Shillong Math Rock Band Sky Level Release Debut EP
‘Time’ brings together euphoric and mind-bending rhythmic patterns
Often, the winner of a band competition hogs all the attention, but that doesn’t mean runners-up are any less worthy of the spotlight. Case in point, Shillong-based instrumental rock band Sky Level, who came together in 2014 and have since reached podium positions at contests such as Meghalaya Icon 5 (2014) and IIT Bombay’s Mood Indigo – Livewire (2016).
But Sky Level – currently comprising drummer and producer Denzil Swer, guitarists Sonny Taba and Meban Lyngdoh and bassist Pynshai Kharshandi – have been biding their time and taking up performances across the North East (including the most well-attended ones, Ziro Fesitval of Music and Orange Festival in Arunachal Pradesh). Swer makes an unintentional pun when he talks about the long road to releasing their debut four-track EP Time. “We’ve had variations in our time management as a band. We were all engaged in our day to day errands and problems. It took us a while before we could decide and finalize our plans to be fully committed to recording the EP.”
Recorded entirely by the drummer, Time is equal parts energetic, laidback, playful, proggy and dreamy math rock. Introduced to Japanese bands such as Toe and LITE by their friends, Sky Level’s Swer and Taba were the first to be taken in by the sound and moved into that territory by 2016. With its heavy emphasis on details and finesse, Swer says it was a task putting these songs on record. “It was a heavy burden to be toiling day and night, giving it a 100 percent concentration and focus, grooming each and every fraction of a second. But it was a good experience and a worthy kind of burden.” Time was then sent over to be mixed and mastered by friend of the band and sound engineer Jacob P’nlook.
Sky Level feel that math rock is an easy to relate genre that also has its niche audience, which is why they’ve made new fans from playing at competitions and festivals. With a club tour in the works and plenty of material in the bag, Sky Level’s competing days might be behind them, but they’re taking the long view. Swer says, “It’s going to be a long rollercoaster journey for us.”