For a smallish setup with little fuss, few musicians, and a minimalist sound, there was a lot to take in last night at Advance Base's Cafe Du Nord appearance; a night otherwise known as Owen Ashworth's (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) first time playing SF in this new incarnation as Advance Base, since he essentially broke up with himself. And no, he would not be playing CFTPA songs. Read more »
Owen Ashworth has this way of making you feel like you've long known him personally. The singer-songwriter-keys aficionado seems an open book, his gold-tipped pages filled with relatable angst, longform stories, and witty musings. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – the project he started in his 20s in the Bay Area and retired some 13 years later in Chicago, 2010 – was something you wanted to curl up with and have a good melancholy moment, a tête-à-tête with the sound in the machine.
But Ashworth was tired of rehashing the songs he wrote a decade ago, so he broke sonic ties and started anew, with Advance Base. Its tone is similar (hence, comforting), veiled quasi-autobiographical stories pumped out of keyboards and vintage electronic equipment (electric piano, autoharp, Omnichord, old rhythm boxes), with Ashworth's familiar talk-singing sparingly backed by female counterparts. Read more »