ASHER – Graceful Degradation

(Conv Net.Lab)

There are a few elements: a $75 piano bought by the composer in Brooklyn, a tape recorder constantly kept nearby, several forgotten cassettes – featuring Led Zeppelin and Police – found by Asher during an office cleanup. At home, he recorded his reflective piano playing over and over on the same cassette, thus starting the process of “graceful degradation” to which the title refers, also in relation to our old blurred memories appearing when less expected. One could instantly think “OK, Basinski” and indeed there’s a similarly ongoing development here but with a big difference, as in Asher’s music there is no gradual loss of signal and particles. Instead, the ears are constantly rubbed by the consumpted tape’s hiss, crackles and pops highlighting the mournful arpeggios in quite an unconventional way. In “Untitled #305″ music and tape noise blend nicely with the distant sounds of cars passing outside. Overall, the melancholic character of this album made me thing about a picture of Harold Budd placed inside an old, dusty frame. Intense and very sad, a sure keeper.


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