Giles Smith in Sri Lanka, 10 Jan 2014


“Vinyl is still far superior to me, culturally / historically, aesthetically and sound-wise. I definitely feel like I am part of a dying breed, but frankly I am happy to drag my heavy bag all over the place (despite airlines losing it on four different occasions last year—once for over a month). I just feel CD’s and music files are so disposable. I guess I am a romantic, nostalgic person, but I make no apologies for it. I still write all my gigs in a diary on paper and although I don’t use it so often I still like to write with a cartridge pen believe it or not!” – Giles G. Smith

The crowds were thin, expect for the holiday season, yet the seasonal artist airfares were high. The agents were too demanding, yet the margins were non-existent: This was the premise, and it could send even the most inspired promoter into a mild depression. For many a reason, it was difficult to lure truly world-class DJs to remote countries in the subcontinent. But in the tropical allure of Sri Lanka, Ravi B had found the perfect pitch, and in Giles Smith, a genuinely class act who was willing to help out the scene.

IMAG0364In motion: Versa

On January the 10th, the rain stayed out, and so did the stars; the line-up was tight like the night: In terms of the sheer quality and scheduling of music, this was easily the best gig we’ve attended in the island. From Versa’s swirling basswaves to Sarath Pereira’s driving sunrise set, it was pretty much an 8-hour ride of non-stop heat. Versa unfurled more of his meditative vibes with some classic roots n dub which sounded warm and true. Isaac Smith and Sarani Perera (aka Tomcat and Magnum) bounced around lizardly as they dropped syrupy g-funk basslines of strictly homemade gems.

tomcatnmagnumCoast to Coast: Tomcat & Magnum

sarathpHard Wax: Sarath Pereira

Then deep from the vaults of a true collector DJ, Giles Smith proved why his parties (and record collection) were so sought after, with a diverse, 3-hour set with barely a misstep on the decks (and had us struggling to find the seams). It was a privilege to witness a pure vinyl DJ in his element, his mixing soft and swift, his selection effortlessly weaving tracks of similar texture & tone, yet varied in colour & history. Sarath Pereira then pitched it a little higher and nestled into that hidden portal where techno and house converge, the sunrise peaking to this (secret) weapon. All this dope had people skinny dippin’, climbing trees and practicing yoga on (literary) the floor. The magic mountain mist and the fluorescent candescence combined to wrap the entire space in a big violet bubble. The seawaves of Galle looked C.R.E.A.M.y and gaseous, and the daybreak-fog engulfed everything like a scene from dat movie Deep Impact (Heaven n Earth about to Collide) and had us questioning whether we were seeing things wholly right. Probably not, but one thing was certain: the earth was vast, its possibilities, endless many.

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