A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Here’s another sliver that ended up in my inbox:
its a bold move, to open an EP with a Leonard Cohen track.
Thankfully, this update from New Yorker Nate Asher, born Nathan Plutzik, actually improves on the gravel-voiced original, and highlights what is great about music in 2013, and plays to Asher’s strengths. Clear, clean rippling guitars are met with a gypsy choir, and lavish, glowing fiddle and full-bore rock beats replace the horrible synthesized worldbeat of the original. In 2013, we have realized the superiority of REAL instruments and good recording. The solid production (handled by Asher himself) acts as a setting, to make the jewels of Nathan Asher’s voice and guitar glow like sunlight.
Its a solid start to this slight, 5 track EP. Nathan Asher has a smooth, honeyed voice, with just a biy of grit, that exudes emotion, and the production and performances are perfectly executed and artfully mixed, giving a sense of space, of being in the room as it is happening. It hurtles you forward, making you care about the singer, curious where it is coming from, and what happens next.
Nate Asher moved from Washington, DC to NYC, in pursuit of his love of music. He interviews bands for NPR, and is clearly devoted to sound, claiming Radiohead and Leonard Cohen (naturally), as influences. He clearly has the drive, and the enthusiasm, and even the talent. He’s a good guitar player, with acoustics and electrics stacked sensitively, and he’s got the production chops to make his stuff sound ultra keen. As a sound engineer, I can tell you, it is not easy to get all those sounds to hang together, and not sound totally amateurish or cluttered. In Between sounds totally polished and professional.
A little TOO polished, at times.
The man claims Radiohead and Cohen as influences, but has failed to incorporate some of their experimental edge in his productions. Radiohead pushed rock music into the 21st century by incorporating avant garde electronics into their barnstorming guitar eruptions, and risked losing all their fans from the success of OK Computer (maybe they were even TRYING to lose those fans). Leonard Cohen injected the Folk Revival of the ’60s with Old Testament fire and brimstone, and explicitly erotic poetry. His was the language of the id and the instincts, and he was often not too nice, in its execution.
Nate Asher seems like a nice person, a romantic with a devotion to music and the technical skills to bring his expressions to life, which is the duty of every true artist. I want to see him go further. I want to see him explode. Don’t make something which just sounds NICE. Find the thing that you were born to do, that no one but you can say. There’s real poetry and real feelings here, but they are lost in the ’90s alt-rock presentation.
There’s pictures of Asher playing to a packed house in NYC, so perhaps i am alone in feeling this way. But i have a feeling of what Asher is capable of, and how far is he is willing to go int its pursuit. That’s why i want to see more.