From soulful R&B to tasteful city pop fusion, these artists are must-haves on your OPM rotation
When the term “Original Pilipino Music” (OPM) was first coined in the 1970s by Apo Hiking Society’s Danny Javier, it was used generally to refer to local pop ballads. Decades since then, the term has evolved to refer to the local music scene, encompassing all kinds of genres, and arguably a large part of the Filipino cultural identity in itself. From the iconic era of the Eraserheads in the late 80s, Rico Blanco’s timeless masterpieces in the early 2000s, and the likes of award-winning Ben&Ben and the unique proposition behind P-Pop group SB19, OPM has proven to be an endlessly growing pandora’s box of Filipino talent.
With this growth comes a constant churn of new acts making their way to the stage. From soulful R&B to a tasteful mix of city pop, in this edition of the Listening Party, we’ve got you covered on the top five OPM acts you need to keep your eyes and ears out for.
Soulful and soothing, Cebu-born R&B artist Kyl Aries proves that OPM is capable of the softness you’re looking for as his honeyed tones slide ever-so-smoothly through each track. Taking inspiration from LoFi Hip Hop tunes and Jazz beats, this solo artist has the perfect discography to suit your rainy drives, solo nights, or quiet afternoons. In “But I Don’t Mind”, listeners are transported into a tranquil state of mind as Kyl Aries’ vocals gently take control over soothing LoFi Jazz instrumentals.
Rapper-producers aren’t uncommon, but when you put them together, groundbreaking groups like PLAYERTWO come to life. This powerful quintet hailing from Davao stacks hip-hop, rap, and rock to produce a unique sound of their own as they challenge the scene with catchy wordplay and impressive beats. In “THINKIN OF LOVE”, PLAYERTWO joins in chorus over smooth instrumentals as bars are dropped on love and the strong urge behind desire. Their debut album, HAPPY ACCIDENTS VOL.1 is also out now.
Heavy on baroque and folk-pop, Halina’s tracks are an experience in themselves. While the simultaneous sound of multiple instruments and melodies might seem overwhelming, Halina argues otherwise as the band’s upbeat sound proves to be soothing, danceable, and harmonious all at once. In “Kwarto Waltz”, listeners are taken back in time and invited to dance along to an enchanting combination of acoustic and electric instrumentals as lead Divino Dayacap’s vocals satisfyingly keep up with the fast-paced beat. A sound like no other, Halina’s tracks mix sounds of the past with the rhythm of the present.
Basically Saturday Night
Swaying and “stank face” required, the boogie fusion indie act Basically Saturday Night takes blues to another level with their bouncing and steady bassline, deep vocals, and smooth guitar licks. This five-piece band intertwines an infectious sound of pulsating rock and experimental blues as instrumentals heavily complement the deep-set tone of lead singer Migie Garcia. In “El Poder”, listeners are in for a treat as the track runs on a pulsating bass and “stank face”-inducing guitar riffs as Garcia’s vocals balance this complex yet enchanting fusion.
A true gem of a find, Quezon City-based band ALYSON combines the funkiness of Japanese City Pop with the familiar rhythm of OPM. Interwoven with the upbeat and cosmopolitan elements of city pop are the familiar flavors of OPM, as lead Pio Ligot’s emotive vocals take charge over glossy basslines and groovy drum patterns to produce a sound that is simultaneously sleek and soulful, yet energetic and evocative. In ALYSON’s latest album DEFINITELY LOVE!, the vintage, retro groove of city pop makes its noticeable presence throughout tracks such as Kiliti, where lead Pio Ligot smoothly sings along to that recognizable sound easily linked to OPM.