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Meira Asher
Dissected

"Dissected" is singer / composer / percussionist Meira Asher's debut, self-produced album. It was greeted with amazement and shock upon its release last year in her native Israel. As a result, Meira Asher is now considered as one of the most radical and original artists in her country.

Her songs tackle a number issues that few artists dare to approach, especially in the Middle-East: incest, AIDS, torture during the Intifada, feminine sexuality... Her profound & savage lyrics (in Hebrew, Arabic & English) are offset against more serene fragments inspired by great erotic or philosophical texts from the Old Testament.

The music on "Dissected" is mainly based on voices, some electronics, and an array of percussion instruments (played mostly by Meira, with guest appearances by Rony Iwrin, by tabla player Hanif Khan, and by Yuval Gabay from Soul Coughing). Very special atmospheres, inspired by African, Indian and Middle-Eastern traditions, and disrupted now and again by harder, electronic grooves.

Meira Asher is also a very strong live performer. She has studied traditional percussion and dance in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. She has learned Dhrupad vocal techniques and tabla playing with master musicians in North India. She's worked in musicotherapy for autistic children and has taught percussion in several Israeli universities and music schools.

Meira is now involved in contemporary & industrial music. Her second album (which is out now) is a reflection of all these seemingly diverging influences, fused together by her strong will and vision.

Dissected
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  1. Sida (Aids)
  2. Fair And Ruddy
  3. Give Peace
  4. Psalm 19
  5. Dissect Me
  6. Maligora The Sand Child
  7. Daddy Came
  8. Taht A' Shams
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Spears Into Hooks

Her 1997 debut album "Dissected" has positioned Meira Asher as a deeply original new artist. Press and public alike have welcomed her both as an important singer/musician and as an emblematic figure which represents an uncompromising, politically-aware, peace-seeking generation of Israeli musicians, whose voice is all too rarely heard abroad.

Meira Asher's new album "Spears Into Hooks" will come as a shock to those who got to know her in her previous, mostly acoustic and percussive musical incarnation. While her experience as a singer, drummer, and specialist of West African and Indian traditional music will always remain the foundation on which she has built her identity (1) , Meira has been studying and mastering a number of sophisticated, cutting-edge composition techniques which are currently used in electronic music (in both senses of the term: 'serious' as well as dance-derived varieties of electronica), and has harnessed them to her unique musical vision.

"Spears Into Hooks" presents itself in the shape of an electronic opera, which will appeal simultaneously to the young fan of The Aphex Twin and to the more mature admirer of Penderecki. There exists no musical category to describe the music on this album. A free-association test performed on a panel of initial (and initiated) listeners has shown a recurrence of the following words, in no particular order: Industrial Drill'n'Bass, Captain Beefheart, Autechre, Public Image Limited, London's neo-noise scene based around Harder Faster Louder, Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya, Post-Illbient, Avant-Rock meets Electro Dub Infection, Ligeti, R'n'N (Rhyme and Noise), German Expressionism, Bulgarian mourning ceremonies... more seriously: the sound of "Spears Into Hooks" is absolutely unique, and it will hit you hard in the stomach. Numerous layers of textures and innovative, bold sound-processing were used throughout the album in order to create dramatic aural images which speak directly to the subconscious and reinforce the more verbal aspect of Meira's message.

"All spears bent into hooks for the animals we become, to be hung in our traditional slaughter-houses" says Meira, in a sinister distortion of the biblical phrase which appears both in the books of Isaiah and Micah: "and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more". Whereas the texts on "Dissected" dealt with a variety of subjects, this album is entirely devoted to the socio-political crisis in Israel/Palestine, taken as a model for the ethnic/religious/geopolitical conflicts around the globe and throughout history. Like many Middle-Eastern intellectuals, writers and poets (2), Meira Asher believes that there is no other route but to try to achieve peaceful coexistence between the two people who live in that land, but that real mutual understanding will only have a chance to appear if all the nightmares that haunt the collective minds of both people are mercilessly exposed, bravely dealt with, and honestly taken into account by all parties concerned.

Hence the confontation between the characters and situations which inhabit "Spears Into Hooks". Like some kind of possessed digital-age shaman, Meira crawls into the skin of a shahid (Islamic suicide commando), then sneaks into the body of an inmate in an Israeli political prison or into the sick mind of the demented commander of a concentration/holiday camp. One minute she's a vengeful God bent on punishing the human race for their cruelty and stupidity, the next she's an anonymous, universal refugee woman trying to save her baby, in Rwanda, in Nazi Germany, in Kosovo or wherever and whenever men and women persecute other men and women. Meira further says: "This project is a warning alarm. It portrays the individual as a victim of a repetitive, brutal and addictive reality, a reality which generates chronical diseases that settle in everyone: cowardice and apathy".

Meira Asher chose to record "Spears Into Hooks" mostly in Ljubljana, Slovenia, a place already associated with powerful and provocative music (Laibach), the capital of a small country which lies at the crossroads between the Latin, Slavic and Germanic worlds, but which is at the same time sufficiently removed from the subject matter of the album. A couple of tracks were recorded in London, in collaboration with young electro-distorsion-noise maverick produced 2nd Gen. The basis for one track was recorded in Brussels with the Macedonian Gypsy brass band Koçani Orkestar. The elaborate mixing process has been entrusted to the experienced and creative hands & ears of pk (aka Paul Kendall), a master of noises and textures who for a number of years has been Mute Records' house engineer/producer, and has worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Barry Adamson, Depeche Mode, Wire and many more.

Spears Into Hooks
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  1. SHAHID
  2. SHAHID 2
  3. DISSECT ME AGAIN
  4. THE FLOOD
  5. WEEKEND AWAY BREAK
  6. TIRING NIGHT
  7. ME LAST GRANNY
  8. VIO SMEAR
  9. E' UN UOMO
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Sida (Aids) / My Last Granny EP

Culled fromm "Dissected", the debut album by radical Israeli vocalist/percussionist Meira Asher (whose musical spectrum ranges from hardcore electronics to traditional Indian & African vocal and percussive techniques), 'Sida' addresses the question of the epidemic in quasi-biblical terms...

The EP includes three reworkings of 'Sida': a hard, technoid version by Mark Broom, an abstract drum'n'bass reading by Germany's Eight Miles High (aka Roman Flugel, who is also part of Alter Ego and Acid Jesus), and a uplifting d'n'b mix by London duet Phume (Dave Campbell & Tom Withers aka Klute).

'My Last Granny' the 4th cut on the EP, is a mutant, dubby, full-vocal track dedicated to Meira Asher's Bulgarian Granny. It was co-written and co-produced in Rome by Meira Asher and Italian sonic terrorist duo Bio Muse (whose debut album for Language last year elicited strong reactions; Muzik for example described it as being "more demanding than a Baader-Meinhof ransom note"...!...). 'My Last Granny' (which by the way is not included in the album), is one of Asher's first songs in English.

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Mary Ott


I grew up in a beautiful part of Minnesota, right along the Mississippi. I started taking piano lessons with my Dad at the age of 5, and starting taking guitar lessons at 7. After 2 weeks on the guitar, I got my very first paying gig. I was hooked !! All through grade school and High School I performed in choirs and various singing groups. By the time I was 18, I was a working musician. I did weddings, club gigs, private events. You name it, I’d go play there.

I moved to southern California to finish my college degree, and as soon as college was done, I moved to Los Angeles to test the waters of a real career in music.

People always ask me, what kind of music do you do? And it’s a valid question. I was a kid in the 70’s and I grew up in a small town. I was completely influenced by radio. I listened to all the singer/songwriters that were making great music then. Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Crosby,Stills, Nash and Young. All the usual suspects.

So I guess I’d have to say, I’m kind of a throw back to those times and influences. I write what I feel, what’s happening in my life, the lives of my friends or family. Nowadays, I guess you’d call it, pop-folk-rock. I call it GOOD music.

Three years ago, I released my CD called “From My Room” and started this website. These past few years I have been touring all over California, doing fairs, festivals, wineries, private events. It’s been a great time. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people out there “on the road”. So many good things have happened since the release of the “From My Room” CD. That CD really has taken my music around the world for me. It’s thrilling to get e-mails from Finland and Spain and all parts in between, saying, “love your music”.

Well I’m still touring, and I have a brand new CD out called “Dream Mountain”. For this CD I was completely lucky to work with an amazing young songwriter/producer named Mark Segal. The benefits of that collaboration can be seen and heard on this new recording. Check back here from time to time, all my performance dates are on the gigs page.

I hope to see you out there on my travels. Thanks for dropping in.

Early Works
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Track 1

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Dream Mountain
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Song Listing:
1. "Rent Free"
2. "Dream Mountain"MP3
3. "Who's Laughin' Now" MP3
4. "Anything But Over"
5. "One More Night"
6. "Big Time"
7. "Softer Side" MP3
8. "3 Shades Of Mimosa"
9. "Matter Of Time"
10."Rio"

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From My Room

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Song Listing:

  1. From My Room
  2. Smack Dab
  3. RevelationCity
  4. Goin' Nowhere Fast
  5. He BelievesMP3
  6. I Wanna Be Remembered
  7. Odd Man Out
  8. The Web Unwinds
  9. Promised Land
  10. When I Love You MP3
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Check out Mary's site:

for more information contact
hrmusic@rahul.net
© copyright 1998