“The final question will be: is the soundscape of the world an indeterminate composition
over which we have no control, or are we its composers and performers,
responsible for giving it form and beauty?”
― R. Murray Schafer, Father of Acoustic Ecology
World Listening Day is an international community event held annually, every July 18 (birthday of R. Murray Schafer), all over the world. Dozens of organizations and thousands of people from six continents have participated in World Listening Day since its inception in 2010 to celebrate the power of sound in shaping our society and to promote active listening.
This year’s theme is FUTURE LISTENING, created by Filipino sound artist Teresa Barrozo. The theme proposes the idea of sound as a personal and universal envisioning of a future and of listening as a tool to create a transformed world. Participants are encouraged to examine their hopes, dreams, ambitions, and fears for the future of their community, society, or self and reflect on the question, “What does your future sound like?”
As part of the celebrations, we invited Filipinos from various fields such as architecture, graphic design, film, ethnomusicology, information technology, theater, curatorial studies, academia, education, and poetry to create tracks for in response to the theme. Online album artists are, in alphabetical order: Datu Arellano, Arbi Barbarona, Kabaitan Bautista, Nerisa del Carmen Guevarra, Joon Guillen, Marie Jamora, Moira Lang, Ness Roque-Lumbres, Maria Christine Muyco, Jema Pamintuan, Nick Payumo, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, and Dayang Yraola.
Datu Arellano : FADEDEAF
FADEDEAF. As an artist, one of my deepest (irrational) fears is to lose my senses. I cannot help but imagine what it is like to be a musician and suddenly lose my sense of hearing. It makes me wonder if I’m already deaf to certain sounds or frequencies. For this piece I began by playing with words and used the pitches D, E, F, and A to spell the words “fade” and “deaf”. The sequence F-A-D-E-D-E-A-F is played on top of D-E-A-F-F-A-D-E, creating a rather dark composition. A third of the way into the piece, higher frequencies slowly begin to disappear, followed by lower frequencies, until finally, everything fades into nothing. A bit of a bleak look into the future, I know. But one great way to confront our fears is through music and art.
Datu Arellano is a visual artist, a musician, a designer, a retired front-end web developer, an educator, and an active member of the Anino Shadowplay Collective. As a practitioner he straddles multiple contexts of visual and performing arts, and works within the traditional forms of drawing, painting, and sculpture; the experimental aspects of sound design, music, and video; and the commercial contexts of graphic design. He lives and works in Manila, Philippines.
Arbi Barbarona - LUMAD SA SIYUDAD
LUMAD SA SIYUDAD (Indigenous in the city)
I’m walking in a broad space. The stars sparkle.
I hear the crickets in the night, singing a lullabye…my heart is perturbed.
Their song is the rush of the waterfall at the foot of the mountain.
I sleep soundly at the hem of flowering grass.
And they touch me with the heat of the day passed.
“Arise”, says the waterfall that, renews me with new life.
I dive in and flow with Nature’s embrace.
The birds chirp their song on a sturdy tree that is the hallmark of memory and remembrance.
Though I know it is noon, whispered to me by crickets, I think not of the danger and burden of the world.
I continue to walk the mountainside till I reach the edge of the split rock.
I follow the cheerful birds that know nothing of peril in their kingdom.
I am fed “aguloy” while the oranda is sung by Ana the priestess.
I sleep once more under the shade of the giant trees.
I am startled by a passing vehicle to my left and a machinized contraption to my right.
The children speak of the dreaded Jabberwock.
I slowly fly with the strums of the rondalla that serenade the hot streets of the city
I am an indigenous person, walking the city streets, lost from my ancestral home
Arbi Barbarona is a filmmaker/cinematographer / sound artist hailing from Tagum City. He is cited for best cinematography in the films Alienasyon in the 13th Gawad Tanglaw 2014, Pasuon (10th Mindanao Film Festival 2014), Singgit sa Hilom na Tubig (11th Mindanao Film Festival 2015), Riddles of My Homecoming (CinemaOne Originals 2013). He also earned Best Achievement in Film Editing and Sound and Aural Orchestration for Teng Mangansakan’s Qiyamah from the Young Critics Circle Award 2013.
Kabaitan Bautista : THRENODY FOR PROGRESS
THRENODY FOR PROGRESS is a piece made from a field recording in a seminary in Legazpi documented via cellphone. All sounds originate from the single recording taken during the Salakyag 2018, a 9 day protest for the environment, gathering participants from Mindanao to Luzon via sakay (ride), lakad(walk) and layag (sail). Farmers and fishermen, who contest the idea of economic progress as a viable means of sustainable living, inspired the concept. Today the Philippines still has the highest number of environmental advocates slain in Asia. A big percentage is caused by mining and “development” or “progress”.
Kabaitan R. Bautista is a composer, environmental advocate, and facilitator. He is founder of the MuMo (Music Movement) project that uses music for psychosocial intervention, understanding and protest. He laments the disgusting impunity in his country as much as he enjoys fresh green mangoes any time of the day.
Nerisa Del Carmen Carmen Guevara : BEINTE-SIETE (27)
BEINTE-SIETE (27). Recorded for the album “Reaching Destination” in 2004, the two tracks attempted to bridge time and space. Thirty-old Nerisa performs the original poem written in English at the Muñoz market surrounded by familiar sounds of commerce and sustenance while declaring boldly a future for herself. Eighty-year old mother of the translator of the poem Dwight Gaston reads Beinte-Siete in her hometown. This track is a ‘present-ness’ a form of being in the moment of clarity of having arrived at the age, time and place intended by the young self.
Forty-five year old Nerisa submits the tracks to the project for World Listening Day 2018. She feels, at this moment, unnerved and moved to be in between these times and spaces, to hear them again, and shakes her head and smiles.
Nerisa del Carmen Guevara is a multi-awarded dancer, poet, and performance artist. Her Elegy Series creates a conceptual bridge between heaven and earth. She is one of sixty featured Southeast Asian performance artists in the digital archives of the Live Art Digital Agency (LADA), London. She has recently performed in Grace Exhibition Space in New York.
Joon Guillen : KEYS
KEYS. This is a recording outside my backyard in a residential neighborhood. I added rhythmic keyboard sounds as sort of a constant motif as the ambience changes, from kids playing, to vehicles starting, and planes passing overhead. It's my idea of representing technology, more specifically, computers, as being the driving force behind human progress (for better or worse). As we move through the computer age, we pave the way toward the next.
Joon Guillen (Modulogeek) is an armchair musician. When not busy being a dad, working with computers, or playing video games, he delves in sound design, particularly with synthesizers. His works can be found on modulogeek.com.
Marie Jamora : TRANSMISSIONS FROM NEXT DOOR
TRANSMISSIONS FROM NEXT DOOR. They might not be able to hear themselves, but we certainly hear them. Living in Los Angeles, I have been exposed to a huge community of deaf people, and I have lived beside a bunch of them for four years. Being so reliant on my ears for a living, I am hyper aware of the bass, echoes, and unexpected harmonies from these neighbors.
Marie Jamora began her career as a music video director, before writing, directing, editing, and supervising the music for her first feature, What Isn't There (Ang Nawawala), which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and won the Audience Choice Award and Best Music at the Cinemalaya Film Festival. She took on the same duties for her recent short, Flip The Record, which won the Grand Jury Awards at the 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival and was submitted for consideration at the 90th Academy Awards. She’s the drummer and occasional vocalist for her band, Boldstar.
Moira Lang : EXT/INT
EXT/INT. As I grow older I find myself more and more drawn to solitude, silence, introspection, mountains, the sea, the unfamiliar, the mysterious, and even the mystical. Much as I love the city I find the urge to escape it recurring more frequently, more intensely. I know I will return to it, however - to enjoy its familiar pleasures while awaiting the next (more compelling) call to leave again, most likely temporarily. The sounds captured here include layered elements - crickets in orgiastic unison, birds in flight, rushing water - that form the sound mix for a scene in a film I produced - Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (Norte, the End of History), directed by Lav Diaz. Other sounds were captured at night while I was traveling from Bantayan Island to Cebu City.
Moira Lang (formerly Raymond Lee) is a screenwriter and producer whose credits include Anak (2000), Tanging Yaman (2000), Kailangan Kita (2002), Milan (2004), Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (2005), Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (2011), Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2013), and Patay na si Hesus (2017).
Ness Roque-Lumbres : ALSA
ALSA.* Manila, 2018. While the traffic stalls, a taxi driver listens to the AM radio and makes small talk, responding to the voices on the airwaves. Nod and try to avoid the topic. Elsewhere— perhaps in the future—is the sound of boiling water and rice.
*The Tagalog word, "alsa" is when rice begins to rise and expand before it is cooked. "Pag-aalsa" is the act of protest.
Ness Roque is a theater and film actress, performance-maker, writer, dramaturg, and artist-manager based in Quezon City, Metro Manila. She is a core member of Sipat Lawin Ensemble, a contemporary performance company; Habi Education Lab, a design and research group that focuses on innovations in education; and ProdJx Artist Community, a collective of artists and researchers using art and science for community-based education and development. She studied theatre as a scholar of the Philippine High School for the Arts and holds a degree in Filipino Literature from Ateneo de Manila University.
Maria Christine Muyco : PAKA'
PAKA' (FROGS). Invasive species, invaded environment. This electronic music composition takes off from real sounds of a new species of frogs proliferating the metropolitan Manila (capital city of the Philippines). Identified by Philippine biologist Carmella Espanola as invasive, their presence signals the growing decay and take-over of foreign factors (in food, technology, lifestyle) in the society. Their growing population threaten the existence of local species. This composition works on the idea of environmental transformation; an essay on and about destructive hegemony.
In 1997, Maria Christine Muyco met R. Murray Schafer (Father of Acoustic Ecology) while he was launching Soundscapes, 2nd album. Then pursuing her Master of Music Composition at the University of British Columbia, his works inspired her. She has henceforth pursued PhD in Philippine Studies, University of the Philippines (UP); and Alternate Studies in Ethnomusicology, UCLA. Currently, she is Associate Professor in Music, UP.
Jema Pamintuan : IN TUNE
IN TUNE. The track explores sounds in my living and work spaces that allow me to focus on personal healing. Ocean sounds are juxtaposed with tuning fork vibrations, the latter reminding me of a drone sound used in healing rituals. Fountain sounds at an acupuncture clinic help the patient drift towards respite and mindfulness; sounds of needles discarded shows the body’s healing progress; cupping sounds signify release of tightness; and the tuning fork placed on the sternum provides a soothing effect. It tunes the body and balances its energy; the body, after all, is also an instrument in one’s healing. I end with an excerpt of a piano composition, part of the soundtrack at the clinic while patients wait at the reception area.
Jema Pamintuan, PhD is a former university professor for 15 years in the Philippines, where she also worked as a film music composer. She currently lives in Florida, USA.
Nick Payumo : LIHAM
LIHAM is an auditory epistolary, both a reflection of the old self and a letter to one’s future self in soundscape. It is a gentle reminder that once present is past, it can still be heard in the future -- and how future sound does not necessarily exist in the distance, but is rather the harmony of beats and hums and voices that make up one’s current existence, which you choose to carry with you to the future.
Nick Payumo is a multidisciplinary artist from the Philippines. A dad and an architect who draws in his spare time, Nick is a member of the Buwanbuwan Collective, a progressive group of local electronic musicians, bedroom beatmakers and sound artists from all over the country. Most of his works are ambient, experimental, and loops of found sounds. He has released a couple of compilations available via the interweb and the rare physical releases.
Sherad Anthony Sanchez : SEQUENCE_1
SEQUENCE_1. I have challenged the concept of time in most of my Films. To be asked about the sound of the future is to be bound by the linearity of time. But I always say that in whatever I do, I do to bring me back to the pure moments of happiness when I was young and to bring me to the open possibilities of building those times again.
Sherad Anthony Sanchez is a graduate of Ateneo De Manila University and a Filmmaker. He has directed and produced 5 feature Films since 2006 and has been a consultant for more than a hundred features since 2008.
Dayang Yraola : VIOLENTIAM
VIOLENTIAM. This is a collection of eight audio files recorded using mobile phone within 2016-7 while I was undergoing cancer treatment. The files were unaltered. They were sequenced based on when I have heard them, usually moving from only two locations--my house to the hospital. The bird song that were persistent in this 5mins piece were recorded after my treatment, when I was already allowed to return to my other city of residence, signaling a new lease in life. The piece is called “violentiam” because these were the sounds of the most violent years of my life having faced mortality.
Dayang Yraola is a curator based in Manila and Hong Kong. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and College of Music. Dayang’s curatorial focus is on process-based art projects, spearheading the platforms: Project Glocal (2011-2015), and Composite Series (2015-present), involving artists from Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia. www.dayangyraola.com