Music has never been exclusively about singing and playing instruments. It’s also playing with sounds— anything that can be perceived by the ear— and creatively crafting them into one finished piece.
That’s one point Unique Salonga tries to prove, composing a sound collage called ‘Delubyo’ as one of the eight tracks off his second self-made album Pangalan.
No lyrics. No dominant chord progression. The closest thing you have to instrumentals is those parts of the track where the 19-year-old singer-composer had inserted seconds-long cut-outs from other audio samples. The rest is a cryptic cacophony of sounds— people speaking, screaming, laughing, crying, random audio clips. Delubyo is unlike any other song you’ve heard, and like any other creations that are unique and entirely new— it garnered a variety of reactions from the audience.
As expected, the majority of the fans praised the former IV of Spades frontman for another work that lived up to his name. Unique’s been known for his courage to push out songs that rebel against the mediocre standards; ‘Delubyo’ is arguably the weirdest thing this young artist has produced in his career. Music enthusiasts who were creeped out by the song had their own theories as to what the song conveys. “Sa tingin ko, ang nais iparating ng kanta ay kung ano ang pakiramdam ni Unique sa kung ano ang buhay,” one fan said. Another fan categorized it as Post Modern Music, putting it alongside the genres Vaporwave, Psychedelic Catholic, and Death Music. However, with ‘Delubyo’ being in a high-risk high-reward position, not everyone appreciated the experimental attempt of the artist, especially the snobs who were quick to pass it off as pretentious or merely a test conducted by the artist to see how far the Filipino audience could go in terms of song interpretation.
A+ for the attempt
I would not call ‘Delubyo’ a masterpiece, unlike some of the amazed fans who did. But to be fair, I don’t believe it was intended to be one. If the purpose of the song is to audially represent the disturbing reality of life— or the artist’s view of life— yes, I did feel it. I listened to the track and got the chills from the grim atmosphere, the constant flow of horror despite being made up of completely random elements, and the possibility that this was Unique’s train of thoughts turned into a track. I understand when people say thay can’t sit through the entire song. It’s scary as hell. Worse, it may be the sound of hell.
I would give it to Unique Salonga for another brave move of proving that OPM music— and music in general— is not limited to what we’ve been accustomed to hearing. Moreover, a creative genius such as Unique would have anticipated the negative commotion that would result from ‘Delubyo,’– that some people may not be open-minded enough to appreciate it, that Filipinos, in general, are still pretty superstitious so there’s a big chance they’d accuse the artist of spreading demonic vibes. I believe some of them already did.