After what may have been a prolonged period of hearing the same-sounding alternative rock bands over and over, some new Filipino acts have taken the brave route of sounding different and not-so mainstream. Thanks to the prevalence of digital-format release; indie bands can stay being themselves and still find ways to properly put out their music.
Up and coming band Beat Per Machine is a good case in point, with its commitment to delivering electronica — a genre encompassing and embracing electronic-based styles. Those who have already heard their recorded material or seen them play live agree that these guys are clear about the niche market they’re hoping to entertain — from their stage set-up to recording, and even to their photo shoot.
The four-piece combo was signed by Ditto Music and put out a five-track EP titled Better Than Machine. Their finest initial offering, “Isang Umaga,” establishes the band’s peep-into-the-future soundscape and short-but-sweet lyricism.
“Our objective is to be heard and hopefully appreciated. Big deal na sa amin yun. It’s big bonus if the mainstream market eventually takes our sound in,” expressed Owen Formento, the group’s vocalist who also dabbles in guitar-playing and electronic sampler.
This dude works in a national broadsheet company during daytime while at night rocks at bars like Saguijo (in Makati) frequented by underrated musicians and music listeners of certain depth. He wrote Isang Umaga for his wife who at the time of his writing was to become a first-time mother. How he and his band carefully wrapped with loops and samples his lines like “Tumatawa na lumuluha/Dahil Ikaw ang nasa isip ko” and “Ikaw ang hinahanap ko/Ang dahilan sa paggising ko” showcases their skill at fusing gadgetry and gallantry.
Other tracks in BPM’s EP are “Manhid,” “Replica,” “Recovery Song,” and the engaging opening “Lazy Beat,” which features a melodically haunting riff to fit any tense-filled Black Mirror scene. That track’s title being vocally repeated throughout the song adds to the terrific terror — as if the whole thing is trapping you in a loop you find somewhat enjoyably crazy to be in.
Percussionist Mark Angelo Burce Manago put sense to the challenge of performing their songs live. “Medyo matagal kami mag-setup kasi we have to make sure everything, gadgets and softwares and all, are properly synced,” he reasoned.
The Fil-ectronica boys started collaborating after finding each other in some gig circle. They are now going around the bar and festival circuit doing their thing and their Manson-ish version of Eurythmics classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).” They plan to release a full-length album soon.
Completing the lineup are Marion Claudio (synths) and Layne Harrison (lead guitar). Marion is a DJ from Houston, Texas who got curious of the group’s genre that he officially joined.
At the end of the day, Beat Per Machine, which for the group is a phrase ironically implying going back to basics, wants to send the message that they’re still the engineer behind the music and far from being mere button-pushers.
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