- "Machines médiévales" MACHINES MEDIEVALES - Electronic music by JOHAN ASHERTON
"I like the association of the words "machines" and "médiévales". It takes us back to Da Vinci, those incredible sketches he did of his inventions... A sense of the past and the future, firmly planted in the present."
Johan Asherton has always been interested in electronic music, spending hours recording instrumentals using a custom-built Fizelson synthesizer. Recording at home on a two-track Revox A 77 in the late seventies, he would then overdub layers of sounds, noises, percussions, string-ensemble (an Elka Rhapsody owned by his friend Claude Arto, who would soon form the futuristic duo Mathématiques Modernes). At one point, he seriously contemplated releasing some of these recordings via one of the independent french labels of the times, like Isadora or Pôle.
Various events prevented him to do so but by 1981 he regrouped with Arto - by then fastly becoming a strong force on the Parisian indie-electronic scene - who offered him to produce his first record. Having purchased a Roland System 100 M synthesizer and an EMS sequencer from Arto, Asherton embarked on a series of lenghty recording sessions, resulting in several pieces he dubbed "Environment Music" - a large wink to Brian Eno's "Discreet Music". By May 1982 his first single "Harlequin" was released, offering a melodic song set to a largely electronic background. Later that same year, however, Asherton was writing and demoing the nucleus of what would eventually lead to the formation of his first band, The Froggies.
More recently, Asherton asked associate video-maker Sébastien Tricart to come up with images and films for some of these now vintage compositions, first resulting in two clips, the very dark "Ramps", and the very luminous "Curtains".
Carefully restored and mastered by Gene Clarksville and Thierry Minot, Machines Médiévales is finally seeing the light of day on EDK Records.