Thursday, February 02, 2006
Fumbling around in a tangled mess of cords he sets up what is his audio journal—a large collection of dated Casiotone model keyboards and synthesizers. Owen Ashworth is Conor Oberst with old, Casio keyboards replacing Oberst's acoustic. His voice is low and distant to hear, but also comforting as he examines the “crowd” of no more than 15 Duke Coffeehouse goers. Ashworth starts his first synthesized beat: a simple bass-snare pattern, which might seem dull to those unaware of what is to come.

Chances are, Ashworth’s alter ego, Casiotone For the Painfully Alone has visited your town, or an area near you at a party or coffee shop. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone (more commonly cftpa) is your favorite summer night, your worst humiliation in front of the opposite sex, and your bitter coming to terms with the lack of an American Dream.

Despite his anonymity, Ashworth has recorded three full-length albums that have been released on Tomlab Records (Patrick Wolf, Xiu Xiu, Final Fantasy, etc.), with one on the way for March of 2006. One of his most intriguing collections, Answering Machine Music (Tomlab) is the epitome of lo-fi indie recording. This collection was recorded in its original state and then rerecorded through answering machines before it’s final mix, which gives the album a personal relationship with the songs—the listener is made to feel that Ashworth is leaving messages on their own answering machine.

The beat is complemented by a soothing, deep chord progression and Ashworth’s unique storytelling. Cftpa’s songs are not mind numbing because of Ashworth’s keyboard chops or because of his stage presence (or lack thereof)—they are so powerful simply because his work is above all, believable. Listeners relate with Ashworth’s Holden Caulfield-esque encounter with a cute girl at a grocery store—instantly falling in love with her, only to watch her walk away in Answering Machine Music’s “Rice Dream Girl.”

Despite my greatest attempt to convey the beauty and honesty in the music of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, a mere blog entry cannot encompass the subtlety of Ashworth’s knack for crafting songs. A visit to his new website is necessary for any indie fan. Cftpa will be playing a show at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, NC on March 16, 2006. For other tour dates, check his website.

We have some exclusive video too (way better than a stinkin mp3), but technical difficulties prevented us from posting it. When we work out that problem it will be up. I promise.

Naveed Hassan


2 Thoughts:

Blogger Squire on 6:23 pm

Nice site


Blogger Matt Blalock on 3:13 am

Thanks Squire. Yours isnt too bad yourself. =]


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