PARADISE RISING is a sister label to 88Rising that focuses on uplifting Filipino artists, and in honor of Filipino American History Month, they’ve put together a sequel to their successful 2020 semilucent compilation EP. Recruiting artists like daze and Manila Killa, semilucent 2 features five new songs that all contain a sense of nostalgia and celebrate different aspects of life in various forms. Let’s take a closer look at the project’s tracks!
“Island Baby (Maarte)” – MANILA GREY
The EP opener sounds like summer feels, showing appreciation for the women in Canadian duo MANILA GREY’s life. It’s a fun celebration of femininity and their Filipino culture with a guitar-driven instrumental reminiscent of DJ Khaled’s Rihanna-assisted “Wild Thoughts,” making it the perfect choice to kick off semilucent 2.
“In ‘Island Baby,’ we show love to all the beautiful women in our lives, women who represent the vibrancy and class of our culture, both in our home city and Vancouver,” MANILA GREY shares. “‘Maarte’ is slang for high maintenance in Filipino, but it actually means artsy. We just wanted to flip that narrative into something fun, while showcasing the art and the grace. All the strong women in our lives have high standards, sometimes you need that energy you know? Like go ahead, it’s all good, feel yourself.”
“All Night” – Steven Peregrina
“All Night” is a feel-good anthem perfect for a night out with friends, buzzing with cool synth and upbeat 808s. Steven Peregrina’s smooth vocal delivery helps ground the track while still making it a standout song on the EP, and if you close your eyes while listening, you can practically see the nightlife it so vividly describes.
“‘All Night’ is all about good vibes, good times, and partying, man!” Peregrina exclaims. “I was literally freestyling that time and whatever lyrics and melodies that came out, I instantly recorded it. Haha! I’m super excited and ecstatic to be a part of the semilucent 2 EP and Paradise Rising. I consider this song to be my ‘TakeOff’ and y’all should be ready for me! So, Asia, here I come!”
“Situation” – daze
Toning down the electronic elements for a more introspective, R&B-influenced track, “Situation” sees daze falling for someone she’s been seeing, with her velvety vocals giving the EP a more feminine touch. If you like vocalists like H.E.R., SZA, and Keyshia Cole, this will be right up your alley!
“‘Situation’ is about a relationship between two people who are in between love and friendship, or a ‘situationship,’” daze explains. “Neither really want to admit how much they like each other, but the tension and passion keeps building until they both can’t deny it any longer. It’s a soulful song with layers and layers of melodies that express desire, connection, and taking a leap of faith.”
“Black Hearts” – Curtismith & CA Christian Alexander
“Black Hearts” opens with an atmospheric intro that will transport you to another plane before coming in with heavy-hitting 808s. The track is brimming with confidence as Curtismith and CA Christian Alexander take turns rapping about romance and relationship struggles. The playful spoken outro says what we were all thinking: “Damn, that’s insane, bro!”
“‘Black Hearts’ is a trap RnB song about how cold relationships can be,” Alexander says. “Welcome to the dark side of Paradise. Curtismith and I are excited to be a part of the semilucent 2 EP because we have an opportunity to represent the Philippines on 88Rising’s global platform and inspire the next generation of artists to continue to keep pushing Filipino music culture forward.”
“Reminisce” – Manila Killa feat. Yuna
semilucent 2 saved one of the best for last, with closer “Reminisce” being an upbeat, synth-driven track with some fun 80s vibes. The track is brimming with nostalgia for past memories, aligning with the turn of seasons as the warm summer weather fades into a brisk fall chill.
“I started the instrumental track ‘Reminisce’ during quarantine when I felt no pressure to create a specific type of music,” Manila Killa shares. “It was during a time where I felt artistically free – there were no shows coming up and everything was at a standstill so I took the opportunity to try some things out I haven’t before. When I found out Yuna was interested in the track, I was so so excited to work with her as I’ve been a long-time fan. She totally understood the mood I was going for with the track and turned it from this fun disco demo into something raw, emotional, and reminiscent of better times.”
Yuna adds, “When I heard Manila Killa’s instrumental track, I was at a place in my life where I had to start being creative in a new environment. I was at home with my family, it was so different from what I’m used to. But listening to ‘Reminisce’ just inspired me to write something emotional, about romanticizing the past or a memory that lives in your head forever. After I sent over my vocals, Manila Killa took that song to a whole new level, I was blown away. I’m so lucky I got to work with such a talented musician who understood the mood and the emotions of what I was singing about.”
Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, The Honey POP, Genius, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, as well as my own Melodic Musings blog. Find me on socials @madisonmwrites!