Asher White - Home Constellation Study

LP Co-release with Ba Da Bing!

Release Date – June 28th – Preorder available / New Single – Downstate Prairie – $24

The debauchery continues. Home Constellation Study’s opening track finds Asher White stumbling and drunk on an Amtrak she has snuck onto, crooning as the train races through post-industrial east coast cities. It’s a symbolic encapsulation of Home Constellation Study’s themes and sets the scene for what follows: an irreverent tone poem on mobility, passivity, home-making, environmental collapse, God, justice, romance, and luck, all set over the kaleidoscopic, home-brewed whirlwind of styles and sounds that has become the young producer’s signature.

Her third album in two years (and fifteenth overall), Home Constellation Study is less a refinement of last year’s sly, quaint New Excellent Woman.and more an explosion of it. Her meticulous chamber pop has given way to resplendent swells of horns and squeals of noise, throbbing bass and queasy orchestral loops. The cover, painted by White, frames a burst of flowers against a dark blue abyss, mimicking the music: over frenzied sambas, bleary slacker rock, hushed ambient meditations, and surprisingly slick disco, White mines her personal minutiae for tokens of political decay, alienation, and religious rapture. In oblique, evocative fragments, “Dream Design House” is both a lover letter to and indictment of 20th-century architect-philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller; “Downstate Prairie” questions the social geopolitics of the Midwest; “Capital Cowboy” imagines the fraught domestic life of a tech startup mogul.

The past year has found the prolific Providence-based singer-songwriter ascending through her city’s fertile experimental rock scene alongside the breakout synth-punk act BabyBaby_explores or her labelmates Or Best Offer. Live, White’s band plays riotous, unpredictable noise rock that nods to their city’s storied DIY scene; on Home Constellation Study, mid-album highlights like “Downstate Prairie” and “Hymn” nod to Providence’s bands of yore with their blistering sheets of feedback and pummeling drums, placing White, improbably, within the lineage of local heroes Les Savy Fav or the broken pop dispatches of Black Pus.

At its core, however, Home Constellation Study is the product of studied, monastic auteurism. Like New Excellent Woman, it was arranged, performed, recorded and mixed by White alone in her basement studio in Providence. “Happy Birthday” is an earnest psalm, a paean of devotion and remorse to God a la Beverly Glenn-Copeland that drifts along with Panda Bear haziness.  White’s concept of “toxic femininity” undergoes further investigation on “Good luck!” and “Runes,” both with Elliott Smith-like chord changes and the barbs of cynical romantics like Aimee Mann. Asher White’s vision has never been so expansive and unpredictable. Compounding her work so far and laying the groundwork for what’s to come, Home Constellation Study is another distillation of White’s singular voice, at once sardonic, guilty, compulsively accommodating, and profoundly optimistic.