In the early months of 2010, one of the year’s more rewarding experimental beat music releases was ushered out of Los Angeles with little fanfare. Instrumentalist/producer Ryan “Asura” York put a number of different ideas on the table with his provocative self-titled debut for new imprint Non Projects, including woozy electronic, broken hip hop, and temperate, ambient techno.
On his follow-up split with Non Projects label head Brian “Anenon” Simon, York is in a similarly unpredictable mood. The midtempo “Silver Trees” positions York’s pipes front and center, stewing in reverb and backward-cycling synth sequences. On the mild, techno-tinged “Outer Bnk”, a blend of background guitar leads and simple, clean keys plays out like a lo-fi rendition of a new Caribou track or like recent Kompakt signees Walls, clashing noticeably with the fraying crunch of “Sleepers”. As Anenon, Brian Simon’s contributions here don’t push like “Sleepers” or “Outer Bnk” do. The second half of Silver Trees/Damiel is a lighter bunch, dizzying with chimes and varying analog sounds. It gets fairly brain-splitting, though, when Simon dusts off old drum breaks for “Retold”/“Endless”. The producer’s proud affinity for jazz doesn’t halt at percussion—the closing suite circles from warm dance music to a splashy freeform brew of brass, clarinet, and muted bells, much in the venturesome spirit of Asura’s debut.