Robert Ashley, voice; "Blue" Gene Tyranny, keyboards; Kris, tablas
Centered around the mesmerizing voice of Robert Ashley, this early version (released on LP by Lovely Music in 1979) of The Park and The Backyard is a masterpiece in its simplicity of form and in the purity and intensity of its effect on the listener. These two pieces were later to become the opening and closing segments of the seven part opera for television, Perfect Lives.
"When Private Parts first hit the scene, everyone I knew had The Park memorized within a month and quoted from it constantly. Ashley's series of non-sequitur images, fusing into a picture so lifelike that it never quite added up, brought a mystery into music theater that smashed our previous conceptions of the genre."
"1990 CD issue of a 1977 recording, which was the first Lovely Music release. A softly pedaling mood enhancer of exotically weird proportions, this suffers quite a bit from mis-appreciation in today's harsh reality scenario. Ashley's words hover just above your lips like a glowing lung, and it's easy to understand why all of Kyle Gann's friends in the 1970s were going around reciting phrases memorized from this album, as they emanate connectively to some false dream society like little else in the world of 1970s contemporary art. Not for everyone, I suppose, but the properly channeled will melt right into the couch. "Eventually he recognizes what he's created as the first and last episodes of his opera for television, Perfect Lives, the middle opera of a monumental trilogy tracing the history of the movement of consciousness across America (east to west). This original recording with Ashley's voice, accompanied by 'Blue' Gene Tyranny on keyboards, and "Kris" on tablas, remains a classic. It is a masterpiece in its simplicity of form and in the purity and intensity of its effect on the listener...Everything in Ashley's creation makes metabolic connections; there's a transpersonal, time-exempt freedom in it; "the feeling of the idea of silk scarves in the air." In other words, the effect of his engaging, lyrical expression is that the mind opens. Only a masterpiece does that."
Melody Sumner, Forced Exposure
"The Ashley is something I often recommend when people are having trouble in their lives. It never fails to find personal connection and bring peace, no matter who listens. Like the I Ching, it has a mystical quality that is all-inclusive. Ashley's soothing narration is a hodgepodge braid of eastern mysticism and everyday western life, focusing obliquely on two men on a park bench and a man alone in a hotel room. "Blue" Gene Tyranny's rippling keyboards and "Kris" 's tablas provide expansive, changing-sky-like accompaniment to the cinematic verbal imagery. This is no new-age, cosmic-bullshit, noodle-fest. It's deep, transcendental art."
— Tom Conrad, Sterophile
1. The Park (21:31)
2. The Backyard (23:53)
List Price: $16.99
Lovely Price: $15.00