Philippine International Pyromusical Competition - Songlist and Review for Spain and Italy

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The family of my girlfriend was nice enough to invite me to dinner during the first leg of this year's pyromusical competition, and since I don't get to have a nice (i.e. paid) view of the event very often, I might as well do a review on it.

One thing I really like about these Pyrolympic/Pyromusical events is that it's like that only time of the year when my real musical preference gets the center stage. I'm a soundtrack addict, and although there's pretty much a soundtrack for everything in the entertainment industry, from epic movies to Kris Aquino's laughter, you don't really hear these things out of their original contexts.

For some reason, the contestants have a weird but nice habit of picking their tracks from movies, games, and other things that require soundtracks, so I get to enjoy fireworks AND tracks that are more than familiar to me.

That said, this week's two contestants are Korea and Spain. To anybody who's asking which Korea (I was), it's the Korea whose idea of explosions doesn't involve all-out war. I'm not sure about the mechanics, but I think they're required to do a talent portion (fielding something unique from their country), and then go on with the fireworks.

Talent Portion

Korea's talent was really good. I didn't quite catch her name but the violinist lady did good modern interpretations of various classics. When she covered "Anak" people just lost their shit, specifically the guys at the Spanish side, whose idea of capturing the hearts of Filipinos is to field four Flamenco dancers who, unfortunately, couldn't dance to the same beat. (effects of a Two drink minimum perhaps?) My gf told me she was also a beauty. I wasn't able to see, as I was busy prying meat from the crab I was happily eating at the time. So yeah, winner on this part is South Korea, hands down.


Korea worked with a lot of classic soundtracks. Opening with the Terminator Suite, I expected them to come on strong and maintain a strong motif throughout the performance. One thing about the terminator suite though is that its beats are very distinguished, which, if they don't sync with the fireworks, they make the timing delays very visible. From rough and tough, Korea swung to easy street with a couple of stringed Korean tracks, which I could not understandably identify, but were really nice to the ears. The usage of the long burning waterfall configuration of fireworks accentuated the peaceful aura of the music, which was a big plus on my opinion. And then as though to deliver a kick in the balls after the lull, Korea spent the next half of the performance rocking the shit out of the audience with the powerful track of the movie The Rock. After that,back to Korean stuff (at this point, you just know they're just messing with you by fielding as many curveballs as possible) and then they finished off strong with Gladiator's main theme, which is, to say the least, perfect for a strong yet somber finish. Timing of the fireworks are apt during the latter half and made up from the somewhat confusing first half.

Spain had a shitty intro talent portion. It's like they know it and decided to apologize by hauling ASS during the fireworks competition. Spain opens up with Requiem For A Dream (AKA the default epic music of almost every fantrailer on youtube) just to show they're not going for shits and giggles. Choice of fireworks immediately shows why they have won a lot of previous competitions. Mixing rock music with The Matrix Revolution's Neodammerung, which is arguably the best track in the whole trilogy. The theme of imperative doom sung by a ghostly Sanskrit voice ensured that any arrangement would be epic, but Spain took no chances and matched the track with a lot of rapid rockets and quick-flash fireworks. At this point they could have stopped and still won, but the time was barely at the half mark. The next song played is the first part Armageddon suite soundtrack, with the clear plucking of the Spanish guitar complimenting the slowed delivery of the lights display. To pick up the pace, the second half of the suite was played as well along with 2001: A Space Oddessey, though to a lesser degree of gloriousness compared to Neodammerung.

For the last part of Spain's performance they left the already beaten path of soundtracks and used a remix of Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture, a piece famous for having REAL CANNONS as part of the instruments played. What better song to be used for a pyromusical competition? Spain does not disappoint. Their finale was done so well to such degree that I literally had my mouth hanging wide open by the time the performance ended. I have never seen the whole bay in front of MoA light up as bright as that night, and I probably never will.

Spain > Korea. No contest.

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