Music » Critics' Picks

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Thursday, March 30 at 8 p.m. Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (3301 Lemp Avenue)


Never considered much of a serious musical instrument, the Casio keyboard is the type of cheap noisemaker you might have let your younger siblings play with to annoy their babysitter. But San Francisco's Owen Ashworth, otherwise known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, has breathed new life into the circuitry of these obsolete contraptions. On albums such as 2001's Pocket Symphonies for Lonely Subway Cars, Ashworth harnesses the anachronistic skronk of scrambled silicon and outmoded electronics, twisting tinny bleeps into pure pop songs punctuated by his breathy, plainspoken baritone. 2003's Twinkle Echo is a work that whirs along with frazzled beats and junkyard android melodies, almost cinematic in its visions of late nights, pensive faces and the psychic detritus of barren lives.

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