' ashley paul: Its the Heat

photo: ashley stelzer

Brooklyn based composer/ multi-instrumentalist Ashley Paul uses a unique mixture of saxophone, clarinet, voice, prepared strings, bowed percussion and bells to create a mash of understated clatter, floating melodies and psycho-acoustic experiments. She combines these disparate elements to compose introverted songs and intuitive forms.
Her solo albums have received high praise being chosen "Album of the Column" in The Wire, first on Byron Coley and Thurston Moore’s “Tongue Top Ten” in Arthur Magazine and picked on NPR's All Songs Considered “Best of 2010”. She has been interviewed in the German magazine Spex, The Sound Projector, Foxy Digitalis and on Rare Frequency. She will have her first two articles published this year in the Black Mountain College Journal special edition on John Cage and in Audition Magazine, Berlin.
In addition to performing solo, Ashley collaborates regularly with Anthony Coleman, Eli Keszler and Geoff Mullen. She performed the World and US Premiere’s of Phill Niblock’s work “Asheli” composed for her and Keszler for soprano saxophone and crotales along with Niblock, performed the US Premiere of Mauricio Kagel’s “Der Schall” at Merkin Concert Hall (NYC) and premiered Anthony Coleman’s quartet “Damaged by Sunlight” at Banlieues Bleues Festival (Paris). She was given a six week artist-in-residency at ISSUE Project Room and was awarded a Fellowship Grant in composition from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, 2010. She has performed or recorded with Loren Connors, C Spencer Yeh, Roscoe Mitchell, Aki Onda, Joe Maneri, Greg Kelley, Seijiro Murayama, Ran Blake, Satoshi Takeishi, Brad Jones, Bill Nace, Joe Morris and Charles Cohen at such venues as On Land Festival (San Francisco), Ultra Eczema’s Bruismelk Festival 2012 (Antwerp), House for Electronic Art (Basel), Gaudeamus Muzeikweek (Utrecht), Knot Gallery (Athens, Greece), Cyclorama Boston Center for the Arts and The Stone (NYC). Ashley received her BM and MM from New England Conservatory.

“Paul’s songs feel environmental, complicated constructions that hang together according to an elusive pointillist logic that trips over your ears with the sleight of hand of the greatest of improvisors…”

-David Keenan, Wire Magazine, 2012

"...once in a while something gets slapped in the tape deck that just utterly, completely nails you to the underpinnings of heavens dripping maw. Such an experience is to be had by anyone lucky enough to grab hold of if only goodnight, the first cassette on the Wagtail label by Eastern Massachusetts improv/noise/strange-string shaman-femme Ashley Paul."

-Byron Coley & Thurston Moore, Arthur Magazine, 2010

"…Ashley's sound remains stark and crisp, each plucked string and clattering strike standing out as strongly as a winter twig against a clear January sky…"

- Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector 19th Issue, 2011

"Album of the column from this newcomer...DOL is an intriguing hybrid, merging long-form tones with primitivist DIY clatter and Improv dissonance. Paul handles the mutually antagonistic idioms with aplomb and a winning mixture of accuracy and rawness."

-Nick Cain, Wire Magazine, November 2008

“a form destroyer if there ever was one...”

-Keith Fullerton Whitman, Mimaroglu Music

Its the Heat

Ashley Paul
Its the Heat
Digitalis ltd #166
i've got a few copies of this left. write me if you want to grab one!

finally we make the providence connection. ashley paul has been on a tear for the past couple years whether its in her solo scrawl or in the duo aster with her fiancĂ© eli keszler. she always seems to have an endless stream of ideas, throwing down recordings and ideas that are distinct in sound and unlike anything else going on. her main weapon of choice is her saxophone, but on “its the heat” she mixes that up with guitar skronk, whispered vocals and an array rattling percussion. it’s a fragile listen but unbelievably rewarding in the end.

from the opening squeal of paul’s sax it becomes obvious that you’re going somewhere new. strained notes and ramshackle melodies mix & mingle before dissolving completely into a tangled wall of guitar debris. it’s sort of like the eerie calm after a car wreck when you’re totally on edge and everything is creaking and quaking just waiting to give out entirely. its a minimalist orchestra of tiny destruction. paul uses her voice well, adding it in at just the right moments as a last thread of hope before the end. i remain lost and happy. edition of 100, chrome tapes.