Asher trained as an audio engineer at R.G. Jones studio, Wimbledon, London. He found this informative and useful, but was disappointed as to the general level of creativity generally found in commercial studios, so with help from Pete Townshend of the Who, he built his own studio. This has evolved over the years from expanding multitrack recording setups – four-track to 16-track to 24-track to the Soundscape hard disk recording system.
In 1979, Asher's first composed single "Peppermint Lump", sang by Angie, was released by Stiff Records, and was produced by Pete Townshend who also played guitar on it. Asher then played drums on Townshend's Empty Glass album, notably the tracks "Jools and Jim" and "Keep on Working".
Asher had written and had published library music albums, including Gyroscope, Generation Gap, Electro FX, Flash Music, and Working It Out for Bruton Music (now owned by Universal). Also albums for Studio G library – Action Disco, Flying Colours, Powerhouse, Powergame, Science and Space, Corporate Collection (now owned by Downtown) and Intervision and Time Cycle for the Southern library. The Great Wheel, Asher's first commercial album, originally on his own Lumina label with publisher John Gale, was released by Music West, topping the UK New Age music chart for two years. He followed this with his first world music-flavoured release Globalarium, released by Silverwave. But it was his album Feet in the Soil that really built his profile, with sales of over 250,000 units, released by New Earth Records.
Meeting the charismatic Vicky Wall, founder of the Aura-Soma colour system in 1984, led to several recordings, and custom compositions, specific to them - like "Peace to All Beings" – one of the core meditations given by Wall's successor Mike Booth.
The studio is a key part of Asher's creative process, where he enjoys combining acoustic recording, cutting-edge virtual instruments, creative use of MIDI, and allowing the imagination room to breathe.
In 1988, he produced John Bundrick's solo album Dream Jungle.
The album Tigers of the Raj enjoyed critical acclaim especially in India, "Music review of The New Age Series". India Today. 22 November 1999. Retrieved 22 February 2021.</ref> and the connection with that country continues with Drums on Fire, featuring master percussionist Sivamani, and also the singer Mahesh Vinayakram with the album Bravado Masala. Multi-percussionist virtuoso Sandeep Raval had guided Asher through Indian culture in Tigers of the Raj, and joined him to co-create Drum Travel, now on Asher's own Starfield label. Regular collaborations happened over 15 years with Arthur Hull - one of the leading lights of the American drumcircle movement.. Their tenth joint release (2018) is Drum Distillery. Hull has written three books on the subject of drumcircles and remains Asher's most longstanding collaborator.
James Asher is an English musician, composer and record producer, focusing on new-age, world and trance music.
Asher began to study the violin at the age of seven. As a teenager, he participated in his school choir and orchestra, of which his father was the chief instructor.
Following his traditional musical education, Asher taught himself the drums and keyboards and later apprenticed himself at several recording studios in the UK