Automatic Writing (LP)
Label: Lovely Music
Genre: Sound Art
Lovely Music present a reissue of Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing, originally released as an LP in 1979. Following on the heels of Private Parts, forming some of the early building blocks for his long-standing preoccupation with language and the human voice. Here he examines language at its primitive and impulsive root, where it seeks to express an inner state - to speak into the silence, to oneself, even if no one is listening. At one deeply personal - drawing on Ashley’s notions of 'involuntary speech" and his own experiences suffering from a mild form Tourette’s, while touching on the universal and fundamentally human, the work traces through and stitches scraps of Ashley's mild, tremulous voice and touches of Moog, slowly stretching to sense-making phrases.
Captivating, inviting, and delicate, while tonally, structural, and conceptually rich and challenging, Automatic Writing is a truly visionary piece of work - Minimalist music as it has rarely been conceived of, stretching so far that it almost departs the realm of music itself. Lovely’s brand new edition has been fully remastered and cut from the original reel-to-reel tape, and is pressed on 180 gram vinyl. It comes complete with an insert transcribing the text of Automatic Writing, and the original liner text / essay by Ashley himself. An absolutely stunning reissue of one of the most fascinating works by one of the most important voices in 20th Century American music. Not to be missed. It’s been out of print for decades on LP, and it won’t sit around. Absolutely essential. Grab it fast.
Personnel: Voices - Robert Ashley and Mimi Johnson; Electronics and Polymoog - Robert Ashley; Words: Robert Ashley; Translation: Monsa Norberg; Silhouette: William Farley. The switching circuit was designed and built by Paul DeMarinis. Recorded, produced, and mixed by Robert Ashley at the Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College (Oakland), the American Cultural Center (Paris), and Mastertone Recording Studios (New York). This reissue was remastered and cut, from the original reel-to-reel tape, by Scott Hull, Masterdisk (New York). Manufactured at Record Technology Inc/RTI (California). 180 gram vinyl; Stoughton Old Style sleeve. Includes an insert with a transcription of the words, and the Automatic Writing notes Ashley wrote for Lovely's 1996 CD (that included Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon and She Was a Visitor).
"On Automatic Writing, Robert Ashley composes under the influence of his 'involuntary speech.' (In his liner notes, Ashley revealed that he suffered from 'a mild form of Tourette's.') The piece starts quietly, with scraps of Ashley's mild, tremulous voice arranged next to more fluid French translations and barely-there touches of Moog. After Ashley's phrases lengthen enough to encompass sense-making phrases, a bass-register groove briefly appears, vanishes, then returns. Few pieces so quiet have proven as captivating; many that intend to be equally startling can't capture Ashley's range of surprises." --Seth Colter Walls, from Pitchfork's "Fifty Best Ambient Albums of All Time"
Cat. number: LML 1002LP