James Clements is the mind behind the production alias, ASC.
(Words by Michael Dunne)

Growing up in different areas of England, on a steady diet of Motown, Techno & the blossoming UK Hardcore scene, his productions manage to encompass such a wide range of these influences. Starting out DJ’ing with a bunch of like- minded friends on pirate radio stations while still in school, ASC soon found himself getting interested in how the tracks he was playing were made. This led to an investment in a modest studio setup, which proved to be a defining point in James’ life. An initial batch of tracks were written between 1997-1999, and eventually a 7 track demo appeared, of which 6 were signed to West Midlands based Nu Directions, and the remaining track was signed to LTJ Bukem’s well known Good Looking Records. After a handful of successful releases on these labels and a few others, James started his own label, Covert Operations, which went on to put out a total of 30 vinyl releases & 8 CD’s between 2000 & 2009.

After receiving much praise for his intricately detailed and well thought out productions, ASC amassed a serious back catalogue of releases on some of the most forward thinking labels out there, such as 720 Degrees, Offshore, and Paradox’s Outsider label.

2010 had seen the release of Nothing Is Certain, the album James released on Instra:mental’s popular NonPlus+ label, to great critical acclaim. Widespread reviews have cited it as one of the best electronic music long players for the year. If this wasn't enough to keep ASC busy, September 2010 saw the release of a project entitled 'Music For Pictures'. Liquid Cinema's head honcho Jeff Rona asked James to create a library of music strictly with the idea of them being used for TV, film and other forms of media in mind. The title was a nod to the classic Brian Eno LP, Music For Film.

Since 2010, ASC has gone from strength to strength. He managed to reinvent the face of music at 170 bpm with fellow boundary pusher, Sam KDC, with their Grey Area signature sound on Auxiliary, Samurai, and later, Horo. (Read more about Grey Area below). As James has always been a multi-faceted artist, he has continued to produce music in many genres, with one of his main focuses being Techno, with releases on Semantica, ARTS, Mote Evolver, and Perc Trax so far, plus a few anonymous projects.

Perhaps most important of all has been James' work in the ambient field, predominantly with the Silent Season label. Five artist albums have materialised so far, with a very rich emotional film score quality to each. This had led to three film scores (Bottom Of The World, Yesterday Last Year and The Blackout Experiments) so far and a video game score for Steam game, Near Death. Most recently, James wrote additional music for the Starz network show, Now Apocalypse, directed by Gregg Araki.

Emotion is possibly the biggest part of any piece of ASC music, and has helped forge his signature sound since the very first release back in 1999. It's not hard to see why he has had much success so far and will likely continue to for many years to come.

Auxiliary started life in November 2010 as a part of the Autonomic movement, of which ASC was a main part of. The label launched with what had become a bit of an anthem at the time, The Touch, by ASC. A four track release featuring many unreleased tracks that had been heard on the Autonomic podcasts and in the sets of dBridge and Instra:mental followed next, and the foundations were complete.

Artists such as Sam KDC and Synth Sense were brought on board exclusively to be developed by what Auxiliary was about to become. ASC's vision and guidance helped develop these artists into the talent you hear today, with a firm focus on expression and pushing boundaries. Artists like Sam and Synth Sense don't come around very often, in fact hardly at all, so upon hearing their music, it was apparent that they had to be involved to create the cornerstone of what was about to become the next evolution in electronic music based around 85/170 bpm.

Early on in the labels life came the Symbol series. The idea behind this would be that the Auxiliary symbol would become an unmistakable icon for high quality deep electronic music. No track names were given, as the music was to do all the talking here. Simply an Auxiliary logo and the artist name and the number in the series would be present. The focus was still on the 170/85 tempo, but it was around this point it became apparent that the sound had well and truly moved on from the Autonomic vibe that had preceded it, into it's own thing entirely. The Auxiliary sound had well and truly been born.

The label has so far been separated into different 'phases' of music, with phase one being the tail-end of the Autonomic era, phase two being the birth of the Auxiliary sound, and phase three represented the future of the label and showcased many forms and styles that had never been heard or done before.

Add to this ambient side projects and full length concept albums from the labels main artists and a few hand picked guests, it was clear for all to see that Auxiliary has far much more to offer than the music that had defined the phases so far. A full length ambient album from ASC & Sam KDC became a landmark in the labels history, and much lauded by fans and artists the world over for it's bleek look and story-telling of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe of 1986.

After ASC had ended phase two with both Programme EP's, Sam KDC set about redefining people's expectations of Auxiliary and 170 music in general, with The Order & The Entity. A four track EP that signalled the start of the next phase of the labels sound, and alsot showed the producer truly taking the initiative offering music that simply had never been heard before.

Further success would come in the form of licensing. Synth Sense had their remix of ASC's Time Is Now track picked up for use on the forthcoming film Bottom Of The World, which ASC did the full score for also. Confined Spaces by ASC, Surrender from Sam KDC, and Trapped Within The Circuit by Synth Sense were all picked up for the game N++, which was released for Sony Playstation 4 and the Steam platform for PC and Mac.

Fast forward to present day and you can clearly trace the evolution of the label from release to release, with the most recent releases also paving the way for other projects such as Grey Area. The bottom line is Auxiliary is out there on it's own - a beacon in a sea of unoriginality.

Grey Area was an idea conceived by ASC & Sam KDC. The two wanted to find a way to push the boundaries of 170bpm based music further, while allowing fluid transition into slower tempos.

The two then set about writing a large body of work that would further define the possibilities and outline the intent even more. DJ sets from ASC, Sam KDC and Presha from mid 2015 onwards, would contain this music for the first time, as people then heard seemless integration of techno and 170 in the same set, which seemed unheard of without huge amounts of pitch manipulation and ambient interludes before this.

Inevitably, the idea of starting a label with the sole focus being Grey Area, happened. A bond between Auxiliary and Samurai had formed since ASC started to work closely with Presha's family of labels, but most notably Red Seal and the experimental label, Horo. Around the same time, Presha had become more involved with supporting the music in his DJ sets worldwide, so the idea was proposed that the label should be a collaboration between Auxiliary and Samurai. The Grey Area label was born late December 2015 and set about trying to truly create something new within underground electronic music scenes. All the releases that followed were marked simply as Grey Area Volumes, with no track names and no artist names given. Again, the thought behind this was to truly let the music do the talking and not provide any bias with artist names of descriptive track titles.

Grey Area has already made a huge impact in it's short life so far and will continue to do so with each ground breaking release.