Math makes the intangible tangible, defines the imaginary, helps explain what seems to be, well, unexplainable—like our universe. With Foreign Languages, indie-rock quartet tide/edit does something—not exactly opposite—different. The tunes in Foreign Languages, they aren’t easy to describe or explain—not that one needs to—yet they could easily capture one’s attention and/or imagination.
tide/edit’s music has been labeled as post-rock, math-pop, indie-rock. The members of tide/edit just want to call it “happy music”—label that belies the songs’ complexity, the dexterity in which they are played. Also, “happy” is not just a bit reductive. Sure, most of the tracks are, particularly “Nicholas” and “Another Yes,” but not “HAIYAN” or “Odd & Even.” But we should all be happy for this singer-less, almost faceless band—their music has gained traction online and offline, their first full-length album Foreign Languages (ditto with their succeeding LPs) is also released overseas, via Japan’s Friends of Mine Records—not a minor achievement for this quartet from Manila.
tide/edit’s brand of instrumental rock, as on Foreign Languages, is probably best described with anecdotes, images, places. Sans lyrics, the listener is invited to fill the gaps—emotions, thoughts, scenic views, old photographs. It’s like watching the beautiful sunset on the way back home, or being stuck in traffic on the way to the airport, amidst a tropical storm. It’s like moments of hope, bliss, loneliness, nostalgia, longing, trapped between your ears, locked inside your headphones. Sometimes it’s sad, beautiful.