The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Music Never Ends

(On My Recommended Albums, 1960s-2010s)
by aLfie vera mella

I usually write a year-ender article for my music column in Filipino Journal, in which I would feature the significant album releases for the year that is ending. However, inspired by the now trending (among my fellow music enthusiasts on Facebook) List of Top 10 Albums, I instead decided to make a definitive list of my favorite albums from 1960s to the present decade. When I say "favorite," this means that I listen to these albums regularly and on a non-skip manner; and most especially, these albums encapsulate the kind of music that I really like and which largely influences my being also a songwriter.

Listening to these albums never fail to lift my spirits and to inspire my creative mind. And remember, these are just my Top 12 for each of the decades cited. Many equally great bands and albums obviously had to be shortlisted.

The Ventures  - Walk Don't Run (1960)
The Cascades - Rhythm of the Rain (1963)
The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965)
The Zombies - Begin Here (1965)
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
The Hollies - For Certain Because (1966)
The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
David Bowie - David Bowie (1967)
The Left Banke - Walk Away Renée / Pretty Ballerina (1967)
Love - Forever Changes (1967)
The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed (1967)
Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)
Bread - Guitar Man (1972)
Roxy Music - Roxy Music (1972)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)
Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)
America - Holiday (1974)
John Denver - Back Home Again (1974)
Camel - The Snow Goose (1975)
Rush - Fly by Night (1975)
Television - Marquee Moon (1977)
The B-52's - The B-52's (1979)

Siouxsie & the Banshees - Kaleidoscope (1980)
Depeche Mode - Some Great Reward (1984)
Fiction Factory - Throw the Warped Wheel Out (1984)
The Lotus Eaters - No Sense of Sin (1984)
Spandau Ballet - Parade (1984)
a-ha - Hunting High and Low (1985)
The Cure - The Head on the Door (1985)
Everything but the Girl - Love Not Money (1985)
Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
Echo & the Bunnymen - Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)
U2 - The Joshua Tree (1987)
The Wild Swans - Bringing Home the Ashes (1988)

The Lemonheads - It's a Shame about Ray (1992)
Shelleyan Orphan - Humroot (1992)
Sloan - Smeared (1992)
Spent Poets - Spent Poets (1992)
The Posies - Frosting on the Beater (1993)
Vanilla Trainwreck - Sounding to Try like You (1992)
Barenaked Ladies - Maybe You Should Drive (1994)
Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience (1992)
Toad the Wet Sprocket - fear (1991)
Blur - The Great Escape (1995)
The Boo Radleys - Wake Up! (1995)
Popsicle - Pospicle (1996)

New Order - Get Ready (2001)
Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)
British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power (2003)
The Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
The Killers - Hot Fuss (2004)
Nightmare of You - Nightmare of You (2005)
The Camerawalls - Pocket Guide to the Otherworld (2008)
Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)
This Final Frame - My Blue Heart ‎(2009)
Two Door Cinema Club - Tourist History (2010)
The Wild Swans - The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years (2011)
 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - English Electric (2013)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ayan Na Naman ang mga Alimasag

In 1993, when I wrote a poem entitled "At Nanipit ang mga Alimango," which eventually became my former band Half Life Half Death's song "Alimango," the inspiration that set my pen onto paper were those people who hated me just because I was an achiever.

Now, 20 years after, there remain so many people who, instead of feeling glad about the successes of their fellow humans, hate them and try to impede their wheels of accomplishments.

Oh well, nothing's changed--there will always be good and evil people everywhere and everywhen--with or without religion or a belief in a deity.

Kaya eto, nakasulat na naman ako ng isang tula na parang kagaya ng "Alimango." It's just a matter of time when I will weave good music for this with the help of my new bandmates for this poem to become a proper song, which I will be giving the title "Alimasag," in reference to "Alimango," a song that contributed to my former band Half Life Half Death's cult popularity back in the 1990s.

Among the three varieties of crabs popular in the Philippines--alimango, alimasag, and talangka--the first one is the biggest. The reason I decided to use now 'alimasag' as the title of this new song that I wrote is because, psychologically, when I was still much younger I was a bit less strong amidst these evil people, so I chose the biggest 'alimango.' However, now that I have long become smarter, wiser, more mature, and definitely stronger and more focused in my sense of direction, I would say that evil people still make me careful but I could handle them now more properly, so they are no longer 'alimango' to me, but rather only the medium-sized 'alimasag.'

"Alimasag" (2013)
by haLf man haLf eLf

Stanza 1
Sabi sa akin ng isa kong kakilala
Grabe na raw ang ugali ng mga tao ngayon--
Ang dami na raw mga inggitero't inggitera
Mga mapanira ng puri; mga galit sa kapwa

Ang sagot ko sa kanya--hindi na bago yan--
Kahit noong unang panahon e marami nang ganyan
Subalit wag mo rin namang kalimutan
Marami pa rin namang mabubuti ang kalooban

Pero mag-ingat ka pa rin kasi...

Ayan na naman ang mga alimasag
Namumula ang hasang
Nakahanda na at bagong hasa ang mga sipit
Ugaling alimasag!
Gigil na gigil sa inggit sa kapwa
Gagawin kahit ano
Makapanira lamang

Stanza 2
Saang lugar ka man mapadpad...
Saang panahon ka man mabuhay...
Ke me relihiyon o wala
May paniniwala man sa Diyos o wala

Ang bawat tao ay may kakayanang maging mabuti
Pero meron din siyang kapasidad sa kasamaan
Magtiyaga ka sana, gamit ay sariling sikap
Panatiliing kabutihan ang mangibabaw sa 'yong puso at isip

Pero mag-ingat ka pa rin kasi...

Ayan na naman ang mga alimasag
Namumula ang hasang
Nakahanda na at bagong hasa ang mga sipit
Ugaling alimasag!
Gigil na gigil sa inggit sa kapwa
Gagawin kahit ano
Makapanira lamang

Monday, December 09, 2013


by haLf man haLf eLf

poetry by aLfie vera mella
music by a.v. mella and Gremar Bernil 
              plus additional melodies by Emong Payaso

Stanza 1
Bakit ang buhay ng tao
Lagi na lang ganito
Parang trumpo

Minsan naman
Akala mo
Isang payaso
Sa likod ng bawat patawa
Nakatago'y lungkot

Chorus 1

Tulad rin lang 'yan ng ating samahan
Parang nabitawang lobo
Lumilipad papalayo
O kaya'y ferris wheel
Na taas-baba
At bigla-biglang humihinto

Stanza 2

Bakit ang buhay ng tao
Lagi na lang ganyan
Para bang cotton candy
Na ubod ng tamis

Minsan naman
Akala mo'y
Mainit na popcorn
Na unti-unting kumukunat
Sa bawat nguya
Pero sige ngatngat lang nang ngatngat

Chorus 2

Tulad rin lang 'yan ng ating samahan
Parang binitawang lobo
Lumilipad papalayo
O kaya'y roller coaster
Na bumibilis, bumabagal
At bigla-biglang bumubulusok

Main vocal: 
Bakit ang buhay ay laging ganyan
Sa bawat pag-usad ay merong hadlang
Second vocal:
Buhay nga naman
O bakit ba sadyang ganyan
Third vocal:


Instrumental Interlude
1st section: Halina sa Perya
2nd section: The Band Played On (by Palmer and Ward)
3rd section: Here Come the Half-Elf Jester and the Lady Fiddler

Bakit ang buhay ng tao ay laging ganyan
Tulad rin lang yan ng ating samahan
Sa bawat pag-usad ay merong hadlang
Parang higanteng lobo, lumilipad papalayo
O kaya'y merry-go-round na
Paikut-ikot, paikut-ikot
Paulit-ulit, paulit-ulit

Bakit ang buhay ay laging ganyan
Sa bawat pag-usad ay merong hadlang
Buhay nga naman, o bakit ba sadyang ganyan
Bata batuta, samperang muta
Bata baluga, samperang luga

Bata batibot, samperang kulangot
Parang paslit
Ang kulit-kulit

The buskers and the jugglers:
aLfie vera mella - vocals, keyboards, bellkit, percussion, orchestration, conductor
Christine Mazur - violin
Polet Patawaran - six-string guitar
Gremar Bernil - bass, six-string guitar
Zandro Sotto (Komiks Tale) - drumkit
Marvin Bea - dobro
Joan Bonito (Komiks Tale) - female voice
Gary Ignacio (Alamid / The Saintstreets) - additional male vocals

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

At our former house on Cuangco St., Makati City, in 1984: Mommy and her children—Kim, Lovelle, baby Niña, Karen, and I—with little cousin Ivan (leftmost). Notice that Khumb Mela knapsack I was holding—very '80s! Posted by Hello