Review of "Fire Is Burning"
By THE PROCESS Featuring Lord Kimo
By Bo White • Additional Reporting by Robert Martin
David Asher and boyhood pal Garrick Owen formed the nucleus of the Process in 1989 and they never looked back. They were child prodigies who understood mother earth was damaged at birth of creation and the evolution of man. It was not her fault. They had this deep-seated hunger that seemed to be linked to something earlier. Their search was like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the mountain, only for Asher the struggle was redemptive and it provided him a vision of his own humanity like a wave cresting upward and smashing against the boulders hidden by the deep blue seascape.
Asher’s vision quest led him to a suspicion that theories and dogma seemed barren, empty of purpose and truth. He realized in his passion that he grabbed hardest for that which is there and then not there. The Process was the vehicle for Asher’s spiritual awakening and global awareness. He realized that music was the co-creator of his reality. He just needed to collaborate with his band of brothers in this world of total energy where the music will never stop and we will keep on dancing.
So on this disc Asher assembled his band of Reggae misfits with Garrick Owen (guitar), Bill Heffelfinger (Keyboards), Gabe Gonzales (drums), and Seth Peyton (bass, keyboards, vocals) along with Scientist and David Harrow working out the mixes. Lord Kimo adds his flair as a singer and a musical composer artist to the mix. Originally from England, he rubs shoulders with some heavy hitters including 50 Cent, The Wailers, Public Enemy and Sean Paul.
Asher is on his game combining melody and harmony with a heavy metal explosion of sound and fury. The familiar reggae riff and roar is not lost in the heat and remains an integral part of Asher’s vision. A celebration is experienced in the music, a universal language for all living creatures. He brings in an incredible team of musicians, engineers and mix masters to play in another playground, at least for a while.
The Process is creating a tomorrow where the mind keeps leap frogging over boredom and repetition while reframing bad things as a possibility that is not inevitable. It’s a default position to be sure. Asher and his mates use their craft as a springboard to enlightenment even if the public doesn’t always buy into it. It’s like helping someone across the street when they don’t want to go.
The disc opens with the title track The Fire is Burning (Scientist vocal mix) followed by a seamless connection to each of the other Fire is Burning arrangements like separate movements in a concerto that are linked by a common musical thread. The mixes are powerful yet contain dreamlike passages, in a stream of consciousness that imbue the same lyrics with an alternate sense of texture and meaning that give each of the final mixes from the Scientist Dimension X Mix and Scientist Destroys the Conqueror Worm Dub to, a grand finale with Dragon Youth-)Oicho Remix.
In the great tradition of Bob Marley, Asher is a passionate singer that never holds back. His temperature is rising when he shouts out his anthems of freedom. You can get a visceral sense of where Asher stands with equal rights, justice and truth. The lyrics are obscure for a newcomer unfamiliar with Asher’s Rasta poetry.
So here’s a sample: The fire is burning, the flames get higher / Come let’s trample the dragon, then we catch the vampire / Let the fire burn and purify all weak heart conceptions / Kill cramp and paralyze, wipe them out of creation / Hold them Rasta hold them, hold them in a higher region / Catch them Rasta, catch them when they run / Hold them Rasta, hold them in a higher region / Catch them Rasta catch them when they run / Rise up and defend the youth, with equal rights, justice and truth / Just like John Brown, throw the dragon down / When the wicked come around
Lord Kimo’s rap: Truth is Divine / Fight back with your mind
David Asher provided additional clarity on the meaning of the lyrics: “Fire is burning is a symbolic statement of objection or purification. Rastafari burns fire on political corruption, persecution, immorality and exploitation i.e., weak heart conceptions. To trample the dragon means to overcome these things in your life. To kill cramp and paralyze all weak heart conceptions is to purify your heart by wiping these things from it. To hold them in a higher region is to recognize these things and deal with them. John Brown is the abolitionist who took an uncompromising stance on evil.”
Coda: The Reggae/Dub Festival • Friday, July 18th
David Asher and the Process continues to record and tour out of their home bases in Saginaw and Detroit. The Fire is Burning disc is just a taste of a larger project that the Process hope to complete in the upcoming year. They are #1 on the Detroit reggae charts and are collaborating with the legendary Dick Wagner who will provide some tasty guitar on the new full length Process album. Asher has also developed a Reggae/Dub Festival @ White’s Bar on Friday July 18th, 2pm to 2am. No cover!
We asked David to give us some background on the origins of this inaugural festival and some of the ‘Selectors’ that will be featured at the festival.
“Shane Swank and I were chatting one night and he actually suggested the idea to me,” explains Asher. “It seemed like a great idea. We had been hosting these Wednesday Night Reggae gigs at Whites for over 3 years and we wanted to take it to a higher level. The people who are spinning are some of my favorite Selectors; many of them are friends of mine. Their knowledge of Reggae, Ska and Dub is deep and wide.”
DJ Ash Ra: David Asher is the vocalist and songwriter for the rock reggae group THE PROCESS.
He has also been working as a reggae selector for over ten years, and founded Shaolin Sound System around three years ago, to showcase other selectors, in addition to himself. Asher specializes in cultural roots music, Ska and dub.
DJ Ras D Baba: Derrick Davis, a Saginaw native and former Atlanta GA resident, Derrick joined the Shaolin Sound Squad are two years ago. Derrick is also a songwriter, vocalist and artist. He specializes in modern roots music and lovers rock reggae.
Selecta Ras Token: Seth Payton. Seth Payton returns to the Shaolin Sound fold after an extended hiatus. Seth is the vocalist of the popular Ska group Stamp'D and also fronts the Reggae group Roach King and the Resonators. Seth plays a selection of old and new school roots music.
DJ Michael A: Michael Absher is a well-known DJ in the Flint area, having been spinning music for several years. Michael is known in Flint as "The Duke Of Downtown". He was a popular DeeJay at WFBE in Flint, during the 90's and has continued in the club scene. His specialties include Dub music and old and new school Reggae.
DJ Lionheart: Niel Williams, aka Lionheart was born in the West Indies and moved to New York City, where he began developing his skills as a Reggae DJ. He has since lived in Flint Michigan and now resides in Toronto. Lionheart specializes in modern and old school Reggae music.
Selecta I-Cinto: is Thick As Thieves MC Jacinto. Jacinto has been planning for quite some time to break out his alter ego Reggae Selector persona. This is his debut as a selector and just as he entertains and educates with Thick As Thieves, he will be dropping some massive selections at Dubfest.
Selecter Chris Delas: Chris is the host of the popular Internet radio program "Tapdetroit.com". His knowledge of the music is deep and wide, and he plays mostly old school reggae, with some surprises thrown in.
Rude Boy Reggae: A part of the Ann Arbor Reggae Crew. Rude Boy Reggae has entertained audiences in the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti area for several years, with a mix of modern and old school roots, and dancehall music. The crew brings with them spokes-models and Bob Marley products.
Shaolin Sound System, formed around four years ago, Shaolin Sound allowed its team of selectors to set themselves on a path to being a tour de force of 50 years of Reggae music history and diversity!