Daniel Ash is an artist that always forges forward; he never remains static. That being said his new endeavor -“Stripped” takes many of his songs and “re-takes” them. At first when I learned about the project, as anyone would think, it was Ash’s tracks remade, remixed or unplugged. “Nothing is from the original takes.. it’s all newly recorded,” as explained by Ash. To my glee I was further from the fore mentioned train wreck. The songs are all “re-takes” done in a style that resembles dub-step, variations of EDM, atmospheric and ambient “a la Brian Eno meets Bowie”. Avid fans may recognize the songs but in reality they are at times completely different in a genetic recombination passing through a centrifuge. The space in Ash’s life that music fills are not a barren wasteland. Songs are where he stores his hopes and dreams; they are always evolving. Like a true music journeyman he makes you take notice and then make choices. Perhaps preoccupied by his own dystopian perspective of the world he will always maintain his intellectual nous. This is where his desire to create “Stripped” is so God Damn Ace!
Go Studio Where Stripped Was Recorded
The music is so powerful that it could inspire the making of films in lavish enriched colorization rather just being placed in one. Ash offers much fodder in these musical interpretations and feels that they are more apt to be monetized in musical placement rather than from actual record sales. The story of “Stipped” began with co-producer and confidant Christopher the Minister & Ash hooking up with Pledge Music. From there they made a video describing their intentions and asking for fans to pledge dollars to develop the project. Because of these donations it allowed the project to come to fruition. Included are the making of C.D’s T-Shirts and a vinyl format of the record plus the 15% that Pledge Music takes off the top. Initially there were 21 songs and then it was funneled to just twelve.
Executive Producer/D.J. Extraordinaire Christopher the Minister
Ash throughout his career has eschewed from direct interaction with fans for the most part and confessed that social media is too draining.. It’s really not his thing. He would rather take his classic motorcycle for an outing or paint his infamous “doodles”. But when I spoke with him I detected a bit delight to hear the thoughts and minds from contributors. Interaction in some ways bodes with Ash. Many responses by contributors were nothing more than psychobabble while a few had some thoughtful input. Once the goal was achieved the project was a go! With all the ducks in row the “Stripped” manifesto was now readied for actual laying down of tracks. The 12 songs chosen are like a cinematic interpretation from Ash’s rich catalogue. Think back when the movie studios started using the Technocolor process in the 50’s and 60’s to provide greater optical enjoyment. This is more like aural symphonic fornication of breaking down these songs and building them up for fresh interpretations. Millennials will rejoice to hear greatness from a master.
Daniel Ash… John Fryer Dustin Byerley (aka Magic*)
The biggest commercial hit by Love and Rockets was “So Alive” which in itself is a masterpiece. The record went to #3 on the Billboard pop charts and proved that alternative music can succeed within the mainstream arena. Interestingly with the massive sales in the U.S. the song did nothing in the U.K.. Ash was insistent to record this track and claims he went into a basement with a bottle of whisky and two hours later through divine intervention he walks out with a Picasso! In “Stripped”, Christopher the Minister and Ash approached the original producer, John Fryer to produce the retake. Again, this is not a remix from the original.. This attempt with the street savvy co-producer Dustin Byerley (aka Magic*) captures EDM with perfect loops and traps. The song reeks of symphonic fornication without any equivocation of being shambolic. After reading some of the comments from YouTube people are a bit bewildered of what they are hearing. Ash himself feels that “So Alive” is in fact better than the original Love & Rockets version; it still purports the proclivities of love and lust.
Being such a great fan of Ash’s music I’ve come to determine that my favorite song is “No Big Deal”. In Stripped the song’s interpretation of a relationship that has gone abusively awry and becoming emotionally detached. Like the Love and Rockets version there still is the monolithic industrial sex driven pounding within each verse.
NO BIG DEAL: “You know you broke my heart
And that was just the start I just don’t know
what I’m gonna’ do with you”
While listening through the entire song you realize that Daniel Ash is a fuckin’ amazing guitarist. His style is really his own and for some reason the press never touches his ability to play. No one plays like Ash… he just swings when he plays. Stripped hit its metaphoric high point with “American Dream”; and as much as Daniel Ash won’t necessarily admit he sees the sad state of affairs the world is in right now. He doesn’t see the world through “rose colored glasses”. He doesn’t claim that he’s a prognosticator of the future nor someone with answers but as much as he loves being an American he’s cognoscente that society has fallen into dystopia. At times he may mock with cynicism current events yet he’s stuck in the world like the rest of us. The song rhymes in a futuristic combination of a ambiet reggae tempo yielding a sharp contrast from the original.
“So let’s blame this on excess On an American dream
So let’s blame the success On an American dream
Are you confused by the chaos In everyones wandering eyes
Do you dream of running naked In warm rain
Are you confused by the chaos?”
Other contributors..Adam Bravin from She Wants Revenge did “Ok This Is The Pops” a retake on a Tones OnTail classic and Mat Mitchel from “Puscifer” did “Christian Say’s” another classic Tones On Tail song.
Daniel Ash is in fact a true renaissance man but he doesn’t it! Constantly creating in many platforms. I asked if the former members of Love & Rockets had heard “Stripped” and he answered absolutely not nor did he care to. The din of “Stripped” I really unique and I predict when its all said and done it will interest the aging Goth hanger-oners’, Love and Rocket enthusiasts and the present Millennials. I advise any person that wants to be a mixer listen to Ash and then create their own music because I guarantee their road to individuality and quality will be far shorter. Currently you can go to Pledge Music and acquire downloads of Stripped at Pledge Music http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/stripped/exclusives
Once again I have to thank Daniel, Christopher and Dustin aka Magic* for their patience and understanding… Rock Bands of L.A. com will continue. Thanks, Jeff Laufer