Manila Community Radio has become a vital hub for the Filipino underground since launching in 2020. Founded by members of the BuwanBuwan Collective, Ikigai Radio, transit records and UNKNWN, the online platform has devoted itself to shining a light on independent artists, musicians and DJs across the Philippine archipelago, with an emphasis on marginalised voices and subcultures.
At the heart of MCR’s ethos is budots, a genre that originated in Davao City around 2009, and has evolved to become the dominant sound within the region’s burgeoning grassroots scene. Characterised by its infectious energy, syncopated drums, animated basslines and gratuitous lashings of FX, vocals, whistles and synths, the style’s multiple regional variations filter rhythmic elements of indigenous music through eurodance, trance, pop and techno foundations, with an accompanying freestyle dance style to boot.
Speaking about the style, MCR co-founder and programming lead Jorge Wieneke V (a.k.a. obese.dogma777) said: “It’s fascinating how budots kind of captures and represents us as a people, with its resilience, playfulness, and campiness. Like other grassroots sounds across the globe – like Detroit techno, Chicago house, Indonesia’s dangdut and more – it feels like something the Philippines can truly call its own.”
Now, budots pioneer DJ Love has curated a compilation for MCR, spotlighting the sound’s many strands over 53 tracks from artists across the archipelago. All proceeds from the release will go toward the families, livelihoods, and creative projects of the Camusgirlz, a budots dance troupe from Davao City. Check out the release here.
Back in April, Manila Community Radio was awarded the Boiler Room Broadcast Lab grant, through which they able to host a live streamed budots showcase, which you can revisit here. The artists participating in the Broadcast Lab showcase were Teya Logos, Libya Montes, Showtime Official Club, Hideki Ito, T33G33, obese.dogma777, Pikunin and DJ Love, all of whom have now stepped up for DJ Mag’s Selections series to highlight two tracks that join the dots between budots and numerous, high-energy club styles from around the world. Dive into their choices below.
“Not budots, per se, but funkot, which is Indonesia's answer to budots but on steroids. Released under DugTrax Records, this track has been in my constant rotation. It's wild yet very danceable.”
“Released under my favourite Indonesian label, YesNoWave Music, the second on the list is from West Papuan Asep Nayak. I believe the genre is called wisisi which is an emerging electronic music fused with traditional West Papuan sound. They recently made a documentary about this genre which I am very excited to watch.”
“200 to 300 BPM of frenzied goodness from the future sound of Tanzania: singeli. The magical, speedy, provocative yet spiritual dance form has gone from being a social outcast to a source of national pride. I see its similarities to budots. There’s something about the speed that puts you in a trance-like state and I feel a similarity in aura and energy to what we experience in the blissful effect of budots.”
“Very similar in likeness to the energy of budots, Barakatak is a group known for pioneering funkot (short for funky kota). I believe this was known as the first song that led to the funkot/dangdut house movement in Indonesia. I saw them live in Pesta Pora last year. They performed right after me and, for some reason, I felt a connection between their sound and the sound of the budots I played that night.”
“A dance mania trip composed of groovy basslines that progress with whimsical arp plucks, which let you ruminate on whether to dance to layers of percussions and piercing baby-kwitis-like stabs, or high-pitched squeal harmonies reminiscent of budots’ signature vernacular sounds.”
“It’s budots contextualised as futuristic electronica. The fat bassline and the multi-layered call and response of different elements, particularly the hint of humour in the laughing-cyborg-gecko-like synth, captured and reminded me of the comical side of budots.”
“Prontaxan is a Yogyakarta-based electronic dance music group that plays funkot, an Indonesian genre that shares many similarities with budots. They both take from Eurodance, combined with traditional origins — dangdut for the former, and badjao percussive styles for the latter.”
“In some way the vibe of this track takes me back to kiddie birthday parties. I would describe it as ‘happy acid’ — confetti, cakes, clowns, mascots and parlour games — which is the same ear-candy energy that budots has.”
“One of my favourites from DJ Love himself. I just love this track so much because it encapsulates budots. It is fun, sensual, and free, like it doesn't take itself seriously, also katol means itchy in Bisaya, but it is commonly known in the Philippines as a mosquito repellent or mosquito coils. Up to you to decide which is which, but one thing guaranteed is you're gonna want to dance to this tune”
“I just love this since the time it was released, plus the video has a biohazard symbol. It reminds me of the early internet days in the Philippines where budots came from. And as for any budots track, it is zany, catchy, and very bouncy. DJ Danz has been producing budots for quite a while now and it shows in this track how he is a master of his craft.”
“Maganda yung lead nya... Puedi gawin 140 BPM.”
[The lead is nice... It can be played at 140 BPM].
“Ito naman maganda yung bass nya. Sarap sayawin.”
[And this, the bass is good. It’s nice to dance to.]
“A very colourful remix of a song I could not escape during the pandemic. Comes with an awesome build-up and catchy instrumental break!”
“I love this track because it captures the budots sound so well and the Filipino brand of grittiness and party that comes with it. The pitch-shifted synths, chromatic bass, and chants. It's so good.”
“Taylor Swift + budots, This track reminds me of every great party I've went to.”