Asher - Miniatures [Sourdine - 2009]When my wife and I first began dating, she worked third shift at two news-radio stations in New York. I’d come back to her apartment, lie on the bed, wait for her to come back, and let the sounds of the city ooze in through the walls and maybe the open window (if it was warm enough for that). Being surrounded by the city at night, several floors up, was like being half-asleep in the lap of some giant creature that only breathed once every couple of minutes.
I’ve listened to a few records that have evoked that feeling, and now I add Asher’s Miniatures to that list. The album itself is simple: it’s two CDs of short, three- to four-minute tracks of distant piano music—maybe pieces that were taped off the radio or performed through a very primitive sound system—each looped seamlessly to create a miniature sonic texture. Each one fades in, presents itself for a bit, and then dissolves behind its own little wall of tape and amplifier hiss.
Hence the name, I guess: each piece is more or less self-contained, and the tracks (and the two discs) can probably be approached in any order. No titles, no liner notes, no credits for performance other then Asher himself—which is intriguing, since there’s not just the piano but hints of other instruments here and there. No progression between tracks; the only difference between the “Silver” and “Black” discs is the names.
Not long ago I blew a few credits on eMusic.com and downloaded the majority of William Basinski’s catalog—The Disintegration Loops, Silent Night, The River, The Garden of Brokenness. Basinski has generally been the go-to guy for this sort of music: all of the above records are very close in both spirit and execution to what Asher’s done here. Asher’s big innovation is how he’s turned Basinski’s full-course meals into bite-sized snacksSerdar Yegulalp