It started with him writing on my blog’s guestbook...
This review is submitted way past its self-appointed deadline. I promised Mark, that I’ll have this done 3 days after his request but apparently a lot happened: a weeklong meeting in Bangkok, a weekend project planning in Anilao, mid-terms in my MA and a weeklong battle with flu and a urinary tract infection got in the way.
To make up I searched my old blog m35b to put into context my long digital friendship with Mark (Oblong) that has transcended Blogspot, Friendster, Purevolume, MySpace and Facebook. As I remember meeting Mark way back when Oblong was still in its infancy sometime back in 2004, when he wrote a very kind comment on m35b. During that time blogging was still in its infancy and Friendster testimonials were still considered sacred thus guestbook messages are treasured as well. At that time Mark was still involved Boy Meats Girl a Laguna, indie rock outfit that I vaguely remember watching at a morning show as I was preparing to go to work.
Anyways the search brought me to this entry that he wrote on m35b's now spam-infested Guestbook dated November 5th 2004, 03:09:38 AM:
“hi! 'love your site! pls feel free to check out mine http://www.freewebs.com/iloveoblong ..and don't hesitate to leave your mark on its guestbook too. thanx very big!
watch out for "Yuko, Para 'Di Mauntog" the EP. by OBLONG”
I’m not sure if the EP ever materialized as in all things life intervenes and weaves a better narrative than the ones we imagined.
But what I’m sure was the guestbook entry was the beginning of a virtual collaboration of sorts between me and Mark, it was during that time I think that he was still playing drums for Boy Meats Girl and I was still playing bass for the QC-based pop punk outfit PayItForward. We never really did not interact much at the time mainly because that was the pre-Web 2.0 days and the internet was not as sophisticated as it is now in facilitating interaction online.
Anyways, I got in touch with Mark again this time with him focused on Oblong and me picking up the pieces of PayItForward’s demise by starting a solo project I called DeathToPuberty and it was during that point in time that Mark boldly released his ambitious debut album entitled: Sarah Sing Me To Sleep, which I am listening to now as I write this piece.
Light-hearted lullabies of love and longing
Have you ever found yourself alone sobbing in a dark room with only the glare of a computer monitor shedding light in your pain?
That was the moment I recently found myself in as listened to Oblong's Sarah Sing Me To Sleep in its entirety.
The soft lo-fi hiss that delicately conveyed hope, resolution and youthful enthusiasm towards love, lost and life, reminded me of simpler times when life was not that complicated, hence the delicate tears that revived the emo kid in me.
Eloquence best describes his song writing as the EP takes the listener to a roller-coaster of emotions like pain and helplessness that is clearly stated in the tearjerker Tahan Na; elation in Parang Atin Lang Ang Mundo; anecdotal reminiscence on In My Heart; and bittersweet melancholia on Monday. Not to mention that it also has a kickass cover of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger and a remix version of Monday courtesy of Mark Redito who at the time still goes by the name Cocolulu.
In recent years I’ve often complained that the listening experience have been in my own words sullied by the emergence of the IPod and MP3 players that enables the listeners to create playlists or a selection of songs of various artists that in a way detaches individual songs out of its context in a particular record, my encounter with Sarah Sing Me To Sleep is a welcomed relief to asinine playlists as the records functions as a window to life as it were given language by music and the influence of Oasis and the help of Cocolulu (now better known as Spazzkid).
Sarah Sing Me To Sleep, is what it sounds like when life or something like it unfolds into chord progressions and thoughtful writing.
Thank you Oblong, for putting words and melody to our heartfelt longings.