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Nicole Laurel to launch ‘Mind Over Matter’ on Jan. 30

Nicole Laurel Asensio is all set to launch ”Mind Over Matter,” a musical concoction comprised of three vibrant original compositions that seep into the consciousness of a wandering psyche aching for atonement and acceptance. 

Multi-talented and multi-awarded artist, singer/composer Nicole Laurel Asensio is all set to launch ”Mind Over Matter,” a musical concoction comprised of three vibrant original compositions that seep into the consciousness of a wandering psyche aching for atonement and acceptance. 

The launch event will be on January 30, 2024 at 19 East located on East Service Road. With a special guest performance by ang Bagong Luto ni Enriquez and Iwi Laurel. Entrance is 500 pesos. 

The EP title “Matter Over Mind” is a play on the popular saying “Mind over matter” — the reversal of the words connotes that keeping one’s head up through the struggles is often easier said than done and sometimes people need to come undone and be honest with how they feel before picking up the pieces and moving on.

“As we are blessed with a brand new year, I am reminded of what it took to get to this point, the hardships, failures and finding the guts to keep going,’’ Nicole Laurel Asensio said. Thematically, “Matter Over Mind” also “celebrates the resilience of human souls that have experienced hurt, God’s grace and the metamorphosis of “turning one’s scars into stars.” 

“Timelessness is more appealing to me than trends. It is an exciting process to see how we can make our own version of the music we grew up liking. Traces of funk, Neo-soul, RnB, jazz and gospel are evident throughout the songs, but perhaps what makes its flavor unique is savoring the thematic choices and nuances that unfold with each tune,” added Gabe Dandan, working with Asensio on the album.

The EP opens with “Comprehend,” a silky Neo-soul influenced tune with traces of modern and classic Rnb. It is written from the point of view of re-watching your life as a movie and seeing how each character either leaves or lingers through the seasons. The lyrical expressions and play on words are both poignant and poetic as they unfold the multi-layered process of healing from failed relationships. Although the lyrics might be bittersweet, most of the nectar is in the smooth arrangement that features thick vocal sections and an all saxophone section over a vibe-y beat.

“Vibecheck” is a sonic palette cleanser, a short and sweet reminder to check up on your loved ones. The chords and melody willingly settle in a cradle of gospel influences. Sung by Nicole Asensio, Kevin Yadao and Gabe Dandan, the short in-betweener is reminiscent of friends touching base and reminding each other not to worry because everything will eventually work out. 

To complete the concoction, “Get it Right” is an English-Tagalog uptempo track that evokes funk, soul and jazz influences within its intricacies. Effervescent and light as it may be at first listen, it is also equally full-bodied as It sings of hidden tears and silent struggles hidden behind laughter and the longing to redeem oneself.  The instrumentation is quite the indulgent thrill featuring a full live brass section, soulful piano and rhodes licks, a bouncy backbeat and a plush vocal section.

“This collection of songs all began with impromptu jams. Nicole, me and our drummer Nigel Norris (who is currently in Europe) influences of artists we admire (like Steely Dan, Robert Glasper and Erykah Badu) set the tone for the initial jam session. We recorded the outcome in Southbay studio and Nicole developed her top-line ideas into lyrics and melodies, and later recorded her vocals with the help of recording engineer Mikel Miller. The arrangement blossomed as we would revisit each track daily and see what we could add or subtract. Because the chordal structure has its quirks and complexities, it was important to pay attention to detail. Renowned saxophone player Michael Guevarra did the horns arrangement for Get it Right and I did an impromptu arrangement alongside saxophone player Joeffrey Pangilinan for Comprehend. Vibecheck was written in less than an hour. Nicole then sent it to our friend Kevin Yadao for additional vocals,” said Dandan.

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“Mixing and Mastering the EP was for me the most meticulous part, I really felt that this EP was closer to my heart than many projects I have had the pleasure of producing so I wanted to mix and master it myself, even if I was new to the craft. Nicole trusted me and obliged, she was also there for every step and adjustment, I think we work well together, not just as co-writers, but for the entire production and post-production process,” said Dandan.

“Like Gabe, my favorite thrill is also creating songs from impromptu jams, this to me is priceless, the amalgamation of time, place, emotion and taste coming together,” ended Asensio.

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