Saturday, 11 July 2009

ASHER - Miniatures

A double CD containing short looped fragments of past-time music for solo piano (with very rare exceptions), captured by Asher by having a recorder handy as the radio was on, in order to gather the segments that sounded more interesting for potential further manipulation. Two main characters emerging: the almost mournful, nostalgic unhappiness of the pieces, and an omnipresent sibilance that surrounds the whole, nearly claiming the attention on itself rather than the actual playing, a fundamental constituent of the record.

The risk of accustomedness is not present in Asher’s art, as it offers alternatives in an apparently immutable context, maintaining the bewitching qualities that have affirmed his style as distinctive. The listener is free to choose the direction in which interest should be focused. Are we going to be fossilized in deterioration together with the sound’s tendency to decay? Do we concentrate on the permanent hiss? Shall one try and determine what the original source is (in my case, unsuccessfully)? Is the cutting-and-looping technique our primary object of interest? There are lots of elements to consider for the guessing of crucial meanings. And - as usual - there’s underlying humanity throughout, in this circumstance explicated by the mere imagine of the artist’s readiness, perhaps at late night, to snatch these snippets when the moment is right. What were the thoughts he had in mind during that particular day? Were there grief and melancholy involved, or it was just an idea for experimentation? How did Asher manage to locate so many sweetly reflective spots in stylistically coherent pianistic performances?

What this man most importantly does is avoiding those clich├ęs that, somehow preposterously, materialize when artists decide to utilize impracticality to push their work forward, typically ending in deplorable failures. This record gives a sense of firm ineluctability and tender frailty at once, eliciting doubts while confirming certainties. Its flimsy structure sounds evocatively irrepressible, a blurred sight that never disappears. It doesn’t help to disentangle from the inevitable, throwing the receiver in a mental state of confined childhood, admonishing about the excesses of enthusiasm. Invariability permeated with timid inhibitions and hopes ended in tatters that one’s still trying to recompose.

Sourdine