MANILA -- In need of positive vibes that take you back to those Café del Mar and Ibiza chill out compilations days?
Then you must check out "Natural Habitat" by Filipino-American electronic dance music artist Mark Redito.
It is a spiritual cousin to Stevie Wonder’s "Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants," an album released in 1979 that baffled critics and fans alike for its explorations of ecology and the African-American experience.
Forty-plus years later, with a diversity of music genres more accepted, Redito’s "Natural Habitat" should have no problem fitting into a variety of moods with its nine delectable dance tracks. They’ll fit into a literal house music atmosphere since everyone is mostly home in this pandemic. It’s works well with sun worshippers at the beach or those into sensuous night music. Perhaps fittingly given its botanical origins, contemplative for plants and gardening at night with apologies to R.E.M. Or maybe tai chi for plants.
Redito laughed at the latter assertion by this author. “Music is however you interpret it,” he succinctly put. “I believe in the healing power of music and harmony with nature."
For good measure, he included Italian musician and producer Simone Vitale who for almost two decades now, has been into the spiritual aspect of life and using voice and music as a tool for healing. Redito and Vitale combine on Side B’s “Anthurium” that evokes a sense of wonder and constant “woos” that sound like one is encouraging plants to grow.
The buoyant “Anne” open Side A and sets the tone for the wonderful listen. You’ll find the music nudging you into tapping your feet and nodding your head along to the beat. And mayhap, to dance along as well.
Redito slows it down a notch with “So In Luv With U” where indie artist Reese Lansangan lends her gossamer vocals in a slow, sensuous, and flirtatious dance.
“Watering Routine” has this jazzy dance vibe that Paul Hardcastle’s Jazzmasters popularized in the '90s and to borrow the title of Spyro Gyra’s classic “Morning Dance” in nourishing plants. Who would have thought that watering routines could be so much fun?
“Tropical Meditation,” the final song of the album is a lovely send-off. Furthermore, it gets you standing up and flipping the record to play it all over again ("Natural Habitat" has a total run time of 30 minutes).
Redito admitted that making the album from the confines of his Los Angeles home was cathartic and fun.
“I’ve always been interested in plants, our environment, and the world around us. Making ‘Natural Habitat’ in this difficult time is a different perspective on life that while there are negative things brought about by the pandemic, you can also see the positive developments including having a positive mindset.”
Whether you like good music or you collect anything put out by Filipino recording artists from anywhere in this world, Mark Redito’s “Natural Habitat” is one you must have. Just be sure to share it with your plants.
The self-released album is available locally at The Grey Market.