I’m guessing it’s defunct now.

More Bashing Here

Click this.

Readers of this blog know how much I hate posers, and the link does an excellent job in identifying the more excessive, prevalent, and irritating poser groups. Thankfully, not all of those cults exist here in the Philippines. Unfortunately, that only makes the present ones even greater in numbers, and thus far more annoying.

Yeah Right

Okaay. I was checking out the links that brought people to this blog, and for some reason or another, people were coming in from Wikipedia, of all places. Apparently, someone thought it appropriate to use my article on Hale’s Above, Over, and Beyond as a “professional review”. I am a bit flattered, but mostly bewildered about it. Just in case someone takes my name off the Wikipedia page (which is very likely), here’s an image file:

I’ll probably have to just take this as a complement. I’m still amused by this, though.