Robert Ashley ‎– Music Word Fire And I Would Do It Again (Coo Coo) (1981)


“In the seven episode opera, Perfect Lives, Buddy (The World’s Greatest Piano Player) teaches his secrets to a select few through a set of videotapes currently in the hands of Baby, an all-around spiritual seeker and wife of Rodney (The Bartender). These legendary tapes are documents of rare and impossible occasions at the piano. The Lessons, variations on the theme song from the third episode of Perfect Lives, The Bank, introduces the four prinicipal characters in seven-minute cameo portraits: Isolde (Marie Isolde), Raoul de Noget (No-Zhay), Buddy (The World’s Greatest Piano Player) and The Captain of the Football Team (…his parents call him Donnie). Robert Ashley, Jill Kroesen & David Van Tieghem, vocals; ‘Blue’ Gene Tyranny, prepared piano solos; David Van Tieghem, drums, synare and vocal percussion; Peter Gordon, music producer”
Lovely
Discogs
YouTube: Isolde (Marie Isolde), Raoul de Nogel (No-Zhay), Buddy, The Captain of the Football Team (Donnie)

Tom Johnson – The Voice of New Music: New York 1972-1982


“The ten years, from 1972-1982, during which Tom Johnson closely followed the developments in the new music in New York and reported his experiences in the Village Voice, constitute the most innovative and experimental period of recent musical history. A considerable number of his articles and reviews has been brought together in this collection. Together they provide a lively impression of the genesis and the exciting adventure of the new music, of the diversity of utterances that were part of it from the very start, and of the circumstances and opinions which prompted it. Johnson recorded the emergence of a generation of composers and musicians which has set out to probe once more all conventions of the Western musical tradition and to remove the barriers between different cultures and various artistic disciplines. That process is still in full swing. Therefore it is of interest today to read how that process was triggered.”
Mediamatic
W – Tom Johnson
[PDF] The Voice of New Music: New York 1972-1982

Robert Ashley ‎– Private Parts (1978)


“Robert Ashley’s Private Parts has a plot, but you wouldn’t know it. The 1978 LP, which would later serve as the foundation for the composer’s seven-part televised opera Perfect Lives, discusses at length the inner workings of two characters, a man and a woman, anonymous to us and perhaps even to each other. Words flood its 40-plus minute runtime, circling meaning but never arriving at a conclusion. What’s explored by Ashley, in his drawling monologues, seems to be everything that isn’t happening—an inversion that slinks and dances among the shadows. We are privy to his subjects’ fidgety obsessions, tics of behavior, heady ruminations and psychic detritus, but narrative, insight, or meaning remain as elusive as a not-quite-remembered dream. Private Parts is built on emptiness. It is startling just how riveting that emptiness can be. … The album is structured into two episode-length pieces. At just over 20 minutes each—presumably, he was anticipating commercial breaks—there are still no suitably satisfying points at which to pause. Ashley is liberal, or perhaps literal, with the idea of opera. If an opera requires a theatrical setting, high drama, and rafters-directed singing, he doesn’t come close. But if it’s a medium built on a mixture of music, characters, spoken word, singing, set design, well, what else could it be? Besides, the semantic nitpicking is rendered moot once you hear the music. It all comes back to that drawl. …”
Pitchfork
40 Years Later, Robert Ashley’s ‘Private Parts’ Is Still a Hilarious Mystery (Audio)
Genius (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Private Parts (1978) FULL ALBUM 45:41