Review: Three Baguio music releases

BAGUIO- Three recent releases by Baguio-based music artists Hiroshi Armor, Beyond Constellation and Samuel Fianza just hit the cloud. Here are some thoughts about them.

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Jethro Sandico’s electronic music project, Hiroshi Armor, has released a few albums and tracks in the internet. The first collection, Dawn of the Great Neohuman Diapora, plays up to the project’s  science fiction-y concept and the 80s anime cheese aesthetic. It is inevitable to think that Hiroshi Armor might be trying to keep in pace with the re-emergence of electronic dance music and the nostalgia for anything retro. Nonetheless, the release has some great moments when it seem to achieve what it is aiming for, sonically. “From Alpha Centauri Base With Love” has some interesting timbres. The robotic, synth-y lead matches with the melodramatic chords almost conjuring the image of a mecha pilot about to go to an epic final battle. The track ends with electronic arpeggios, as if the mecha pilot has fallen asleep to the symphony of LED, sophisticated mecha circuitry and the view of distant stars in the windshield. I personally liked “Rembrandt Radio” best, with its yummy samples, and that arena-rock snare drenched in retro reverb.

Beyond Constellation
Beyond Constellation

Another electronic music album is an EP by Beyond Constellation, Mac Mina’s DJ/Producer persona. Like Sandico, Mina seems to aiming for space-y concepts. “Alexithymia” has some interesting chord changes and arrangement. The stuttering of the samples, which sounds as if they were sidechained, shows the influences of contemporary electronic music production and techniques. “Astronaut” is an awesome hip-hop track featuring some fresh, Kendrick Lamar-ish rapping. I wish it was longer. “Good Karma” is a different animal, with its earthy sound giving some respite to the ears, while “Chaos” somewhat clings to rock idioms while retaining the EDM timbres.

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Statua, Samuel Fianza’s experimental / post-metal alter-ego has released another exciting release named Celestial Bleakness. (What’s with all these space themes anyway?)One could easily hear krautrock influences, especially its electronic sound, brooding drones, and accidental noises drizzled here and there. “Guitar Improv” features Sam’s signature guitar sound slicing through the long piano drone. “Sculpted in Stone” is a very interesting track, featuring brass timbres crooning metal-esque diminished chords, as if we are listening to a group of French horners about to kill themselves. “Ghost Town” feels like going through some Silent Hill-y part of Baguio during a brown-out while some sick organist plays creepy shit from an abandoned building.

 

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