BUCKNER SINGS ROBERT ASHLEY, THOMAS - Spontaneous Musical Invention

"Recital presents a new double album of rarely heard Robert Ashley compositions performed by baritone singer Thomas Buckner. In the 1960s, Robert Ashley pioneered the American avant-garde with the ONCE Group and festivals, before irrefutably changing the face of American opera later in the 20th century. Buckner, in addition to running the fabulous 1750 Arch record label in the 1970s and '80s, is a noted baritone who has collaborated for decades with the likes of Roscoe Mitchell, Annea Lockwood, and the late Noah Creshevsky, amongst countless others. The title of the album, Spontaneous Musical Invention, refers to Ashley's method of instructing the singer to do what he called "spontaneous musical invention based on the declamation of the text." A vocal practice that Thomas Buckner perfected over the 33 years that he collaborated with Ashley. First performing in Ashley's 1984 opera Atalanta (Acts of God), Buckner continued on as an integral performer in the ensemble until Ashley's death in 2014. The album is composed of two halves, the first is a new rendering of Ashley's second opera Atalanta (Acts of God). Robert Ashley wrote about ten hours of music for the opera Atalanta, divided into three acts: "Max", for the surrealist artist Max Ernst; "Willard", for the composer's uncle, Willard Reynolds, a great story teller; and "Bud", for Bud Powell, the great jazz pianist and composer. One is invited to construct a version using any material from these ten hours. Over the years they worked together, Thomas Buckner commissioned three reworkings of arias from Atalanta that he could perform in concert: the "Odalisque" aria from Max, "The Mystery of the River" from "Willard", and "The Producer Speaks" from "Bud". So, this first section of the album is one of many possible versions of Atalanta, albeit in strikingly different versions from the originals. The second section of the album is dubbed "Occasional Pieces", and holds two unpublished Ashley works. "When Famous Last Words Fail You" and "World War III Just the Highlights" are not from any Ashley opera. However, each is highly dramatic and theatrical. They were written as standalone pieces for Thomas Buckner. Buckner's distinct vocal cadence projects the sharp wit and wry storytelling of Ashley's librettos. A portion of the record was recorded live at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY, at an intimate memorial concert held for Robert Ashley in 2014. Spontaneous Musical Invention, in essence, functions as a tribute to both exceptional artists, and to their decades of collaboration. Includes 24-page booklet of Ashley librettos, scores, and program notes, with an introduction written by Alvin Lucier." - Recital.

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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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