BLOT! have experimented with music, video, live-acts, merchandise, and now a video game.
It’s been three years since I first watched BLOT! (Basic Love of Things) perform live, but the memory is still fresh. Teaming up with The Light Surgeons, an audio-visual ensemble, BLOT! entertained the audience with their set that was a mix of deep house, dynamic techno and warm analog sounds.
The duo Avinash Kumar and Gaurav Malekar from Delhi have created their own niche using mixed media such as sound, light, art and visuals in their live performances. This is evident from the artworks used on their Facebook Page.
Gaurav Malekar and Avinash Kumar of BLOT!
At the same time, their sets have been capturing the attention of audiences far and wide after the release of their debut album SNAFU (3-D). Fresh from the success of the RESET music festival in Bengaluru, Avinash shares, “For RESET, visually, the VJ set was all about a return to the roots of cinema and animation. I am particularly interested in the representation of old media through new technology and dance music environments. Also very interested in lo-fi, badly encoded visuals since I feel it resonates with the times we are living.” This pretty much captures what watching a BLOT! performance is all about – a club night you can watch films in and an arthouse cinema hall you can dance in.
BLOT! performing their SNAFU 3-D set at a venue in Delhi
Gaurav and Avinash’s out of sync process makes each of their sets unique. As Avinash puts it, “We meet at gigs and talk to each other and to others with our music and visuals. It's actually as simple as that - two personalities sharing their interests in the two mediums.” He further elaborates on the importance of visuals when it comes to a live gig by saying, “The minute you have visuals at a gig - in a small or large fashion - you introduce something that the eyes cannot escape, so in general I feel they can really impact the enjoyment of the musical experience. Visuals should be presented with a view to celebrate, expand and elevate the music, and not necessarily only as a way to purely visualise the beats of an electronic track.”
The duo is greatly into collaboration. Quirky content references come from DVDs that they pick in Nigeria or shoots with dancers or even 3-D animations they stumble upon. “I love the idea of re-sampling content; so old books, posters, artworks and museums are always inspirational,” shares Avinash. All these influences are visible at their gigs which revolve around city-specific images.
BLOT! and Nucleya collaborate for an audio-visual set for UnBox Festival
Their most experimental project so far is ‘Medicine Corner - a Global Project from the Wellcome Collection’ that investigates the plurality of medicine in India through a series of public engagements in 2015-16. BLOT! was approached by the curator to research and express their personal take on the subject of informal medicine in India in the form of a music video.
Concept art for the bedroom in Antariksha Sanchar - exploring a curious mix of colonial, vernacular and fantasy architecture
But the most intriguing work of theirs has to be ‘Antariksh Sanchar’ – a graphic novel, a demo videogame and some merchandise like tin toys and posters. The project has been in the works for two years now and is the first interactive product. Avinash reveals, “It's a story set in early 1900s South India, exploring the adventures of Ramanujan (inspired by our very own mathematician). It's a surreal science fiction fantasy that talks about synaesthesia, Indian culture and nature. The game itself is being produced by Quicksand GamesLab and the project is in collaboration with acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer Jayalakshmi Eshwar.”
BLOT! is looking at pushing out a small demo in December along with the project website, book and merchandise, and they will be looking for funding starting January. “Fingers crossed that folks would be kind in their appraisal of our first game effort,” Avinash concludes.
By Divya Naik