'Ray' is Ashley Paul's bright, sensual return to Slip: a lifting, delighting suite of yearning winds, loose beats, and cocooning, humid bass coming together and falling apart as songs.
The LP airs Paul's new trio, alongside bass clarinettist Yoni Silver and bassist Otto Willberg, who fatten out and shine light on her singularly intimate, multi-instrumental with mystery and grace. 2018's 'Lost In Shadows' wrote into the bewildering ecstasy of recent motherhood with a tingling resolve. On 'Ray' - recorded remotely during lockdown - Paul's deliciously hesitant songcraft is an outpouring and an anchor in freshly tumultuous times.
Over the past six months I've found myself needing music in a new way, a way of coping. I found again albums I had loved in the past, full of melody and humour, to cancel out the barrage of terrible news happening outside. I think this album is a reflection of that need. There is the playfulness of spending my days with our four year old, and the hours spent tending to plants in the garden and examining bugs, and also the pain of missing family and friends. It’s hard for me to fully comprehend the breadth of emotion I've felt recently but maybe this is a small window.
The trio idea had been formulating in my head for months, and then lockdown happened. At first I was very disappointed and thought I'd be waiting forever to finally make it a reality, but time passed. I started working on a new album and could only hear it with these guys. We recorded remotely. I sent material in a variety of ways; written, aurally and verbal ideas/queues, sometimes with just a shell of a track and other times nearly completed. I wanted all our voices to be present, and to allow freedom in the parts for interpretation and improvisation. Maybe because we've all worked together in various situations and are friends, I’m not sure, but it came together naturally, magically and quickly.
Ashley Paul - voice, alto saxophone, clarinet, guitar, percussion
Yoni Silver - bass clarinet
Otto Willberg - double bass
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi
Painting by Gayle Paul
Design by Ashley Paul
Slip Records, 2020
Ashley Paul is an American performer and composer based in London. She uses an array of instruments including saxophone, clarinet, voice, guitar, bells and percussion, mixing disparate elements to create a colorful palate of sound that works its way into her intuitive songs; free forming, introverted melodies. This blend manifests beautiful and simple musical forms against acoustic experimentation.
Ashley has performed or recorded with Phill Niblock, Rashad Becker, Nik Colk Void, Loren Connors, Heatsick, Aki Onda, C. Spencer Yeh, Anthony Coleman, Bass Clef, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris, Seijiro Murayama, Greg Kelley, Bill Nace and Eli Keszler appearing on such labels as Important, PAN, ESP-DISK’ and Tzadik. She received a Masters of Music from New England Conservatory in 2007.