Review: Suren Seneviratne – blue thirty-five


While there’s nothing cryptic about the setup here – a Korg SQ1 sequencer, a circuit-bent Yamaha MU-15 tone generator, a cluster of disrupted MIDI patterns – Suren Seneviratne’s compositions seem to dangle like unfinished sentences, cut short of communicating the entire message. Describing this fleeting release is only possible through a ribbon of caveats and gentle negations, just how its MIDI instruments land in the uncanny perimeter around their target timbre. Melodies descend in drizzling intermittency yet still suggest the presence of patterns. There are bursts of circuit-bent interruption – static pluming out of the seams – yet “sabotage” seems too strong a term for the ragged ornamentations they generate around the edges. The MIDI piano is augmented, with the attack divorced from the resonance to reveal the constituent parts of simulated hammer and simulated string, yet it’s never transformed to the point of obfuscating the MIDI origins. Harmonically the release is a held breath, never resolving into contentment or joy or melancholy, instead taking a jagged alleyway that runs between them all. It’s charming, yet unsettling. Playfully simple, yet deftly complicated. The compulsion to re-listen only gets stronger each time, yet the loop just won’t close. The listener is forever left trying to pinpoint precisely what makes blue thirty-five so compelling, coming up with a catalogue of descriptive near-misses instead.