Listening to A Star As One by James Asher and Hiroyuki Otsuki, it is impossible to deny the star qualities of this incredible single. It is a melodic supernova, radiant and glowing, thanks to Asher’s masterful compositions and arrangements with Otsuki’s electric guitar center stage. A shared love for Jeff Beck brought the duo together. Asher’s fans though will immediately recognize his, and not Beck’s, signature sound. A Star As One is a terrific single, brimming with optimism, playfulness and creativity.
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).
Hiroyuki Otsuki is a guitarist from Japan. He debuted in 1979. Since 2000, he has been actively performing live and producing with multiple bands such as Jeff Beck and Led Zeppelin tribute bands. In April 2022, he released his second solo album re:play and embarked on a nationwide tour.
A Star As One
The introduction to A Star As One is fascinating. The soft sounding flute makes the listener think of fairytales, or at least something with a hint of magic. Then we hear a synth pad and light, modulated guitar notes. Then a sharp piano key and an even sharper guitar. From there onwards, Otsuki blasts the listener into space! The piano backing is also sublime.
Asher is a drum master. This track has not a distinct rhythm, but there is a very interesting layer of loud textures mixed with shakers that drive the melody forward. It doesn’t drown in the sound of the guitar, which is quite an achievement. The guitar is the star, as they say – but the shakers/texture effect too makes the piece stand out. The single ends with a long fade-out. It uses one and a half minute to go in for landing. But that is understandable, given how energetic the beginning and mid-section is.
In conclusion: “For my part, I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream,” Vincent van Gogh said. A Star As One by James Asher and Hiroyuki Otsuki communicates that sense of awe and wonder we get from looking at the night sky. The single is spectacular thanks to Asher’s compositions and Otsuki’s guitar. It might not qualify as an astronomical event, but it fabulous.
The most prominent feature on A Star As One is, of course, the electric guitar. From the first few notes, it simply takes off, cutting though the air like a light saber. It is hands down a perfect solo. But this track wouldn’t work without Asher’s arrangements. It is the sum of all the different components that make this track remarkable and unforgettable.
Let A Star As One illuminate your day!
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