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Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies - How Can I Tel the Difference?
Format: Double LP
Label: Alga Marghen
Country: Italy
Price: $47.00
2002 release. "Double LP reprint of the compact disc by Robert Ashley titled String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies / How can I Tell the Difference? (I & II). String Quartet was composed as the potential orchestra for an opera based on the text of In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women. When the work was composed, in 1972, it was clear that a huge change in electronic instrumentation was just beginning, a change that would involve computers and sound producing devices as yet undreamed of. The piece consists of an electronic orchestra of 42 sound producing modules. The technique of the string quartet is for each player to make a stream of intentional but unpremeditated (that is, random) very short sounds, pulses, somewhat like pitched clicks, but with the formats and overtones of a string instrument (this idea came from the rumor of a performance by Takehisa Kosugi). These sounds go directly to a set of four loudspeakers, but at the same time they are delayed electronically, and those delayed sounds are sent to a series of seven networks of sound producing modules activated by the very brief coincidence of an original sound and a delayed sound. The operation of the networks as a result of the coincidence can, in the theoretical world of electronics, produce almost any sound imaginable. In the performance recorded here few of the technical resources were available. Now, of course, there are computer patching programs that would make the job possible, but complicated. Such are dreams, when technology promises a new world. Sort of like 1492. The hills and mountains separating San Francisco Bay from the Pacific ocean are filled with a labyrinth of endless concrete tunnels constructed by the military in the 1930s in anticipation of the World War II to defend San Francisco Bay from invasion. At the entrance of every tunnel is a huge steel door. When the door is slammed, the reverberation through the labyrinth seems to last forever. It is one of the wonders of the world. Naturally, Robert Ashley tried to record this phenomenon. On the occasion of the recording, just as the reverberation seemed to die away, a motorcyclist, miles away in the tunnels, started coming closer. The effect, which took minutes, was as if the reverberation had been reversed, as if the tape recording was running backwards. A perfect case of coincidence as illusion. In Version One of How Can I Tell the Difference? the composer tried to create the drama of the recording of the reverberation and the motorcyclist, using the String Quartet as an orchestra, in the way intended to be used in the opera. In Version Two of How Can I Tell the Difference? a solo string player using the same playing technique as in the String Quartet opens and closes the sound gates to electronic reverberations and prerecorded sounds running continuously with the performance. This edition comes in a colour gatefold LP cover with new graphic and lay-out. A double LP set with 3 recorded sides (side 1, 3 and 4; side 2 is blank). Edition of 500 copies only." - Alga Marghen.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies/How Can I Tell The Difference
Format: CD
Label: Alga Marghen
Country: Italy
Price: $20.00
2000 release. "String Quartet Describing the Motions of Large Real Bodies" was composed as the potential orchestra for an opera-based on the text of In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men And Women." When the work was composed in 1972, it was clear that a huge change in electronic instrumentation was just beginning, a change that would involve computers and sound-producing devices as yet undreamed-of. The piece consists of an electronic orchestra of 42 sound-producing modules. The technique of the string quartet is for each player to make a stream of intentional but unpremeditated (that is, random) very short sounds, pulses, somewhat like pitched clicks, but with the formats and overtones of a string instrument (this idea came from the rumor of a performance by Takehisa Kosugi). These sounds go directly to a set of four loudspeakers, but at the same time they are delayed electronically, and those delayed sounds are sent to a series of seven networks of sound-producing modules activated by the very brief coincidence of an original sound and a delayed sound. The operation of the networks as a result of the coincidence can, in the theoretical world of electronics, produce almost any sound imaginable. In the performance recorded here, few of the technical resources were available. Now, of course, there are computer "patching" programs that would make the job possible, but complicated. Such are dreams, when technology promises a "new world." Sort of like 1492. The hills and mountains separating San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean are filled with a labyrinth of endless concrete tunnels constructed by the military in the 1930s in anticipation of World War II, to defend San Francisco Bay from invasion. At the entrance of every tunnel is a huge steel door. When the door is slammed, the reverberation through the labyrinth seems to last forever. It is one of the wonders of the world. Naturally, Robert Ashley tried to record this phenomenon. On the occasion of the recording, just as the reverberation seemed to die away, a motorcyclist, miles away in the tunnels, started coming closer. The effect, which took minutes, was as if the reverberation had been reversed, as if the tape recording was running backwards. A perfect case of coincidence as illusion. In Version One of "How Can I Tell the Difference?" the composer tried to create the drama of the recording of the reverberation and the motorcyclist, using the "String Quartet" as an "orchestra," in the way it was intended to be used in the opera. In Version Two of "How Can I Tell the Difference?" a solo string player using the same playing technique as in the "String Quartet" opens and closes the sound "gates" to electronic reverberations and pre-recorded sounds running continuously with the performance. A digipack CD edition including an 8-page booklet with scores and liner notes written by Robert Ashley.” - Alga Marghen.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: The Wolfman
Format: CD
Label: Alga Marghen
Country: Italy
Price: $20.00
"Alga Marghen presents a 2015 remastered CD edition of its 2003 CD The Wolfman, a collection of pieces that introduce the listener to the most extreme experimental side of American composer Robert Ashley. Presented in digipak with 12-page booklet including liner notes written by the composer and the complete score of "The Wolfman," first issued in Source magazine. The program starts with "The Fox" (1957), Ashleys first electronic work, which displays his nascent electronic music theater style. Dark atmospheres and primitive tape collage techniques recorded at home, mixing the electronic tape and the voice in a single live pass. "The Wolfman" was composed in early 1964 and first performed at Charlotte Moormans 1964 second Annual Avant Garde Festival of New York. The piece immediately won a considerable reputation as a threat to the listeners health. For the occasion, instigated by Morton Feldman, Ashley composed a piece of tape music, "The Wolfman Tape," to be played along with the vocal performance of "The Wolfman." The tape composition, played out of the same loudspeakers as the voice and the feedback (the main sound source for this composition), filled in the ongoing performance sound and transformed the performance into an elaborate version of drone under the influence of electronics. For the performance of "The Wolfman" recorded here, produced at the University of California, Davis, Ashley used a 1960 tape composition titled "The 4th of July." That composition changes gradually from a parabolic-microphone documentation of a backyard party into a layering of tape loops and tape-head feedback. "The Wolfman Tape" (1964) is, as described above, a tape composition made for a short performance of "The Wolfman." It uses tape-speed manipulation and mixes of many layers of found sounds, both from AM radio and from recordings made using different kinds of microphones. "The Bottleman" was composed in 1960 as music for an experimental film by George Manupelli. The 40-minute version presented here involves contact microphones on a surface that holds a loudspeaker some six feet away. The loudspeaker is broadcasting open-circuit hum (at the American standard of approximately 60 hertz). That pitch is raised slightly through tape manipulation and the result is mixed with vocal sounds and other found sounds played back at various tape speeds." - Alga Marghen.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Wolfman
Format: LP
Label: Alga Marghen
Country: Italy
Price: $27.00
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Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women
Format: CD
Label: Cramps
Country: Italy
Price: $7.00
“2002 reissue; originally released in 1974 as number three in the Nova Musicha series. Robert Ashleys minimal masterpiece centered on John Barton Wolgamots experimental book-length poem "In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women." It consists of one sentence repeated over and over, and the only changes from sentence to sentence are that different names are inserted -- "In their very truly great manners of Jesus Christ very heroically Geoffrey Chaucer, Rupert Brooke . . ." Ashleys fascinating liner notes to this album offer a very reasonable interpretation of the very bizarre text. And the music? Its wonderful -- Ashley and Paul DeMariniss electronics bubble in the background, and Wolgamots words sound beautiful when read by Ashley, who delivers the text in his usual sprechstimme-on-downers style.” - Cramps.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Automatic Writing
Format: CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $13.00
2017 repress; 1996 release. "Automatic Writing compiles three early Robert Ashley works from 1967-79 -- some of his most experimental works. Composed in recorded form over a period of five years, "Automatic Writing", originally issued on Lovely Music in 1979, is the result of Robert Ashleys fascination with involuntary speech. He recorded and analyzed the repeated lines of his own mantra and extracted four musical characters. The result is a quiet, early form of ambient music. The piece rather famously formed the basis for Nurse With Wounds A Missing Sense (1997). Steven Stapletons commentary on the recording: "A Missing Sense was originally conceived as a private tape to accompany my taking of LSD. When in that particular state, Robert Ashleys Automatic Writing was the only music I could actually experience without feeling claustrophobic and paranoid. We played it endlessly; it seemed to become part of the room, perfectly blending with the late night city ambiance and the breathing of the building." The piece features the voices of Ashley and Mimi Johnson, with electronics and Polymoog backing, with a switching circuit designed and built by Paul DeMarinis. "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon" and "She Was A Visitor" are excerpts from an opera entitled "That Morning Thing", composed in 1966-67 as a result of Ashleys impulse to express something about the suicides of three friends. "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon", originally issued in 1968, is a womans description of a sexual experience. Ashley attempts "to demonstrate the dichotomy between the rational-whatever can be explained in words-and its opposite-which is not irrational or a-rational, but which cannot be explained in words." The lead voice performed by Cynthia Liddell, the processed back-up chorus, the recurring bell tone, and the pervading tape hiss, create an unsettling mood. "She Was a Visitor" was originally issued on the electronic compilation Extended Voices in 1967. It is another form of description, intended to be understood as a form of rumor. The chorus is divided into groups, each headed by a leader. A lone speaker repeats the title sentence throughout. The separate phonemes of this sentence are picked up freely by the group leaders and are relayed to the group members, who sustain them softly and for the duration of one natural breath. The time lag produces a staggered, chant-like effect, with the sounds moving outward from the nearest performer to the farthest. Booklet notes by Robert Ashley." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Celestial Excursions
Format: Double CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $24.00
2005 release. "Following the ground-breaking work, Dust (LCD 1006CD), godfather of experimental opera Robert Ashley returns with Celestial Excursions. Ashleys endeavor explores remarkably uncharted territory -- the kind of language that is common among "old" people who talk all the time or not at all, to anyone passing by or to themselves. The opera premiered at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin, before coming to The Kitchen for its U.S. premiere in April 2003. Celestial Excursions delves into the wild intermingling of reminiscence, regret, love, nightmare, old sayings, and songs on the radio -- all seemingly to no purpose, except for the operatic end of relentless speed and precision in ensemble singing and the possible stage magic inherent in illusion, hallucination, and a physically changed state of the senses. The operas originality lies in a use of a new vocal technique Ashley has built over the last 20 years, which enables several stories to be heard at the same time. In an intricate vocal system, a principal voice is "chased" by other voices whose parts rotate in sequence in a given order. The result of this technique creates a complex jungle of voices, delivered with an extraordinary rhythmic intensity rarely heard in ensemble singing. As for all of Ashleys latest works, the orchestra music of Celestial Excursions was composed in the computer-synthesizer studio. All the voices and the orchestra (on multi-track tape or on disc) are processed again during the concert in order to match the sound of the opera to the performance space. And for this CD release, Ashley went back to the studio with live recordings to rework the piece, extending the orchestra in the final act. Personnel: Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert, Joan La Barbara, Robert Ashley - singers; Joan Jonas - choreography; Robert Ashley and Tom Hamilton - electronic orchestra; Tom Hamilton - mixing and live electronics; "Blue" Gene Tyranny - piano; David Moodey - lighting design; Cas Boumans - technical coordination/sound system engineer; Melanie Lipka - stage manager. Double CD comes in a jewel box and includes the 104-page libretto in slipcase." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Concrete
Format: Double CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $24.00
2008 release. "Concrete follows from Robert Ashleys preoccupation in two previous operas with the kind of speech that has not been explored in opera -- in Dust (LCD 1006CD), the speech of the homeless; in Celestial Excursions (LCD 1007CD), the speech of people living together in a home for old people. The three operas are not a "trilogy" in any sense, but they all come from this preoccupation with or fascination with special kinds of speech and special kinds of states of mind. "The characters Im interested in," Ashley explains, "are marginal, because everybody is marginal compared to the stereotypes. I am interested in their profoundly good qualities, and Im not interested at all in evil. The characters in my work are as bizarre and unreal as the characters in William Faulkner. They just happen to be ordinary people who are spiritually divine." Though in Concrete, it is not made explicit in any way, the libretto might be considered to be the "musings" of an old man alone. He thinks about strange questions and even as the questions are asked they are answered in various forms of sarcasm, indifference, questions about the questions and explanations. In other words, he is talking to himself. The opera takes the form of five "discussions" about matters he wonders about: Why do people keep secrets about themselves? Why do the buildings in the city all line up perfectly (vertically) when the surface of the planet is round? Why is it that so many things that people do as recreation are played counter-clockwise? What has happened to the many women friends ("lovers") he has had and "left behind" and why were they left behind? And, finally, the fact that he has recently seen a "flying carpet" (in his bedroom.) The five "internal" discussions alternate with four reminiscences about people the old man has worked with and loved. The reminiscences are short and detailed biographies of seemingly ordinary people who in the past did extraordinary things -- sometimes criminal, sometimes just brave in an unusual way -- but will never be recognized for what they did. The singers in the opera are not "characters" in any traditional way. They take part in the very fast "discussions" sections as voices in the old mans musings. Then each of the singers is given one of the "biographies" as a solo aria." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Crash
Format: Double CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $27.00
"Ashleys last opera....premiered at the Whitney Biennial weeks after his death in 2014, and presented again in 2015 at Roulette, where this recoring was made. Featuring the original cast: Gelsey Bell, Amirtha Kidambi, Brian McCorkle, Paul Pinto, Dave Ruder and Aliza Simons." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Dust
Format: Double CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $24.00
2000 release. "Dust is an opera by Robert Ashley and Yukihiro Yoshihara (video direction) whose imaginary setting is a street corner anywhere in the world, where those who live on the fringes of society gather to talk, to each other and to themselves, about life-changing events, missed opportunities, memory, loss, and regret. Five "street people" recount the memories and experiences of one of their group, a man who has lost his legs in some unnamed war. As part of the experience of losing his legs, he began a conversation with God, under the influence of the morphine he was given to ease his pain. Now he wishes that the conversation, which was interrupted when the morphine wore off, could be continued so that he could get the "secret word" that would stop all wars and suffering. Personnel: Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert, Joan La Barbara - Voices; "Blue" Gene Tyranny - synthesizer; Tom Hamilton - live mixing and sound processing; electronic orchestration by Robert Ashley, Tom Hamilton and "Blue" Gene Tyranny; sound effects for "Friends" composed by Tom Hamilton. Double CD comes in a jewel box and includes the 160-page libretto in a slipcase." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: eL/Aficionado
Format: CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $12.00
1994 release. "The fourth opera in Robert Ashleys Now Eleanors Idea tetralogy: Junior, Jr.s story. A group of scenes from the life of an agent. The scenes are a kind of debriefing to a jury of interrogators, in which the Interrogators challenge the agent in various forms of musical dialogue. The mood of the opera owes much to American societys ongoing fascination with espionage and with the character of those people who lead double lives. Featuring Thomas Buckner as the agent and Jacqueline Humbert, Sam Ashley, and Robert Ashley as his interrogators. Orchestration, music, and libretto by Robert Ashley; Engineering and mixing by Tom Hamilton. Comes with a booklet with the full libretto." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Foreign Experiences
Format: CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $12.00
2006 release. "Foreign Experiences was commissioned by Performing Artservices, Inc. (1993) with funds from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. The opera was premiered by the Robert Ashley Ensemble at the Festival dAvignon in 1994. This realization is a duet version by Sam Ashley and Jacqueline Humbert. The pre-recorded voices of the Ashley ensemble are the background chorus. Robert Ashleys Now Eleanors Idea is a quartet of short operas based on the notion of a sequence of events seen from four, different points of view. At the same time, each opera is an allegory, like Bunyans Pilgrims Progress (1678), for an individuals self-realization within the context of a major religion found in the United States. Improvement takes its imagery and plot from Judaism, Foreign Experiences from Pentecostal Evangelism, eL/Aficionado (LCD 1004CD) from Corporate Mysticism, and Now Eleanors Idea (LCD 1009CD) from (Spanish) Catholicism. The inspiration for these works came specifically from four sources: the work of the historian, Frances A. Yates (1900-1983), whose specialty of interests included the influence of Kabbalistic mysticism on the birth of modernism and scientific philosophy in Italy in the 16th century (as a result of the expulsion of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition); the writings of Carlos Castaneda (and the arguments about him as a writer and about the intentions of his work); Low Rider Magazine, the fan-cult magazine of the Low Rider movement in the Southwestern United States; and finally, corporate vocabulary, what it sounds like and how it is used in popular publications, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or Fortune Magazine." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Now Eleanors Idea
Format: Double CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $24.00
2007 release. "Now Eleanors Idea was made possible by grants from The Rockefeller Foundation (1984 and 1993), the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Musical Theater Program (1985) and InterArts Program (1992). Robert Ashleys Now Eleanors Idea is a quartet of short operas based on the notion of a sequence of events seen from four, different points of view. At the same time, each opera is an allegory, like Bunyans Pilgrims Progress (1678), for an individuals self-realization within the context of a major religion found in the United States. Improvement takes its imagery and plot from Judaism, Foreign Experiences (LCD 1008CD) from Pentecostal Evangelism, eL/Aficionado (LCD 1004CD) from Corporate Mysticism, and Now Eleanors Idea from (Spanish) Catholicism. The inspiration for these works came specifically from four sources: the work of the historian, Frances A. Yates (1900-1983), whose specialty of interests included the influence of Kabbalistic mysticism on the birth of modernism and scientific philosophy in Italy in the 16th century (as a result of the expulsion of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition); the writings of Carlos Castaneda (and the arguments about him as a writer and about the intentions of his work); Low Rider Magazine, the fan-cult magazine of the Low Rider movement in the Southwestern United States; and finally, corporate vocabulary, what it sounds like and how it is used in popular publications, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or Fortune Magazine. While working at the bank, the title character, Now Eleanor, has a sort of "religious experience" that fills her with an "approach of the end of the world feeling." This feeling compels her to leave her job in the Midwest, move to New Mexico, and become a newscaster to try to discover the point where the religions of America -- Judaism, Protestantism, Business and Catholicism -- merge. But there is more in store for her than she realizes... Music and libretto by Robert Ashley. Featuring: Joan LaBarbara as Now Eleanor, Amy X Neuburg as Now Eleanors Low Rider Double, Marghreta Cordero as Now Eleanors Guardian Angel. Ensemble Voices: Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert. Mixing and electronics: Tom Hamilton." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Private Parts (The Record)
Format: CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $12.00
1990 release. "Centered around the mesmerizing voice of Robert Ashley, presented here is early version (released on LP by Lovely Music in 1979) of "The Park" and "The Backyard", a masterpiece in its simplicity of form and in the purity and intensity of its effect on the listener. These two pieces were later to become the opening and closing segments of the seven part opera for television, Perfect Lives. Personnel: Robert Ashley - voice; "Blue" Gene Tyranny - keyboards; Kris - tablas." - Lovely Music.

Artist: ASHLEY, ROBERT
Title: Your Money My Life Goodbye
Format: CD
Label: Lovely Music
Country: USA
Price: $12.00
1998 release. "An opera commissioned by Bayerisher Rundfunk Munichs Hörspiel und Medienkunst department about an internationally renowned swindler, who almost took down the European and American banking system. Featuring the voices of Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jackie Humbert, and Joan La Barbara. Recorded and mixed by Tom Hamilton. Robert Ashley on the piece: "Your Money My Life Goodbye is one of forty-nine vocal-ensemble pieces of various lengths (from ten minutes to ninety minutes or more) that can be used in many kinds of combinations to make an opera for stage, for radio or for television. Any of the combinations go under the title of the opera, The Immortality Songs. When any of the pieces are performed separately, as in Your Money My Life Goodbye for Bayerischer Rundfunk, they take their individual titles. I have finished seven of the compositions. It looks like a lifetime of work. Hence, the title. In all of the forty-nine compositions some aspect of the musical structure (or many aspects of the musical structure) derive directly from the English language of the libretto. This process of derivation can be secretive and arcane (the music based, for instance, on grammatical structures or on the probability of the recurrence of certain syllables) or, as in Your Money My Life Goodbye, open and obvious. I think that the open and obvious approach - in this case, matching the syllables of the English (and the German) to the rhythm of the title-line, and matching the voice choices to the occurrence of the characters in the text - is a good solution to the light-hearted nature of the text. The story is simple. A woman responds to an invitation to attend a high-school reunion by sending her son, because she is incapacitated for some unknown reason. In describing her son, we get the idea that he is a high-level intelligence agent (a spy). A sort of James Bond character. The woman writes that her sons wife will not attend the reunion, because she is recently dead, either from suicide or murder. The sons wife is described in great detail from various newspaper articles. She was an internationally renowned swindler, who almost took down the European and American banking system. She was a successful entrepreneur. Your Money My Life Goodbye doesnt take this seriously at all. Everybody is crazy." - Lovely Music.

by artist / 0-9    A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z    V/A \   by label