UK singer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Ashong steps out of the shadows of Detroit’s Sound Signature record label to deliver his sophomore EP and prove that if there’s anyone set to blow up in 2014, it’s him.
It’s difficult to recall the first time you heard the off kilter bump of ‘Flowers’. That is unless the first thing you remember when someone mentions the record is the growl of the sub bass, in which case you were probably in the basement of Plastic People sometime in 2012. Since its release on Theo Parrish’s much sought after Sound Signature imprint, the track has become a ubiquitous fixture on sound systems throughout Europe; from basements to beaches, East End boutiques to radio booths. ‘Flowers’ was undeniably the record of the Summer 2013. A claim that was validated last month when the song won ‘Track of the Year’ at the Worldwide Awards 2014.
So what happens now for the young troubadour? People have undoubtedly already started to switch on to his talent and mainstream media seem to be catching up fast with The Guardian and The Sunday Times both heaping praise on the singer in recent months, the former going as far as to compare Ashong to Roy Ayers, Shuggie Otis, Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye in their ‘New Band of the Day’ feature (no pressure there then!). All this attention sets things up nicely for a second EP release of course, and thankfully it’s already in the bag and set to drop physically on individually numbered, hand printed vinyl through the fledging Which Way Records any day now (digital is already available via iTunes).
A strong 3-tracker (entirely written, produced and performed by Ashong), it pulls together strands of acoustic soul, blunted funk and loose electronica to produce an enticing set that creeps deeper under your skin after every listen. From the opening strains of guitar enveloped in echo on ‘Special’ (check below for a Soundcloud stream), through the loping, sweet soul of ‘Never Dreamed’ and the manner in which ‘Love The Way’ effortlessly drifts along attuned to a kind of celestial stomp (for anyone looking for a sequel to its award-winning predecessor, this track is probably the one), Ashong’s vocals lazily hover over his creations, sometimes layered, sometimes doused in reverb. It’s this inventive use of atmosphere that initially draws you in to his tunes, and just like ‘Flowers’ before them, each of the tracks on offer here carry an individual quality that is not often found on modern-day releases. To have three arrive in one go really is special.
As a little extra taste of the man’s talents and a look at the myriad of sounds that clearly influence him, here’s a great 90 minute mix of music from Ashong that was recently posted by The Vinyl Factory. Stream it below and to check out a full (vinyl only!) track by track playlist and interview, you can click here.