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Sunday, February 19, 2017

PlayBack: Apartel – Inner Play (LP)

02/19/2017 05:54:24 PM

Apartel may appear to be just another THE Ely Buendia-starred project since his post-Eraserheads era wherein names like The Mongols, Pupil, and The Oktaves had been ringing bells for already one-and-a-half decade and spawned multiple hits with only one resonating sound as similar to the famed 90s band – that is alternative rock.

However, this is not just another case of his experiment as the six-piece band (formerly eight) isn't just your ordinary soul music-makers. They are a super band already by numbers and prowess; and their debut album will prove you that.

The 12-track Inner Play is a potential underrated classic like a soul movement taking a bold step closer to anyone's consciousness. Certainly the bits of their sounds remind me of those soul and blues bands from the past – it just so happened that we're on 2017 and not lying somewhere between the Motown times. Heck, some instrumental work even reminds me of like Farewell Fair Weather (on the keyboards), Brass Pas Pas Pas (on the the horns; well they are part of it either).

The soul were even more deemed experimental along the way with free-themed, unbarred lyrical work, suave (though contrasting sometimes) vocals of Buendia and former vocalist Jay Ortega, and instrumental efforts from drummer Pat Sarabia, guitarists Coco Coo and Redge Concepcion, and keyboardist RJ Pineda. 

Heck, Apartel even had collaborations with several iconic musicians like Roxy Modesto, Buddy Zabala, and even the Cooky Chua to turn this collective into a sort of a mini orchestra that produces bits of Motown pop, jazz, alternative, blues, slow rock, and the famous Manila Sound. So you can probably imagine how tough the process of making them was made, creative-speaking.

Certainly a 55-minute sound trip will make you feel like you're virtually inside the time machine – and we mean it literally from start (Is It Hip?) to finish (On The Other Side). Solid run for your solid soul cravings. Well, I could've thought of posting my hand-picked favorites here such as the mellow songs Better Off and Guijo St. (Makes YouWonder), the free-themed Sala Sa Init, and the upbeats Foolin' Around and WTF. However, I highly suggest you check out the entire thing for the entire Check In, Trip Out experience.

Now if you are asking did Ely fare well on aiming this as a tribute to the 70s music here in the country, well, we think so either. After all, Apartel isn't just a super-sized super band for nothing.

Verdict: 9.1

Apartel's Inner Play LP is available on Vinyl format at TresKuleros, Satchmi, NEC, GreyMarket, MusicHaven, SpinCafe stores and on online digital platforms Deezer, iTunes, and Spotify. Contact or visit

Author: slickmaster | © 2017 september twenty-eight productions

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