Friday, 30 October 2015

Ryan Cayabyab's magnificent Prog-Fusion Roots to Routes, Pinoy Jazz Volume II, from 1977

From quimsy again we have this marvellous, utterly enchanting and out of left field entry. We all know there was Indonesian prog as well as fusion in the seventies, particularly thanks to the magnificent Giant Step, who released seven unforgettable albums in the period, but prog from the Philippines too?

Born Raymundo Cipriano Pujante Cayabyab, from the discogs profile:

Ryan Cayabyab (May 4, 1954) [note he was all of 23 years old on this release!] is a Filipino musician and was the Executive and Artistic Director of the defunct San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts. He was also a resident judge for the only season of Philippine Idol in 2006. His works range from commissioned full-length ballets, theater musicals, choral pieces, a Mass set to unaccompanied chorus, and orchestral pieces, to commercial recordings of popular music, film scores and television specials.  Cayayab's current project includes the Ryan Cayabyab Singers (RCS), a group of seven young adult singers comparable to his prior group Smokey Mountain in the early '90s. After FreemantleMedia decided not to renew the Philippine Idol franchise, Cayabyab transferred to rival show Pinoy Dream Academy (season 2), replacing Jim Paredes as the show's headmaster. PDA 2 started on June 14, 2008. 

He is now the executive director of the Philpop MusicFest Foundation Inc., the organization behind the Philippine Popular Music Festival, a songwriting competition for amateurs and professionals that seeks to uplift the Philippine Music industry by putting the spotlight on songwriters, and encouraging Filipinos to preserve our musical identity. 

According to the database this is his only work from this period, sadly.  Perhaps at a later date we can try to seek out some of his composed work, hard as that may be.

For those who love prog, be prepared to fall off your chair when you hear the dissonance and angular chord changes as sudden as a space capsule on reentry hitting the Pacific ocean on Pen Pen di Sarapen:

A weaker track called "Telebong" (great name, huh? should be the title of a Hollywood comedy) sounds like the old Weather Report jazz standard, Birdland:

But boy, are those ultra-high-pitched female vocals wonderful to hear!  Note the spoken voice at the end: "it's too noisy in here! I can't hear anything! Does anyone have a  -- " [unable to distinguish the word.]

The gorgeous soothing sax sounds of Manilac Lay Labi:

The inimitable and oh-so-European Lulay track sounds like anything randomly drawn from the glorious progressive fusion LPs of Italian Goblin, French Gong, Transit Express, or the great national Finnish treasure Finnforest:

In particular the sustained and plaintive bowed cello playing here interrupted by improvised noodling by finger-played bass behind the grand piano accompaniment are absolute musical bliss for me.  There is no terror or calamity in life that can happen that could take me away from the beauty and happiness this music injects in my soul.  We must thank the composer from the bottom of our hearts for his power to blow away the dark clouds that have that potential to destroy our days and that appear like bad weather with such frequency today.

Note that all the tracks I am quoting here are based on folk songs.

Full credits here in an insert:

Ryan Cayabyab - vocals, all keyboards : fender rhodes, String ensemble, acoustic piano, synthesizer, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Clavinet 
Roger Herrera - Electric and acoustic bass 
Eddie Munji III - elec and acous guitars, vox 
Jun Regalado - drums, tympani, percussion (afuce, bamboo)
Boy Alcaide - Percussion (congas, bongos, bamboo) 
Rudy Barria - Soprano and tenor sax, flute 
Ernie Mendoza - Tenor sax, piccolo 
Rudy Sucgang - Alto & tenor sax, flute 
Eddie Sangcap - Alto Sax 
Hermina Ilano - Cello 
Perfirio del Rosario - oboe 
Fred Concepcion - Trumpet 
Passionata - vocals 

"Somebody along the way used a jew's harp - thanks" 

Produced by Jim Paredes and Cecilio B. Cas 
Technical engineer and mixer : Jess Payumo
Recorded at Sampaguita Studio under an Aquarian Sun and a Scorpion Fever. 

Highly, highly recommended album here, it's available for cheap download on amazon as you can see here-- along with a criminally inappropriate & inadequate review.  I am to presume the artist will benefit from each download, so please, go there to hear this and note that despite the availability of the actual mp3 content, the original vinyl sells for hundreds of dollars.


  1. "Recorded at Sampaguita Studio under an Aquarian Sun and a Scorpion Fever..."


  2. new reup of cosmology from dec 2013 by request: