Tuesday 5 August 2014


Been meaning to post something about this for a while now. Better late than never though. So here it is. It's by a guy who goes by the name of No Rome (irl: Rome Gomez) and he's from Manila – actually, he's the brother of Ulzzang Pistol: they're both part of the tight-knit, underground collective Youngliquidgang, or YLG to be brief, one of a few in the capital's bustling music scene (another being, for example, Buwan Buwan, headed up by Similar Objects).

Mastered by collective-mate SOUL_BRK, 'Heaven' is basically a beautiful song. I thought it was beautiful when I first listened to it, but it wasn't until I was in the shower a few days later when the vocal hook came back to me: I found myself humming it (and noticing, also, that it sounded a little like Rikrok's part in 'It Wasn't Me'). This two line fragment repeats throughout, lending the otherwise chill-hop-leaning track – itself awash with a fluid cascading koto-esque instrumental, chopped and looped, with sub-bass blasts – an R&B flavour. Punchy beats with satisfying sharp and shiny hi-hats drive this mantra forward, becoming deliciously rapid-fire and frenetic towards the end, with sampled punctuation in the form of "wow!" and another, wordless exclamation. It's difficult not to be drawn into its spiral of hypnotic repetition, which is to be fair dotted with dynamic breaks and additions along the way.

It's when you hear about the background, the context of this song when it becomes even more poignant and even moving. Within the space of a week Rome lost his grandfather, and his friend Guillo Cesar Servando, a fellow student at De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde, who was killed in a fraternity initiation. The lyrics take on a more poetic edge in this instance; every time I hear his voice singing it's easy to feel the emotion. On the other hand, they're neutral enough so that people hearing it for the first time can still vibe to it and sing along, as with any catchy pop song.

and i’m playing with the radio sound, i don’t wanna hear what’s going down
and i wish i was with you now, heaven probably told you to say goodbye

Yet another (but the greatest, I think) in a string of cool songs from No Rome, another URL-based J-culture-appreciating talent of Manila with big things ahead of him – it's almost guaranteed.

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