It feels like it was a century ago, but it was more like 2006 that I sat down with Chicago’s Mark Grant (who was everywhere then) for an interview. When it came time to talk about other producers of note, the usually reserved Mark just couldn’t stop talking about Phil Asher. This was a short time after broken beat failed to become the next big thing but Phil seemed to have a hand in everything, especially these gorgeous, soulful tracks under the name “Restless Soul” – sparkling gems that featured an array of talented musicians, many of whom I first learned about by studying the sparse liner notes of Phil’s records.
And there was the other side, the beat tracks and more purely electronic records that appeared out of nowhere in the bins and were just as quickly snatched away. At a time when tools and limited imaginations began to make everything sound same-y, Phil Asher records like Political ’06/Revolution have a sound to them that still hasn’t been cloned. I’ve given up a lot of records over the years but I’d never part with the Phlash tracks released on Archive, a label out of Italy. Those records introduced me to Rich Medina, Shea Soul and Lord knows who else.
UK label moreaboutmusic has been throwing cannonballs lately, and to see Phil Asher following up on a Mike Dunn release is a delight. Sparkle is a collaboration with Dwala, supposedly the first taste of a more substantial session. The soul with just the slightest electronic edge of “Sparkle (AJ’s Dance)” and “Today’s Tomorrow” are the embodiment of everything I’ve loved about Phil Asher’s music, as if a technician is translating Stevie Wonder into machine language and can’t help but to make it boogie anyway.
Phil Asher and Dwala: Sparkle (AJ’s Dance) (moreaboutmusic)
A1. Phil Asher and Dwala: “Sparkle (AJ’s Dance)” (7:34)
B1. Phil Asher and Dwala: “Today’s Tomorrow” (6:23)