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Exile - A.S.
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RELEASE INFO

LABEL: Inedible Records
RELEASE DATE:
FORMATS: Physical, Digital

Band Members

Nick: Singer Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Arrangements
Idriss: Guitars

BIOGRAPHY

Exile is A.S.’s second album. The album was recorded over four months starting in summer 2011 at RedBox Studios in Paris, and mixed by multi-grammy award winning Darrell Thorp at Studio 101 in Los Angeles. The album is a fitting sequel to Intimate Circles, the band's first opus, but with stronger rhythms and darker, more melancholy texts, as well as greater daring and originality in the complex, eclectic arrangements.

Formed in 2008, the Paris based duo consists of vocalist Nick McRoberts (voice, piano) and Idriss Halfaoui (guitars). For Exile they are joined by Raphaël Mercier (drums) of Mass Hysteria and the haunting vocals of Juwenn of Relay (additional vocals on Exile).

Intimate Circles (2009 - Inedible Records) marked their studio debut and included sombre and complex titles such as "Maybe", "Other Days" and "Intimate Circles" as well as the anthemic "Youth". Intimate Circles was praised as "without a doubt the debut album that many groups would have liked to record" (Zicazic) and "...while Radiohead meditate and Coldplay rewrite their testament, A.S. moves beyond. They transcend genres, reconcile them..." (Raje Magazine) Since 2008, A.S. have toured extensively in France and the UK and will be undertaking a tour of the USA and the UK in summer 2013.

The album artwork for Exile was born of the collaboration with French photographer P. Gaston and was shot entirely on location in West Scotland. The album was mastered at legendary Metropolis Studios in London by John Davis (U2, Snow Patrol, Velvet Underground).

"This is definitely a different album to Intimate Circles", says Nick. "We weren't afraid to spend months and months getting things just the way we wanted."

PRESS QUOTES

"Hits the high notes, recalling vintage R.E.M." - Music Emissions

"Gracefully... impresses with its high points. All making for a wonderfully personable and intimate collection of music." - Alt Music Review

"Exile is decidedly dark, the duo take that vibe and create a hauntingly beautiful record that won't disappoint." - Venture Mag

Review

03/06/2013 10.46pm EST

Cyrus Rhodes, Biz Talk for Musesmuse.com

Eclectic Paris based Pop/Rock duo A.S blends acoustic intimacy with sweeping soundscapes on their second full length album Exile, recorded in France and mixed in LA by Grammy Winner Darrell Thorp. Fully embodying the title concept of Exile, the highly anticipated second full length recording from A.S.—Nick McRoberts’ eclectic pop/rock duo with Algerian born guitarist Idriss Halfaoui—the classically trained pianist and singer/songwriter moved to Paris from his native Australia over ten years ago to study conducting. While working as a conductor of orchestras, operas and ballets, his classical cohorts tried to convince him that mere pop songwriting was beneath him. But as his career grew to include film and documentary scoring, pop’s pull on him kept growing and he wanted to challenge himself. “Not only is it fun and hard,” McRoberts says, “but I realized that if I write pop and perform it live, people will be voting with their feet!” Along with his deep training as a composer and arranger, he brings a wealth of ambition and sonic imagination to the expansive sound of A.S., which is influenced by classical music, film music and rock.

The CD kicks things off with “Do What You Want” a slow moving acoustical ballad that serves up a peaceful yet methodical melody by McRoberts accompanied by inviting fretwork, piano, dynamic rhythm and impressive harmonies. Track 2 “Exile” shifts gears a bit with its methodical intro dishing out melancholy guitar ambience, driving rhythms against impressive duet harmonies and a grand slam chorus. Track 3 “Time” offers up soothing melody against heartfelt vocals from McRoberts with well-placed Piano, in the pocket drum accents that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression, providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are very conservative in nature, with lush layers of musical instrumentation layered everywhere. I would classify this music as Alternative Rock Pop with Ambient and Chill elements that go down smooth and fills the sonic space with what I would describe as peaceful tranquility.

The musicianship provides a lot of musical variety behind McRoberts. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice brief splashes of Ambient touches, Impressive guitar, piano vocal Harmonies and thick as a brick rhythm section - Halfaoui should get credit for some of this. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments, showcasing impressive lyrical content, soothing vocal melodies all built upon a unique signature sound. Now turning our attention over to McRoberts as for his vocal abilities it works extremely well across the board as he crosses many musical boundaries effectively and successfully. This is not easy to do. Whether it's Ambient, Pop, Rock, Chill McRoberts seems comfortable within each one. His vocal style reminds me a lot of (David Gahan) Depeche Mode. The songwriting offers a brilliant perspective and the lyrical content is very thought provoking and very compelling. From hypnotic “Fast” to striking “Probable Cause” to mesmerizing “Invisible Kiss” to heartfelt “Pleasure and Pain” to melodic  Fallin” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Reasonable Doubts” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

CD is a bit short at 10 songs. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Finally I wish McRoberts would spike the punch a bit more with his overall vocal emotions, delivery and even be a bit more aggressive vocally on some of the songs. There’s a time and place for a widely spaced vibrato as well. More solo segments please. 

After spending some quality time with A.S. it’s hard to find any real weaknesses. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with it. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. What I like most about A.S. besides the unique signature sound is there is no attempt to sugar coat the truth anywhere on the CD. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to artists that can show us something genuine beneath their veil of vanity – A.S. is one of those artists.

Best Songs: Time, Exile, Reasonable doubts.

Artist: A.S.
Album: Exile
Label: Independent Artist
Website:
Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Ethno-Ambient, Electro
Sounds Like: Depeche Mode, Erasure, Nitzer Ebb, Berlin, Camouflage
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 7/10



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