IN HARMONIUM WITH THY SELF

Asela Perera

Music, in its melodious intricacy, involves the sublime fusion of multidimensional elements. As the components crescendo from the lyrics, these elements include the vocals, their tones, the instruments used, and the constantly metamorphosing pace of the instruments. Asela Perera masterfully manipulates and choreographs the instrumentation of his music in such a way that each fluctuation and variation stands on its own and speaks for itself, complementing, binding and accentuating the manifold elements in a nuanced musicality. Asela Perera’s music articulates such stories and appeals to a vast audience, betraying the genius musician in him. Previously featured in ARTRA Magazine, Emerging Artists Best of 2018, Dec/Jan E39 2018, Asela was recognized for his flamboyant instrumentation and artistry in his single, ‘Design’, and his presence and drive as an artist and platform-provider in spurring vigour and diversity in characterizing the local English music scene.

Asela’s passion for music transpires and finds its roots in the city of Vienna, Austria where he found himself drawn to and influenced by the genre of reggae. Later his ardour for music expanded to alternative and hard rock upon his return to Sri Lanka in 1991. As a young adult, Asela found a connection with music that resonated with him on an enthrallingly spiritual level, his introverted soul finding solace. In 2004, as he developed skills in playing an instrument, Asela found himself embarking on a melodic voyage, one that continues to grow and thrive. Since then, Asela has been working on his second album, ‘Gold’. Asela’s experience of nine years in the music industry provides perspective as an artist and musician to cater to his audience and communicate expressively through music and lyrics, tones and techniques. In conversation with Asela Perera, ARTRA explores his dynamic approach to music in this new album.

Coordinating both the aesthetic and the intellectual, ‘Gold’, as an album and the title song, brings in to the spotlight a current and apt topic that requires attention today more than ever, through its rich musicality primarily encapsulating the modern reality of happiness and the complexities encircling it. “Gold talks about the concept of what it means to be truly happy. It implies that you might have all the wealth in the world but you might not have contentment. But if you have nothing to lose that takes a lot of pressure off your shoulder and that is what happiness truly is.” Asela explained, drawing attention to an aspect of human conditions that often eludes discussion. Through his first single of the album, ‘Design’, he emphasizes that it was an intentional choice. In fact, Asela talked about the profound message conveyed through the subtly crafted lyrics that confirm with the didactic purpose of art. “The song itself speaks about being open to things from the perspective of listening to others. It is not that there is a right or a wrong but it is always a two-way conversation,” Asela said, further adding that this song speaks to him specifically since he wanted the album to convey a similar meaning. 

Gold is the fruit of several years of commitment and hard work, both of Asela and the fellow musicians who were onboard this musical exploration. Asela explained how the likeminded musicians he worked with added to the dynamic spirit of the album, bringing in their own influences that ultimately lead to an array of musical compositions. The multi instrumental approach used in the production of the album makes the album unique, accounting to be its strongest feature. Delivering an extraordinary musical experience that awakens and soothes corporeal senses in synchronous unity, the instrumentation used was diverse in its inclusion of acoustic and electric guitars, drums, strings, Chinese instruments and many more. Each song is compacted with simultaneously complementing and contrasting sound elements that make the aesthetic experience one of a kind. The album accompanies you to a magical realm of artistry in its finest, the very first moment you start listening, connecting with you through a musicality that makes a strong statement. The title song ‘Gold’ itself harbors a Chinese instrument, giving it a distinct rhythm and inviting a novel cultural dimension. As a musician, Asela mentioned that the multi instrumental approach used “was a learning curve because there were so many genres and different sounds explored.” 

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6th March, 2020 Performance Art

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