SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Asura – Non Projects (2 vinyls)

The music is much more than trance or typical electronica.

Published on April 9, 2013

Asura – Non Projects (2 vinyls)

Asura – Non Projects NON001 (2-vinyl discs), 41:22 ****:  

I was given this record a while back and unfortunately it sat unopened in a stack of “unreviewed” music…And that’s a shame.  Non Projects (http://nonprojects.net/) is a small record label run by Brian Allen Simon.  In addition to publishing some of his own material, his goal is to offer up new and exciting artists and composers based in Los Angeles.  This is the first offering by Ryan York (Asura) that was released back in 2010.  From the colorful booklet that accompanies the records it seems that York is quite the accomplished musician—playing a range of instruments including cello, guitar, trumpet, bass, etc.

The music is much more than trance or typical electronica.  Many of the tracks incorporate heavy layering of sounds and instruments (even voice), but not in an overly repetitive and boring manner I find with much of this genre.  The fact that York’s background is in classical and jazz the listener will find a more varied approach to making modern music.  The music (as likened to art) is made to be engaging, as it shifts and transforms, while evoking homage to older electronic music while still sounding fresh.  There are bits of industrial, acid jazz and all sorts of other styles that make a strict categorization difficult.

The recording quality is excellent and sounds distorted and compressed only when it is intended to and part of the music.  The overall sonic landscape is big, airy and wide—filled with unique sounds of real instruments altered and adjusted for effect.  This type of avant-garde music isn’t the most popular here in the states (perhaps it is a little ahead of its time), but I expect Asura to have a larger following abroad.  I realize these LPs were a limited pressing, so not sure how hard it will be to grab a copy.  For all the older set whose kids laugh at “dad” when they put on some esoteric audiophile music that no one really much listens to anymore, this is a chance to be “cool” and move into the present.  York uses instruments like paint on a blank canvas—a little splash here and there—not too much and not too little.  I rarely get a chance to hear anything like this music on being played on the radio today and that is also a shame.  Take a chance and check out something fresh and head over to Non Projects for a listen.

TrackList: Asura I; Peptine; I Saw You in Vice (Anenon Birthday Remix); Orrorin; Asura II; From the Beach; Manzanita; Voxels; Asura III; Her Tearing; Timber (with Ana Caravelle); The Eleventh; Feathers.

—Brian Bloom




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