lo­cal mu­sic col­lec­tives

Map­ping out the lo­cal mu­sic scene through our fa­vorite mu­si­cal col­lec­tives

Scout - - CONTENTS - By LEX CELERA Pho­tog­ra­phy by JOHN DEE (Stages Ses­sions, BuwanBuwan Col­lec­tive, and PUSH­TRAK) and GRACE DE LUNA (NOFACE RECORD$)

"ON THE IN­TER­NET, there is no real un­der­ground any­more," write graphic nov­el­ist and au­thor War­ren El­lis. Mu­sic to­day doesn't rely on charts to re­main rel­e­vant; some songs that have never ex­pe­ri­enced ra­dio play have mil­lions of plays on Spo­tify or YouTube. The in­ter­net has cre­ated an equal­iz­ing space for any artist to put their song out there, and hope­fully make their mark in the world.

Con­versely, peo­ple can get eas­ily over­whelmed with all these mu­sic re­leases, which is why there are still chan­nels peo­ple fol­low for new re­leases, lit­tle pock­ets of mu­sic peo­ple can live in. But to­day the ques­tion you should ask isn't which mu­sic is the "best," but rather which you can re­late to this very mo­ment.

We take a look at lo­cal mu­si­cal col­lec­tives that, one way or another, formed their own pil­lars in the mu­sic scene. There are artists that con­tin­u­ally push sonic bound­aries and there are artists that drive to­wards build­ing a fa­mil­iar brand. These are all voices wor­thy of be­ing heard.


The sian wave of trap mu­sic made pop­u­lar by eith pe s It G Ma and kept a oat by the likes of me­dia out t ris­ing nds its par­al­lels in this record la­bel founded by Blvck Lau­ren last year. The hall­marks are there: streetwear pieces meet rat­tling hi-hats and catchy hooks to show off the peren­nial hip-hop e . Look around you. This is where pop cul­ture has ar­rived, with hip-hop per­me­at­ing all ends of our ev­ery day. It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore we had our own lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, peo­ple we can re­fer to when we say “lo­cal trap mu­sic.

That doesn t mean to say T is ust a dig at what s pop­u­lar to­day. “If you look around we have heavy trap, we have vibes, but we re also go­ing to lo- pop, and disco, says cre­ative di­rec­tor . The in uences of anye est and har­rell Blvck Lau­ren s idols are there of course, but T s ap­peal is its im­pres­sive and di­verse ros­ter of mem­bers: mu­sic pro­duc­ers, rap­pers, graphic de­sign­ers, and fash­ion de­sign­ers form the fam­ily that is T . “ usic is our fore­front but it s also about cul­ture and the life­style, Blvck Lau­ren says.

t its core, T rep­re­sents a new wave of cre­atives chasing suc­cess with­out com­pro­mis­ing their vi­sion. They know what they’re good at and they make the most out of it. In short, they hus­tle.


ormed by , I , T T , nife, and skin bones, is a la­bel born out of the cor­ners of the in­ter­net you al­ways knew were there, but never fully no­ticed. The same on­line spa­ces that have cre­ated man­i­fold gen­res like witch house and va­por­wave have also cre­ated a tra­di­tion for artists to twist and bend these gen­res as they please. The tags as­signs to its songs in­di­cate a non-com­mit­ment to tra­di­tional la­bels, but they’re none­the­less de­scrip­tive “hip-hop rap is cou­pled with other tags like “ther­apy and “de­pres­sion­wave.

lthough has been only been alive for a year, its mem­bers have been con­sis­tently—al­most rest­lessly—re­leas­ing new pro ects. To date, there are pro ects up on its Band­camp page, two of which are crew tapes “ T I and “ I I IB , both re­leased in .

het­her it’s abra­sive cloud rap, dis­con­cert­ing beats, lulling vo­cals, or a com­bi­na­tion of any of the three, the one thing that binds this group’s sound to­gether is that it’s mu­sic that is best prob­a­bly lis­tened to by one­self. Some kinds of mu­sic build a bar­rier be­tween you and the rest of the world, and in the hy­per-ev­ery­thing of to­day, a sound­track to be­ing alone (and more im­por­tantly, be­ing your­self) is ther­a­peu­tic.

It’s hard to ig­nore move­ments from the likes of , whose songs prob­a­bly won’t be heard at the top of the mu­sic charts, but nd an au­di­ence none­the­less in the in­creas­ingly vis­i­ble fringes of the un­der­ground. This record la­bel might fade away back into the void where it came from, and the mem­bers may re­turn un­der a dif­fer­ent name. ho knows, and more im­por­tantly, who cares The mu­sic will hope­fully stay.



or­mally started in , BuwanBuwan ol­lec­tive is a strange, en­tic­ing brew of beat­mak­ers and se­lec­tors that have driven mu­sic e per­i­men­ta­tion to un­charted sonic ter­ri­to­ries with the same I bed­room-stu­dio ap­proach. ounded by ince ante (BI ), yle uis­mundo (for­merly olanda oon), Luis uitier­rez (Like ni­mals), and orge uan Bautista ieneke (Sim­i­lar b ects), BuwanBuwan now hosts al­most two dozen artists who share the same vi­sion of chal­leng­ing the norm and push­ing the en­ve­lope of elec­tronic mu­sic out­wards.

By its ex­is­tence, BuwanBuwan rep­re­sents the pos­si­bil­i­ties of mak­ing mu­sic and, through its ef­forts to reach out to other mu­si­cians, fos­ters a com­mu­nity where fel­low mu­si­cians can learn from each other and grow to­gether. Its mem­bers have spawned move­ments and com­mu­ni­ties of their own, and its group projects are al­ways a must-lis­ten just to see what each mem­ber can come up with.

at­e­go­riz­ing the trans­porta­tive, ex­pe­ri­en­tial, and tex­tured mu­sic of the mem­bers of BuwanBuwan isn’t easy, and to be hon­est, it’s of­ten fu­tile. The mu­sic the mem­bers of BuwanBuwan cre­ate be­comes a coded lan­guage that speaks dif­fer­ently to both the artist and the lis­tener. ach mem­ber of the col­lec­tive is tal­ented in his or her own right, but the truth of it is that this col­lec­tive as a whole is bigger than the sum of its parts, whether the mem­bers are aware of it or not.


pro­duc­tion house, a talent agency, and a “con­tent cocre­ation space all at once, Stages Ses­sions’ artist-cen­tric ap­proach to gigs has been its trade­mark to fans. For pop artists, Stages Ses­sions pro­vides a venue to ex­per­i­ment and push the bound­aries of their own unique sound. For new blood, Stages Ses­sions of­fers a plat­form to be heard.

Stages Ses­sions has been get­ting at­ten­tion from in­die heads and main­stream fans alike since their its rst event last cto­ber with head­liner hris­tian Bautista. Since then, it has or­ga­nized events such as aniela ndrade’s anila con­cert, lara Benin’s farewell gig, and re­cently its lat­est project called The ig ir­cuit, which takes their ros­ter of artists to fre­quented gig spots in the metro.

Far from the do it your­self at­ti­tude of the lo­cal un­der­ground scene but also dis­tinct from the trade­mark ex­trav­a­gance of lo­cal pop, what sets Stages Ses­sions apart is an em­pha­sis on pro­duc­tion value. Its take on mu­sic has been de­scribed as “main­stream stuff, done in an al­ter­na­tive way. ach project comes off as some­where in be­tween pop sen­si­bil­i­ties and new sonic ter­ri­tory, and it’s not en­tirely right smack in the mid­dle. It’s in a dif­fer­ent, bet­ter place.


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