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Unique Salonga’s second album ‘Pangalan’ is a more personal piece

03. 27. 20, 6 p.m.
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Amidst the craziness the world has spiraled into, most of us are still survived by the art we consume during our mandatory isolation. We still thrive through the TV series, livestreams and TikToks on the daily. But to some of us, it’s anticipated releases from musicians we follow that keeps us sane. 

One of them would be singer-songwriter Unique Salonga’s second album.

If you followed his career just like us, he started off as the IV of Spades’ lead singer. He eventually departed the band and made a name for himself as a soloist. During the dawn of his solo releases, we have no idea what to expect from him. And that became a running theme with his music. 

“Halos isang taon din. Sinubukan ko naman siyang gawin nang paunti-unti.”

His debut album “Grandma” serves as an introduction to his capabilities. From poignant, acoustic lamentations to late ’70s inspired post-punk bops, his first album shows his range as a soloist. “Pangalan” still proves this range through and through. However, Unique has more of a footing on where he stands as a musician.

“Pangalan’s” tracks are more polished and its creative direction steers clear. If “Grandma” is a black and white introduction, “Pangalan” is the crazy minus his debut album’s calm elements. It contains sound collages, idiosyncratic techno instrumentals and post-punk tunes to boot. The promotion period for this album was a little bit bizarre to the normal eye, while for others it takes inspiration from Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” tour. Big suit, weird dreams. 

While talking to his people from O/C Records, they mention a lot how personal this album is to him. This is evident at the first glance of “Pangalan’s” credits. Sure, he had a lotta help from his band and sound engineer . But his sophomore album’s skeletal goes as follows: Written, produced and arranged by none other than Unique himself. 

“Halos isang taon [ko] ’din [ginawa yung album]. Sinubukan ko naman siyang gawin nang paunti-unti,” answers Unique on how long the album took to make. “Mas kalmado at walang pressure sa oras. Kumpara sa first album ko na three months na tuloy-tuloy ‘yung proseso.” He tells us, listeners can expect his sophomore album to be more personal than the first. 

“Tinitingnan ko lang ‘yung mga pagkukulang na ginawa ko no’n tapos hihigitan ko.”

But like the rest of us, he has his personal favorites from the album. He names the instrumental intro “Korporasyon,” the sound collage interlude “Delubyo” and calm, synth-filled outro “Huwag Ka Sanang Magalit” as his top three choices from “Pangalan.” Once you listened to his album, you’ll realize how his choices tell us more about him. 

When asked on how he progressed through “Pangalan,” he answers: “Tinitingnan ko lang ‘yung mga pagkukulang na ginawa ko no’n tapos hihigitan ko.” That might be a Unique Salonga guarantee if we ever heard one. If this is what he can deliver with his second album, we suppose the third one will be more than a progression—it will be unprecedented.

Listen to “Pangalan” here:

Photo by Kirsten Salazar

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Rogin Losa
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