Christopher D Ashley is one of the freshest and most exciting new artist to join Sunday Best Recordings roster. Christopher was born to a well educated English father, and a Belizean mother who arrived in England aged 18 with no education at all. His father was a devout atheist physicist and mathematician who believed in the disciplines of logic and reason. His mother came from a third world culture pervaded by voodoo, black magic and English colonialism. Not the most apparent of partnerships, however one that introduced Christopher to a truly diverse range of music from a very early age.
“My dad, a physics teacher, showed me with some excitement, that you could programme tunes on a BBC computer when I was about 8. He told me that this was the future. I remember hearing this cool type of music in the 80s called ‘electro’ on DEF II and I remember thinking that it was the best sound I’d ever heard.”
First picking up a piano aged 2, classically trained from the age of 5, and passing grade 8 exams with distinction by age 14, Christopher’s clear affinity and talent for music became apparent and more serious. He had developed an interest in 20th century experimentalism and the avant-garde by his mid-teens – though he preferred to listen to thrash metal (and had been teaching himself guitar and bass since he was 11), he was fascinated by Stockhausen, Cage and Reich.
“I taught myself guitar aged 11. I wanted to be Dave Mustaine from Megadeth! His attitude resonated with me, but I could never understand the codes he spoke in”.
Aged 18 he abandoned classical music completely. Despite loving the history and the music, he found the culture that surrounded it po-faced and elitist. At University he joined samba, rock and live dance bands, became friends with people involved in the North West jazz scene and generally had a grand old time listening to music.
“I played different shaky and hittable instruments in a samba band aged 18. We would jam in a breezeblock walled room with a thin carpet and no windows with the lights off. Suddenly I understood all the music my mum listened to”.
After university, Christopher fell in love with vinyl, Warp records and the like. He rediscovered his passion for electro and fell in love with Radioactive Man, Dexorcist, Evac, Hyde and Exakt. He also fell in love with the new disco revival, Lindstrom, Black Devil et al. It seemed obvious to him to buy vinyl by Luke Vibert, Richard D James and Keith Tenniswood – the latter of which can now be found playing in Christopher’s live band.
This hugely diverse, and rich musical upbringing shows in his work.
First single ‘We Are Shining’ is a dark, moody staggering underworld monster. Layering synth upon synth, omitting a grey electronic haze reminiscent of early Depeche Mode and New Order, We Are Shining hints lyrically at a person’s struggle to get clean. From the Hot Chip school of surly lyrical delivery, Christopher demonstrates his ear for a dark, hypnotic melody that sticks in the psyche and pounds away into the subconscious.
The album ‘Cruel Romantics’ and second single are due April 2008.