Private Parts: The Record is the only one on CD. Very minimal, all about Ashley's voice though I'm into the tabla/moog accompanyment.
The Bar, 1981 - is more of the same but set to an insanely catchy lounge-piano drum machine riff which memorizes itself
Music Word Fire And I Would Do It Again (Coo Coo): The Lessons, 1981 - is the disco number. Reminds me in some ways of the Black Dice "Cone Toaster" 12" but much much stranger, a constant disco pulse with prepared piano solos and very strange moog sequencer patterns constantly turning left, and lots of elliptical vocal chanting & performance art narration... it is a crime that these aren't out on CD, every time I DJ these out, people do lose it. Couldn't live without this one either.
I also like the versions on the 3 CD set, but they work much better in the context of the 3.5 hour video version. Seeing Ashley recite these lines in the context of his baffling hand gestures and gold glitter strewn through his hair is the way to hear this music.
― (Jon L), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 23:49 (8 years ago) Permalink
Atalanta (Acts of God), 1985: long stretches of this are among the most amazing things he's ever done: mainly, the last two 'Anecdote with Chorale' sections. Each singer keeps assuming madly different vocal personas, and they fade in and out of the mix at different times; you could imagine someone with 20 different arias from different centuries in different languages all being vaguely faded up and down in the mix over strange casiotone & organ soundbeds with an out-of-tune doowop chorus occasionally punctuating, but you'd still have no idea why this such an emotionally extreme piece of music.
The 30 minute video accompanyment, Atalanta Strategy, is my favorite video of his. Abstract image montage, always on the edge of making sense.
― (Jon L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:02 (8 years ago) Permalink
That's a pretty good description. This was precisely the sound of electric organ/electric piano that I always made fun of, until I hear this, and somehow I just love the way it sounds. Music Word Fire is really good too, although I didn't like it at first.
I've never heard the Wolfman.
(Sorry to interrupt milton's more thorough annotated discography.)"She Was a Visitor" is kind of a nice, what, Jackson MacLowesque composition, where the "chorus" takes different sounds from that sentence, and I forget exactly where it goes. Maybe nowhere. I don't know if that's available on CD. (Probably not.) It used to be a staple of the Relache Ensemble.
― RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:05 (8 years ago) Permalink
― RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:08 (8 years ago) Permalink
"She Was a Visitor" is very simple; one close miked person repeating the sentence every few seconds, while a large mixed chorus very slowly hold and stretch out the phonemes for five minutes, creating a shifting Ligeti-ish drone. I recommend timestretching the piece back down to 15 seconds, it sounds crazy.
Improvement has one great piece: the dialog between the doctor and the patient, track 4 on disc 2.
― (Jon L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:13 (8 years ago) Permalink
― RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:15 (8 years ago) Permalink
Maybe I meant Perfect Lives...are they the same opera? The one where he says "These are stories from the corn belt and the people who live in it (OR ON IT)" at the beginning of each segment!
― Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:16 (8 years ago) Permalink
The thing I like about his vocal delivery; all the accents on the words and sentences are in the wrong places. There are tons of emotional signifiers, but it's an obstacle course trying to unpack them because he's saying them in an almost impossible fashion.
Saying any word thirty times in a row reduces the word to a sound, and distances you from the reflex that associates it instantly with a 'meaning' without having to think too hard about the code: imagine listening to someone who makes every word sound as if you've just heard it thirty times in a row: you recognize every single word, but you can no longer tell what the hell the sentences mean anymore. After a few minutes, listening to Ashley talk sends you into the zone.
I must admit; recent operas are increasingly Earthbound. eL/Aficionado, Dust, Your Money My Life Goodbye... I could see how they'd make a terrible first impression.
If you like Automatic Writing and want to try the operas, the best place to start is probably Yellow Man With Heart With Wings.
― (Jon L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:29 (8 years ago) Permalink
I wish he had a talk show or something. I think I know what you mean. I probably mentioned before, but I overheard him talking during a music festival, and his ordinary speech didn't sound so different from his delivery as a performer. I just remember him saying to someone he was talking to: "That is. . . su-blime." (I wish I had been more of a creepy fan and hung around him just to overhear him talking.)
― RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:34 (8 years ago) Permalink
I've met him once, it doesn't seem to be an assumed persona...
― (Jon L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 00:41 (8 years ago) Permalink
― john'n'chicago, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:31 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Drew Daniel (Drew Daniel), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:45 (8 years ago) Permalink
― jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:55 (8 years ago) Permalink
― jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 03:00 (8 years ago) Permalink
String Quartet Describing the Notions of Large Real Bodies / How Can I Tell The Difference? -- two pieces from 1972-3 released on alga marghen a few years ago. String Quartet = one violin multitracked four times, played with the bow held down on bridge with as much pressure as possible and very long (5-10 minute) strokes. this sound fed through gates and doubled with short delays. Difference is two variations on the first piece, performed live in the tunnels on the coast of the Marin Headlands; subtle scrapes and drones join the violins, along with the echoey sounds of a motorcycle rider, far away in another part of the tunnels. A little patience goes a long way with this disc; it's maddening for five minutes, but fantastic after thirty. especially the last track; only one violin, in the tunnel, slowly overwhelmed by rumbling, scraping and eventually a timid electronic organ drone. Definitely the closest precursor to Automatic Writing.
― (Jon L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 07:59 (8 years ago) Permalink
I think I'll go with 'yello man...' and 'atlanta...' for now.
(I might do a similar thread on alvin lucier soon - I own 'I am sitting...' and that's it)
'People who lived through these performances have good reason to find 80's noise music boring, this is louder, better, fiercer, more insane in every way.'
it would be awesome to see this live or to see other performers tackle it bcz its an awesome piece of music.
thanks for everyone's comments.
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 08:25 (8 years ago) Permalink
― wordyrappington (wordyrappington), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 16:36 (8 years ago) Permalink
― milton parker (Jon L), Wednesday, 7 September 2005 02:25 (7 years ago) Permalink
(guess I should do an update: after reading what drew said all those months ago I did turn up the volume on 'automatic writing', it is the kind of piece that wd make me think it best to hear it quietly to fully absorb its creepy undercurrent but its a lovely surprise to find those basslines underneath) (got hold of 'your money my life' on the cheap but didn't really care for it at the time otherwise i wd've revived, but will pull it out again)
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 4 November 2005 22:01 (7 years ago) Permalink
Celestial Excursions is even further in the direction of Dust. Less surrealism, more direct sentimentality, the speakers all take turn telling narratives about the eccentric & elderly. I'm sure this is incredible live, on record I'm even more easily distracted from it than I was with Dust. I'm glad I have it but I'd certainly recommend Atalanta or Yellow Man With Heart With Wings for later Ashley well before this.
And Lovely really needs to issue The Bar & Music Word Fire on a single CD, that's urgent.
― milton parker (Jon L), Friday, 4 November 2005 22:44 (7 years ago) Permalink
― C.D., Saturday, 5 November 2005 07:22 (7 years ago) Permalink
― C.D., Saturday, 5 November 2005 08:06 (7 years ago) Permalink
thx to all again -- goes without saying these operas must be performed, hopefully one or two of these are on a small enough scale so that we don't have to rely on the traditional opera houses to take this on.
― Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 5 November 2005 10:29 (7 years ago) Permalink
the Lucier and Oliveros interviews are particualrly headsnapping if you're bandwidth-pinched, but these are best taken in sequence, there's a reason he calls the series an opera. I'm ordering the book from Lovely, I need the transcripts. I've watched each of them at least twice by now. If I'd seen them in time, I would have voted for these in the ILE 'favorite films of the 70's' poll.
The OHM: Pioneers of Electronic Music box set was just re-released with a 20 track DVD -- three of the tracks are excerpts from Ashley's series.
― milton parker (Jon L), Sunday, 6 November 2005 23:25 (7 years ago) Permalink
― blunt (blunt), Monday, 7 November 2005 01:20 (7 years ago) Permalink
― sleeve (sleeve), Monday, 7 November 2005 03:27 (7 years ago) Permalink
You're definitely right, though -- now that you've mentioned it, it's clear, though it sounds like it's coming from four rooms over. And it comes in and out of the mix at different volumes & moments independent of Ashley's speech, so it wasn't just printed on the tape of his vocal performance, it was obviously captured and strategically mixed in at various points of the piece.
― milton parker (Jon L), Monday, 7 November 2005 04:53 (7 years ago) Permalink
― milton parker (Jon L), Monday, 7 November 2005 04:54 (7 years ago) Permalink
this is a great interview
ROBERT ASHLEY: Well, the problem in discussing hip-hop with somebody who doesn't like hip-hop is that they don't hear the melodies. There's no difference in the quality of the melody in any good hip-hop record now. There are so many I can't even name them. But there's no difference in the quality of the melody between that song and something like Billie Holiday for instance. It's just that the world has changed, the street language has changed and now you have to tune our ears to be able to hear that the very best hip-hop singers are singing exactly in tune. It might be going a little too fast; the melody might be going a little too fast for you to perceive it as melody, but there's no doubt that there's melody..
― milton parker (Jon L), Monday, 7 November 2005 05:08 (7 years ago) Permalink
― harley fordham, Monday, 1 May 2006 08:53 (7 years ago) Permalink
i've posted on ilm about five times, but i figured i'd chime in here--
got a promo for 'now eleanor's idea' this week and am enjoying it pretty well so far. as far as comparisons, it's not nearly as frightening as 'foreign experiences'; it's actually a lot like 'dust' in texture but more expansive, more desert-like (makes sense--the libretto is about a woman who finds her true calling in a low-rider community in new mexico). anyway, yeah, i've become near-obsessed with ashley in the past year and a half; this is pretty welcome right now.
― mike powell, Saturday, 15 September 2007 13:08 (5 years ago) Permalink
the libretto is about a woman who finds her true calling in a low-rider community in new mexico
Haha, this sounds like it could be my soundtrack for 2008.
― Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 15 September 2007 13:14 (5 years ago) Permalink
By coincidence, the first page of youtube hits for "Robert Ashley" turns up this story about a Robert Ashley in New Mexico, but it's not that one:
― Rockist Scientist, Saturday, 15 September 2007 13:21 (5 years ago) Permalink
Now Eleanor's Idea is fantastic. An opera about a community of Mexican Americans who practice their relilgion through the design of elaborately painted low riders. The Mexican monologues floating through the mix talking about their lives in the 2nd section is new territory, and Joan LaBarbara goes off in the final section.
Not entirely new territory actually -- now that Now Eleanor's Idea and Foreign Experiences are out, it makes Yellow Man With Heart With Wings seem more like the crucial departure point for all the 90's work -- bits of the text from it actually turn up verbatim towards the end of Foreign Experiences -- it's good to finally have access to the larger picture. YMWHWW is the key album for anyone who's a fan of his 70's records looking to get into the later operas, it unlocks the other ones
Foreign Experiences is finally catching up with me as well -- it's much more of a Sam Ashley showcase. It seems to be a re-performance / remix of the original 90's version of the piece, with Sam & Jacqueline Humbert are the only two clear voices, much spacier electronic music by Sam, and completely bizarre fragmented samples of the original chorus creeping around in the mix. And the libretto is basically about Ashley's experience at Mills College in the 70's, so there are tons of familiar little hints if you've been to the campus.
Celestial Excursions had a great libretto but the music threw me a bit, the last two are definitely back on track (though I'd still go through the 70's stuff before going to them)
― Milton Parker, Monday, 22 October 2007 22:32 (5 years ago) Permalink
― Milton Parker, Monday, 22 October 2007 22:33 (5 years ago) Permalink
An opera about a community of Mexican Americans who practice their relilgion through the design of elaborately painted low riders.
oh i love that man.
― jed_, Monday, 22 October 2007 22:55 (5 years ago) Permalink
fwiw my favourite of the operas is definitely "Improvement (Don Leaves Linda)" but that could be because the 2-10 minute sections allow for me to spread the listening experience out and to access it more easily, somehow. "eL/Aficionado" is another big favourite from the more recent stuff. i haven't yet been able to penetrate "Celestial Experiences" or "Dust".
― jed_, Monday, 22 October 2007 23:00 (5 years ago) Permalink
In Sarah Mencken, Christ and Beethoven, there were men and women is so unbelievably beautiful.
― I know, right?, Friday, 16 November 2007 19:21 (5 years ago) Permalink
I know, right?
I've yet to be disappointed by anything I've heard of his.
― ian, Friday, 16 November 2007 20:37 (5 years ago) Permalink
Very really grand men and women.
― I know, right?, Saturday, 17 November 2007 16:31 (5 years ago) Permalink
I listened to the 2nd half of Automatic Writing before bed last night, and brought Private Parts to listen to today. Those two are probably my favorites. SMC&B definitely comes close too--i was so happy the day i found that LP.
― ian, Saturday, 17 November 2007 16:46 (5 years ago) Permalink
Three men have loved her. One a decade, on the average.
― ian, Saturday, 23 February 2008 21:04 (5 years ago) Permalink
I really need to dig up a copy of YMWHWW. I also want to dig up the VHS tapes for Private Parts; I think some distributors still have 'em but I don't exactly have $75 to shell out right now.
― ian, Saturday, 23 February 2008 21:05 (5 years ago) Permalink
they put out 'Private Parts' as a 2 DVD $50 set. if you're looking to spend, my favorite of his videos is 'Atalanta Strategy' though
Matmos is covering 'The Backyard' tonight at the Stone
― Milton Parker, Saturday, 23 February 2008 21:41 (5 years ago) Permalink
seriously? damn, i should go to that.
― ian, Saturday, 23 February 2008 22:39 (5 years ago) Permalink
wait, milton p, did you play at the stone LAST night??
― ian, Saturday, 23 February 2008 22:40 (5 years ago) Permalink
nope, didn't play the stone last night
went to see Ashley's solo performance at Issue Project Room on feb 26th. it was an hour long reading of a paper he wrote in the late 70's about his work with involuntary speech that led to the creation of Automatic Writiing, implications, self-doubt, what it taught him about history. His voice was treated with heavy reverb that emphasized two resonant tones in the room, but it always stayed under the point of actual feedback. I hope he publishes that paper, as usual it was filled with incredible one-liners and epiphanies that you often miss while listening because his voice is so hypnotic and disarming, it can be difficult to hold your attention on the meaning, you're too busy listening to the sound
that was my reaction to Matmos' cover of 'The Backyard' as well -- Martin read the text in his own voice instead of attempting any simulation of Ashley's tone, and drew built more of an insistent but mellow rhythm out of that Tabla drum machine (same one they used on the title track of their new album, they're getting their mileage). their version isn't going for the same feeling of layered mystery, but the straightforward delivery of the text shows just how coherent & beautiful the story is, it clarifies things.
new Ashley album performed by another group: http://www.unsounds.com/releases/15uframe.html
& more evidence that Ashley's various lectures collected in one volume -- http://www.zsearch.org/text/ashley/ashley.html
― Milton Parker, Friday, 7 March 2008 21:58 (5 years ago) Permalink
milton, how is that jaqueline humbert record? I think I want to get that.
― Drew Daniel, Friday, 7 March 2008 22:33 (5 years ago) Permalink
I love her voice so much & the idea of Tenney / Lucier / LaBarbara / Ashley all writing cabaret songs for her always sounded great but I still haven't heard it
― Milton Parker, Friday, 7 March 2008 22:45 (5 years ago) Permalink
i finally snagged the vinyl of "Private Parts" in near mint condition for $25 off ebay. postage was pricey (from the US) but it's great to have and i consider it a bargain. The recent remaster does seem to turn down the vocal and turn up the tabla and piano and i prefer the way that one sounds. much as i love Ashley's voice i think it's too loud on the vinyl i just got.
i also got "In Sarah, Mencken..." on vinyl from discogs.
― jed_, Thursday, 20 March 2008 19:17 (5 years ago) Permalink
so bummed i missed his performances last year
― sarahell, Sunday, 8 April 2012 08:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
three operas performed at la mama in 2009 on vimeo now, complete. free arts!!!!!
― one dis leads to another (ian), Sunday, 8 April 2012 18:14 (1 year ago) Permalink
Robert Ashley’s opera “The Old Man Lives in Concrete”
― jed_, Thursday, 26 April 2012 18:48 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think it actually opened yesterday?but i am going tonight.
― one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 26 April 2012 19:57 (1 year ago) Permalink
nice one ian. enjoy.
― jed_, Thursday, 26 April 2012 21:34 (1 year ago) Permalink
best part is that it's just a 15 minute walk from my house.
― one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 26 April 2012 23:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
is the song at about 12 mins till 20 mins in this, a robert ashley song? my googling the lyrics suggests it is.
― ooooiiiioooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaoooooh un - bi - leevable! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 June 2012 12:10 (11 months ago) Permalink
Yeah that one's a classic"sans ice"
― Ò (Ówen P.), Thursday, 7 June 2012 12:53 (11 months ago) Permalink
ah cool... what record is it from?
― ooooiiiioooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaoooooh un - bi - leevable! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 June 2012 13:23 (11 months ago) Permalink
― one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 7 June 2012 14:44 (11 months ago) Permalink
I listened to that mix. There's a lot of Robert Ashley in there! Reminds me of a mixtape where someone used pretty much the whole of E2E4.
― mmmm, Thursday, 7 June 2012 14:59 (11 months ago) Permalink
that explains why it was so good maybe
― ooooiiiioooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaoooooh un - bi - leevable! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 June 2012 15:14 (11 months ago) Permalink
he took himself seriouslymotel rooms had lost their punch for him
he opened all his bags there were two and inside those two there were two moreit's not an easy situationbut there was something like abandon in the airthere was something like the feeling of the idea of silk scarves in the airthere was a kind of madness to itthe kind we read about in magazines one of the bags contained a bottle of liquora surer sign of thoughtfulness if at all there might have beenhe poured himself a small drink in a fluted plastic glass sans icehe thought to himself if i were from the big town i would be called debonairethe big town doesnt send its riffraff out
he sat on the bed both feet on the floorhe studied the ashtray and tried to rule out preferencepreferring over not preferringbut he preferredgravity over what other statepreferring in that caseearththe earth as they saypreferring some state over non state
now he grips himself with determination even knowing that it causes sadnesshe is determined to be what?he is determined to be serioushe had determined once to be seriouslater he knew that he had made a mistake but too late he had arrived and there were rooms and all rooms were not the samesome better than others he thoughtbetter viewbetter layoutbetter showersofter bednot so far from noisemore like home etc etcvery abstract
he lifted the telephone from its cradlehis determination got strongerif not clearer even as he had faded in its forcewere it not for our momentum, the inertia of our actions, the constant inspiration of our habits, we could not continuethe will is almost nothing he thought to himself
at the sound of the first ring he hung uphe pushed down the button and listened to the silence of the object in his hand and then he hung upvery dramaticthe phone rang immediately1234567he brings this cloud of conditions with himhe is at the center of a ball of hot stuff that we haven't put our minds to yetand sitting on the bed in the motel room is no differentsomewhere in another room in rangesomebody got it and phoned himit happens all the timereally.
a kind of restlessness at that rangehe sat and thought about obediencehe had resolved, that of the two kinds, the kind that takes every message of order, rule, lawhas errorthat everybody who passes along these messagesthat loathes the buildingsthat contradicts the inner voicethat resists, in short, was histhe other kind,how could it be.
he wasn't happy with the worldhe worked with the forwardness and the backwardnesshe worked with what things are ahead of us and with what things are behind usi guess the other kind would be to work with things that are alongside,the attachments.obedience was impossible for himat the same time he was cooperative and indeed solicitousno one in the world would have mistaken him for a real person(obedience, et cetera)the other kind works with the things that are the alongside usthe attachmentsat the same time he was cooperativethe numbers on the telephonethe parts of the bookthe notes of the scalethey are the same, are they notthey come from the sameness of the idea of the outsidenessnot the alongside the outsidenessthe differentnessit was a problem, being cooperative and refusing obedience, and carrying the load of the idea of differentness
he wantshe handles himself in the morningit's just like for every other manthe fantasy is the distance, the reluctance, the reticence, the othernessthe fantasy is the uncleannessso getting up gets to be a problem for a sensitive person like himthe problem is to run that gauntlet againremove problemremove gauntletremove runremove is toremove theremove thatleave thismake this whatever
he lights the motelroom with the slightly blue body lightwhen he is along he forgets sometimes to walkhe just movessometimes they touch, sometimes they don'tand everything in betweenyes, sometimes he forgets to combine talk with thinkingand just thinksor just talksespecially i think it happens in those rooms, who knows whythe way it disconnects from what's just outside is predictableis it not soit never stops being a mysterywe have talked about it
when he says hello you hear a long whining sound which is his voice and the helloit is as different from whateverthe way one might rememberas the sound a cat might makehe is not unusual in this i thinkhe is absolutely uninhabitablea thankless starremove starremove thanklessremove areplace with he has a special way of speakingbut it seems only to make him more like other menthis is one place and here every kid is armedso where you goinghuhprobably sometimes we don't see the gunssometimes yessometimes nothe town and always references to down and outdown from des moinesup from somewheremissed by chancedidn't even see itthought it was a threat to house and homewhy didn't you come up to the big townno thankslooking backdidnt get the up and down parthow could i have missed it
get a grip on yourself he saidworking against time was another thing he saidhere i am working against time
the pencil fairly flew as he made out his simple requests for breakfastroom service courtesy of the companythis is a recordi am sitting on a bench next to myselfinside of me the words formcome down out of the tree and fight like a mantwo cheese and eggsthis is not a recordthis is a storyi want to say something about myselfi am not sitting on a bench next to myselfwhatever that meansi am a city of habitsi am completely knowable in every wayi recognize superstition in every forman anger of the words makes me in the vein of myselfi imagine there are two men on the benchthe exchange between them will not be seenthey will not put it forth to be seenand if i make something of the situationto show a difference between the two menthe difference will distract the true onlookerbut the film fogs you knowone scene fogsand add a dish of prunes if they are in season
i met her in the park in the small midwestern townthat is, the bench is in the parkwe know from what is past that the men are on the benchthey are old by doctor's standardsthe park graces the courthouse of the countythe courthouse has about it the simple air of failurean abandoned outpostthe park has sidewalks, fences, trees, grass, and a statue of a man and horse at waror ready for warthey are alone with their intentionsthe sculptor has made the horse look stupidthe man's jaw is firmthe time is late morning in early summerthe sun shines
in this scene there are two shotsthe park in all its detailsfrozenbroken on the right edgesometimes up to two thirds across the framceby the body of a personvery closeblurred, moving almost rhythmicallywe have just begun and already we are stuckworking against time as they saythe camera is obsessed with what it seesthe parkthe ragged edgenothing movesexcept the edgethe edge movesit's as if there is no other placehis mind racesone gee in fogstwo gees in eggs
when the two men spokethey spoke about permanence and impermanencethey noted that there were certain things that were impermanent, and other things to which impermanence did not applythus they came to make a great division between that which is impermanent and that which is permanenteverything in this transitory category turned out to be the particulars of our existenceand these were divided into physical, mental, and others which were neither physical nor mentalamong those particulars which were neither physical nor mentalthey listed attainment, aging, and coincidenceon the permanent side of this great division of reality was a notion they referred to as spaceand by that term they meant neither conceptual spacenor space as given by our sensesthey meant connectionsthey decided that such space is irreduceable and not transitoryand that it exists as long as one is alive.they wonderednaturallywhat becomes of it.this impasse is no help at allconsider his situation:for instancehe is expected to be positive and helpful about breakfastin the order of things, it is more important that she know about the prunes then that the shot should changeand what about the problems we have seenhe is still seated on the bed both feet on the floorthe small drink in the fluted plastic glass sans ice is hardly touchedthe phone has just stopped ringingin his mind the two men are frozen on the benchthe horse looks stupidthe warrior's jaw is firmincredibly slowly our view begins to slidehis idea is that death always takes one by surprisealways.there is no way to preparehe imagines absolute awareness on the other sidehe wonders as we all do how it comes to you that you are deadwe were distracted by the fluid right edgethere is an absoluteness to surprise, he thinkshe applies this simple thought to the problem of how to move the shotincredibly slowly our view begins to slidebegins is a problemwe are enchanted by the park and all its detailsfrozen, broken on the right edge by the body of the person, very closethe blur, moving rhythmicallyhow can it begin to changehow can the beginning go unnoticedhow can we pass from one state to anotheris it possible, if one already has a certain experience of life, to start directly on the pathor is there danger involved in trying to do advanced practices without having the proper foundationthey came to believe that, unless one has actually gone through the preliminary experiences, conclusions may be drawn on the basis of insufficient informationand that these conclusions may produce effects just the opposite of the one which is intendedin other words, one never knowsand so the view begins to slide, anyway as they sayslide eastwardturning eastwardthe particulars moving left or right across the framea parade of sortsand it comes to rest, finally,on the roadthe street that holds the parkwe are still obsessedwe are not relieved
this view is no differenthow could it beexcept that we have moved off the body of the person very close and blurredand every edge is rawand there is some machine approachingwider than it is highas they saya pack of motorcyclesa herd of elephantsa tribe of bedouinssomething from the eastbarely moving in a cloud of haze and heat and dustin utmost telephotogold and green and flat the idea of the slitthe eye of the needle
--The Park, Robert Ashley
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 21:58 (9 months ago) Permalink
there are some mistakes there, but still. good to see it written down. i didn't write it.
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:06 (9 months ago) Permalink
there are quite a lot of mistakes.the pencil fairly flew as he made his corrections. (which maybe i will do at some point)
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:10 (9 months ago) Permalink
He's in London next month.
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:16 (9 months ago) Permalink
i did a transcription of 'the backyard' one night
― half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:17 (9 months ago) Permalink
he is? so am xyzzzz_, what are the dates?
donna, post it!
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:18 (9 months ago) Permalink
28/29/30. i am so there if teaching doesn't ruin it for me. i only listened to 'private parts' from ian's poll a short while back and it killed me, and has spiralled out into obsession.
― emo mcgee vs ricky hitler (Merdeyeux), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:22 (9 months ago) Permalink
it does that!!!!
it makes for an incredibly strange running soundtrack. i use it for that probably far too often.
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:24 (9 months ago) Permalink
she makes a double lifeshe makes two from one and oneshe makes a perfect system every dayshe makes it workshe stands there in the doorway of her mother's houselooking at the grass and sky and at where they meetnever thinking thoughts like"that's so like a line"or"the difference is so powerful"or"which way shall i take to leave?"
my mind turns to my breathonemy mind watches my breathtwomy mind turns and watches my breaththreemy mind turns and faces my breathfourmy mind faces my breathfivemy mind studies my breathsixmy mind sees every aspect of the beauty of my breathsevenmy mind watches my breath soothing itselfeightmy mind sees every part of my breathninemy breath is not indifferent to itselften
she never thinks of possibilityor of how probably it is that they have come togetherthose thoughts never enter her mindnor do thoughts of sportsshe has no desire to improve her musclesfor her piano playing is the only mysteryit's so beautiful and how they do it no one knows
she gets catalogs of every sort in the maileverything imaginable is picturedshe finds her way among the pictures without hesitationshe is not afraid of happinessshe is entirely without shamethe numbers are made of rubber or something like thatthey stretchthey never lose their shapethey are agelessthey don't need repairthey need attention and respect
she thinks about two things that i know ofone is elevation and that comes clothed in light so to speakshe loathes the darkshe sleeps in lightshe likes highnessfour thousand one hundred twenty-eight feet herefour thousand two hundred eighteen feet thereand the body of the house itselffourteen dollars and twenty-eight cents hereforty-eight dollars and twelve cents there
the other is proportionscoincidence isn't a mystery to herthe margin is always wide enoughforty-two or forty with twenty is always sixty-two or sixtyand i mean forty-two with twenty can be sixty as well as sixty-twoand the other way aroundjust as ten and twenty can be twenty-two or thirtyor twelve and twenty can be thirty
she stands there in the doorway of her mother's house and thinks these thoughtsthat fourteen dollars and twenty-eight cents is more attractive than fourteen dollarsbecause of the twenty-eightno one likes or dislikes zeroesand that forty-two or forty is fixed in some way
she thinks about her father's ageshe does the calculations one more timeshe remembers sixty-twothirty and some number is sixty-twoand that number with ten is forty-twoshe remembers forty-tworemembers is the wrong wordshe dwells on forty-twoshe turns and faces itshe watches itshe studies itit is the keythe mystery of the balances is therethe masonic secret lies therethe church forbids its angels entry therethe gypsies camp thereblood is exchanged theremothers weep thereit is night there
thirty and some number is sixty-twoand that number with ten is forty-twothat number translates now to thenthat number is the answerin the way that numbers answerthat simple notiona coincidence among coincidencesis all one needs to know
my mind turns to my breathmy mind watches my breathmy mind turns and watches my breathmy mind turns and faces my breathmy mind faces my breathmy mind studies my breathmy mind sees every aspect of the beauty of my breathmy mind watches my breath soothing itselfmy mind sees every part of my breathmy breath is not indifferent to itself
she waked at tenshe remembers tenshe left the dark at tenshe waked in lightso forty-two or forty or forty-four is fixedfourteen dollars and twenty-eight cents is more attractive than fourteen dollarsit's just that waythe firmness of it is a consolation
three men have loved herone a decade on the averageuncertainties are wrongin this scene there is one shotgiordano bruno comes to mindwhoever he is
she is in the doorway of her mother's houseshe faces southwe see it two waysfirst is the house behind herand the great northern constellationsshe looks away from difference and discrepancymagnetic northtrue norththe north star pathit's too like the calculationsexcept that ten and forty-two are fixed togetherwe are looking westshe is on the right edge of the shotshe is earthwe are the sun
people are gathered in the backyardthis is the celebration of the changing of the lightthey do it as often as they can in summerthey come to talkthey pass the timethey soothe their thoughts with lemonadethey say things likeshe never had a stitch that she could call her own, poor thingandharold's still president over at the bank, ain't he?andnow if i was doing itandshe didn't cook much, never really had the time, you knowandi wouldn't say that, not at allthey are the planets in the scheme of thingsgiordano bruno shot
the problem is the arcthe changing angle of the shotit defies geometrydrawings of geocentric solar systems when you meet them in the booksmake us avert our eyesheresy is heresywe make one great weird curvefrom the east edge of the backyardlooking westshe is on the right edge of the shotacrossfollowing the equator of the backyardto the west edgelooking east
now she is on the left edgeat some point midway we faceboth looking at the centerthe center is between usexcept that for the purpose of the shotor the interests of economyshe doesn't move
she is standing in the doorway of her mother's housethe doorway to the back porchthe backyard is the southbehind her the great northern constellationrises in the majesty of its architecturewell, maybe that's a little too muchlet's just say thatcontradictions are behind herand in the backyardgodthis set of circumstancesthat is indescribablewith our geometry
a picnic of sortsa celebration of the changing of the lightand we glide through that chaos facing herwatching herstudying hernot circling her, remembercircling, but not circling hershe is circlingwe are circling
now she is on the left edgecaught still in her accounting of those three decades silentlyshe is so beautifula "pre-industrial" equation
god, this is sentimental
this is the hour of the mystery of the barnswallowsonewhere do they go in daytime?twodo they never rest?threewhen you buy them in the store, made in chinaon the end of stringsthey do exactly what they do alivefourhow is that possible?
the idea of the changing center is not in anything we makeour toy is run downon the other end of coursethe chinese are said to not take picturesat least not of the outside
six of onetwo times three of onefive plus one of onenine minus three of onehalf a dozen of another
it would be perfect ifas we made the great curvethrough the heavens of the backyardprovidentially or accidentallydepending on your point of vieweach of the planets would move exactly in the pathand at the speedand with the purpose of the expressionof the other idea
maybe that's too much to wish
giordano brunoi think they burned himhe was too positivefight fire with firein this shot he is wrong about the larger orderwhatever that meansthere is just the sun and earthand some center that they shareall other facts in this heaven:one has climbed the treetwo are eating watermelonone always says it's getting lateone succeeded at the plantone works at the bankthe specialiststhey are just (dirt lines?) seen wrong
sundown, onethe time it disappearsgloaming, twothe twilight duskcrepuscule, the twilight, threethe half-lighttwilight, fourpale purplish blue to pale violetlighter than dusk bluecivil twilightuntil the sun is up to six degrees below horizonenough light on clear days for ordinary occupationsnautical twilightuntil the sun is up to twelve degrees below horizonastronomical twilightuntil the sun is eighteen degrees down more or lessclair de lune, fivegreener and paler than duskdusk, sixredder and darker than clair de lune
dear georgewhat's going on?i'm not the same person that i used to be.
― half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:24 (9 months ago) Permalink
those closing lines!
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:26 (9 months ago) Permalink
nb: it is not perfect, there's a few lines i'm not sure of. the above is based on the 'private parts' version, though i consulted both the 'private parts' and 'perfect lives' versions - there's a couple of minor differences between the two.
― half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:26 (9 months ago) Permalink
fucking love this piece of music so fucking much i just can't express it in words. it should be expressed in hugs & smiles and nodding sagely at twilight.
― one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:27 (9 months ago) Permalink
who's this "george"?
i feel the same way ian. i want to share it with everyone i know and don't know.
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:31 (9 months ago) Permalink
i once read the entirety of 'the park' aloud to my bf. i was a choked-up mess by the end.
― half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:32 (9 months ago) Permalink
i would totally take that as a marriage proposal.
― jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:39 (9 months ago) Permalink
I put The Backyard on a mix for gf just a few hours ago.
― Trip Maker, Saturday, 25 August 2012 00:57 (8 months ago) Permalink
The Park vs The Backyard POLL
(and thanks v much for the lyrics - have looked for them on internet before but to no avail)
― bidfurd, Saturday, 25 August 2012 09:50 (8 months ago) Permalink
Bob Ashley, David Behrman, Chris Mann and Alvin Lucier give a FREE concert in honor of John Cage at The New School on September 7 at 7 pm. 66 West 12th Street.
― one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 7 September 2012 19:59 (8 months ago) Permalink
if only i knew before now i could have taken time off work :(
So, has anyone read the Kyle Gann book on Ashley? Came out in November apparently... wanting to order it from Amazon.
― i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Sunday, 28 April 2013 00:26 (3 weeks ago) Permalink