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Noise and Sounds: An Artform

Throughout the years, Cebu has been a place of continuous experimentation and innovation.

Most people quickly dismiss unpleasant sounds and label anything they don’t usually hear as noise, but for some people, different kinds of sounds combined to produce a distinctive form of music can be considered as an artform. This kind of genre in music is very unusual; it’s not something you commonly hear, but it is an expressive use of sounds in an unconventional way that challenges the distinction of what is musical and non-musical sound.

Here, I ask some artists from the recent Meltdown 3.0 event about their perspective on how noise and sounds are an artform and how they create their own sounds.

John Caing & Sam Pipebomb, photo by Pj Ong

What made you decide to create this kind of music?

Lush Death: My discovery of Japanese harsh noise immerse me to something until now I couldn’t explain well. My fascination with artist like Masonna, Hanatarash, Incapacitants, C.C.C.C. and Hijokaidan excites me and later on I decided to do Noise.”

Lush Death is noise killer artist from Binangonan, Rizal. He takes inspiration from almost everything around him. From his feelings, new experiences, films, arts, people and music. He started doing noise since 2008 with his first noise project called thera barra.

PGR, photo by Lush Death

Another Artist, PGR also known as Paolo, an Italian guy who grew up musically in Norway and graduated at Milan’s jazz music academy in bass guitar said, I think it has not been a decision so far. More urgence. I needed something I didn’t know. I found it in those chaotic sounds.”

His inspiration in making Noise Music was triggered when he had to get a way to escape and find a comfortable shelter from the madness and the uselessness of what humans generate, since 2012 he continued creating this kind of music.

John Caing, photo by Lush Death

Two artists that hail from Cebu, John Caing & Sampipebomb, are known pioneers of Noise Rock—their band Bombo Pluto Ova. When asked why they decided to create this kind of music John said, “Same as everybody else, ganahan mag enjoy sa life while they can, this kind of music it is nothing new, for me this kind of music is rock n roll, just wanna have fun and enjoy.  to keep the blood thin.” He was inspired by his family and continues to play in the band since 1997.

“I think the reason was I just keep on exploring new music and experimenting sounds. keeping my open mind to the possibilities.” Future Teenager is a solo experimental project by Karl Lucente which explore and creates music from ambient to noise. Being a fan of Radiohead, Sonic Youth and Bon Iver, he develop his inspiration from the different level of frequencies such musics are producing but still you can totally grasp it. He started doing this since 2015 when his friends made a show called Abrupt Shift.

Chris Murillo, credits to Lush Death

How would you describe your music and how is it different from other genres?

Rock n roll, sound art, I dunno. Call it anything you want, ganahan ra dyud ko mo tukar and have fun while mo tukar. I think pareha raman siguro sa uban naa passion tapos even wala naka time motukar pangitaan gihapon nmu paagi kay kibaw ka inig at the end of the day fullfiling siya para nmu, padayon gihapon ka kay malingaw man dyud ka.” -John Caing

“Noise worship” “It’s everything they try to avoid on a radio type of music.

“Feedback, static, glitches, unwanted frequencies and a lot of mistakes.” -Lush Death

“Medicine for life boredom. Honest. it’s just different, as luckily anything else is.” -PGR

“As of now, I’m not sure, Future Teenager is still rarely new. Just a different take on appreciating music.” -Karl Lucente

Lush Death

How does this kind of genre become art? Or how is this genre an art form?

“Well yes, it is art and there is a lot of discussions about this. But it doesn’t matter to me, if people recognized this or not as an art form or music. As long as I feel something in doing it and people who watched me perform live or listen to my record get some kind of a trip or experienced something, well that is more important to me. I tried not to over analyzed everything, art/music whatever they call it.” -Lush Death

“Music is Art!” -Karl Lucente

“Self expression, it takes time and patience para ma sharpen ug mugawas natural sa imuha ang gusto nmu buhaton, i think mao sad na ang art, padayun lang dyud permi until kung wala na gana mo tukar di mo undang na.” -John Caing

“I am not aiming to art and i don’t consider myself an artist. thus i cannot answer to this. Someone would say it’s art, but for me it’s just pleasing sound. something i like to listen to.” -PGR

 

PGR, Photo by Lush Death

What is your goal or vision when you create music?

“For me,doing noise is like a therapy. It helps me to cope with my anxiety and ruthless routine.” -Lush Death

Inig tukar nako mag imagine raman ko, tapos ako e transort sa guitara after that imuha na i-let go ang outcome.” -John Caing

“As of now, I’m not sure about it but what in my mind while playing was i just wanted to share what’s on my mind” -Karl Lucente

“I like the fact that anyone can get to his/her own conclusion. the listening it’s open to any response. my goal is to have no goal.” -PGR

What is your creative process when making your music and what are the gadgets you use to create sound?

“For recording and live set, its almost the same set of gears. For recordings, I always have a title in mind first, before I record a track. Almost all of my recordings are raw and unedited. Usually its from various things I experience from day to day basis. I love the appeal of one take recordings. For live performance, its on the spot. I just make sure before the show that my gear is working perfectly. I use a contact microphone and feed it to a series of effects pedal. It’s pretty much simple, I try to fit everything. I need into a portable suitcase.” -Lush Death

Lush Death also uses a contact microphone while playing in his gig in Cebu. It amplifies vibrations and impact and send the signal to any inputs. Which is amazing when your an audience watching the set, trying to listen to the sound produced by every hand gestures.

“The process is totally improvised. on the other hand i know my set up quite well, so i know how to get this or that sound.  The set up is very simple. Contact microphones or microphones run into distortion and equaliser pedal. I like to use radio as sound source too.” -PGR

PGR, photo by Lush Death

PGR’s set the energetic one, he moved a lot and even stood up in the table while performing which resembels the energy of the sounds he produces. He also used an old mic from an hifi. Which he puts in his mouth to produces  breathing sounds, screams and other sounds to change the feedback frequencies.

“Both, there are times on the spot and sometimes i prepare before a gig. I loop, oscillate and reverb! I just combine it. Something holistic yet destructive kind of sound.” -Karl Lucente

Future Teenager, photo by Pj Ong

Improvised tanan. Since bombo pluto ova nag start improvisation dyud na. During sa Melt gig wala dyud ko gadget kay ganahan ko raw siya. mas raw siya mas doul sa akong kasing kasing, mas nindot e manipulate ang noise together with rhythm and chords. sa ako lang simplicity sa set up, simple ug concept mas lingaw kaayu ug dali makabuhat sa imuhang imagination tapos imuha e transform sa music gamit imuha guitara, then let go. mao rana.” -John Caing

Throughout the years, Cebu has been a place of continuous experimentation and innovation. The music scene opens up new and exciting music while the crowd and the community always support each other.

“The crowd in Cebu seemed to be curious for something which maybe doesn’t happen so often in town. I am glad many people showed up. I am confident the other performers and me managed to plant some seeds in the adventors’ ears.” -PGR

“It always feels good playing in front of other people. It doesn’t matter where and to whom i am performing, as long as they are willing to be blessed with static,then we have a deal.” -Lush Death

Trying to grasp all kind sounds I heard that night I felt like my ears were overwhealmened but I am simply amazed on how creative we can be with different kinds of medium to produce art. All the artist produced very distictive music that I personally enjoy. When you listen carefully you can distiguish each sound produce by every movement, every click and every material that is being moved. That’s what made it fun actually listening to it. Just ignore what you’ve learn about how music has to be. Enjoy and feel it. Music is an artfrom, It needs to be felt, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

 

Culture

The Uncommon Traditions that Mexicans and Filipinos share when celebrating the Day of the Dead.

Dia de los Muertos

By Allain Dumon Fonte

The 2nd of November is All Soul’s Day, a holiday that is very important to many Filipinos to remember our loved ones who passed on. This is also widely celebrated in Mexico as “Dia De los Muertos” or in English, “The Day of the Dead”. And Mexicans celebrate the 2nd of November grander than they celebrate Christmas. Well, you can witness it from the Disney movie, “Coco”.

As All Soul’s Day or Dia de los Muertos is about to end, here are some interesting traditions and superstitions that Filipinos and Mexicans share:

1. IT IS NOT ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER

Dia de los Muertos or All Soul’s Day is not practiced on October 31st or on the Hallow’s Eve as many other western cultures practice; but we celebrate it on the 2nd of November. We celebrate November 1st as All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Holy, while in Mexico they call it Dia de los Innocentes or Dia de los Angelitos to commemorate the children who died too early in life.

2. THE RITUAL

Both in Mexico and in the Philippines, we visit the grave of our loved ones and we clean it well. This is a ritual to honour their resting places and to let them know that they are never forgotten.

3. FLOWERS INVITE SPIRITS

In Mexico, they believe that the scent of flowers attract spirits. So the flower offerings are invitation to their dead loved ones to visit the living families. While in the Philippines, we believe that flowers offered to the dead exalt the souls and somehow fill in the sadness that we feel when missing our dead loved ones.

Most of the time, Filipinos choose all-white flowers to offer because white is the absence of colour, which means the absence of Joy and happiness. White also symbolises purity of soul which we hope our dead loved ones will attain as they journey to heaven. While in Mexico, they have the yellow Mexican marigolds as the official flowers of the dead that will guide them in their journey to the afterlife.

4. THE LEGEND OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Both cultures believe that monarch butterflies are dead loved ones who visit us and show their appreciation that we have not forgotten them. A presence of monarch butterflies also means that our dead loved ones are always there guiding us and looking after us.

5. A PICNIC IN THE GRAVEYARD

Spending a night at the graveyard and picnicking with the rest of the family may sound very creepy to many; but to both Filipino and Mexican cultures, picnicking and spending a night at the cemetery is a must to show our love to our dearly departed. It is the only time in the year that families gather and tell stories of the dead loved ones and how colourful or how great their lives were.

6. FOOD FOR THE DEAD

In Mexico, they have what they call “ofrendas” or an altar where the pictures of their dead loved ones are displayed and offered with flowers, candles, and their favourite food. Very similar to the Filipino culture of cooking the favourite food of our dead loved ones and everyone in the family enjoys the food for dinner.

My family tradition involves me driving all the way to Colon street and buy that famous Snow Sheen’s “pancit canton”. This is my granddad’s favourite snack. Sadly, the old Visayan Restaurant is no longer there. My late uncle and my late grandpa love their sweet ad and sour fish. We also set up an “ofrenda” on their graveyard and eat their favourite food while picnicking in the cemetery. We do not spend a night in the cemetery; but while we are picnicking there, we usually play the songs of Pilita Corrales and Susan Fuentes that my late grandpa used to listen every afternoon while enjoying his coffee, pan de sal, and pancit canton.

What about your family traditions? Share your thoughts by commenting to this article.

MODEL: Michael Joseph Mortola Enriquez & Alexis Wingfield
PHOTOGRAPHER: Gianne Paolo Anciano
HMUA/DESIGNER: Hazel Ocaba
STYLING: GPA Lifestyle + Clothing

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Culture

Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

 

Rating: *****/ *****

The multi award–winning comedy series airing on Apple TV+ is one of my favorite shows.  Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is about a fun good-natured American football coached hired by a British soccer club (AFC Richmond in London) to become their new coach.  In spite of the fact that Ted has no experience or knowledge about British football/soccer, his positive demeanor and charm helps him overcome the animosity of the team’s players, staff and fans.  Eventually Ted wins over the team and the locals as they fight for position in the English Premier League.

The show won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and 7 Emmy Awards in its 2 seasons and Season 3 is just around the corner.  You can catch Seasons 1 & 2 of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+

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Culture

PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later

Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202

AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.

We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.

We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.

Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.

 

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