Gizeh Records || UK
A-Sun Amissa is a project formed out of Leeds, UK in 2011 by members of Glissando and The Rustle of the Stars.. Built on the foundations of the unknown, a project that encompasses minimalist drones, modern-classical movements and avant-garde tendencies.
Richard Knox (Glissando, The Rustle of the Stars, Of Thread & Mist) & Angela Chan (Glissando, The Rustle of the Stars, Tomorrow We Sail) began forming the initial ideas in the Autumn of 2011, moving away from the piano-led ambience of previous outputs. Live they can play as a duo or often accompanied by other musicians including; Owen Pegg, Gareth Davis & Aidan Baker.
A-Sun Amissa produce a dense, drone-like atmosphere accompanying evocative, melodic string sections and intertwining guitars. The live show features sections of the recorded output combined with improvisation to unlock new movements and progressions in the music. The subtle, considered textures and the hypnotic interaction between players and instruments provide an intense live performance.
The first A-Sun Amissa release was a limited edition 'postcard' EP on Hibernate Recordings in October 2011 with an album 'Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep' out in March 2012 on Gizeh Records. The latest album 'You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood Up For Less' was released on Gizeh in March 2013 accompanied by a UK and European tour with Aidan Baker (Nadja) and more recently a handful of UK dates with Barn Owl.
“Oh great, a record I really like that’s damned difficult to write about. Still, let’s try. This, A Sun Amissa’s second LP, is a superb symphonic piece, very much like a Rhys Chatham bliss-out and also similar to The Flowers of Hell’s magnificent ‘0’ from a few years back. We get two long tracks, each around 15 minutes. Part One is a magisterial, clear-eyed drone - utilising that brilliant sound that only massed guitar strumming effects can give when set delicately in the middle distance of a track - one that also manages to float around in an unruffled manner like a barrage balloon on a hot day.” [Incendiary]
“contrast is exactly what the release seems to be about – putting these polarised themes against each other and in doing so emphasising what lies between them. This I mean in a stylistic sense of course, in the imagined narrative that the music evokes. In a more physical way, considering the actual sounds, a similar technique appears to be employed. Alongside the more transient punches of delayed, simply picked guitar and sharp attacks there are the slow moving (if moving at all) drones and textures. Yet sitting quietly in the middle are these rather intimate and beautiful moments where tiny knocks and scrapes sing, gently, out of the shadows. In these intoxicatingly delicate moments the shroud melts away to reveal a much more humble, human centre that perhaps is forgotten when hidden behind walls of thick drone; instruments instead respond to the slightest of touch that reminds us of the interaction at the root of all we are hearing.
Not favouring innovation or huge dramatic explosions, A-Sun Amissa seem comfortable enough adding their take on an established style. Those eager to expand the often slightly bleaker, semi-orchestrated collection of drone records on their shelves should seek this out.” [Fluid Radio]
“the band’s best work to date, the final four minutes its best segment. It’s post-rock, it’s jazz, it’s modern composition; it’s the gnarled mirror image of the band’s previous work, a bold experiment that few would attempt. We admire A-Sun Amissa for choosing the road less traveled”
[A Closer Listen]
“Their greater use of dissonance, sees the melancholic sound move towards a feeling of unease. The air becomes cold and stark, perfectly reflected in the album's cover art, a lone shack of a building photographed in black and white. 'You Stood Up...' captures the rich creativity of the band, revealing greater depths on repeated listens. Extending the already great discography from Gizeh, A-Sun Amissa have released an important second album, marking them as a serious outfit to be followed.” [Future Sequence]
“In a style comparable to the grandaddy of post-rock, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but with an ambient twist of sonic atmospheres and jazz inflections, A-Sun Amissa explores the progressive world of drones and instrumental intricacy. You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood Up For Less is a soundscape that comes alive in colour and feeling of emotion. It moves through dynamic lows and highs, explores the intensity of sound, and is a stunning creation of musical intimacy." [Echoes & Dust]
“Admittedly, it's hard to not think of (early) Godspeed You! Black Emperor during the opening minutes of A-Sun Amissa's You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood Up For Less when Richard Knox's reverb-drenched guitar sketches out a mournful pattern that's deepened by Angela Chan's complementary viola and piano playing (for the record, the textura review of 2012's Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep debut album drew a connection from it to Godspeed's 1998 release F# A# 8). The duo's decision to present two long-form settings on the sophomore A-Sun Amissa album also suggests a shared sensibility between the outfits. Knox and Chan are, incidentally, familiar partners, as both also lend their talents to the Glissando and The Rustle of the Stars projects. What also recommends the album is that, at nineteen and seventeen minutes, its two hypnotic settings provide ample room for the music to develop fluidly and the various instrument sounds to appear with an unhurried grace.“ [Textura]
“The rich tones of the underlying drones may be warm, but there’s a chill to the brittle, echoey guitar that chimes over the top. Piano notes hover like droplets of water… swells to a sandstorm of sound, overwrought sax / woodwind twisted slow jazz... it’s all blended together magnificently: nothing stands out as incongruous, there are no seams or sharp edges, and the expansive sound envelops the listener, releasing them back to the real world only after the music ends and silence returns.” 8/10 [Whisperin & Hollerin]
PRESS FOR: 'DESPERATE IN HER HEAVY SLEEP'
“While the project is only a few months old, the results of this debut are sturdily-fleshed and possessing an atmosphere that could reduce a house party yo a state of nauseating tension. Much of this power comes from a rusted industrial aesthetic that lurks in the periphery of perception, the mechanical hums and wavering synths reminiscent of a foundry gone the way of the dinosaurs, but it’s the trio’s spare string compositions that form the soul. Guitars pick out hazy half-melodies at a glacial rate, a lone cello teases out wave after wave of cold isolation and menace from darkness, and strings are scraped and stretched to the boundaries of audibility. The finished product is an unsettling work that, for all this talk of solitude, is peculiarly both beautiful and comforting.” [Rock-a-Rolla]
“This record ebbs and flows like a sinister tide. It could be Unknown Pleasures, re-imagined by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Where the Canadians f#a#(infinity) evoked blasted US deserts and canyons, Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep shifts us to a more urban dystopia. Here we’re sheltering under a concrete underpass where glitches crackle like the fires of the homeless. If you carry an already heavy heart to this album you might find the resulting burden too unmanageable.” [sic] Magazine
"Anyone with a penchant for the ominous builds favoured by Godspeed You! Black Emperor will love this, as long as they can cope without the crashing collapse. Personally I favour it the way A-Sun Amissa do it. So detailed and portentous are the sound worlds built by the Leeds, UK band that they envelope the listener in a cloak of dark glory that becomes almost impermeable once fully developed. A hugely satisfying and darkly compelling piece of work from a group of artists at the forefront of UK drone exploration." [Foxy Digitalis]
"it just feels right – it needs to be happening, it is happening and now my brain is trickling out my ears and I can’t move because I’m in a codependent relationship with sweet, sweet catatonia. On listening to the album’s more moody passages, you can imagine that it is of a certain space. It’s hard not to think of the chip-wrapper strewn streets of a northern city, the sky as grey as the architecture, and the dead march oppression evoked by the strings in ‘A Hungover Whisper: Thin Light Failure / Decay’ 
"The setup sees Knox’s tremolo guitar matched with cello and violin to create a series of droning, chilly and cyclical movements that never let up in their moody ambience...... the highlight – the lovely orchestral swell of ‘A Hungover Whisper’: a gathering storm of a piece of music, with some virtuoso violin work that’s both mesmerising and a pleasure to listen to." [The Line of Best Fit]
"Mournful strings, guitars, and dark ambient shadings conjure a haunted, reverberant soundtrack for the end of days, and for one funereal minute after another, cello, violin, and guitars quietly wail, as if caught within some slow-motion death spiral" [Textura]
“I fear listening to this music on the move, afraid I may end up huddled in corner, cowering and whimpering, mistaking the accidental nudges of fellow passengers of my commute to be the bony hands of death, beckoning me to my demise. There is a firm density of bone crushing weight that lays heavily on the chest yet light on the ears. Paradoxically the tracks remain sparse in their instrumentation, infrequently using more than three (perceived) sound sources at any one given time. A heavy atmosphere despairing face down in open palms.” [Fluid Radio]
“Deeply atmospheric, from the outset this album casts long shadows and builds a subtle yet undeniable tension” 9/10 [Whisperin & Hollerin]
“Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep presents a focused sound that is accomplished and intriguing. The sprawling compositions avoid the mundane repetition that plagues much of the ambient/drone world and instead subtly develops and evolves like the choice work of Stars of the Lid. In today's increasingly crowded drone scene, it has become exponentially difficult for musicians to make a unique, defining statement. With Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep, A-Sun Amissa has our full attention.” [The Silent Ballet]
“Drones rise like dust clouds from spurs. While the tone never quite tips into the darkness, it is clearly comfortable with shadow.”
[A Closer Listen]
“If you love post-rock mixed with ambient drone, look no further. A Sun Amissa’s music will leave you with more questions than answers. The music is dark, epic, and vast. Your imagination will run wild, and at the same time stand still. A-Sun Amissa has created a deeply textured and layered sound with their release of “Desperate In Her Heavy Sleep.” [Migrate Music]
"The interaction between players on ‘Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep’ is undeniably what makes it stand above other current / upcoming releases, and proves that it is longevity and the relationship between the musicians themselves is what leads to a group creating some truly magnificent noise." [Future Sequence]