As a government-initiated drug war rages outside, bedroom producers in the Philippine metropolis such as similarobjects are churning out reams of electronic goodness.
By Nisa Kreems
Photos courtesy of similarobjects
From lo-fi to futuristic to broken beat, the versatile sounds emanating from forward-thinking independent artists that comprise the city’s DIY beatmaker movement are making waves both at home and abroad.
To capture the plethora of young craftsmanship emerging on the daily, buwanbuwan recently launched an online release series called New Moon for bedroom beatmakers to gain wider acclaim.
The Boiler Room gig was important for Manila’s nightlife, explains 27-year-old Jorge, a Darker Than Wax artist who also teaches electronic music at two universities. “These events serve a purpose of bringing less favored things into the forefront and at the same time showcasing what the country can offer to an international audience.”
Jorge himself is a study in eclecticism – his latest work “Samadhi Loops Vol 1” would be equally at home on a Dusty Fingers compilation or a yoga retreat. “A huge part of me has developed an obsession with forgotten cultures, traditions, and rhythms. I’ve been getting into improvisation and being able to express myself freely in the current moment.”
Manila partygoers can often be close-minded, he laments, but luckily, venues aren’t. Clubs like Black Market, XX XX, and 2020 are responsible for most of the significant musical developments in Manila, Jorge explains. “I’ve also been hearing more about the WSK group and Kamuning Public Radio events that are helping to spearhead a more experimental direction.”
To get to know some of Manila’s underground musicians, check out Jorge’s top picks below.
“If you ask any music head what they think of Caliph8, you’re most probably going to hear that some people consider him a Philippine treasure and for many reasons, I hold the same opinion about him. A true master of sampling, sonic manipulation and the use of the MPC.”
“RH XANDERS is easily one of my favorites in Manila. Truly an all-around prodigy, he raps, sings, plays all instruments and the best part is that he spits nothing but the truth.”
“The homie Rome marries hints of shoegaze, r&b, dreamy electronica into his own unique blend of pop.”
“Paolo Garcia, aka pasta groove and ill primitivo, is one of my favorite musicians around. An extensive collector of vinyl and a dope producer with a taste like no other, he has so much good output but this song of his is something I always go back to. Timeless.”
“thisbeing_ loves to play with texture and organic sounds. An architect of sound that incorporates field recordings into his lush introspective soundscapes.”
“18 year-old justo represents the resilience of the next generation, he crafts dusty neckbrace headbob music with a limited Lite version of Ableton using his personal hacks and workarounds, proving that it isn’t about the tools but more about who is using it. He maximises the minimum with every release.”
Nisa Kreems is a contributor to Straatosphere and a cunning linguist. Coming to write about a city/scene near you.