December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

while celebrating two thousand eleven years
of service, mother earth is getting tired of people jumping
and shaking her tectonic plates. it makes me
wonder, though: when people shoot guns up in the air to celebrate
another three hundred sixty-five days in front
of them, ejecting tiny sheets of metal into the dark
smoky sky;

where do the bullets fall? i’m sure
they pierce through clouds and rain and moonlight.
but where do they fall asleep?
fireworks are a different subject, for they
are recyclable in people
as fleeting moments from the ground to the sky. maybe
the bullets, in their afterlife, are inside of people too
like you, when all the pretty boys come to you
and you say “no, jimmy, we won’t watch
the fireworks tonight.”

December 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

here’s a problem that most
travelers encounter when they
are guided by nothing but illumination
or as some would call it, affirmation:

there is a canopy of red lights,
but i do not know where to stop.

there is a myriad of green lights,
but i do not know where to go.

and this night is a freeway stretched
the way moonlight bends on silver spoons
or shadows, when they are distorted by ghosts.
i think you should, at least once
every five miles, give me directions
as to where your town might be.

My Christmas gift to everyone: My year in music (everything here is free!)

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Let me start with this: I love producing, recording, and writing music. You’re going to get an idea of what kind of music I like to create on this page. This is my 2010 in music; a little anthology of the music I’ve released this year. And since it is Christmas, I have decided to make the un-free ones for free. Just click on Buy Now and put 0.00 on the price so you can get it free. You can also donate if you want. These records helped me transition from Manila to LA, and I would like to share them with everyone.

Grace, And Dragging Her Wings by Don’t Forget, Clementine
Genre: Post-Rock/Instrumental, Ambient
Released: December 12, 2009
Album Art by Carina Santos and Paulina Ortega

Grace, And Dragging Her Wings was my very first full-length album. It opened up so many doors for me. The funny thing about Don’t Forget, Clementine was that it was a side project for all seven of us, coming from different bands (Tonight We Sleep, Kuwago, and Klieg Lights just to name a few) and solo projects (DJ VKNO). We still managed to pull through, and I think that’s amazing. We recorded everything in my house, in my room particularly, except for the drum tracks, which were recorded at the late Blueberri Studios in Balara. The great thing about this record is that it doesn’t try to be anything else; and if you listen to it you would hear the minds of seven people synthesizing, just playing the music they love. There was no ceiling to hit in terms of creative freedom. Everything was skies the limit, and that was the beauty of this album.

I had such a great time producing this album with Ow. Some of you might know that this was my production debut, and I think I really did well in terms of drawing the blueprints for this seven-man melting pot. Even the stories and themes Ow and I used were so instrumental in making this record. I will never forget the sleepless nights we spent trying to figure out what to put where, and all that stuff. It was all worth it.

Of course it was worth it. This was the record that pretty much spearheaded my dissertation on Contemporary Philippine Music (which won Outstanding in our department, yay), and  carried me through the LSAA (a university-wide art award) for music. Most importantly, it helped me define my musicianship. I am forever thankful for such great bandmates and friends who helped along the way.

Rewriting Icarus by Bones Like Snowflakes
Genre: Post-Rock/Instrumental, Grunge
Released: August 28, 2010
Album Art by me, Photography by Bryan Sayson

I started sketching some ideas for Bones Like Snowflakes in Manila. I got the name Bones Like Snowflakes from a weird dream where I picked up five ideas for instrumental songs, and one of them was Bones Like Snowflakes. The name sticked to me so tightly that I decided to name my project before it. The skeletons of this project were derived from my love for Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. I wanted to make ambient a little grittier and grunge-r, taking from my old influences such as Radiohead and Nirvana. The guitar tones were inspired by those bands I just mentioned. I wrote four songs before leaving Manila for LA, came out with a demo entitled Temple & Spring, and the rest was history.

As soon as I landed LA, I teamed up with an old friend of mine from high school, Od Zeñarosa. I’ve wanted to make music with that guy since we parted ways in high school. Denise Santos, on the other hand, was also in LA, pursuing music and taking her time off after college (and so was I). In search for a drummer we stumbled upon Rogue Sounds in MySpace through Dillon Geidt, their guitarist. Long story short, their drummer Justin Whisler agreed to session for us. Two shows after, Zac Neuenfeldt, their bassist, also took part of our live performances as bassist. I will forever be thankful for Rogue Sounds. They helped us out when we were starting out by sharing their lockout with us, often lending us some gear and studio space. I’m very happy for the recent success they’ve gotten. They’re going on a little winter tour that you guys should check out.

The amount of pressure I put on myself in recording and producing this album was enormous. For one, I was new breed in LA; and I wanted so badly to succeed. We recorded this album in different places and different times, with me mobilizing my equipment. I was homeless for two months but it was so worth it. The four shows we played were tight, and I will never forget them. I’m glad my parents got them on video, and I’ve uploaded some of those in YouTube.

The band is currently on hiatus.

Electric Euphoria by Surgery
Genre: Blues, Rock, Alternative, PowerPop
Released: October 31, 2010
Album Art by Krstine Caguiat and Bianca Catbagan

Electric Euphoria was recorded in Manila. I started mixing and mastering this record back home, and finished the whole thing in LA. It took me about three or four months to wrap it up and seal the deal because I was busy with Rewriting Icarus and playing shows with Bones Like Snowflakes at that time. One of the things I loved producing this album was the way I was working on something created in Manila. At its best, I could hear my room through the microphone as Ysa sang her lines. I would sometimes solo her tracks for fun and just listen to her and the background. I really, really miss that old studio of mine. It wasn’t the cleanest place to record vocals but that was the beauty of it.

The thing that separates Surgery from my other bands and projects is the songwriting process. I remember having little banter moments with Ysa when we were starting out. We had to get some of it out there first before really writing. The band has come a long way from its first stages; from its baby steps, we finally defined what kind of sound we wanted after playing a couple of shows. Mag:net Katipunan will always be our home. It’s where Ysa and I wrote some of the songs you would hear on this record. Also, a funny tidbit: I wrote the riff for So I Can Walk Away when I was auditioning for Berklee here in LA. I just sent it to Ysa and as soon as I came back to Manila we started working on it.

Producing this album was proven to be a challenge for me because it involved vocals. The way everything just funneled into two channels took a considerable amount of time to get used to. Ysa really shines in this record. You would know, because I put almost virtually zero effects on her tracks. Miguel and Marlowe learned how to become tight with each other as the rhythm section, too. What’s so great about being in this band was we always made sure that before bandmates, we were friends. We had a really good run while I was in Manila, but that’s not to say that we’re parting ways.

A Stone’s Throw by Irving Sappho
Genre: Alternative, Folk, Acoustic
Released: December XX, 2010
Album Art by Carina Santos

The Irving Sappho project started at around early October 2010. I was doing some soul searching at that time, knowing that Bones Like Snowflakes was going to rest, and I was free as a bird. I was re-listening to some of my old songs from The Union realized that I was trying too hard to be someone else in those records. A Stone’s Throw was my step towards maturity. I may have finally put The Union to rest, but Irving Sappho was the beginning of something. I was listening to a lot of music I really admired for songwriting, such as The Beatles, The National, Vampire Weekend, Feist, Kings of Convenience, and Death Cab For Cutie. My love for the sacred word and chord progressions pretty much defined the paths I took in writing A Stone’s Throw.

My favorite thing about this genre of music is lyrical importance. I’ve never seen myself being this particular with words. I’ve always been an aspiring writer but I never really found comfort in any of the forms I’ve written in (except maybe for a little fiction), until this solo project came to life. Being a singer/songwriter is so different. My will-power and passion were tested in every step of the way. At the same time I was writing songs for A Stone’s Throw, I got a job. It really changed my perspective with the way things work in this world. On the other hand, I found myself being fascinated with cadence, shifting my guitar style a little bit to being more percussive, to make up for the lack of instruments.

Irving Sappho has taught me such an important virtue: patience. I learned how to take things slow and let the flowers bloom. I was very patient in terms of recording and producing this record. It didn’t take that long anyway, because it was acoustic. But, it’s safe to say that I’m very satisfied with the way things turned out. Sonically, though, I know it’s limited, but I did try my best.

A Stone’s Throw by Irving Sappho now available on Bandcamp for free

December 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

  1. November Blues
  2. Down On The Floor
  3. A Stone’s Throw
  4. Secrets & Strangers
  5. The Empty Apartment
  6. Hey, Franny
  7. LAX

Album art by Carina Santos

Just enter 0.00 on the price so you can download it for free.

Grace, And Dragging Her Wings now available on Bandcamp for free

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

In celebration of the first anniversary of Grace, And Dragging Her Wings, I’d like to happily announce that after a brief conversation with Ow, we are making the said album free for download. Just enter 0.00 in the value you’d like to buy it for and you can get it for free. On the other hand, if you choose to donate any certain amount, I will personally send you a copy of the album art in PDF form (includes album cover, spreads, and CD art) by Carina Santos and Paulina Ortega. Based on the way our Bandcamp page looks like, you can tell that it’s worth the extra bucks.

Stay tuned this holiday season because there will be more free music to come!

Thirty years without you

December 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Dear John,

I know how much you loved New York, but I’m sorry. I’m sorry to tell you that the world we live in is one where you’re hurt by the ones you love – and look at how America broke you.

Well, I’m pretty sure that you have the answers, you know where the ducks go when it gets cold in winter. I wish you could take us there with you, because a world where you exist would be a great place to be in.

November Blues

December 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

A preview of a solo album I’m releasing this month.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for December, 2010 at the b-sides and rarities.