robert ashley

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not everything is a campfire (ian), Saturday, 4 December 2010 04:15 (six years ago) Permalink

In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women

this totally kicked my ass at work this morning around 8 A.M.

sleeve, Saturday, 4 December 2010 07:03 (six years ago) Permalink

i always think it would be fun to rerecord sarah mencken replacing the names w/ my friends names

plax (ico), Saturday, 4 December 2010 22:13 (six years ago) Permalink

o_O where do you work?

jed_, Saturday, 4 December 2010 22:19 (six years ago) Permalink

haha it was on my iPod, just playing shuffle in the AM - I work by myself for most of my shift.

sleeve, Sunday, 5 December 2010 03:28 (six years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

I found Private Parts, Perfect Lives (Private Parts): The Bar, Automatic Writing, and Perfect Lives (Private Parts): Music Word Fire And I Would Do It Again (Coo Coo) at the community radio station I volunteer at. Kind of overwhelmed with Ashley at the moment. I listened to all of them (in the order above) last night. Automatic Writing was my least favorite, but I was listening to it pretty quietly cuz I didn't want to bug my neighbors upstairs. Maybe if I cranked it up I would like it more. The other three pretty much floored me. The increasing complexity from record to record really engaged me, I was expecting them to all sound like Private Parts. But The Bar immediately destroyed that impression. It's really psychedelic. I felt altered just listening to it. And then Music Word Fire sounded like some lost Arthur Russell underground dance jam.

It's all pretty much brand new to me. I've just looked up his discography and see that I've only been exposed to a small portion of it. I've heard Tyranny's Out of the Blue and The Intermediary, but it is pretty clear that there is a whole lot more music to discover out of this "scene" for lack of a better word.

Trip Maker, Friday, 27 May 2011 13:51 (six years ago) Permalink

love the bar!

I know my thing is to complain about shit I didn't go to but I missed him when he came to providence this year, I think elmo went tho?

here's a tv series ashley produced on the "scene" back in the 70s, see you in 14 hours

bandcamper van beethoven (Edward III), Friday, 27 May 2011 13:59 (six years ago) Permalink


Trip Maker, Friday, 27 May 2011 14:05 (six years ago) Permalink

Truly love Robert Ashley; one of my all-time heroes. Saw him a few years back performing with his ensemble three nights in a row.

Trips, do you know Atalanta? That is the one that for me really kind of blows my mind. It's incredibly dense and the narrative qualities are harder to follow than ever, but it's mindblowing and gorgeous and just sounds really cool..

The Perfect Lives DVD set is highly recommended as well.

one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 27 May 2011 14:55 (six years ago) Permalink

All I've heard are the four I've listed, I'll look out for Atalanta. And I definitely want to see the DVDs, the records themselves are so cinematic.
I am going to watch some of those videos from the link that Ed posted, too, but my home computer is on the fritz and I probably shouldn't watch them at work.
Though it is Friday...

Trip Maker, Friday, 27 May 2011 15:02 (six years ago) Permalink

atalanta is really amazing, and the whole LOVELY MUSIC scene is pretty high-qual. there's a few duds ive heard, but like david behrman, pauline oliveros, blue gene tyranny, eliane radigue, gordon mumma, etc etc etc, all so good.

69, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 20:16 (six years ago) Permalink

saw FOREIGN EXPERIENCES (from 86 or something?) a few weeks ago at mills with RA in attendance. that one is super-intense, and the whole experience of seeing it performed live was amazing. kind of like i felt when i watched INLAND EMPIRE, i was physically drained upon leaving, in a really good way.

69, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 20:18 (six years ago) Permalink

Can't wait to play some of it on the air. This is the kind of thing that would stop me in my tracks if I heard it on the radio first.
It's also nice to have a cache of "really long tracks that are awesome" for when you need a break.

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 20:19 (six years ago) Permalink

i play the park/the backyard to close my show at least a few times per year... such beautiful music. it blows my mind that more people are not totally in love with the work of Robert Ashley.

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 1 June 2011 01:34 (six years ago) Permalink

First time I heard Robert Ashley was on the radio when the DJ played "Mila's Journey Inspired By a Dream" and it blew my mind

badg, Wednesday, 1 June 2011 05:52 (six years ago) Permalink

I played side one of The Bar last night. Sounded great. Haven't gotten any listener comments, though. I found a compilation record with the piece "She Was a Visitor" on it at the station. I just now found a copy of the Sonic Arts Union comp lp with the Ashley piece "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon" as well as pieces by Alvin Lucier and Gordon Mumma at the academic library where I am employed. I also found some Leonardo Music Journal cd's (WTF had no idea that was an actual thing) as well as the Robert Ashley cd "Superior Seven."
Can't wait to clock out, go home, and crank these up.

Trip Maker, Thursday, 2 June 2011 20:07 (six years ago) Permalink

"purposeful lady slow afternoon" is so unpleasant..

one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 3 June 2011 13:04 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeah, horrible, really. I mean, I like the way it sounds, but the text is just....bad sex is not something I need more insight into.
I feel like his background in Hollywood must have influenced that (and everything else, I suppose).

Trip Maker, Friday, 3 June 2011 13:07 (six years ago) Permalink

Alvin Lucier's piece on that record, though, sounded GREAT when I turned it up REAL LOUD.
It's cicada season in Missouri and they are really droning up a storm this year. The piece worked well in conjunction with that.

Trip Maker, Friday, 3 June 2011 13:09 (six years ago) Permalink

Superior Seven is also not so great, it's instrumental :(

Trip Maker, Friday, 3 June 2011 13:10 (six years ago) Permalink

also: dalkey archive is publishing the 'perfect lives' libretto later this year

creme de cassie (donna rouge), Monday, 6 June 2011 21:13 (six years ago) Permalink

Superior Seven is also not so great, it's instrumental :(

that's a weird one - the liner notes are a long & funny essay about how the expenses involved make it almost completely impossible for composers to write for orchestra. then the CD has two half-hour pieces 'for orchestra' realized with MIDI realizations using cheap orchestral preset sounds. I remember the second piece had potential, if it were to actually be played, but with those liners, the entire release seemed a little closer to an apology than a working prank

Milton Parker, Monday, 6 June 2011 21:56 (six years ago) Permalink

but I still keep it, because it's an interesting example of Ashley's traditionally musical composition. as he frequently (notoriously) leaves musical chords / arrangements up to his collaborators like Blue "Gene" Tyranny, Superior Seven is a good way to get a grip on what his sense of musical composition when he limits himself to notes. the other really effective piece where Ashley's writing the notes as well as the words is 'Tap Dancing In The Sand'.

Milton Parker, Monday, 6 June 2011 22:00 (six years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the context, Milton. It left me scratching my head. I'll have to read the liner notes!

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 7 June 2011 12:54 (six years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

"purposeful lady slow afternoon" is so unpleasant..

― one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, June 3, 2011 1:04 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Yeah, horrible, really. I mean, I like the way it sounds, but the text is just....bad sex is not something I need more insight into.
I feel like his background in Hollywood must have influenced that (and everything else, I suppose).

― Trip Maker, Friday, June 3, 2011 1:07 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark

i actually passed on a pretty nice copy of this for this reason!

69, Tuesday, 28 June 2011 18:17 (six years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

Has anyone else read his novel? "Quicksand" Came out last year but I just got it last week, finished today. It was really great. But I sorta just love Robert Ashley and reading it in his voice (internally) may help you feel the rhythm of teh prose. also I like mystery stories. there is a lot of interesting stuff in here. like any of his texts. but it's rlly just fantasstic. i cld write pages abt it and my reaction to it and its specific evocative qualities or points of reference or narrative style or or. read it. shirley yer local arty bookstore will have it..

one dis leads to another (ian), Sunday, 8 April 2012 05:16 (five years ago) Permalink

i bought a robert b parker novel today cuz Ashley notes him as one of his favorites (or, the narrator's favorites.)

one dis leads to another (ian), Sunday, 8 April 2012 05:17 (five years ago) Permalink

so bummed i missed his performances last year

sarahell, Sunday, 8 April 2012 08:20 (five years 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 (five years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Robert Ashley’s opera “The Old Man Lives in Concrete”

opens tonight

jed_, Thursday, 26 April 2012 18:48 (five years 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 (five years ago) Permalink

nice one ian. enjoy.

jed_, Thursday, 26 April 2012 21:34 (five years 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 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

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 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah that one's a classic
"sans ice"

Ò (Ówen P.), Thursday, 7 June 2012 12:53 (five years ago) Permalink

ah cool... what record is it from?

ooooiiiioooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaoooooh un - bi - leevable! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 June 2012 13:23 (five years ago) Permalink


ooooiiiioooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaoooooh un - bi - leevable! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 June 2012 13:23 (five years ago) Permalink

private parts.

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 7 June 2012 14:44 (five years 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 (five years ago) Permalink

that explains why it was so good maybe

ooooiiiioooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaoooooh un - bi - leevable! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 June 2012 15:14 (five years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

he took himself seriously
motel rooms had lost their punch for him

he opened all his bags
there were two and inside those two there were two more
it's not an easy situation
but there was something like abandon in the air
there was something like the feeling of the idea of silk scarves in the air
there was a kind of madness to it
the kind we read about in magazines
one of the bags contained a bottle of liquor
a surer sign of thoughtfulness if at all there might have been
he poured himself a small drink in a fluted plastic glass sans ice
he thought to himself if i were from the big town i would be called debonaire
the big town doesnt send its riffraff out

he sat on the bed both feet on the floor
he studied the ashtray and tried to rule out preference
preferring over not preferring
but he preferred
gravity over what other state
preferring in that case
the earth as they say
preferring some state over non state

now he grips himself with determination even knowing that it causes sadness
he is determined to be what?
he is determined to be serious
he had determined once to be serious
later he knew that he had made a mistake but too late he had arrived and there were rooms and all rooms were not the same
some better than others he thought
better view
better layout
better shower
softer bed
not so far from noise
more like home etc etc
very abstract

he lifted the telephone from its cradle
his determination got stronger
if not clearer even as he had faded in its force
were it not for our momentum, the inertia of our actions, the constant inspiration of our habits, we could not continue
the will is almost nothing he thought to himself

at the sound of the first ring he hung up
he pushed down the button and listened to the silence of the object in his hand and then he hung up
very dramatic
the phone rang immediately
he brings this cloud of conditions with him
he is at the center of a ball of hot stuff that we haven't put our minds to yet
and sitting on the bed in the motel room is no different
somewhere in another room in range
somebody got it and phoned him
it happens all the time

a kind of restlessness at that range
he sat and thought about obedience
he had resolved, that of the two kinds, the kind that takes every message of order, rule, law
has error
that everybody who passes along these messages
that loathes the buildings
that contradicts the inner voice
that resists, in short, was his
the other kind,
how could it be.

he wasn't happy with the world
he worked with the forwardness and the backwardness
he worked with what things are ahead of us and with what things are behind us
i guess the other kind would be to work with things that are alongside,
the attachments.
obedience was impossible for him
at the same time he was cooperative and indeed solicitous
no 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 us
the attachments
at the same time he was cooperative
the numbers on the telephone
the parts of the book
the notes of the scale
they are the same, are they not
they come from the sameness of the idea of the outsideness
not the alongside the outsideness
the differentness
it was a problem, being cooperative and refusing obedience, and carrying the load of the idea of differentness

he wants
he handles himself in the morning
it's just like for every other man
the fantasy is the distance, the reluctance, the reticence, the otherness
the fantasy is the uncleanness
so getting up gets to be a problem for a sensitive person like him
the problem is to run that gauntlet again
remove problem
remove gauntlet
remove run
remove is to
remove the
remove that
leave this
make this whatever

he lights the motelroom with the slightly blue body light
when he is along he forgets sometimes to walk
he just moves
sometimes they touch, sometimes they don't
and everything in between
yes, sometimes he forgets to combine talk with thinking
and just thinks
or just talks
especially i think it happens in those rooms, who knows why
the way it disconnects from what's just outside is predictable
is it not so
it never stops being a mystery
we have talked about it

when he says hello you hear a long whining sound which is his voice and the hello
it is as different from whatever
the way one might remember
as the sound a cat might make
he is not unusual in this i think
he is absolutely uninhabitable
a thankless star
remove star
remove thankless
remove a
replace with he has a special way of speaking
but it seems only to make him more like other men
this is one place and here every kid is armed
so where you going
probably sometimes we don't see the guns
sometimes yes
sometimes no
the town and always references to down and out
down from des moines
up from somewhere
missed by chance
didn't even see it
thought it was a threat to house and home
why didn't you come up to the big town
no thanks
looking back
didnt get the up and down part
how could i have missed it

get a grip on yourself he said
working against time was another thing he said
here i am working against time

the pencil fairly flew as he made out his simple requests for breakfast
room service courtesy of the company
this is a record
i am sitting on a bench next to myself
inside of me the words form
come down out of the tree and fight like a man
two cheese and eggs
this is not a record
this is a story
i want to say something about myself
i am not sitting on a bench next to myself
whatever that means
i am a city of habits
i am completely knowable in every way
i recognize superstition in every form
an anger of the words makes me in the vein of myself
i imagine there are two men on the bench
the exchange between them will not be seen
they will not put it forth to be seen
and if i make something of the situation
to show a difference between the two men
the difference will distract the true onlooker
but the film fogs you know
one scene fogs
and add a dish of prunes if they are in season

i met her in the park in the small midwestern town
that is, the bench is in the park
we know from what is past that the men are on the bench
they are old by doctor's standards
the park graces the courthouse of the county
the courthouse has about it the simple air of failure
an abandoned outpost
the park has sidewalks, fences, trees, grass, and a statue of a man and horse at war
or ready for war
they are alone with their intentions
the sculptor has made the horse look stupid
the man's jaw is firm
the time is late morning in early summer
the sun shines

in this scene there are two shots
the park in all its details
broken on the right edge
sometimes up to two thirds across the framce
by the body of a person
very close
blurred, moving almost rhythmically
we have just begun and already we are stuck
working against time as they say
the camera is obsessed with what it sees
the park
the ragged edge
nothing moves
except the edge
the edge moves
it's as if there is no other place
his mind races
one gee in fogs
two gees in eggs

when the two men spoke
they spoke about permanence and impermanence
they noted that there were certain things that were impermanent, and other things to which impermanence did not apply
thus they came to make a great division between that which is impermanent and that which is permanent
everything in this transitory category turned out to be the particulars of our existence
and these were divided into physical, mental, and others which were neither physical nor mental
among those particulars which were neither physical nor mental
they listed attainment, aging, and coincidence
on the permanent side of this great division of reality was a notion they referred to as space
and by that term they meant neither conceptual space
nor space as given by our senses
they meant connections
they decided that such space is irreduceable and not transitory
and that it exists as long as one is alive.
they wondered
what becomes of it.
this impasse is no help at all
consider his situation:
for instance
he is expected to be positive and helpful about breakfast
in the order of things, it is more important that she know about the prunes then that the shot should change
and what about the problems we have seen
he is still seated on the bed both feet on the floor
the small drink in the fluted plastic glass sans ice is hardly touched
the phone has just stopped ringing
in his mind the two men are frozen on the bench
the horse looks stupid
the warrior's jaw is firm
incredibly slowly our view begins to slide
his idea is that death always takes one by surprise
there is no way to prepare
he imagines absolute awareness on the other side
he wonders as we all do how it comes to you that you are dead
we were distracted by the fluid right edge
there is an absoluteness to surprise, he thinks
he applies this simple thought to the problem of how to move the shot
incredibly slowly our view begins to slide
begins is a problem
we are enchanted by the park and all its details
frozen, broken on the right edge by the body of the person, very close
the blur, moving rhythmically
how can it begin to change
how can the beginning go unnoticed
how can we pass from one state to another
is it possible, if one already has a certain experience of life, to start directly on the path
or is there danger involved in trying to do advanced practices without having the proper foundation
they came to believe that, unless one has actually gone through the preliminary experiences, conclusions may be drawn on the basis of insufficient information
and that these conclusions may produce effects just the opposite of the one which is intended
in other words, one never knows
and so the view begins to slide, anyway as they say
slide eastward
turning eastward
the particulars moving left or right across the frame
a parade of sorts
and it comes to rest, finally,
on the road
the street that holds the park
we are still obsessed
we are not relieved

this view is no different
how could it be
except that we have moved off the body of the person very close and blurred
and every edge is raw
and there is some machine approaching
wider than it is high
as they say
a pack of motorcycles
a herd of elephants
a tribe of bedouins
something from the east
barely moving in a cloud of haze and heat and dust
in utmost telephoto
gold and green and flat
the idea of the slit
the eye of the needle

--The Park, Robert Ashley

jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 21:58 (five years 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 (five years 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 (five years ago) Permalink

He's in London next month.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:16 (five years ago) Permalink

i did a transcription of 'the backyard' one night

half-worm inchworm tapeworm (donna rouge), Friday, 24 August 2012 22:17 (five years ago) Permalink

he is? so am xyzzzz_, what are the dates?

donna, post it!

jed_, Friday, 24 August 2012 22:18 (five years 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 (five years 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 (five years ago) Permalink

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