the long weekend

18 11 2009

A few weekends ago Up Dharma Down and Radioactive Sago Project did a couple of festivals and while it was memorable and fun, it was exhausting, especially for Radioactive Sago Project and myself with not much sleep from Cebu to HK, directly to the gig for Clockenflap. Radioactive Sago Project, by the way, stunned the mostly expat crowd and hip Hong Kong-ers.  Come to think of it, i’d do it all over again. It felt like i walked the Death March in WII but we had a great time at the gigs and afterwards. Thanks Justin!

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Up Dharma Down wins plum awards during NU107Rock Awards’09

17 11 2009

Vocalist of the Year(Armi Millare),Album of The Year(Bipolar) and Artist of The Year…much to the consternation of those who don’t “get” Up Dharma Down and are still stuck to the old sound of Pinoy Rock wherein it has to be typical or “rakrakan” template prompting one seemingly disappointed old hack to report “low key” band wins big at the rock awards and went on to enumerate others without much focus nor fanfare for the big winner.

Sorry to disappoint you but if you give it an open mind you will realize that Bipolar and future albums that break away from the mold help us move into the modern rock world where boundaries are gone and the rock stereotype has been shattered.

The majority though, seems to think it’s a well deserved win so i am a happy camper. Thank you to those who have moved on, you forward thinking music people who voted for the future, the fans and supporters, to the judges who stuck to their guns in recognizing change , embracing and appreciating it. Also to NU107 for having the guts to turn it around and make the Rock Awards, still, the only bonafide award giving body for excellence in music.

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thanks to Sherwin De Guzman for the pics.





Chill House, Beach House, Sexy House, Rock House(WTF?)…Blog House.

15 03 2009

HOUSE music has been around for 3 decades plus now and it has definitely given birth to more offshoots, sub-genres, comical misinterpretations and watered down versions.

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You may have heard of Chicago House (the original-some more track based some song based), Acid House (coined by Chicago producer DJ Pierre of Phuture or hey, other early Chicago producers as well since many claim to have coined the term) after the squelchy bass sound emulating form the Roland TB303 which came to even describe a movement and not just a sound in Britain in the late 80s and the start of the Britain embracing house music originating from America) – “We call it Aciieed” as one anthem put it) Garage (a bit disco, part gospel,  diva vocal type), Funky House (which could originate from anywhere provided it is funky,duh), Ambient House (music originally meant for the “chill out” rooms in raves evolving into the 4/4th house template but with the obvious relaxed feel), Italo House (early Italian house offshoot that’s usually “piano” riffs led. At times instrumental but usually with wailing Diva vocals aka Piano Toons for the old skool ravers) Deep House(several kinds, some more moody and abstract,some more jazzy,some more soulful vocal type. I’m more on the track-y moody kind), Tribal House (which is self explanatory is, uh, very tribal drum brigade sounding , you get the point), Disco House (more sample based kind of House plundering rare and commercial disco material, usually chopped up or an adaptation with  blatant usage of a part or riff) Progressive House (British take on House music that’s more melodic and somewhat close to Trance in feel), in the late 90’s  the British came up with Speed Garage (combining Jungle with Garage) and 2Step (like r&b but with d&b 2step leanings hence the term which in turn gave birth to Broken Beat/NuJazz organic end of things). There’s also  Micro(glitch)House(a term you either take seriously or not but spot on in describing the like of Matthew HERBERT, Akufen etc. in their quirky, minimalist approach to House music), Tech House (another British take on House music literally combining the electronic feel of techno with house grooves now enjoying worldwide popularity and a new school of European producers), Electro House (again literally combining the 4/4 beats of House with electro (the new kind and not in the Afrika Bambaataa, PeechBoys sense) with that harsh sawtooth wave like patch and high synthy 80s lines and old school piano thrown in. Currently all over the place and you can blame electroclash, the precursor for it.-not my thing though. The more vocal kind usually described as Dirty House )

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I might have left out Balearic House(which basically just means an odd and eclectic assortment of styles like world music, pop,indie etc all thrown in the mix . The concept originated in Ibiza and popularized by a -DJ Alfredo Fiorito whose concept was adopted again by the British) and others but pretty much these are some of the terms and descriptions to the many mutations and offshoots of music that’s truly and originally a progression of funk and disco and of  Afro-American origin.

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Techno(originating from Detroit) on the other hand was influenced by House music from across the lake (Chicago) ,European electronic music(Kraftwerk, Can, Neu) and 80’s synthpop(British Electric Foundation,The Human League, Depeche Mode), but that’s another topic alltogether.

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Again with House music, i’m amazed and amused at how some local djs and wannabes take marketing descriptions seriously that they actually think it’s a sub-genre. I’ve heard and have been told that there’s “Chill House”, “Beach House” (thanks all the commercial cd compilations for that) and the most idiotic one yet, “ROCK HOUSE” probably describing an indietronic track or the indierock remix culture also known as the equally funny,” Blog House”.

Uhm...beach house anyone?

Uhm..."Beach" House anyone?

In my book ,it’s basically tracks by mostly American,current indierock or indie-dance type acts who dabble in electronic music and steal a lot from the 80’s synthpop sound which gets  further recycled or “remixed”(a process connected with House and techno from time immemorial) by the 1. band member  or the band themselves  2. Solo mysterious nerd or artist if you will. 3. by some amateur remixer off his or her laptop. 4.  By anyone who wants to have a go at tracks that are more often than not, distributed or leaked  by unknown acts  themselves who want their music spread via blogs, hence “blog house”.

recently i found this really FUNNY piece on the very subject. It’s  from Carles of HIPSTER RUNOFF. It’s quite spot on and i found myself  “LOL”. Here’s a sample…

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WTF is Blog House?

Have yall heard of this genre called BLOG HOUSE? I can’t rlly explain it, but fortunately CurrentTV had a few moderately-alt bros in cryptic graphic tees explain what it is.


What does BLOG HOUSE mean to you? I don’t really know where blog house starts and stops. Here is a list of bands, and whether I consider them blog house or not.

Burning question: JUST BC U PARTICIPATE IN THE REMIX ECONOMY, ARE YOU BLOG HOUSE?

  • The Teenagers (yes)
  • Justice (no. Too bangery, but maybe. I don’t rlly know abt them any more. We’ll have more answers after their 2nd album.)
  • Cut Copy (pre-dated blogs)
  • Ladyhawke (not sure yet)
  • Feist (no)
  • Feist (Boys Noize Remix) (deffs)
  • Simian Mobile Disco (too intelligent, but they attract bloghouse fans)
  • Klaxons (not usually electro-enough)
  • Animal Collective (did u srsly just ask that? ur ghey and don’t know shit abt music)
  • Valerie artists (kind of. I think they are trying to be more than ‘a hot trend’)
  • Mediocre electro producers (kind of, but they probably don’t deserve to be lumped into the same category as tier-1 blog house track)
  • Lifelike (POSSIBLY, but he’s pretty authentic)
  • Fred Falke/Alan Braxe (Pre-dated blogs, but are getting a great bump from blog luv)
  • Fake Blood (Have to listen to him soon. Who is he?)
  • Bloody Beetroots (Maybe, I don’t know. Never heard them)
  • The Black Kids/The Cool Kids (I still don’t know the difference between these two artists)
  • Black Ghosts (POSSIBLY. Not really sure. Probably)
  • MGMT (They could have been if people only listened to the song “Kids” and “Electric Feel”)
  • Lil Wayne/Coldplay/Radiohead (They are always popular on hypem, does this mean they are blog house?)
  • Santogold/M.I.A./Kid Sister (Are black females allowed to be considered blog-house? or can they only be marketed as rappers?)
  • The Ting Tings (Haven’t bothered 2 listen to them)
  • The Presets (not sure. Maybe. Probably)
  • Van She (Yeah. I think they are tier 1 blog house)
  • Lykki Li (MAYBE)
  • Robyn (she should be working at a McDonalds. She doesn’t deserve a 2nd wind)
  • PNAU (they are blog house-ish in this era of their careers)
  • M83 (NO. Shoegazers are not BLOG HOUSE. They are just easy to blog about.)
  • Girl Talk (Way too mainstream/has a floating audience)
  • HEALTH (Are they they the only hardXcore bloghouse act in existence?)
  • HEARTSREVOLUTION (I think they think any1 can be ‘blog house’ so they are just trying to match the aesthetic, but BLOG HOUSE is an honor, not a right.)
  • Crystal Castles (I think they are kind of like
  • INTERPOL (no way.)
  • Junior Boys (I feel like there are bands that should try to be MORE bloghouse, and get involved a little bit more in the remix economy.)
  • Gentlemen Drivers (I feel like their unauthorized remix of the Klaxon’s “Not Over Yet” is one of the blog-houseiest songs of all time)
  • Midnight Juggernauts (maybe. Probably)
  • Does it Offend You, Yeah? (Tough to tell with those British bands for British People)
  • LFO song “Summer Girls” (yes)
  • Ladytron (Isn’t it kind of interesting how some electro-ish bands predated the BLOG era, and don’t really NEED bloglove, but have still kind of made themselves available [via blogs] to make sure they stay connected with their target audiences?)
  • Lo Fi Fnk (Probably)
  • New Young Pony Club (probz, ya)
  • The song “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John (It depends on ur definition of blog house)
  • Sébastien Tellier (I don’t know about that weirdo guy)
  • Shinichi Osawa (He makes remixes that are s0 good that they might be post-bloghouse-core)
  • Thieves Like Us (After their epic remix contest of 2k7, they have to be BLOG HOUSE)
  • THE HIPSTER RUNOFF (His first EP signaled the end of the blog house era, and the beginning of the post-bloghouse era [2009-2010.5])
  • The Tough Alliance (Those guys are pretty authentic in a weird way that I like/feel awkward about)
  • Breakbot (I don’t know anything about that guy but he seems weird based on his pictures)
  • CSS (I would feel more comfortable if they were ‘only’ a blog house band that I semi-enjoyed as opposed to being an ‘international phenomenon in iTunes commercials’ that I have to not whole-heartedly enjoy)
  • CFCF (ya. Pretty blog-housey)
  • Chromatics (somewhat)
  • Glass Candy (Somewhere between BLOG HOUSE and PITCHFORK-HOUSE, which is a good place to be)
  • Chromeo (this is a brain teaser!)
  • Daft Punk (n0 way)
  • Digitalism (Maybe just the song “POGO”)
  • Creed (no)
  • David Matthews (yes)
  • Rob Thomas solo (no)
  • Santana (ft Rob Thomas/Michelle Branch) (yes)

Did I miss any 1? (besides the Postal Service)

I feel like as a general rule, if BIG STEREO or MISSING TOOF blogged about you in 2006 or the first half of 2007, you are a blog house band whether you like it or not. I never really read music blogs back then, but if I had to guess, I think that rule would apply. There’s just something very AMERICAN about the term ‘blog house’ as if some AMERICAN guy invented the term even though it didn’t make too much sense, so it makes sense that two of the top American Electroblogs would be responsible for accidentally blogging BLOG HOUSE into existence.

I am unsure if the definitive characteristic of BLOG HOUSE is that the artist gained steam thanks to blogs, or if it ‘just sounds a certain way.’ Theoretically, STEREOGUM is a launching pad for a lot of underwhelming, yet historically significant-sounding meaningful-core indie-rock. Like Vampire Weekend or something like that. Is BLOGHOUSE about sounding a certain way, or is it just like ‘a lot of ppl searched for it on hypemachine and downloaded it, and they got remixed since people wanted free versions of their songs so much.’

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So there you go hipsters, time to evaluate whether all of the stuff you downloaded off Discodust makes you a bonafide music head or just a trendoid but as far as i’m concerned, despite being an indie/indiepop aficionado, when it comes to electronic dance music  i’d still be playing REAL HOUSE music and Techno.

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For more stories on HOUSE/TECHNO and its origins. Click on “The Collector’s Cinerama” on the links  within the page.





lazy dog

10 02 2009

Got a bit lazy as well as preoccupied with a few matters the past week or so and haven’t really posted anything. I’m just going to shoot off a bunch of stuff that happened during downtime….

1.Had a blast with Pepi and my father at the PBA games last Sunday. Came in not really rooting for anyone but for some reason we all went with Talk & Text. Pepi ‘s first time to watch a professional basketball game at the Big Dome and first time to try Coca -Cola. Have not been to a PBA game in years. Last time was around 2002 when i brought Zion I to experience local ball. Just realized how much of an ideal activity it is and really had a good time. Thanks to Kathy G. for the complimentary tickets!

2.Deep Fried 5 at Route 196 was both a sleeper and fun. Lesser people than the last one in Saguijo but dancing the whole night(10pm-3am) and i had a great time mixing.  I’m not gonna complain. Some people came from a commercial club in Makati and we’re told there were about 20 people there so Deep Fried attendance was ok in comparison. Next one is in March,(Friday the 13th) at Sagujio.

3.Swissy bagging BEST ARTIST at the online polls for Junk Magazine Malaysia. CONGRATULATIONS!

4.Up Dharma Down had a successful video launch for “Taya” without much effort. Good video and thanks to Nic Reyes and Isaw Sa Kanto team.

5. Most of the Terno nights over at Saguijo,Route 196 etc have been quite good and well attended like a smaller scale version of the early Terno Au Go Go  series.

6. Paddy turned  2

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Pepi Basketball Association

the important game

captain haddock  and tintin

Swissytint

Musical O- YOU magazine shoot

Musical O- YOU magazine shoot

Sleepwalk Circus-YOU magazine shoot

Sleepwalk Circus-YOU magazine shoot

Paddy stylin' at 2

Paddy stylin' at 2





underground resistance

20 01 2009

DEEP FRIED 4 post-mortem.

the-menu B & W photos courtesy of Ian Magbanua

The 4th overall. The 3rd at Saguijo. Definitely an improvement from the first 2 Saguijo gigs and even better than the last one at Route 196, so i guess i can say that the experiment is proving to be on the right track. As more and more people get to experience the music and the vibe, they enjoy themselves and come back for more. They also bring friends and that definitely speeds things up.

Come to think of it, i shouldn’t really be so concerned. After all ,it has only been the fourth Deep Fried night and it’s improved immensely. More people and to be more specific, more people DANCING and taking in the music.

early bird

early birds

From observation, the  eye opener to last Saturday’s Deep Fried is that until the time that more people discover or hear about it through the grapevine and the space gets jampacked, we really have to contend with people still having to go out and staying outside to chit chat. Don’t get me wrong, they do and did go back to the floor at intervals and throughout my set and Cyril’s(smokin’ hot set btw)  but it just baffles me why other people go to a “Dance” night but don’t dance and will just talk. As much as i know that not everyone who goes to such things are hardcore dancing types nor ravers, i think it’s already spelled out that it’s an activity that pertains to dancing or even just nodding your head to modern electronic dance music…INSIDE.

f*ck art let's dance

f*ck art let's dance

I appreciate the gesture of support by showing up but in all honesty i’d much rather not have this because i don’t want you to waste your time. What’s needed right now is support in terms of really being INSIDE the venue…even if you don’t dance. We Pinoys have this thing about needing to see the place wall to wall with people and leave when there’s elbow room. So next time, for those people who are to shy to dance or have no plans of dancing but go for whatever reason, do stay inside then  so at least the  “walk ins” or curious people would probably end up staying themselves and you people contribute to making the night a success. It’s about dancing and electronic dance music folks , not a class reunion nor is it an afternoon barbeque.

cyril

cyril

Obviously, everyone needs to take a breather every now and then but you know what i’m talking about. Maybe it’s just me but when i used to go to the raves or went clubbing, we sure stayed inside and danced or at the very least watched people during downtime but not pay$20-$30 bucks to talk outside. Why am i even surprised?  Here, being on the guestlist and a P150 peso door charge aren’t much to think about. Nothing to lose. But really, why waste your time? Might as well just stay in or go to a Starbucks and talk the night away.  It’s not an afternoon tea party nor a convention. You don’t go to the cinema to watch a movie and just stay outside most of the time to talk, do you?

caliph

caliph

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pasta groove

Every Deep Fried night, we set the gear up early on then I would dance to the guest djs and dj myself for 2-3 hours then dance again to the next dj, not just because i’m diggin’ the music and they’re making me dance but also to show real SUPPORT so when i’m given excuses by people that they’re tired or don’t really feel well, it’s hard for me to fathom because at my age and physical state, i should be the one saying those things.  Bottom line is, i’m more offended that one would go just for the sake of going or because they felt obliged.  I’m just doing my part to share the experience and provide options but i certainly wouldn’t want to twist people’s arms about it.  I want people to go check it out , have a good time dancing and embracing the music that we’re pushing but i don’t want people to go if they’re just forced to for some reason.

bea

bea

colored pics courtesy of Cyril

I know i sound pissed when i should be happy with the turnout and outcome of the night but it’s just a glaring observation. Overall, I truly am SATISFIED with the way things are working out as far as the experiment going in the right direction, the  way i envisioned it to be as far as creating a new following from the ground up. It’s a struggle but seems to be well on its way to paying off and last Saturday was very good! Pasta Groove and Caliph8 provided a good starting point for the night. I had a good time, playing a more housey set at the start, Cyril got Derrick Carter-ish and the people dancing inside provided the right vibe and energy. It’s been awhile since i last dropped Giorgio Moroder’s The Chase followed by Donna Summer’s “I feel Love” into Derrick May’s “Strings of Life”(which seemed to have gotten the best response yet with people clapping and shouting) and it was quite rewarding.

caliph

caliph

We wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of friends, you know who you are, but more specifically the regular punters like Swissy, Jaime,Dara, Arthur, Ed and his friends etc whom we get our strength and energy from. Big thanks  to Pasta Groove and Caliph 8 for the great funky sets and for groovin’ to our (Cyril and I) beats… thanks as well as everyone else like Doy S., JC, Bea, Erin, Kevin G., Mark L, Sherwin, Mica, Mayee and Co. Ean,  Mario C and Trisha, Abe & Co. Ian M(thanks for the pics) for movin’on the floor.  Also to Angelo and the great staff of Saguijo.

Special thanks to Mario Benipayo of Forerunner Technologies for the RCF sub,full range, strobe and fog machine. Yes, it’s deliberately minimal and dark just like the way we want it.  Should any of you be inspired to be a DJ, producer or a promoter, Mario and Forerunner Technologies, distributor of many fine brands like KRK, Numark, Ableton, Protools etc  will hook you up with just about everything. Contact num: (632) 928 2821

See you on Feb 7 for the next Deep Fried at Route 196!

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my favorite year

31 12 2008

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2008, the year that was. My favorite, not quite. In fact, not at all. It was a year that  started off really well but went kinda downhill in terms of projects, financials etc. but there were some bright moments of course. I’m not going to do a recap or name what they were but you can guess on your own. If you follow the artists on Terno Recordings and the recently revived goings-on with Groove Nation you’ll come up with your own answers.

All i know is that the last Terno Inferno gig  at Saguijo for the year, ended with a BANG and as for DJing and the continuous push of quality House and Techno it also ended with a good  DEEP FRIED gig at Route 196 which  turned out to be  really promising.

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Cyril and i also did a gig for new promoters in town called Frequency a few days ago and it turned out ok. I’d like to think we did our job in getting the dancefloor packed without having to compromise our sound(i forgot ,we never compromise) and yes , originally, it was to be “minimal” re: the theme and sound but c’mon i don’t think the kiddies would understand and appreciate Minimal house/techno the whole night which the promoters realized after a meeting or two and an open House and Techno music policy was agreed upon. I did stumble upon a blog that said that the night was good, though not the usual “hard”(most likely prog and trance that most local kiddie “clubbers” are weaned on)  dance music they’re used to. Imagine how it would’ve been if we really went “minimal” in the strictest sense!

Thanks to Cyril who did a great job prepping and setting me up for my set which was more up than usual.  I mean, i normally like starting a set no matter what part of the night rather low and moody but this time it was extra strength tech-house 125BPM  right off the bat with the emphasis on funk as the main direction. Bulk of the set was that but i obviously got bored with it and went more house-y at the end.

the Frequency main guys followed us at 245am much to the delight of the remaining  young uns’ who wanted the  “hard” stuff. I wonder how they’ll react if we actually threw them bangin techno material from 6-8 yrs ago from  the likes of Ben Sims, Jeff Mills, Adam Beyer, Marco Carola,  etc. Would those be hard enough for them?

Just as well, it worked out well though i’m not quite sure it made sense as far as the techno awareness they originally wanted being that they played more “proggy” but good mixing on the 2 X 4 and like i said, the kids lapped it up. Congratulations to Frequency boys and thanks for having us.

Still on electronic dance music, a good friend of mine from Chicago, Robert M. arrived for the holidays with around 60 or so records, old and new, a healthy mix of techno/tech-house and deep and dubby house releases and wanted me to record a mix, which i did, squeezing in an hour or so in between Xmas last minute shopping and family obligations. The flow of the mix is not exactly that great but what can you expect with random picks and first time previews.

So goodbye 2008, and hello to 2009 which i hope will be way better despite  the projected  and predicted ugly economic aftershocks.

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I leave you with the 320 bitrate post X’Mas Mix that pretty much covers the diversity in Robert’s stash. Starts of deep and moody, even a dash of glitchy-ness and a somewhat uplifting ending ,all in its glorious outcome, mistakes and all. thanks Robert.

DOWNLOAD the 1 hour plus MIX right HERE.





dig deep down

17 12 2008

The 3rd Deep Fried post mortem.

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I must say this one by far, was such an improvement from the first two. By 11pm people were actually dancing inside Route 196. All sorts of people got down. It was dark. Sound system augmentation wasn’t as loud as i wanted it to be but we had to make do with the last minute small system replacement but it still rocked. Can’t get any more underground than this.

Could it be a geography issue? Are QC people more open and game to having a good time without hangups? Or is it slowly picking up? We shall see at the next Deep Fried night in Saguijo on Jan 17. All i know is that Route 196 management also made a lot of effort inviting people and that really helped in getting a good cross section of people on the dance floor so i thank them for that.

Much appreciation too for the regulars (you know who you are) with special mention of Swissy who effortlessly managed to get other people including strangers to loosen up and get them on the floor. Good set by Cyril, not so good set by yours truly as it was so dark i couldn’t find the records i wanted to play and spent more time worrying where the flashlight was, the flow got erratic.! A little oversight that can easily be corrected next time.

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picture: Jim P and Arthur DM on the decks and efx.

Overall, though t’was good and  people seem to have had fun and were all smiles that night. Good vibes indeed and hopefully the new faces i saw last Saturday will be at the next one January. Thanks as well to Arthur DM and Jim P for opening. Encouraging night. January 17 here we go.

photos courtesy of Cyril Y.