Notes on ... Slowing Down

Presenting a new music concept, in collaboration with Transit Records.

Last February, during an island holiday off the southeastern coast of the Philippines, we, Kat and Sai, frequented an unfinished bridge next to a lagoon. The bridge was an open secret among residents and tourists, who congregated there with longboards to watch the sunset at 5 PM. 

With more moments of solitude occupying our days, we find pleasure in remembering the sound of longboard wheels scraping against the tarmac as the waves gently rippled behind us. With the outside world shrinking to the size of our palms, these simple memories remind us of a dying art — the one of loitering, or to “stand or wait around without apparent purpose.

Loitering is a central idea to ‘Please Stand By’ — our new music concept, celebrating slowing down in the public space. We were also inspired by our long-time fascination with budots, a peculiar genre of Filipino electronic music that combines Bajau drum beats with the blip synths of ‘90s Eurodance. In the Visayan language, budots translates to the Tagalog slang tambay — a play on the words “stand by,” meaning a loiterer with too much free time. Driven by a desire to build community, albeit, without a physical place to occupy, ‘Please Stand By’ challenges notions that “doing nothing” is detrimental for our well-being — a love letter to our public spaces, whether through a live stream or on the curb outside your street.

With quarantine culture flourishing in group chats and Google spreadsheets, this project builds community through the simple act of sharing online. 

Below, we’ve compiled anecdotes, as well as playlists and recipes, from our favourite people in the creative and cultural sector, reflecting on slowing down in the public space. Music is a valuable source of companionship for us, so we hope you find solace between the tempo of these words. 

For now: just slow down, take it easy, and please stand by. 

We want to give our thanks to all those who participated in this project, most especially Sean, Pato, and Matt of Transit Records for being our collaborators. They were one of the first groups to live-stream music events following lockdown measures in Manila, Philippines, keeping our creative community in high spirits. 

Join us on Saturday, 16 May, from 21:00 GMT+8 as we partner for our first live-streamed music event, featuring Disco, Funk, House, and Leftfield Techno by Papa Jawnz and Tropical Futures Institute, inspired by the elusive budots genre. Follow us on @edsa.life for more info.

Transit Records also have forthcoming releases on Bandcamp prepared for this June, including house and techno tracks by Saint Guel, LM900, Local Sun, and Papa Jawnz. Follow them on @transitrecords for future projects, online and offline. You can also click the links of the artists above to get a taste of their music. 

We also want to express our solidarity with photographers who have recently struggled to make their work viable. Shelter Fund is an online platform where prints from Filipino photographers are available for purchase. All work is signed, limited, and exclusive to the platform. Proceeds go to a collective fund for all the participating photographers — some of whom are part of this newsletter. Be sure to check out their work using their respective links below. 

We are excited to share this new project with you guys. If you want to bounce ideas around or make shit happen, our inboxes are open for future collaborations. 

Enjoy this newsletter, and stay safe!

Toodle-doo,

Kat and Sai 


Life in the fast lane

Image by Jeric Rustia, a Manila-based architect, product designer, and photographer. “Having ADHD means I have a problem with my perception of time. Like, I need a ticking clock beside me to keep me grounded. I’ve learned to punctuate my days with the things I do and, nowadays, I seem to have a lot to fit in my daily routine.”

Jeremy Chan is the head chef and co-founder of Ikoyi, a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. Some have dubbed his cuisine as "perverse," exploring the sensualities of spices while championing local produce. Jeremy’s playlist reflects this with an energetic serving of techno music.

“Living slowly has definitely been a challenge for me. 

I’m used to a lifestyle of incessant pressure: waking up at 5:45 AM, messaging suppliers, checking on deliveries, exercise, coffee, then a 16-hour day in the kitchen. Sometimes, this begins with butchering a three-month aged rib of beef or churning six litres of ice cream. I guess this means I’m an intense person who needs a rigid line-up of objectives in order to feel a sense of purpose. 

Life in the slow lane caused me to rewire a bit. I’ve learned to write small work-related lists to complete by midday so the rest of the time can be spent reading, cooking, and working out in the garden. Perhaps this is just another kind of intensity, manifested in a more domestic routine. 

A good friend from Korea has been sharing his workout routines and these are my moments of escape from the slow lane. Normally, the workout involves barbells and weights, interval training interspersed with Olympic-style weight lifting. Without a gym and proper equipment, I’ve adapted by using an immensely heavy garden stone, which has become my best friend. I must have spent over 60 hours hugging, lifting, and holding my friend in all kinds of positions. 

Together we’ve been channeling that intensity I’ve missed from the fast lane. I’ve attached a playlist that I listen to during these moments.”

An old place with fresh eyes

Image by Una Ilarde, a Manila-based fashion stylist and frequent collaborator of Transit Records. “It’s hard to find isolation in public spaces, especially these days. So, when I get the chance to experience a specific time and place without thinking of being somewhere else, it sticks to me.”

Cedric Bardawil is a London-based art curator, writer, and DJ who has hosted at the likes of NTS Radio, Worldwide FM, and Red Light Radio. He recently launched Fourth Sounds, a platform exploring the relationship between music and contemporary art. Let Cedric’s playlist keep you company as your mind wanders on the chopping board or while you watch the clouds drift by. 

Visions of a bygone era: quiet roads, infrequent buses, neighbours queuing in line, a sense of community and locality. Almost overnight, the streets of London transformed into what I can only imagine they might have been fifty years ago. 

For some, parks replaced restaurants and bars as a place to see and be seen. For others, parks became the sole refuge from domestic life — an escape from their overcrowded household; a place to exercise, contemplate and revel in nature unaffected by this pandemic. 

Soon, the hustle of daily life will resume. But, until then, I’m going to enjoy long walks, taking in the seasons and marvelling at the architecture surrounding me.

Cherish it while it’s still here

Image by Miguel Nacianceno, a Manila-based photographer. “I was walking by the water after a shoot ended in the early evening. From where I was, I had a nice view of the Roxas Boulevard skyline, and this dude who had his own way of "owning a space."

majestic disorder is an independent arts + culture magazine connecting nomadic creatives.  Founders Sean Stillmaker and Kelley Mullarkey give us food for thought on what our future might look like by living slowly, as well as a recipe for actual food: whole roasted cauliflower, adapted from Sophia Roe

“You don’t know what you had until you lost it” is an adage now palpable to nearly everyone on this planet.

Whether it’s live music, theatre, cinema, shopping, eating, drinking, or walking — these once normal activities were always accessible and surrounded by the soundtrack of human life without being muffled by a face mask or constant foreboding subtext.

The coronavirus revoked these conventional experiences in the public space. Never before have we, personally, been so deprived of social interactions. Our epiphany through these extraordinary times is realising just how much observing, socialising, and interacting in the public benefits our positive well-being.

A silver lining in our self-isolation, however, is the slowing of our rapid-paced lifestyle, working on projects long neglected on the to-do list. This has been a profound period of personal reflection and productivity for us — something we’ll continue when we can be inspired by life in the public space again.

When that time comes, we hope these lessons will not be forgotten. Our planet is definitely healthier with this slowdown and we’ve proven that life can continue without a heavy carbon footprint.”

Whole roasted cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp chili flakes
¼ cup of water
Zest of one lemon
¼ cup chopped herbs of choice

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Trim outer cauliflower leaves. Discard stalk so the cauliflower sits flat in a Dutch oven. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl to make the cauliflower marinade.

Put ¼ cup water inside the Dutch oven, along with the cauliflower (this will create steam, making the cauliflower tender). Using a pastry brush, generously spread half of the marinade all over the cauliflower. Place the lid on the cauliflower and cook for 35-40 minutes. While cooking, add lemon zest and chopped herbs to the remaining marinade. After 35-40 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and turn oven temperature to 450°F/250°C.

Apply more marinade to the cauliflower, ensuring extra flavor and a gorgeous brown outer crust. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, then remove from heat. Cool for 3-5 minutes. Once cooled, apply the rest of the marinade or herbs. Serve immediately.

Spending time where it matters

Image by Gio Panlilio, Photo Editor of Tarzeer Pictures. “I’ve spent a lot of time looking out at the parking lot across my street. Despite the quarantine, it’s still full most weekdays — although, I rarely see anyone coming and going. When I wake up, the cars are there; when I look again in the late afternoon, they’re gone. Given time to reflect on something literally under my nose, the irony, of the stillness of the parking lot, struck me. For a place of such unapologetic transience, there’s so little movement. In catching a lone driver walking towards their vehicle, I follow the shafts of light as it permeates through space, casting shadows on each car as it passes by.”

Chris Kontos is a fashion photographer and editor of Kennedy Magazine, a “biannual journal of curiosities.” Little did Chris know he would raise his first child during a pandemic. But instead of swimming in a pool of worry, he regained ownership of his time — once lost to the rat race, now spent in the loving company of his new family. Being from Athens, Greece, Chris’ playlist transports us to a sunny coast by the Mediterranean Sea. 

“The experience of being a parent under lockdown has been a rather challenging, but also enlightening, experience. 

Our son was born on February 26, just before the pandemic alarmed countries worldwide. After my first wave of panic, caused by the postponement of my travels and work as a fashion photographer, and despite how surreal it often feels, I began seeing the positives of the situation. 

As a new parent, I need time. Now, I have all the time in the world, which mostly goes towards taking care of my two-month-old son. Before the pandemic, I was exhausted by my demanding lifestyle of traveling almost every week. These days, by 10 PM, I’m usually asleep on the couch in the middle of a movie. I have craved to spend more time at home. Now with this new norm, I don’t miss the outside world as much as I did.

I'm taking this precious opportunity to reflect on what is important. My family is one of those things. I hope to be back with renewed strengths once life commences again, fighting the good fight.”

Some things can stay the same

Image by Isabel Sicat, co-founder of fashion label Toqa. “I’ve been trying to keep my cool in the oppressive Manila climate. My quarantine culture consists of filling the spaces I’d normally spend with friends with alternative methods of entertainment. Slow living means finding different ways to hold myself together — and sometimes, you can do just that with a handful of Toqa face masks.”

Transit Records is a Manila-based music collective. Since the lockdown, they have explored various ways of sharing music — from radio stations to virtual listening rooms. Living slowly helped their founders, Matt San Pedro, Sean Bautista, and Patrick “Pato” Casabuena, develop a more open-minded approach to their work. 

Matt San Pedro: I’ve woken up later these days. The pressure to rise early dissipated because I don’t have to go anywhere for anything. Sometimes, I miss hailing motorcycle rides in the city, but my body appreciates the reprieve.

Now that my workload is lighter, I’ve dedicated more time to one task. I’ve watched more movies in the past month than I have in the last few years. I’ve also played new video games outside of the usual WWE 2K19, which was the only title I had time for previously.  

All in all, this quarantine hasn’t been the hardest for me. I only hope to stay busy, as I’m not yet ready to face the uncertainty that awaits.”

Sean Bautista: “This period affected us in ways we never expected. As a party-loving collective of DJs, nights out motivated us to discover new music for our community. Since quarantine, we haven’t gotten close to the club night we’d hoped to have. 

These days, we’re thinking about radio — a relatively dated platform at a time when streaming allows you to skip forward instantly. In this old-school medium, we've found a type of listening you don’t often get nowadays. Sometimes, it’s nice not to predict what is to come. 

Without the physical space, we’ve also been free to play music without the baggage of needing to heat up the dancefloor. I believe this has led to a more mindful way of interfacing with music — one that is slow, conscious, and intentional.”

Pato Casabuena: “It’s nice to have the quiet I’ve had recently — not just from literal noise, but there’s less noise in my thoughts as well. 

I try to be mindful of everything I do and I’ve developed a routine that hasn’t become boring. I wake up, weigh myself, make a cup of coffee, have a morning chat with friends, catch up on music and social media, have lunch, take a nap, work out, make or dig for music, look for recipes, cook dinner, have a Netflix Party with friends (on Wednesday nights), sleep. There’s a shower somewhere there, but it changes depending on how hot the day is. 

It’s a big leap from the chaos of the first month on quarantine and I’ve come to terms with the uncertainty. Planning ahead and keeping my routine lessened the noise.” 

Find peace in a bowl of pasta al limone

Slowing down means relishing in what you have, not chasing what you lack. Chris Kontos shares an easy and comforting dish using ingredients you will likely have in your cupboard. His recipe is not fussed with measurements either, so we suggest following your intuition. 

Pasta
April 15, 2020

1 pack of linguine or spaghetti 
3 garlic cloves, chopped 
1 lemon, using both the zest and juice
Extra virgin olive oil 
Butter 
Smoked chili flakes
Parmesan cheese, grated 
Salt

While boiling the pasta in salted water, sauté the chopped garlic in plenty of olive oil and butter. Add the chili flakes and lemon zest along with a little salt, and cook until garlic is slightly brown but not burned. Toss in the pasta (cooked a couple of minutes earlier than recommended time) and the lemon juice. Stir vigorously. Over low heat, slowly add some of the pasta water until the butter and olive oil emulsifies. Add some extra olive oil and serve with grated parmesan. 

Enjoy!


Join us for our first live-streamed music event on Saturday, 16 May 2020, at 21:00 GMT+8. Follow @edsa.life and @transitrecords for more info.

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