Ebe Dancel's Baliktanaw: A track-by-track guide by producer Chino David

Ebe Dancel's Baliktanaw: A track-by-track guide by producer Chino David

Chino David has been working with Ebe Dancel for about 15 years now and according to the violinist-producer-music director, "it has always been a blast and honor."

For their latest collaboration, Chino got onboard as producer for Ebe's latest full-length album Baliktanaw. The new 11-track record reinvents some of Ebe's greatest hits through his 20-year career with refined twists brought to life with an incredibly talented group of Filipino musicians together with Shinji Tanaka and Hazel Pascua at Kodama Studios and Emil dela Rosa.

"The schedule for this album was insane," Chino tells Bandwagon. "Basically we were given a little over two weeks to finish the whole album (record, mix, and master) so that it could be launched in time for the concert."

"All of the tracks were recorded by Shinji Tanaka and Hazel Pascua of Kodama Studio,except for Burnout which was recorded by my bandmate Roll Martinez in his home studio," Chino adds. "I am very grateful to them for accommodating this project and doing a wonderful job despite the time constraints."

Bandwagon caught up with Chino to give a rundown of Ebe Dancel's Baliktanaw and the stories behind them.


'BURNOUT'

Guitars: Roll Martinez
Bass: Sheldon Gellada
Drums: Pao Santiago

Thinking of ways to “redo” Ebe’s songs was the main (and very tough) challenge for this album. Mas humirap pa for 'Burnout' kasi this song already had hundreds of versions/covers done. Most of the versions though are acoustic and in the slow side, so nilayo ko na talaga. Mas mabilis, tunog banda ulit. That’s when I asked my bandmates Roll, Sheldon, and Pao to help me out for this song.

For me, they were the perfect fit to what the song needed. Side note, na-kwento ni Ebe during one of our sessions na 'Burnout' was actually the first song he ever recorded, kaya naisip ko it was also perfect to make it the first track in the album.


'TELEPONO'

Guitars: John Apura
Drums: Paolo Manuel
Bass: Roger Alcantara
Saxophone: Nicole Tejedor
Trumpet: EJ Celestial
Trombone: Oscar Hernandez

From the early stages of planning the song treatments pa lang, nag decide nako na I’ll be incorporating wind instruments kahit na di ko pa talaga naiisip what to do with the song. Sa areglo, I took inspiration from Ebe and his band’s live version but eventually this song took its own form. No fail, every time I listen to this track, I can’t help but bob my head.


'MARIPOSA'

Piano: Jed Balsamo
Cello: Jopi Diestro

I knew from the start that there had to be a song in the album with Ebe and a piano. I had some great songs to choose from that would sound “nice” if played with a piano. Then 'Mariposa' popped into my head, and instantly knew it was the perfect song.

In my head, I wanted it like one of those solos out of a musical so right away I knew Jed (amazing composer, pianist and a very good friend of mine) would be perfect choice to play the piano for the track.


'UNANG ARAW'

Dito ako pinaka kinabahan—at first, how Ebe would react after I initially told him of my plan for the song, then how the listener/fans would react to it. Thankfully, both turned out positive. Personally, I absolutely loved the idea of stripping down this song to almost nothing and just letting you focus on the words and the melody. Yung kanta, tungkol sa unang araw ng pag-iisa kaya doon ko rin dinala yung areglo.


'KWARTO'

Guitar: Ebe Dancel
Violin: Christian Tan
Viola: Reycay Concepcion
Cello: Jopi Diestro

For 'Kwarto,' both Ebe and I fell in love with the acoustic + string section treatment. To give it a bit more character, I wanted the track to be more organic and raw. I asked Ebe to record the vocals sitting down, intentionally to take away a bit of power from his vocals and set the mood that he is seated down in front of you. Parang kausap ka lang niya, nakatambay kayo for one last time sa kwarto niya.

Watch their home studio performance here:


'CUIDA'

Bass: Rommel dela Cruz
Keyboard: Nikko Rivera
Drums: Michael Alba
Saxophone: Nicole Tejedor

I’ve always heard this song in my head with a lot more finesse. Swabe lang talaga yung gusto ko for this rendition. Except for the vocals and the saxophone, this track was recorded live in one take. Isa lang yung “instruction” ko sa musicians before mag record, “Kayo na bahala basta masarap lang.” And indeed, ang sarap nga ng kinalabasan.


'TULOG NA'

Drums: Michael Alba
Bass: Rommel dela Cruz
Guitar: John Apura
Violin: Christian Tan
Viola: Reycay Concepcion
Cello: Jopi Diestro
Saxophone: Nicole Tejedor
Trumpet: EJ Celestial
Trombone: Oscar Hernandez

For this track, not much thought was given to the treatment because I purposely let it develop by itself through the musician’s performances. Binigay ko lang kay Kuya Michael, Rommel and John yung basic structure nung kanta and sila na bahala sa atake. Then saka ko inareglo yung string and wind parts nung lumabas na yung character niya. It evolved to have a feel-good vibe that can put you to sleep with a smile on your face, kahit na hindi siya tahimik na kanta.


'DEAR KUYA'

Drums: Michael Alba
Guitar: John Apura​​​​​​​
Bass: Rommel dela Cruz
Saxophone: Nicole Tejedor​​​​​​​
Trumpet: EJ Celestial
Trombone: Oscar Hernandez

The original version of 'Dear Kuya' was so good, I didn’t have the heart to change it. So instead of making a new recipe, I just added some condiments to make the experience a little bit better from what is already a very sumptuos dish.


'WAG KA NANG UMIYAK'

Drums: Paolo Manuel
Bass: Roger Alcantara​​​​​​​
Guitar: John Apura​​​​​​​
Violin: Christian Tan
Viola: Reycay Concepcion
Cello: Jopi Diestro​​​​​​​
Saxophone: Nicole Tejedor​​​​​​​
Trumpet: EJ Celestial
​​​​​​​Trombone: Oscar Hernandez

This track had very specific goal. To remind the listeners, especially the young ones, that this is Ebe’s original and not Gary Vs. Haha. Kidding aside, just like 'Dear Kuya' I felt that there shouldn’t be a different version—just an improved one. This song had a symphonic treatment written all over it so we did just that.


'HANGOVER'

This is my personal favorite from all the songs Ebe has written for Sugarfree. I will never forget the first time I heard the song, the band was still recording Mornings and Airports and I joined them in the studio to record some violins on a song. Pagkarinig ko nung line na “Ako ay nauuhaw at ikaw ang aking tubig”, napa mura talaga ako sa utak ko dahil sobrang ganda and genius. Anyway, I gave this track a very dreamy synth-based arrangement vibing to the feeling of being hungover from alcohol and love.


'HANGGANG KAILAN KITA MAHIHINTAY'

Drums: Paolo Manuel
Bass: Roger Alcantara​​​​​​​
Guitar: John Apura​​​​​​​
Violin: Christian Tan
Viola: Reycay Concepcion
Cello: Jopi Diestro​​​​​​​

Since there is already a previous version of this song by Paolo Valenciano, all I had to do was bring the arrangement and character of this track closer to Ebe’s sound. Nothing out of the ordinary, just classic Ebe Dancel.


Ebe Dancel's Baliktanaw is now available on vinyl via Polyeast Records. Get the record via Shopee or Lazada.