James Asher’s new Recentering EP is as practical as it is beautiful. The 18-minute-long release gives time to reflect, clear one’s head and recenter. Not too short and not too long, the EP makes it easy to zone in and out during a busy day. Both rhythmic, melodic, and meditative, Recentering may serve as an introduction to the artist’s rich discography too.
James Asher is a multi-instrumental composer and producer specializing in world beat and chillout music. Amongst his catalog of over 30 albums, his worldbeat album Feet in the Soil has sold over 250,000 copies, and interestingly but at the other end of the spectrum, one of his early compositions has been sampled by Tyler the Creator, a high-profile American rapper, who for the second year running has won Grammy for best rap album 2022. If you listen to the song CORSO, you can prominently hear samples from Asher’s Oriental Workload (2008).
Lake of Mirrors
Recentering starts with two tracks dealing with water. The opening track is the hauntingly beautiful Lake of Mirrors. It doesn’t take long to establish that Asher is up there among masters such as Steven Halpern and Chuck Wild/Liquid Mind when it comes to composing and arranging a world-class meditative soundscape. There are so many layers of sound and several intertwining ambient melodies. The piece offers a spectacular view into another world, a lake so vivid and reflective that you almost have to shield your eyes; It will illuminate even a pitch-black room. Previously released as a single, Lake of Mirrors is a terrific EP opener too!
At this stage you might be tempted to think that the following tracks are all meditative and peaceful – but that is not the case. No, next out is the classy and upscale Island Spa! It is a welcome surprise. Island Spa is that kind of track that instantly connects with the listener; you can’t help being impressed by Asher’s vision of the gorgeous island, the five-star spa, and its relaxing yet playful atmosphere. It is the perfect location for a dream vacation. The piano and keys, bass and rhythm, plus pads in the background, are recorded and mixed with Asher’s usual attention to detail. It is an expressive and danceable piece.
The Ponderer takes this journey in music into new territory. It is, as the title implies, a meditative piece that instantly makes the mind wander. I’m very impressed by the expressive harp melody. Fans of Andreas Vollenweider, Laurence Furr, and Denise Fink will definitely love this track. Asher is a master when it comes to rhythm, and The Ponderer is no exception. It is so integrated, so natural, blending perfectly with the melody. The light strings in the background add a level of mystery. The Ponderer is, in short, a winner from start to finish. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself:
Zoning Out concludes the EP. It reminds me of Lake of Mirrors, which creates a nice “full circle” effect. We are back where we started, at least in terms of sound. The synth sounds heavenly; it is a terrific wake-up call.
In conclusion: “You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don’t ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said. On the Recentering EP, James Asher has much of the same advice for us. Many meditation programs, both guided and instrumental, are so serious. Recentering, on the other hand, is approachable, rhythmic, and fun. It makes it easy to tune in and receive what this EP has to offer, no matter where you are.
While each track stands well on its own, Recentering is best experienced in one continuous listen. Asher has delivered a superb and useful release that does exactly what it promises. The various soundscapes, from rhythmic to meditative, may also inspire the listener to check out more of Asher’s rich discography.
For more information and music samples, visit james-asher.co.uk.
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