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Discrete Carbon Reviews

...Discrete Carbon is a constantly surprising, inventive album, never held down by excessive darkness and never unnecessarily sweet or precious. While the tracks presented here never achieve album-length cohesion, the overall feel of the album is moody, deep, and mysterious. If today's ambient artists can be faulted for erring on the side of stratospheric, drone-oriented, spacious material, Ashley provides a refreshing tonic with a constantly diverse and varied sound palette that recalls the more adventurous works of Jeff Greinke. In fact, compared to many recent ambient works, Ashley's album is decidedly iconoclastic, with ambiguous and fascinating track titles, non-spacey cover artwork, and difficult to pigeonhole musical choices. This album is for the adventurous listener, there is no doubt. If much modern ambient and electronic music seems too cut and dried or obvious, Discrete Carbon ought to have more than enough surprises and engaging passages to intrigue over repeated listens. It's also a promising first effort, and here's hoping Ashley decides to release more work in the near future.”

— Brian Bieniowski
The Ambient Review
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“...Ashley has certainly spent a considerable amount of time plotting his tunes' trajectories. Experimental drones require carefully timed changes, and that's what you'll find here: Ashley composes, performs and produces each track with the professionalism of a seasoned musician. Cold, somber "Denial" exemplifies Ashley's style: it begins with a pulsating drone that suggests the sensory deprivation of a pitch black cavern. The sounds seem to echo from speaker to speaker, and there's a sense of fascination and horror mixed in between the rising timbres. Ashley could crush you with a wall of unruly noise at any moment, but instead, he pushes you deeper into a mysterious world of ever-changing drones. "It Happened in November" displays similar traits; a rumbling low bass tone serves as its introduction. More looming, ominous sounds begin to emerge as the track progresses, poking and prodding at you like ghosts from your past. Ashley could easily incorporate "November" into a soundtrack, as it beautifully and brilliantly engages your mind with an assortment of delicate textures and rattling percussive elements.”

— Andrew Magilow
splendidezine
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“For some musicians, the process of creating music itself is their personal refuge from the world - a way to release tension, a way to become fully absorbed in something, a way to be alone with one's self. Other musicians make music as a means to explore their own humanity - the ritual completed when their aural revelations of self-expression are finally shared with others. For Dwight Ashley, his album Discrete Carbon (59'08") was achieved through a bit of both of these principles. The 10 tracks are dark, nuanced and separate artistic visions... yet, once connected by the listener, form something real in and of itself. Discrete Carbon's synthesis of sounds possess a depth and sustained intensity representative of Ashley's uncertain moods and mental manifestations within. Discrete Carbon can be described as emotionally charged, but not in the more lively or conventional sense. The album is laden with the telltale signs of the author's dark dreams and desires; powerful sources, however muted. Ashley's works utilize a wonderful range of unique electronic timbres... manipulated and shaped into fascinating ambient expressions. Each piece's fleeting sentiment advances and wanes, at times with sweeping magnificence - at others in creeps and crawls. While being subtle and subdued, the album remains engaging throughout. It moves easily from one concept to another with Ashley's musical center remaining with this artist's unusual perception and abundant creative power.”

— Chuck van Zyl
STAR'S END

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