fresh no ads
Spazzkid’s human desire |


Spazzkid’s human desire

Shinji Manlangit - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - I do miss the Philippines. It’s always on my mind,” says musician Mark Redito.

Mark arrived in America in 2008 with hope of a new life, one that is far from the rural confines of his hometown, San Pedro, Laguna. At the time, Mark went by the stage name “Cocolulu” (he changed this to Spazzkid upon knowing that a girly fashion line from Japan uses that very moniker).

Mark’s life had been sweet in Manila. I first saw him play live back in 2007. It was at a friend’s house show that was eventually shut down by the local barangay after a series of complaints from the neighbor. “I don’t know what Ping Medina is f**king doing inside my house, bro,” was what my friend was screaming to me over the blaring music that night. Apparently, he was also waiting for Cocolulu to play.

Over the course of one year from that busted house show, Mark played a handful of local shows with enthusiastic crowds dancing to beats that he made in his own bedroom. In 2008, he helped score Raya Martin’s Now Showing which ended up in Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight.

But it was the possibility of studying music in Los Angeles that drew him to leave the country.

New beat

In the five years after his big move, Spazzkid still isn’t exactly as ubiquitous as someone like Toro Y Moi, however Redito has crafted his skill well enough to be considered in the same caliber as the acts you see on Pitchfork. “The US in general is geographically huge,” he noted. “Every city and state has its own scene which I feel is further divided into different genres and cliques.” This is part of the reason why building buzz is a feat that Mark hasn’t completely mastered yet. It’s also one of the biggest changes that he had to get used to. “In the Philippines, the scene is smaller and more tight-knit,” he said. “Everyone knows everyone. And regardless of genre, people hang out with each other.”

What Spazzkid has mastered is a distinct sound, one that’s been cultivated by roughly weaving intricate electronic music. “I am not as afraid to venture into unfamiliar territories anymore through my music. The aesthetics of the album, the look and feel of it, is consistent all throughout. They are exactly what I see and hear in my mind. Everything is deliberate. In my previous offerings, there was less consideration for those things.”

Mark likens his new album to a sketchpad where he’d draw things that he feels at a certain moment; in “Desire,” that sonic palette is mostly made up of his fascination for bass frequencies, textural sounds, and eight-bit chiptunes. Part of what makes “Desire” a success is Spazzkid’s ability to mix and match a plethora of sounds in order to achieve something that’s completely his own. Here, Redito steers eloquently through the wave of chill that had been crashing the shores of California for quite some time now.

Creative elevation

The track Forgiveness is a beautifully mangled ditty that’s largely composed of bits and pieces from VST’s Ipagpatawad Mo. Although it may illicit some cries of plagiarism, Redito should probably shrug that thought off since this bold move creatively elevates the classic Manila Sound further. Loving Free evokes the feeling of blissful abandon, leaving listeners breathless as they dance through the pulsing chorus (You and I are meant to be/You and I loving free). “Desire” shows Spazzkid vastly improving his production skills: The beats are carefully layered and mixed in a way that singular trinkets of sound are made cohesive. Simply put, everything makes sense in tracks like Getting to Know You and Kokeshi Doll.

It is in somber pieces like 40 Winks that Spazzkid really shines. By sampling a My Bloody Valentine cover of “When You Sleep” by Memoryhouse, Redito takes the raw pulsing power of MBV and mixes it with the gentle evocation of Memoryhouse and creates an ode to life that is reminiscent of days I’ve spent listening to a Daniel Johnston record playing through a tiny tape deck. In “If Not You Then Who,” Spazzkid used an Owen song (Bag of Bones) as a foundation which nearly brought this writer to tears. The distant and muffled vocals seemingly buried upon layers and layers of glaze and haze showed Redito’s ability to effortlessly channel a whole range of emotions, rendering an intimate listening experience.

Co. Lab

“Desire” is also built upon collaboration. “Candy Flavored Lips” sees Spazzkid with the Davao-based electropop artist Skymarines, which required them to pass tracks (some recorded from an iPhone) back and forth from LA to the Philippines. If it worked for Dntel and Ben Gibbard for The Postal Service, the distance certainly worked wonders for “Desire.” Skymarine’s Isa Añiga does much of the song’s heavy lifting with a sultry delivery backed up by Spazzkid’s head-bobbing beat. In the future, Spazzkid hopes to work with the likes of Raimund Marasigan and The Diegos: Diego Castillo and Diego Mapa (Redito previously worked with the latter on Eggboy vs. Spazzkid), as well as Toro Y Moi and Flying Lotus.

Interestingly enough, Mark wouldn’t have accomplished “Desire” if it weren’t for his online campaign on the Kickstarter-like website Indiegogo. “As an artist, a campaign like this gives you direct connection to your fans,” he said. “In a way, it also forces the artist to become more accountable to his fans. In turn, it provides the fans with direct access to the artist to personally support his/her creative endeavors.” Through the campaign, Mark sold out the first printing of “Desire” and managed to buy a better computer to further his digital tinkering. Right now, “Desire” is only available by streaming on Soundcloud (, Bandcamp (, or through handmade cassette tapes. “Cassette culture here in the States has seen a resurgence lately,” he noted about the strange decision to initially release it on tape instead of the digital-friendly CD. “Besides being affordable to produce, cassettes give the same level of analog warmth to recordings, similar to vinyl.”   

Mark hopes to travel around Northern California and Portland to spread his music further, but all that touring lessens the chance of him going back to Manila. “I really miss the Philippines and I hope to come back for a visit. “Desire” might have been a totally different album if I stayed in the Philippines. But then again, it might also have been the same.” With his work largely influenced by the things around him, Spazzkid used only one word in describing his album: “Human.”

* * *

Tweet the author @JunellHernando.

vuukle comment










Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with