We caught up with Ash to get his Back To Mine selections… With over 500 million streams of his own compositions across DSPS, Ash is a rare meeting of success with soul. Still in his early 20s, the French-Egyptian live artist/producer plays piano, guitar, sax, drums/pads, electronic keyboards/wind instrument, and already has recorded live at the Pyramids of Giza. So, it’s no surprise revered brand Cercle enlisted him for the perfect marriage of music and setting, to release track and video White Desert on their eponymous new label.
Daft Punk – Within
I still remember when I heard ‘Within’ for the first time, it’s definitely my favourite from the Random Access Memories album. Every single time I listen to this track till today, it’s the exact same feeling: when the piano starts playing, I just close my eyes and enjoy those 4 minutes. The vocals are also so moving. I wish it was so much longer, I could listen to it all day.
Omar Khairat – Khali Balak Men Aklak
Growing up in Egypt, I got the chance to go to Omar Khairat’s concert at the Opera House when I was 7 with my parents. My brother was a huge fan, but I didn’t really know his music before this concert, all I knew was that he was a pianist/composer that we were going to see live. It was life-changing. The composition ‘Khali Balak Men Aklak’ stuck with me and I still listen to it almost on a daily basis, it’s just genius. The song transitions between this melancholic piano melody to a darker, more loaded and busy music, then transitions back to the piano and again, to the darker section. I love how both sections are absolutely different. This composition inspired so much of what my music is today.
Radiohead – All I Need (Live from the Basement)
This live performance is incredible. A friend showed it to me one day and I just spent the entire performance looking closely at everything they were doing in the song. I love how the baseline comes in in the beginning.
Charles Aznavour – Comme Ils Disent
Being half French, I grew up listening to Charles Aznavour of course. This one has always been my favourite, the music is so beautiful and the lyrics are so powerful and unique. The song tackles a subject that was also still hard to talk about openly when it came out in the 70s in France.
Paradis – Toi Et Moi
This one just puts me in a super good mood.
El Buho, Joaquin Cornejo, Minuk – Mirando El Fuego
My favourite discovery of 2020. I can’t remember how I discovered this one but it was the track I listened to the most. Whether I’m in the car, chilling, or cooking, this one is always in my playlist.
Hamid Al Shaeri – Ayonha
Hamid Al Shaeri is really famous in Egypt. I think this track was ahead of its time though. When I think of Egyptian or Arabic music of the 80s I don’t imagine this type of composition. It’s so groovy and I’m surprised I had never heard of it until it resurfaced when Habibi Funk recently re-released it.
Tamino – Indigo Night
I love Tamino. He only released one album so far but it’s been on repeat since it was released. Indigo Night is my favourite from the album, it’s so beautiful. The music video filmed in Egypt is also incredible. I’m sure his next release will be even more special.
Ash ‘White Desert’ is out now on Cercle Records, filmed in the White Desert, Egypt.