PEP REVIEW: Up Dharma Down surpasses expectations with "Bipolar"


Bipolar is the second album of Up Dharma Down under independent label Terno Recordings. It contains the hits "Sana," "Taya," "Every First Second" and "Return, Saturn, Return."The band is composed of Carlos Tañada (lead guitars), EanMayor (drums and loops), Paul Yap (bass) and Armi Millare (keyboards and vocals).


Up Dharma Down is no stranger to the experimental genre.


In fact, the band members themselves—composed of Carlos Tañada(lead guitars), Ean Mayor (drums and loops), Paul Yap (bass) and Armi Millare (keyboardsand vocals)—do not know the genre of music they play. Loyal fans suppose theycombine several genres, you might as well tag them experimental.


It is not surprising, therefore, that their new music videofor the new single "Sana"is as unclassifiable as their sound. Reminiscent of classic SNES adventureslike Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong, or even Takeshi's Castle, the videois as weird and as strange as the feeling of your first kiss.


Entirely shot in tones of sepia, the whole video looks old-school.Slow-motion techniques, zooms, and 180-degree camera movements heighten thenostalgic feeling the video enthuses. Although the scenes look like abadly-acted video game, the direction makes the whole video look sweet andnostalgic.


Of course, the song "Sana"contributed to the whole feel. Lead singer Armi, who also composed the piece, contributedher poignant vocals to the song, rendering it unforgettable. The song sounds soquiet and relaxing, you might want to put it on loop.


"Sana"is the second single from their album "Bipolar." Released by independent labelTerno Recordings late last year, Bipolar is the follow-up to Up Dharma Down'shighly-acclaimed 2006 album Fragmented.


The 14 tracks in "Bipolar" come in varying genres andlengths. There's the haunting 33-second organ piece "Delayed Breathing." There'sthe two-minute instrumental piece "Return, Saturn, Return," that incoporates thesounds of the electric guitar and the drums to what sounds like a beautifulkulintang piece. "Sugarcoats and Heartbeats," on the other hand, is acombination of two mellow songs in one.


Other notable songs in the album are "Clockwork," "UnspokenDefinites," "The Cold is Warmth," "Silid," and the first single "Every FirstSecond."


But what could match Up Dharma Down's first breakaway hit "Oo"three years ago may be the catchy song "Taya." The intelligent lyrics and the ear-friendlymelody echo throughout the song, and they are apt to hook even the most casual listener.

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With Bipolar, Up Dharma Down truly does not disappoint.


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