Ashram Poets

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A brief and selective history of the ASHRAM POETS

Formed from a musical association spanning over two decades, the members of the Ashram Poets, Peter Long and Greg Vincent, decided back in 2006 to retire their six-strings indefinitely and dive headlong into the world of loops, beats and electronica. With a combination of ingenuity, experimentation and self-admitted ignorance of dance music conventions, they arrived at a sound completely their own by stripping back the usual guitar, bass and drums formula to basic elements of groove and melody. Cutting up loops from old recording sessions yielded new textures, and experimenting with layers of sound and stripping back overloaded arrangements revealed long hidden melodies - a new electronic aesthetic emerged from former rock and pop music sensibilities.

The Ashram Poets defy initial categorisation, though happily wear their influences on their sleeves: from the tripped-out keyboard sequencing reminiscent of The Stranglers through to Happy Mondays-esque grooves and the minimalist approach of Massive Attack, the Poets are joyfully eclectic. Their influences swing wildly from the gritty Tom Waits-like drum and bass workout of Sex In Her Step to the dreamy, Air-like quality of Seize, to the Madchester rave of Mortalised and the quasi-eastern overtones of Corpios. Underscoring all however is an assiduous attention to melody, addictive hooks and infectious grooves.

Greg Vincent started his musical sojourns in his first band Primitive Painters, cruising the bass role with guitarists Rod Tyler, Dave Norris and drummer Michael Heath, with the Painters gaining a solid following in the Adelaide independant music scene of the mid-80s. He then formed the power-pop Fortune Tellers with school friends Steve Fieldhouse and Dave Bosanko, releasing their debut mini-album First Light as the re-titled Morning Glory in Sept '88 through Greasy Pop Records. Splitting after musical differences the following year, Greg took on the guitar role with his next project Cartoon in 1990, with ex-Fortune Tellers vocalist Pat Loughry.

Greg disbanded Cartoon in '91 and re-hooked up with Rod Tyler in '92 to form the more experimental Puppethead, signing with Zuma Records in Germany for a European release in 1992, with the self titled Puppethead debut receiving warm responses in Australia and Europe. Rod parted company in '94 and Puppethead was in limbo until Greg hooked up with guitarist and drummer Peter Long, whom he had played with briefly in a lineup of the Primitive Painters.

Puppethead recorded another two albums for Zuma, Lizardland in '96, and Breathe in '98. building a solid fan base both in Australia and Europe. Puppethead once again stalled as Peter moved to Melbourne in 1998 and Greg moved to the UK in 2000. Finally reunited in Sydney in 2002, they attempted to reignite the Puppethead flame, but ultimately decided to discontinue the project in 2003 after losing interest in the musical direction they were taking.

Parting ways again - Greg to Adelaide, Pete to the Blue Mountains - it wasn’t until late 2005, after listening to aborted recording sessions in Sydney from two years before, that the duo decided to start afresh with a more stripped back electronic approach, and utilising the knowledge gained from some twenty years of performing and recording together, the Ashram Poets were conceived.

Peter Long was born in Adelaide, South Australia. His early introduction to music was via video clips on Saturday morning television, and inspired by the bright colours and soundscapes of 60’s British pop and psychedelia, he experimented with a variety of musical instruments including guitar, picking up drums, bass and piano simultaneously.

After playing in early covers bands, he served his musical apprenticeship as lead guitarist in Adelaide pop outfit Primitive Painters in 1987, releasing the Sea Of Art album through Greasy Pop/Festival Records in 1990 and went on to collaborate with ex-Painter Greg Vincent in the more experimental electro-pop of Puppethead, releasing a further two albums through German label Zuma. Tiring of the slow Adelaide band scene, he relocated first to Melbourne in '96 and then to Sydney in '98, where he formed the power pop Resounder with singer Pat Loughry and ex-Ratcat bass player Amr Zaid, as well as playing drums in Zaid's outfit, Ampersand.

Peter hooked up with Vincent again in 2000 to tour Puppethead in the U.S. and U.K. and upon returning to Sydney in 2001 he teamed up with Resounder drummer Rene Arriagada and bass player Jo Herbert to form the avant-pop Bümbüm in 2001, amusing Sydney audiences with an oddball mix of indie rock, eastern tonalities and electronic toys. Due to internal differences Bümbüm split in 2003 and Peter relocated to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. He soon fell in with the infamous mens a capella group Spooky Men's Chorale and is currently a performing member, touring as far afield as the U.K.

In early 2004 he committed a backlog of material over several years to tape and released his solo album Midday Sun in 2007 to glowing reviews. At present, he is collaborating with Greg Vincent in the Ashram Poets, working on tracks for a new album and producing a number of videos for the upcoming Ashram Poets debut, Corpios.

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For further information and audio samples please go to www.myspace.com/ashrampoets
contact Ashram Poets at info@ashrampoets.com or mail to PO Box 7170, Leura NSW 2780, Australia
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