AUDIO JUNKIE: The sound of modern Pinoy pop

Published May 8, 2021, 10:04 AM

by Punch Liwanag

Original Pinoy Music or OPM has changed a lot through the years with the sound of today’s acts allowing for divergent servings.

Rogue rockers St. Wolf’s new single “TLKDN” (stylized ‘Talikdan’ ) is prime example.

Their publicist describes the track as the band’s “take on future-cyber-esque electronica,” and that’s not far off. The moody atmospherics in this “dark and hopeful” tale of disinclination seem to pulsate and St. Wolf’s KL Dela Cruz, Karlo Maglasang, Vince Lucero and John David Sadural has got a pretty good handle of maintaining sonic tension all throughout. Somehow, the electronica part just seems to organically ooze out of St. Wolf that it doesn’t sound forced or trite. Just one of the many moods of versatile St. Wolf.

Speaking of moods, music producer and songwriter Fern has got it in abundance. His predilection for lo-fi pop-tinged R&B tunes was evident in previous releases, including the 2019 full album “Loveless.” He has since released the singles “Want U Bad” from 2020 and the more recent “Whatever This Is.” His re-imagining of the same track, conveniently titled “Whatever This Is – Side B” is a tweak that shows more his “vulnerable lyricism” and the “soul-baring” themes dipped in the chill, neo R&B sounds he usually wraps his tunes with. The latter is a collab with R&B act Nouvul.   

Somewhat similar in vibe is Ace Banzuel. The singer-songwriter has already made some headway with previous singles “Himala” and “Malayo.” Both singles have resonated well with listeners and Banzuelo’s modern R&B-balladeer-with-a-vibe approach is a whiff of freshness. His falsettos are also formidable as evidenced on the latter track, and there’s a hint of alt-pop in the former.

Banzuelo’s new single titled “Mayari”  ventures into “trap-infused synth pop.” And the theme of said latest work according to Banzuelo is about “how wrong arrogance and privilege is when used as a leverage to attracting someone.” You think that’s a mouthful? He goes further to describe the moody, synth-imbued to “question toxic masculinity in a relationship as it is inspired from the war between God of the sun, and the Goddess of the moon.”  “Mayari” is produced and written  by Ace Banzuelo.