To some extent, the local electro/dance-punk outfit Pedicab is comprised of pop culture geeks, whose discussions in the van cover topics that include music (of course), movies, TV shows, books, and many more. The band’s members are also avid collectors of things like sneakers, comic books, action figures, and most of all, vinyl, so when the idea of putting out their next record in that particular format was raised, it was taken very seriously. Besides, singer/main songwriter Diego Mapa already succeeded in releasing Tarsius’ debut album Primate on vinyl, so it could be done.
But of course, a record had to be made first. Mapa had become quite vocal about his fandom for the History Channel show Ancient Aliens when it started airing years ago, and became obsessed with the theories it presented. At the same time, synth bassist Raymund Marasigan had just finished putting up his personal studio, located in Remuda Street in Marikina. As the band began to rehearse there, it was dubbed “Remuda Triangle,” a reference to the Bermuda Triangle, the infamous area in the Atlantic Ocean where many airplanes and ships mysteriously disappeared. Given Mapa’s fixation with such topics, it became a working title for the next record, and he began writing songs inspired by extra-terrestrial beings, sci-fi movies, ancient astronaut theories, and other similar themes. Soon, a loose narrative was formed by the songs he had written, involving a character who is abducted by aliens, learns the truth about his existence and struggles with his destiny, but in the end, his home planet is invaded and he is abandoned by his celestial friends. Sonically, the music had taken a sharp turn from the usual angular dance rock that Pedicab had become known for, with Mapa finally picking up the guitar for all but two tracks, building a wall of fuzz with co-guitarist Jason Caballa, who uses a wider array of effects this time around. Synth/sampler operator RA Rivera’s MicroKorg lines take on a prominent, more melodic role, supplementing Marasigan’s glitch-y electro bass pulse. Finally, Mike Dizon’s drumming moves further away from the band’s usual disco patterns to disjointed, morse code-like beats and even “stoner rock” tom-tom pounding. Vocally, the album has more singing and harmonies from Mapa than on any of Pedicab’s previous records.
Remuda Triangle (the album) was recorded in about a month in Kodama Studio, the new facility set up by the band’s longtime friend Shinji Tanaka, who engineered and mastered the album. The band self-produced the album, with vocal co-production by Buddy Zabala. Jay Amante of The Grey Market Records and Blanc Gallery supervised the album’s pressing on vinyl, which was done at United Records Pressing in Nashville, Tennesee. For the cover art, the band contacted artist Ernest Concepcion for the use of his painting, “The Battering of Battery Park,” which somewhat resembled an alien invasion, and was then laid out in record sleeve format by Mapa’s wife Ge. Apart from being Pedicab’s first release on vinyl, it is also their first record under their management’s Soupstar Music.
Also known for having a particular visual aesthetic onstage, the band also began wearing helmets crafted from common household items made to look like alien heads, designed by artist Leeroy New, as part of his ongoing Aliens of Manila project. Sonically and visually, Remuda Triangle shows Pedicab moving into unexplored territory, as it is an album of many firsts for the band. Even the video for carrier single “What’s The Algorithm” is the first Pedicab clip not directed by Rivera, as it shows the band in 8-bit animation rendered by brothers Miko and Jolo Livelo. Call them genius, funny, or just plain weird, Pedicab have redefined themselves with Remuda Triangle, and it all began with an obsession with vinyl and aliens.
Remuda Triangle will be launched on February 25 at Historia Boutique Bar & Restaurant, featuring performances by Pedicab, Taken by Cars, Flying Ipis, Tom’s Story, Bignay Soundsystem and installations by Leeroy New.
Pedicab: Remuda Triangle
Produced by Pedicab (FB: Pedicab / Twitter: @pedicabmanila / Instagram: @pedicabmanila)
Associate Producer: Joseph Darwin Hernandez and Soupstar Music (www.soupstar.ph / Instagram: @soupstarent / FB: Soupstar Entertainment Inc., Soupstar Mgt)
Executive Producer: Jay Amante (Instagram: @thegreymarketrecords / FB: The Grey Market Records)
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Shinji Tanaka in Kodama Studio, Marikina (www.soundcreation-ph.com)
Additional vocal production and arrangement by Buddy Zabala (Instagram: @buddyzabbala)
Cover artwork: “The Battering of Battery Park” (oil and ink on canvas, 60 x 60 in. 2009) by Ernest Concepcion (www.ernestconcepcion.com / Instagram: @ernestconcepcion / FB: Ernest Concepcion)
Sleeve layout by Ge Madriaga-Mapa (Instagram: @washimachine_mnl)
Band photo by Mong Alcaraz (Instagram: @mongalcaraz)
Helmet designs by Leeroy New (www.leeroynew.com / Instagram: @newleeroy, @aliensofmanila FB: Aliens of Manila, Leeroy New)
Made in the Philippines. Printed by United Record Pressing, Nashville, TN U.S.A.