Before Koresh

by Ashley Reaks

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7th album from genre-hopping London, UK-based musician and collage artist Ashley Reaks, featuring the improvised Eastern-tinged vocalizations of Norway's Maria Jardardottir, as well as collaborations with Hull wordsmith Joe Hakim, Huddersfield postman Kevin Boniface and lead singer from LA punk veterans The Dickies, Mr Leonard Graves Phillips.



Occasionally one hears an album and is immediately struck by the dexterity of the songwriting, music with a message, delivered, like a Trojan horse, amongst exquisitely constructed tunes. “Before Koresh”, the seventh album from UK-based collage artist and musician Ashley Reaks, is one such album. There is a sense from the opening bars of the title track that the listener is about to embark upon an education, and will in all probability enjoy every moment of it.


A cross-cultural sonic collage of sounds and soundbites, samples and strangeness, ‘Before Koresh’ presents a portrait of a postmodern dystopia... or, moreover, the world in which we live, as Reaks trawls through the detritus like an inverse magpie.


released February 25, 2015

Ashley Reaks - Vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Maria Jardardottir - Vocals and vocalizations
Dave Kemp - Saxes, Voodoo guitar, Bass recorder, Accordion
Nick Dunne - Guitar solos on 'Before Koresh' and 'Hell And Back Again'
Joe Hakim - Vocals on 'Crystal' and 'I Want To Get A Celebrity Pregnant'
Leonard Phillips - Vocals on 'The Dustman'
Kevin Boniface - Vocals on 'Mr Barton and The Squirrels'

Recorded and mixed by Dan Mizen at Active Audio Studios, Harrogate in 2014/15

All songs by Ashley Reaks except
'Crystal' and 'I Want To Get A Celebrity Pregnant' by Ashley Reaks/Joe Hakim
'Mr Barton And The Squirrels' by Ashley Reaks/Kevin Boniface

Lyrics for ‘The Dustman’ adapted from an anonymous children’s poem of the same name.

Artwork by Ashley Reaks



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Ashley Reaks London, UK

Genre-hopping musician and collage artist.

"an incomparable talent and a true original, a man who often borders on genius" - Louder Than War (UK)

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Track Name: Before Koresh
I didn’t have a sin to confess
wasn’t sucking off-milk off the wrong breast
more than happy drowning in my own mess
didn’t have a lower soul that I should detest
Monged out but strangely content
to sleep away my weeks in my sick bed
Wired on weed and wine and my psych meds
in the last days of freedom before the rot set in

Yes sir, no sir three bags full sir!

Psychic rapist!
Psychological terrorist!
Psychopath and a sadist!
Psychobabbling bullshit!
Track Name: The Dustman
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey chim chim cher-oo

When the shades of night are falling and the lights go down
The Dustman comes a-crawling on the edge of Gutter Town

He throws dust in the eyes of all the babies that he meets
No matter where he finds them, in the house or in the streets
The babies think The Dustman is as mean as he can be
He shuts their eyes at night-time just the time they want to see
Track Name: Wearside Jack

‘I’m Jack
but Lord I was disturbed
there’s plenty of them knocking about
they never learn do they George
Jack the Ripper
I’m Jack’

Tripping out to hymns on the radio
chest-bone clicking in the clinical echo
stains on the carpets dog-ends in the sink
coma afternoon getting for the drink


His mam she always said he was emotionally unwell
a joker and a hoaxer and he’s on his way to hell
stumbling down a road signposted death and dereliction
the highlight of his day’s picking up his methadone prescription


Daddy made his brain jerk
Mummy made his heart hurt
Daddy made his brain jerk (Daddy made him cry)
Mummy made his heart hurt (Mummy made him want to die)



‘I’m Jack’
Track Name: Crystal (feat Joe Hakim)
Bump into a girl
I used to go to school with
in town,
she used to be called
let's call her Crystal now.

When we see each other
we raise our eyebrows
to say, Hi,
and after the initial shock of
we carry on walking by,

and it's funny because
at school we would always
and she was
one of the first girls
to lift up her shirt
so I could grope her
a most welcome development
at thirteen,
but then we split,

and she started seeing
kids who were
a lot older -
because they appeared
to be bolder,
and could get hold of
good grass,
and soon after that she was
stoned out of her box
in every class,
and she'd stay up all night
munching acid and E's,
then go to school
the next day
and snort speed
before PE.

I didn't see her that much
after we left,
but I heard she got up
the duff,
something I didn't quite expect,
and then no sighting
for years until I saw her
in town
the other day,
when it took all of my effort
to not look away,
because she's
not yet thirty and
her hair's gone

and her eyes
resemble whirlpools
made out of clay,
then there's the
deep lines like ruts
around a
down-turned mouth
that stays shut,
but still speaks of
time spent
committing crime
to feed her habit -
see something unguarded,
and you can bet she'll
just fuckin' grab it
and make a run for the door
and not look back;
might be the only chance
she'll get to score
some crack
this week -
I can tell by the state
of her face
she's a total rock freak,
nothing more than a
a walking tomb -

her brain's receiving e-mails
from the Lost Plant Doom,
so make some room for her
as she walks past,
she's living each day as though
it's her last,

the weight of the world
resting on her brow,
her life's like the old bus station -
torn down,

a symbol of things changing
and how -

she used to be called
let's call her Crystal now.
Track Name: Hyper-Diseasy
She’s here with me now
her eyebrows bare and her breasts aglow
we fuse together like the shock of electricity
as the overcast night spreads its darkness over the factory
and the turgid petals wither and fade

Oh! those pouting lips
that honeyed meat dripping down her fount
her perfumed hips
those musky tendrils
that cat-like hole with soft hooded bud
hitched up close’

Stressed out burned out living off hand-outs
user abuser a pitiful waste
jumped on stamped on not a leg to stand on
thank you so much for spitting in my face

Hunted affronted emotionally stunted
spaced out chased out buried in the ground
queasy uneasy I'm hyper-diseasy
everybody join in kick me when I'm down
Track Name: Mr Barton And The Squirrels (feat Kevin Boniface)
Mr Barton has fixed a hook adjacent to his back door
on which he hangs the fully loaded super soaker
he uses to dissuade cats from fouling his borders

He’s also been shooting squirrels with an air rifle
I’ve counted seven dead in his back garden in the last few days
When I asked him about it earlier in the week he claimed they’d all died of old age
but yesterday he admitted to having shot them

He said ‘They don’t understand death like we do’
and he made a fist with his right hand and beat his chest above his heart
‘We’re the only ones who know we’re going to die’
Track Name: I Want to Get A Celebrity Pregnant (feat Joe Hakim)
Make my move when they're looking dog rough,
my own life is just too tough,
I'm just not earning enough
so I need to get a celebrity up the duff.

I want to get a celebrity pregnant.
I need a passport to another life,
going to make a C-lister my wife.
hang around in trendy bars,
get her to buy a few flash cars
for me,
we'll get our own reality show on ITV3,
I'll be as common as I can be,
but I'll let her family
know I'm not just after her money
because we're in so in love, don't y'see?

I want to get a celebrity pregnant.
I've heard she wants a 'down to earth bloke',
I'll help her snort mountains of coke,
keep her in the papers by fucking around,
take her to the Priory when she feels down,
knock her up as soon as I can,
involve her in a project
which will disappoint her fans,

I want to get a celebrity pregnant.
She can see I'm sincere,
jump on the downward slide of her career,
bask in the faint glow of reflected glory,
sell Heat magazine our story
after we split,
have a public custody battle for the kids,
leak online our homemade sex-vids
sit back and watch as they
get a million hits,
have a court appearance to see
who's entitled to the profits.

I want to get a celebrity pregnant.
Beg her for a second chance,
then take her best friend home and
try and get in her pants, I'll
appear on a programme called:
Where are they now?
Say how she ruined my life, the cow,
swear I'll make it back to the top somehow,
and in the mean time
live on the pay-off her lawyer's allow.

I want to get a celebrity pregnant.
Track Name: Hell And Back Again
We met in a church for the homeless
full of teenage casualties
with their poems and their family problems
every single one was a reflection of me
she had a boyfriend ten years older
sweating like a pig he spat with rage
he used to fuck her whilst his friends watched over
she was an exhibitionist from an early age

We met up again a few years later
sniffing around like dogs on the loose
we were sexual manipulators
bound together by the laws of abuse
she thought that maybe I was her salvation
we took a walk down lover’s lane
but our love stank of desperation
we only got as far as hell and back again