eK! is electronic Kabalen, a web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas

rosendo m. makabali
rosendo m makabali Album title: /Artist: Titus Toledo/Release date: July 2002/Tracks: 1) we are just a state of mind, 2) spoliarium, 3) bliss, 4) emancipation of emerson cornflake, 5) object not found, 6) killing the buddha, 7) pigue, 8) om, 9) motion with lotion, 10) where angels fear to tread, 11) death is a door, 12) zoroaster x

MAYBE THIS CD should not read like a book. Words ought to be the least possible concern here. The arcane track titles offer little help anyway. This is new underground electronic guerilla exploratory music. This is Titus Toledo's initial venture/adventure as an "armchair" musician/composer/arranger/ programmer.

Toledo confesses to having largely "appropriated aural assemblages on acid" in the making of his first CD project. Acid here refers to acidized loops, specialized sound clippings specifically mapped for loop-based music, as in Sonic Foundry's pre-Sony Music Acid Pro.

Toledo makes light of the tool's potential, though, dismissing it as just another "toy." But what marvelous yield his tinkering with it has brought on. His effort suggests the limitless creative output that one can wring out working with a box of crayons and some pieces of paper.

Imagine the composer rapt at the PC, rummaging a toolboxful of found sound snippets: drum beats, bass lines, guitar licks, piano riffs, horn spiels, scratches, synths, simulated voice and noise— tweaking these, cutting, pasting, mixing, rendering, more tweaking.

But a lot more goes into this undertaking than sheer mixing and matching of sound patterns. One has to be a virtuoso of the soul to transform cacophony into epiphany. Toledo handily proves he is able to construct a brilliant collection of soundscapes for the listener to meditate or gyrate by.

The listener gets jolted at first, proceeding from a rather morbid album title, only to be ushered into zesty, upbeat electronic readings of jazz, funk, rock, rhythm and blues, rap. The bouncy title cut ("death is a door") itself tends to testify a celebration of life, after all.

Yet it is rather daunting to attempt to crack what exactly the artist intends as statement throughout the CD. His naming of each track must serve for deep philosophical or spiritual deliberation— not for mere decoration. Is he unmasking or mocking our fierce or failed appetites for belief, unbelief, mischief, relief?

There is mischief afoot when "we are just a state of mind" assails with "Fuck you!" There is no relief in sight amid sadistic laughter accompanying a verdict to "Make 'em bleed" in "bliss." "Are you Buddha?" is asked of every accomplice for "killing the buddha."

No album review is ever complete without the obligatory citing of recommended cuts. The artist's pet pick from his 44-minute opus is the menacing, primal scream-punctuated "bliss." While this reviewer is partial to the rollicking, sax-soused "death is a door" and—a late entry in his book of favorites— the kinky "zoroaster x."

*Click here to download

[About the author. Rosendo M. Makabali is literary editor of , a website dedicated to new underground guerrilla exploratory art + literature in the new medium. He has published poetry in several Philippine print magazines and online in spreadhead.net and . A few of his poems appear in Slam the Body Politik, the Revolutionary Multi-Arts, Multi-Media CD ROM released in 2004 by the Australia-based . A chapbook of his, Last Words and Other Poems, came out in 2005, as a grant under the UBOD New Authors Series project of the National Committee on Literary Arts (2001-2004) of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.]

-Posted: 1:20 AM 11/22/07 | More of this author on eK!

Papa Osmubal (of Macau) writes...

Deep (in the deepest meaning of the word) that it drowns, engulfs. I mean, both the review and the work reviewed. Work (again the review and the work reviewed) I wish I were the author of.

This is to me the meaning of thinking. This is to me the meaning of writing as an art. And Pampanga has seen real artists and thinkers— Dong Makabali and Titus Toledo.

A recipe of genius. Inedible to many, I suppose. But Makabali and Toledo appeal to real readers (thinkers, of course!) of whom I humbly include myself. Kudos to the poets Dong Makabali and Titus Toledo whose styles of writing and ways of looking at things always make me feel envious. But then, for me, it is more than enough to be called their contemporary.

-Posted/Via Email: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 07:38:02 -0800

post Publish your comments...