Artists / Bands, Culture, Indie / Alternative, Live Reviews — June 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Astreal Live @ The Court


Myself, Revisited: Music and Memory, Astreal Live @ The Court

The italics suggest that whatever follows the title will be grounded in the insidious subject of biography. No one can be blamed for thinking so. Yet, the immediacy and impact of the experience I had at Astreal’s performance overrides any self-indulgence that one might want to read into it. Maybe it doesn’t need to be said, and, maybe it does. No matter, I’m saying it now.

That sound (music) is such a fantastically ripe medium for self-reflection is a truism that is over and beyond the reach of debate and discussion. One might even say that it is the quintessential landscape upon which one roams to suss out oneself.  I am one in those ranks. This is why seeing Astreal play at Sub-Sonic Live on 9 June 2012 was such a monumental affair for me. Sub-Sonic was the result of the efforts of style mavens, Fred Perry, to promote local live music.  The fundamental premise of the event was pure and necessary: no favor shown to any particular genre or sound, with music as the only shimmering centerpiece. And it was.

Astreal was part of the lineup of bands who played at the venue—The Court—that day. But their set took me out of the now and through and beyond myself. They’re one of my favorite bands. I say this as a lover of music and without a modicum of patriotism. Both their albums are some of the few constants I’ve carried with me through the years, unlike the vast number of transitory instances that I’ve had to discard, leave behind or sever away. Their elaborately crafted songs are time capsules housing memories, flashes and senses of who I was before today.  Through the vigorous beauty of their set, I went back in time, through, the episodes that have come to constitute “my-self”. And when I heard the words from what I believe to be one of the most powerfully haunting songs I’ve heard —

I break a million pieces
The skies they whisper out to you
“The flowers die for you!”

—I knew that in the trajectory of not so much evolution, but, change, that marks my life, the music of Astreal would be incandescent mileposts. Thanks, and, play on, Astreal.
—Indran Paramasivam


Indran is a freelance writer especially interested in culture and the arts. In this age of speed and connectivity, the relationship between art and society and between art and culture is complex and dynamic. Situated in Singapore, Indran is actively involved in exploring how art, particularly, music, is produced and received amidst a backdrop of ever-evolving trends and influences.