The Border Movement Lounge series returned, this time with a host of new and seasoned Sri Lankan producers.
And we drew a blank: No tracks could be I.D.’d that night. This happened, even though we are (generally) armed with an incredulous body of knowledge on the past, present and (yes) the future of dance music – a genre largely built on the model of championing other people’s music. The reason? The event was solely based on new and original music from a crop of earnest young producers. It’s not often that this happened in Sri Lanka, let alone in the subcontinent, but 1.5 years after the monumental shakedown of Pettah Interchange, it did.
To begin with, the not-so-good: We got there late and missed the openers Phonosemantics. The sound within the courtyard was not the greatest, and you couldn’t help but feel that some of the nuances were lost (and there was plenty of that). More thematically aligned set sequencing would have made the night flow better (i.e. without the jump-around encountered, stylistically speaking). Couple of the performers started cautiously (in their defense, it was their debut). Some of the samples used in original tracks sounded tinny, and the lack of extra padded warmth of sound (say through a couple of bass bins) did not help. The secret-garden like venue was cozier than a Bosco Verticale, but also humid: So we hovered near gyrating fans (pun intended). And admittedly, non-gyrating neighbours, hence the 10.30pm close down.
And the good? The 45-minute timeslot allotted for each artist was just right, switching things up at an unhurried but non-lingering pace. Daffy Maestro fiddled around, then unleashed his inner Christian Fennesz to deliver a blistering rework of ‘Horse Shoe Crab‘ (a standout from his latest EP). Fresh off their debut EP, Tomcat & Magnum rolled on merrily with a funk state of mind. Type B served a seasoned hand, with possibly the grooviest half-hour of the night. (Niftily named) Curio and Flippy tried to put a curious flip on a largely soulless genre (tech-house), and had us not complaining. The gatherer of the night’s talent, Asvajit, aptly closed proceedings: It was the sound of a hustle, a move away from the rinse-and-repeat of 4-4. And rinse-and-not-repeat he did, with unreleased tracks spanning a spectrum of styles.
Like the music unveiled on the night, Live Sessions felt just that: A work in progress, with brevity & originality intact. With more considered scheduling, bigger sound and growing exposure for its young producers, Lanka looks ready to ride the real heatwave of live music: In the words of the man himself, when keeping it real, goes right.