For every mainstream electronic dance music (EDM) producer playing Ibiza, there are thousands of others in the fringes making challenging electronic music not fit for the clubs in the dark bedrooms where it was made in the first place.
Amidst the glow of their computers, they tinker with their midi controllers, digital audio workstations (DAW), and deal with all the complexities involved. These producers toil for the love of the craft.
Their effort serves as reminder to everyone that there are other fantastic bleeps and bloops out there, especially in the local scene. Here are 5 producers you must save a spot for on your playlists.
Making mutations that flow flawlessly between future bass and chilled-out R&B, WASHERE is the music project of Sta. Rosa, Laguna native John San Juan. What sets his work ahead of the pack of "futurewave" beat makers, though, is when San Juan decides to rap over his sparse productions with aplomb, much like in his tracks "Banas" and latest single "Wasaksuki." Download his debut album Bodies of Water on his Bandcamp for pay-what-you-want then zone out—just don't drown. John wouldn't want that.
Moe Cabral, best known for his moniker youngsleepyboi, plays his own variations of ambient and chilled out hip-hop with tinges of the aesthetic-laden microgenre vaporwave. If that sounds like too much jargon for you, well, you're not alone. Further reading on the microgenres can be read here, but don't say you weren’t warned because it is a slippery slope of memes and anti-capitalist paraphernalia. But back to YSB. Both part of the collectives Virtual Barangay and NOFACE, and the duo Manila Tea Gang, the young producer is starting to make waves with his eclectic style of beat production, making him one of the most sought-after artists to see live.
3) TRASHCAN Collective
This four-man crew comprised of Vito Cross, Unawa, Kulot, and Lozano is a sample-based production unit that goes beyond their hip-hop roots. Their latest offering, the somehow aptly titled Pataas/Pababa EP, is an amalgamation of plunderphonics, sample-based music, noise, and hip-hop—something that would definitely be a challenge to listen to, but also awe-inspiring once grasped.
When he's busy creating band posters and album artwork (his body of work includes Beast Jesus' EP art and Typecast's tour posters—among a whole host of others), this Bacolod-raised and Manila-based graphic artist Fulgencio Bermejo is the beat scene's answer to the likes of foreign acts XXYYXX or even the ever-elusive Burial. Bass-heavy, but also with a chill, ambient-leaning vibe, his EP, Himaya, released by Diagnostic Records, is the perfect soundtrack for gazing out below the mountain tops while cloaked by the cold and sadness. This is a record for the still night, music before a breakdown.
5) Brandon Cueto
It's a great disservice to Brandon Cueto and his music every time he is seen only as just the smart-aleck who posts memes on Facebook. It works to his advantage, sure, that his wisecracks are recognizable and popular—a few have been featured in the news in the past. But to relegate BC to just that is, well, plain wrong. Take, for example, his track "Drippin," a collaboration with singer Sam Ysa. It's something straight out of the pages of future beat, but with its own melancholic spin (which is another Brandon trademark, if you ever catch his FB posts at 4 in the morning). We've said in the beginning that these producers operate outside of electronic club music, but upon hearing Brandon's future bass bangers, it seems we need to rethink that a bit.
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