UN014: Unrushed by ASC

6 February 2017
Music at it´s core enables us to drift throughout different landscapes constructed out of waveforms, like a UFO exploring the inner workings of the cosmos. Some artists have such a diverse array of work that their musical expeditions are considerably more complex, and tell a tale of many different bizarre and extraordinary planets. James Clements, also known as ASC, is such an artist. With a back catalogue of work that stretches 20 years and a variety of genres, it is safe to say he has established himself firmly within the music community. Through heading a number of his own labels such as Grey Area and Auxiliary, he has successfully explored the relationship between ambient, techno, and drum and bass inspired material like few artists have before. James is also well known for his work with the endlessly dubby Silent Season imprint, and has recently released records on ARTS and the new Horo label to much acclaim as well. For this edition of UNRUSH we catch up with him to see what musical paths he has been following recently, and find out what has lead him in these enticing new directions.

If you were to draw a picture of your life at the moment, what would it look like?

Pretty much a blank canvas, or at the most a calming blue background with nothing else. I like to keep my options open and never make things too permanent, especially with my music, as it's always evolving into something new with time. 

I´ve always wondered: What does ASC mean?

I chose the name when I was still young and didn't really know what it meant. I just liked the way the words sounded together. The official acronym A.S.C, stands for American Society of Cinematographers, but my version of it doesn't stand or mean anything really. I decided to drop the dots between the letters and just spell it ASC. Quite funny though, as some people over the years have thought it was pronounced 'ask', and not the letters spelt out.

What inspired you to start a project like Grey Area? How do you feel about the intersection of 170 bpm material with techno?

Grey Area was always meant as a bridge from the music I was doing at 170bpm, to the techno I write. When me and Sam KDC first started talking about the idea behind the project, I think it was always out goal to end up writing what we do at slower tempos, closer to techno than where we were at back then. It's been the perfect vessel for us in many ways, as what we're doing now is a lot closer to techno, and in some cases, IS techno. 

Is there a certain place that has influenced your work the most over time? If so, why?

Not really. I'm fortunate to have seen a fair bit of the world and I obviously have some places that have become special to me over time, but there's not one specific location that has influenced me the most. Having said that, there was a big change in my ethos and attitude towards music once I left England and relocated in San Diego.

Is there anything particular about your musical process that helps you focus and stay grounded in the foundation of a new idea?

I suppose I'm very particular about working at specific tempos and time signatures, so that's always one of the first things I consider when starting a new project. The same goes with resetting everything on my mixing desk before starting something new. Starting with a blank canvas is very important. As for staying grounded, well I'd like to think that is something I've practiced over the years and happens naturally now, but I also have great friends that keep me going and can always offer advice and guidance.

How do you enable yourself to unrush from the world?

I presume you mean relaxing? Video games and movies are a great source of inspiration and places to allow your mind to wander and get lost in, especially an immersive game with great story and characters. Other than that, I like to take herbal remedies occasionally, like valerian root, kava or gotu kola to help me unwind once in a while… 

And what´s coming up, would you like to share your future plans with us? 

There's a lot to talk about, but I never like giving too much away, so I'll just mention a few upcoming projects. The first will be an upcoming ambient album (one of the tracks is on this podcast) for my own label, Auxiliary. There's more techno signed to ARTS, who I'll be working closely with in the future. Other than that, plenty more stuff in the pipeline for Horo, Auxiliary, Silent Season etc. I'm always busy creating music, so plans can change and get moved around, so I find it's best not to announce too much stuff too early.

And finally… What was the idea behind the creation of your UNRUSH journey?

When it comes to planning ambient mixes, my approach has always been to look at the flow from a semi-conscious point of view - meaning it should be interesting, but also have an almost dreamstate quality to it. When I first started the Deep Space mix series, it encompassed all forms of ambient and IDM pretty much. Around about the 12th installment, the focus firmly switched to what I like to think is the purest form of ambient music, i.e no beats, long serene soundscapes that transport your mind to somewhere else. This mix is the epitome of everything that I look for within ambient music and it features music from myself, Sam KDC, Deaf Center, Acronym, Glos, Rafael Anton Irisarri and many more artists that I find inspiring... 

More info about ASC

ASC Blogspot | Soundcloud | Facebook | Bandcamp | Auxiliary 

Cover artwork by Joop Schroen

Cover photography by Sarah Kindermann


01. Acronym - Final Descent [Auxiliary]
02. In Aeternam Vale - Soundscape I [Dement3d]
03. Sam KDC - Lowest Elevation [Auxiliary]
04. Chambers - _D_ [Debacle]
05. Isorinne - State Of Shadows [Northern Electronics]
06. ASC - Orcus [Auxiliary] forthcoming
07. Unknown - Untitled [Unreleased]
08. Rafael Anton Irisarri - Displacement [Room40]
09. Deaf Center - Path To Lucy [Type]
10. ASC - The Promise In Your Lies [Silent Season]
11. Glos - Empathy Keeps Me From Sleeping [Intimate Silence]
12. Ligovskoi - Dilip [Dement3d]
13. Modern Heads - Laertes Theme [Outis] forthcoming
14. D.A.R.F.D.H.S - Minnen Av Morfar [Northern Electronics]
15. Dicabor - V [Space Teddy]
16. Nils Frahm - Some [Erased Tapes]