Louie Ocampo

Louie O.

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In 1999, Louie Ocampo, long a respected "behind-the-scenes" musical figure in the Philippines, released his debut album, Louie O. Aside from one song which contains overdubbed saxophone solos, the music was made entirely by Ocampo using sequencers on Apple Macintosh computers.

Ocampo composed all but one song, and arranged and produced the entire album. Ocampo cites American composer David Foster as a main influence, and Louie O. opens with "Foster in Mind," a sparkling, triumphant affair. The dominant "instrument" heard is the piano, though other "instruments", such as a string section, come into play, adding up to a beautiful whole. Though Louie O. has traces of jazz, as heard on the improvised saxophone solos on "Coming Home," the album is best classified as "instrumental music". (Some may call it "contemporary jazz", which seems to have become a catchall term for instrumental music).

Another song, "My Funny Girl" features melodic piano glistening on a syncopated backbeat; the song veers into a slow tempo change, and takes on the aura of a classical composition. The song eventually returns to the starting point, ending as it began, majestic and resonant.

Another highlight is "Dalagang Filipina" (Filipino Lady), on which Ocampo's arrangement imparts a wondrous sense of grandeur to the Jose Santos composition. Also nice is the slow-paced, "Through the Years," containing a very pretty melody played on piano.

The album surpassed gold status (which is 20,000 units sold in the Philippines), quite an achievement in a country where instrumental music is not a big seller.

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