MANILA -- Thirteen years after Mike Hanopol released "Lagablab," his fourth album, the Pinoy rock legend is back with a ffifth release titled, "Mike Hanopology: Ang Sekreto."
Released independently under James Records & Arts, a dealer of vintage records, compact discs, cassettes, and amplifiers based in Kamias, "Hanopology: Ang Sekreto" is actually one of those recordings from the vaults.
The music features 12 tracks all recorded live in the studio. Now, here’s the rub. All the 12 tracks were recorded back in the mid-1990s after Hanopol returned from his lengthy stay in the United States. The songs have for years languished in the vaults, unreleased, until a conversation with Jesse James Poot of James Records & Arts.
“Mike has all these songs, old and new,” related Poot. “He has songs that he wrote just recently, and meron din mga luma na wala pa nakakarinig. He is recording a new album with new songs. So eksakto, good time to get some old material out.”
And with many of them recorded on cassette, the quality has dipped over the last few decades. Hence, varying differences in sound quality. Nevertheless, as a fan, you can still enjoy it even if it does sound dated. It’s good material while waiting for Mike to record his new songs.
"Hanopology" features three classics – “Balong Malalim,” “Beep Beep,” and “Sa Bayan Ni Juan” – and nine unheard songs. At times, the songs sound dated with the long and screeching guitar solos. But you have to listen to the album as a whole. There’s an edge to the songs not found in Mike’s efforts from the 1970s. As if he has cut loose. I’d expect this from his former Juan Dela Cruz bandmate Wally Gonzalez, but Mike... it looks like his time driving a cab in New York has made him dangerous. In a good sense, you must understand.
Even if the songs are old ones, I enjoyed them more than any of his previous solo efforts.
Having said that, I am told that these songs were recorded with a back-up band including the JDC numbers.
Listening to the album, I cannot but help wonder what is the “secret” that the venerable rocker is referring to. If you take into consideration the era of the 1990s when this was first recorded – Hanopol could have referred to his staying power. In the new millennium with his popularity having waned, it is good to know that Hanopol has this desire to record.
During his 1970s heyday, Mike was so prolific that he released three records in the space of 18 months. Three full length albums – "Awiting Pilipino," "Buhay Musikero," and "Buksan" – all came out in 1977 and 1978. Immediately, after that, he busied himself writing songs for Hagibis then recorded one last album with the Juan Dela Cruz band before moving Stateside.
With the songs he recorded for "Hanopology: Ang Sekreto," Hanopol shows he is no '70s dinosaur. For the arrangement of the classic gas guzzling rocker “Beep Beep,” Hanopol employs a saxophone that adds another texture to the song.
There’s the incredible “Maghihintay” with Hannah Romawac on back-up vocals and her soaring voice adds an urgency and poignancy to the song. Although this song was featured on "Lagablab" and it really works with the selection of tracks.
When we interviewed Hanopol before a big concert last year, he spoke of a desire to release a new album. Said the legend: “I have a lot of songs that I have recorded that need to see the light of day.”
Well, we now have "Hanopology: Ang Sekreto." Now, the secret is out. Mike Hanopol has always been more than JDC. He was after all, their chief songwriter. And this new old album shows he’s got a lot more. And the added treat is, he will have another album out shortly.
We are all so lucky.