What happens when you put two musically adventurous and technically skilled musicians together? Well, most of the time, worlds collide and you’re usually left with a body of work that dangerously borders-on madness and discordant overload – after all, when that fine line is crossed, you’re pretty much left with confused listeners.

Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the problem with Terminating Computes, an EP that’s heavy both on the riffage and the deft musical arrangements and construction.

Of course, it does help a lot that the collaborators, Second Stage Navigator and Paolo Blaquera are no strangers in the music game. Second Stage Navigator, a producer/keyboardist and singer who has dabbled in multiple genres like prog-rock, fusion, acid jazz, RnB and electronica is himself, a respected figure in the Philippine prog community, and has been releasing music all the way from the United States, where he currently resides. Blaquera, on the other hand, had a long stint playing guitar for Mullato and now wields the axe for returning 90s rockers The Breed; and both of them had worked previously together in a prog-rock outfit called Cinderblock.

But with this new project, they both find themselves revisiting a darker, heavier and almost-industrial sensibility, which they released during the first quarter of the year. Fans of instrumental music will easily hear that distinctly straightforward gloom n’ doom and chunk anchoring the blistering solos and passages that spice-up the six-song EP.

We caught up with both musicians and decided to get to the bottom of how this myriad of moving parts were put-together.



PULP: SO how did the idea and concept come about for Terminating Computes? Since you’ve known each other for a while, why’d it take this long for you to team-up and get this release out?

SSN: It was back in December 2022, I had just come-ff the release of my latest solo album two months prior and I was looking to release another record in 2023. Most of my solo releases are purely keyboards/synth-based and I was kind of missing the heaviness that guitars bring. Knowing Paolo’s music over the years and having been in a band with him, he was the first person I thought to collaborate with. Though distance complicates writing and producing, I knew Paolo was capable of making music by himself since he too, had released solo work on his own… so he was the ideal musical partner for the project, I felt… it was all just a matter of timing when our schedules would permit.

Both Paolo and I dabble with a ton of musical styles, so there was almost no limit to the type of music we could do… I narrowed the list down to jazz/fusion and industrial/metal, and coincidentally, he wanted to do the latter too and that’s how simple it all came together. Cyberpunk would be the centerpiece of the concept. And since Paolo uses extended range guitars, I wanted to utilize them as much as I could.

Blaquera: I actually thought he’d never ask! (laughs) He’s always been one of my favorite keyboardists so I’ve always wanted to work with him…

PULP: How eclectic were the musical influences that helped shape the tracks on the EP?

Blaquera: I think the electronic influences are very evident – personally, I was going for a Kraftwerk meets Perturbator meets Planet X kind of vibe; I think Derek Sherinian (of Planet X) is a huge influence on SSN, while Joe Satriani’s Engines of Creation was a big source of inspiration for me…

SSN: I listen to a wide range of music, including film scores and EDM… just about any genre under the sun. I think it’s what helps me come-up with an unorthodox approach to making music, because it’s literally a mishmash of different genres rolled into one. Also as a keyboardist, I’m not necessarily limited to just one specific sound – so that definitely helps my exploration on various styles.

PULP: How was the recording process like? And what’s the story behind the title Terminating Computes?

SSN: We weren’t physically together during the entire process, so it was a lot of online back and forth – one of us would send over a riff and/or track, and the other would send it back with additional parts and solos until the songs were completed. We basically gave each other the freedom to come-up with ideas and take the song to whatever direction, and we’d build on top of whatever we made.

Blaquera: The title of the EP – as well as the title of the tracks on it – are all IT related; since we both work in IT, we also wanted the music and the titles to reflect that.

PULP: What’s your take on modern instrumental music? Where do you think it’s headed? And what more can we expect from both of you?

Blaquera: I think one major trend in modern instrumental music is the increased use of technology: many artists have embraced the use of digital tools and software to create new sounds and experiment with different textures and rhythms. This has led to the emergence of new subgenres like ambient, downtempo, chill-out, etc. It all looks promising because new artists are continuing to push the boundaries and experiment. As technology advances, we can expect to see even more innovative and exciting developments…

SSN: Instrumental music will never go away and could possibly become even more mainstream; it’s happening right now actually, with prog-rock and math rock… EDM and a lot of soundtrack music is very much instrumental these days, and even the lofi-girl triphop streams on youtube.com are gaining popularity.

              Though it still may not be as big with audiences like mainstream pop – probably due to the lack of vocals and lyrics – there’s always that subset of listeners who appreciate this kind of music… as for the musicians, it is an outlet that’s very enticing to explore – be it because they either can’t or would rather not sing and/or write lyrics. In the past, I’ve released music with vocals, but I’d always get a friend to write and sing… that’s not saying I’ve closed my doors to music with singing, but instrumental music will always be my primary staple.

Blaquera: We’re already planning to write another album, which will lean towards our electronic music influences…

SSN: Yep… there’s definitely more music to come so do keep an eye – and ear – out for the next release! PULP


Interested and fearless listeners can stream Terminating Computes here: https://open.spotify.com/album/7JIRRWVjckQYwJpctBBzjl?si=IodUyM7eQjyKKtMk-Bz9Gw