Ashley Reaks is a prolific artist and music creator with much to comment on the world around and surfacing last month was his latest LP – Before Koresh.
Ashley Reaks – Before Koresh – artwork
Opening the ten track album which features numerous collaborative musicians, is the title track Before Koresh an acerbic commentary setting the scene for the following thirty five minutes of the release. Ashley Reaks is a deft exponent of illustrative thought process as the material relates not so much to the Branch Davidians rather a scathing statement of the status-quo.
The Dustman is a fantastical fairy-tale set to nursery rhyme tempo, giving the track a chilling presence that raises the hairs on the arms in alertness.
Next is Wearside Jack, which confabulates disco-groove with vocals askew, giving the piece a disturbing context that calls the audience to awaken their brain and grapple with the LP.
Following is Gleaming Cinders which combines scattered high pitched electronic keys with a dusty vocal that gives the piece a spacey feel that catches the ears off balance in an experimental thread of composition.
Crystal closes out the first half of Before Koresh in a continuum of looped electronics, prior to being joined by a poetic spoken lyric that crashes against the instrumentation giving the piece the feeling of life faced with a sheer cliff of inaccessibility and is my pick of the release for its ability to speak of divisions and exclusions. The title reflects of the haves and the have-nots with a plastic champagne, the choice of plastic money, whilst challenging the listener to reflect of the world around as stark commentary, which reflects of a world taking pictures of abuse to be first on a social media page, ignoring the reality in-front of the screen as the closing lyric icily commentates.
The longest track is Hyper-Diseasy, which runs at coming on to seven minutes, which despite its length does not slacken the taught ties binding the listener, submerging the ears into a troubled trance as juxtaposed rhythms and instrumentation collide against each other as distanced vocals echo across the room.
You may be wondering where we are in Before Koresh – track seven is Mr Barton And The Squirrels which sits in stark contrast to the track before, with sixty eight seconds of waterfall interspersed with a lyric which minds of Betjeman.
Opening with reversed sounds Inch Perfect combines the floating textures of much of the album with an experimental thematic.
The penultimate track is I Want To Get A Celebrity Pregnant – which is a superlative statement of the mindset of the ’10s and worth the price of the album on its own.
Closing out Before Koresh is Hell And Back Again, which provides context for the visual artistry of Ashley Reaks in aural form.
Before Koresh – Ashley Reaks is available on iTunes.*
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