"The World Is Your Oyster"
Among OPM singer/songwriters, it is becoming more acceptable to look back at certain eras over others. On his first solo release, Bamboo revisited the cinematic rock of the early ‘70s. Orange and Lemons, on the other hand, re-enacted the psychedelic sensibilities of the late ‘60s.
Former Orange and Lemons main squeeze Clem Castro, who now calls himself Dragonfly Collector, is stranded in the mid-'60s on his own solo debut. It’s not a bad time to be marooned in and Clem collects, mashes and reconfigures the best of the era’s pop and rock to present ten new tracks of unrelenting beauty. In the process, he finds that sweet spot between exploitation and exploration.
As you listen to the album, the temptation to name-check the influence of a certain track is within reach. However, each song is so carefully crafted that it’ll leave you reaching for the repeat button instead.
In interviews, Clem as Dragonfly Collector says his key influences are Joy Division and The Smiths. On the album, Motown soul is half a step away from the sprightly “Timothy, My Timothy.” “There Is No Remaining In Place” recalls the lyrical and musical legacy of “Windmills Of Your Mind.” Blues rock lets out its mighty roar in the album closer “Darkness Is My Candle.”
Dragonfly Collector is an unlikely transformation for an Orange and Lemons man that no one saw coming. It has arrived and it’s a compelling confirmation of his true gift.
Identifying, categorizing, and slotting things in neat boxes are techniques to articulate what cannot be fully expressed in words. Then, something comes along and puts kibosh on that sort of analytical thinking.
That something came along recently in the form of indie outfit Tide/Edit’s sophomore album. The old-fashioned description of their music is instrumental rock and now, 40 years after punk broke, Tide/Edit is considered a post-punk band to be filed under the genus post-rock.
But let’s forget about categories. Rather, let’s see how anyone would love a post-rock band, particularly one with an anagram for a name. It’s essentially in the music, man, especially in the way Tide/Edit’s sound waves build, crest and subside only to be rebuilt again in even more imposing forms.
To circumvent the usual accusation of predictability in post-rock song structures, the Pinoy band employs arrhythmic hardcore punk backbeat on “Eleven,” deploys bright pop hooks on “The Princess Is In Another Castle” and spacey atmospherics in “Halfway House.” They may feel like sidebars to the progressive rock bent of the band though these sidelights give the music a distinct flavor.
"Lightfoot" captures Tide/Edit at the height of its cooperative power accenting a sound that would otherwise have been ephemeral.
"Peace Is The Mission"
There’s a general feeling that hip-hop may have run its course Diplo working as Major Lazer began embedding dancehall in hip-hop five years ago and on his latest release, he may have found a new lease in the genre’s diminishing futures.
The dancehall graft starts early with “Be Together” featuring Wild Belle who provides a sexy coo to the island rhythms. “Night Riders,” an ode to sexual adventures, locates the Eminem factor in today’s hip-hop.
Besides love, Major Lazer enjoys a good tune about the good leaf. It’s the subject of fast toasting in “Too Original,” the furious rock of “Roll The Bass” and the pure energy of “Blaze Up The Fire.”
Watch Major Lazer light it up when he teams up with Dillon Francis at Valkyrie Nightclub At The Palace in Taguig City on December 15.
Despite the uncanny combination of classical, pop and jazz fusion, UK’s Clean Bandit reveal themselves to be open-minded so an old musical form can sound new to modern ears. Their first hit “Mozart’s House” splices electro house beats to classical bombast played on organic instruments.
EDM is in the house courtesy of “Extraordinary” whose escalating aspirations match the zest of violin fills at every juncture. It’s in “Rather Be” which takes the cake with sultry Jess Glynne sending the love ballad to some emotional peaks and valleys. “Dust Clears” toggles between featured artist Noonie’s warm singing and a robotic voice-over.
Party with Clean Bandit when they hog the limelight at the Pool Club, The Palace, Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig City on December 10.