Alex Tronic Records
Alex Tronic Record Company Scotland UK CD Art Work CoverKeser Esoteric Escape CD Art Work CoverThe Asa On / off CD Cover Art Work by ATR RecordsThe Climate Change CD Cover Art Work by Pockets of Resistance

ÅsA On/Off Album Reviews- ATRCD001


Album Review by Jimmy Logan

Music for centuries has served a multitude of different purposes. Back in the middle ages, it was part of an "oral tradition". In which it was used to convey news of heroic deeds and similar tales to lighten up the souls of the common good folk. Part of its purpose was to deliver news to the masses. Bear in mind, in those days, very few could read. This was the one of the few forms of communicating with the outside world - singers, musicians and the growing band of "Holy" men being another.

In this modern age we are bombarded by 24/7 blanket news coverage. We're fed an hourly diet of war, flood, famine, death and destruction, along with the exploits of the talent-less and falsely famous with little in the way of good news. It is an age where things appear to change minute by minute. One thing stands true to the test of time. Music still offers an escape for those willing to succumb to its charms.

This album carries on this musical tradition. On/Off by Åsa (pronounced Orsa) offers the listener pure delightful escapism. If you like to close your eyes, open your ears and free your mind in pools of relaxation. Then this album may be just the tonic for you. The combined talents of Åsa Seljestad , Paul Croan have created a body of music that is overloaded with imagery, it will transport the willing listeners to far off wondrous places.

From its' opening bars. On/Off is a beautifully constructed and thoughtfully prepared album. Seljestad's Ciccone-esque vocals coupled with Croan and Windram's imaginative, skilfully, multi-layed electronic sound-scapes; work together with an exquisiteness that you cannot fail to notice. They compliment each other with an almost innate understanding. This no more apparent than in the songs "Breathe Again" and " Superflygirl." The former may place you adrift heading for a rocky coastline or may even as it did with me, take you to a castle top by a loch with an eerie yearning voice filling the mist-covered valley below. While you picture a scene in your mind, behind the vocals cometh electronic bagpipes chased by a wild wailing banshee loop that alludes to the danger leaping up from below. A fantasy driven track that is another measure of the aforementioned successful collaboration and all round musical inventive partnership.

While the latter "Superflygirl" is trip-hopping, honey dripping slice of temptation. It will have the strong and weak alike willing to sample the fruit of this (dare I say it…) forbidden forest. Sheer musical temptation, to rank along side that Birkin and Gainsbourg erotic classic, a masterclass in feminine seduction reminiscent of a kiss giving epic.

In "Fallen Angel" the merest of electronic hints is enough to take you off to eastern lands where a sinister twist awaits.

Whilst "Amsterdam" affords your mind's eye a journey through this most of liberal location. Blinking headlights and flashing neons colouring the background of this animated instrumental track. That is what makes this album enjoyable and clever. It just takes the simplest of hints to transport you away. This album weaves a full emotional tapestry. On/Off truly is deserving of a world-wide stage.

Del Naja and Co it could be argued lead the field in chilled trip hop. However, Åsa will turn you ON and take you OFF somewhere into the distance reaches of your imaginations. That cannot be a bad thing.

Music/Records Album Review -The List Magazine Edinburgh

Named after their Norwegian/Welsh singer and lyricist Åsa Seljestad, Edinburgh based-outfit are a trio, completed by producer Alex Tronic and a man known only as Mysterious Baz.
Seljestad has a breathy vocal style that melds jazz and a more familiar electronic diva styling. Think Beth Gibbons, Alison Goldfrapp with a bit more reserve, or even Kate Bush on a quiet day. Musically, songs like 'Traditional Arms', the drum and bass driven 'This Machine' and the somnambulant 'Feel Alone' are damn's clearly a lovingly created package, placing ÅsA alongside the likes of Zero 7 or Lamb".......

Album Review from Norwegian Newspaper Haugesunds Avis, Norway (Truls Horvei)

"Åsa Seljestad is the lead singer of Electronica trio ÅsA who are based in Edinburgh.
Their debut album "On/Off" is definately worth listening to especially Seljestad's distinctive voice and lyrics which play an essential part. She can sometimes sound Björk esque but definately has her own special style. The vocals are wrapped in a melodic electronica filled with sound effects beats and rolling soundscapes.
Sometimes a dim light runs through these songs and at other times they are dark and sensual....
"On/Off" at it's best is a great album release".

Album Review by Rick Fulton Daily Record U.K
ASA On/Off

WITH Goldfrapp's Oh La La in every trendy advert going, this Edinburgh-based three-piece electro outfit are surely hoping there is a move for more femalefronted synth pop. Singer Asa Seljestad owes much to Shara Nelson, the singer who sang on Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy before releasing her own solo album What Silence Knows. First track True Perfection sounds very like Nelson's Down That Road, with angst-ridden lyrics and the trip hop made famous by early Massive Attack. Of the 11 tracks it's when the trio hit the bmps they show most promise - as on This Machine or stand-out track Breathe Again.





Mob : 07904713833

Escape Artist : An Interview With Keser

Who are Keser and what are they all about?
Keser is primarily the work of myself (Kevan Whitley). I write and record the songs. I can play solo for live shows or draft in a bass player if necessary. David Reid played a few shows in the past and played bass in the studiofor most of the tracks on 'Esoteric Escape'. I used to play in guitar bands for a while before going solo, I wanted to mix guitar-orientated music with electronica and see what happened.
What are the main influences that helped create Keser sound?
I've always been a big fan of guitar bands and more recently electronica artists. It seemed natural for 'post rock' to progress further into various different routes and mixing it with electronica has achieved an interesting cross-over. The plan from the outset was to create reflective,futuristic music with abalance of analogue and digital sounds... I guess my main influences wouldbe Mogwai, Aereogramme, Arab Strap, Low, Stafraenn Hakon, Boards ofCanada, M83, Fourtet and many more.
Your new album "Esoteric Escape" has just been released, you describedtheproduction as a "steep learning curve". What did you learn?
Paul Croan (Alex Tronic Records Label Manager) and I recorded and mixed the majority of the album. I had no previous experience of the process and I learned as I went along - the production process, software, using the mixing desk, editing tracks etc. I learned a lot in a short time (Paul is an excellent mentor and fantastic producer) and it was extremely satisfying to do the entire album independently.
The first few tracks were recorded at Hidden Channel in Glasgow by a good friend, Gavin Dick. He's very talented as well so I'm privileged to learn from these guys. Geoff Allen from CaVa also lent his experience, his input at the mastering stage was class. He had great stories of working with bands I have great respect for. I had no idea what input he had on the bands' recordings but, for example, if you listen to 'Solemn Thirsty' by Malcom Middleton... At the end when the guitar melody comes through prior to the vocal melody and sets it up brilliantly...that was Geoff's idea. Small details like thatare so important on a record!
The obvious input from Geoff for us was on 'Destination:Destiny' when it gets damn heavy! Similarly, Paul has great ideas for the production and whatsounds best where, the experience he offers is priceless. To achieve the sounds and atmosphere wedid was incredible to see taking shape. The focus and effort from Paul andI had to be relentles, but we're extremely happy with the outcome.
Is there anything you would change about it now?
Not a thing. I would have preferred another couple of tracks we had recorded were on there but it would have been too long. But it's a snapshot of where the music was at, at the time, and it's a busy, vibrant picture!.
Mogwai claim their song titles are taken from magazines such as The National Enquirer, how does Keser come up with their song titles?.
Anything I see or like the sound of at the time can become a song title. "FM Rocker" is taken from an Aerosmith biography for example. 'Rolling' was just a working title in the song's early days as I thought the middle section sounded like a RollingStones song! We are Closed on Every Tuesday is a sign on the door of my favourite Chinese Take Away. They have a great Happy Hour price but, for one reason or another,they are closed on every Tuesday.
Most bands hate to be pigeonholed, what is your take on genre's such as post-rock?
Laziness. Some people need to be told what bands are like without finding out and forming their own opinions. Summing up a band into a couple of words is ludicrous. The best thing is to do is hear them for yourself. We'll sometimes use the term 'post rock electronica' as we feel we fit into this genre, it has sufficiently vast connotations so as not to be too 'pigeon-holed' but at the same time appealing to a niche musical genre.
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) recently expressed concern about websites such as Myspace'influence over the music world, in terms of development of bands. What is your take on this?
I have not seen this so I can't comment. Myspace seems to be an excellent medium for music at present though.
Many bands develop over the years, what do you see as Keser strengths at themoment, and what weaknesses (if any) would you like to improve on?
I guess our main strength is our hard-working ethos, from the band and label. You can always improve, though.
Back to the album, Is there any significant meaning in the title "Esoteric Escape"
Yes. It's about striving to achieve truth about our lives, escaping the mysticism of why we are all here, why anything is here and seeing a bigger perspective. It was a theme of many of the songs so it was an apt summation. I am surprised that there is not a lot of focus on this in general when it is easily the single most important thing.
Your record was released on Edinburgh based label Alex Tronic. What is this label all about and what other bands are on it?
Alex Tronic Records is an Edinburgh-based indie label and studio run by Paul Croan. Alex Tronic Records has four artists so far on the label, Pockets of Resistance, Åsa, Keser and Alex Tronic himself (Paul Croan). Alex Tronic has released and licenced music to many labels notably Koyote/Peyote Records and Cherry Red Records. He has also dabbled in scoring the music for film and TV. The label has a stall at theupcoming Spectrum Festival at the Queen's Hall on Sunday October 22nd alongside other labels such as Benbecula Records. This will prove to be excellent exposure for a relatively new and underground label.
What is your favourite track from "Esoteric Escape".
"4_Cycles". This song was unique in that it wasn't written before entering the studio, it happened as we went along. Paul let me have free reign for a couple of hours, at one point he heard the guitar riff, put his paper down and said "that's it! let's go" and we started from there. Most of that song is first takes throughout and was completed in a few hours, we're both extremely happy with it and it's an enjoyable song to do live.
Your set up involves a drum machine, would you consider using live drums in the future?
Yes, there were even plans for using live drums in "Esoteric Escape " so it should happen at some point.
What is Edinburgh's music scene like. Is there any bands I should check out(apart from Keser) the next time I'm there.
It's doing well despite some of the recent closure of venues.......... 'This is Music' (, 'New Found Sound'(, andTaylorMadeMusic (www.taylormademusic) do extremely well to promote the live scene, as do Bannerman's ( to name a few. There's a lot of great bands here, I'll have to forward you some links.
Many 'critics' have lamented the poor state of the music scene in the UK. Do you agree?
Wholeheartedly. The scene that we hear and read about anyway. There is so much more to the scene that sadly does not receive as much recognition as the established and hyped acts, but this has been the case for a long time. I found recently an old article in my old room at home from 1995. It was aboutRadiohead, 'Britain's Best Kept Secret' the headline read. The press should have been ashamed. They attracted little and dismissive attention in the early days and that headline summed it up..then the UK press realised how good they were but were too late. They covered themselves by proclaiming Radiohead to be 'the best band in the world' after OK Computer, this was obviously dertrimental to the band's state of mind at the time. I digress.
Are you for or against the use of file-sharing networks such as Soulseek and Limewire?
I prefer having the records physically, the album sleeves, lyrics and notes etc and a good quality recording over anything else.
There are some pictures on the web of Keser partying with Mogwai. Are the mighty 'Gwai fans of your or are they more like a big brother?
I don't know if they are fans but Barry has the album at least! I have met them at various gigs and know them a bit from that. The picture is from the ICA in London, they had just finished the last day of a 5 day residency. It was a great show and was attended by the likes of Alan McGee and legend Martin O' Neill. Martin gave them a pep talk in the dressing room before the show, I guess after that you have to play well!.
What records could you not live without?
There are far too many to list!
OK, Have you any thoughts on an album of the year yet or is it too early?
"Hmmm. Everyone else is pretty much screwed when Mogwai have a release! It has to be "Mr Beast"!
What is the best gig you have ever attended?
Cecil at The Works, Aberdeen in 1997. They became Voy, then disappeared!They were amazing so it's a shame.
The record is out now. So what is next for Keser?
Touring is next up, the focus will be abroad as well as the UK. The release date is still delayed for the shops, there will be launch gigs when it is announced as well. Then it's back to the studio for the next album.

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