Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Biography
By Marcus Kagler
Owen Ashworth dropped out of film school in 1997 after realizing it was easier to spin his personal tales utilizing lo-fi electronic wizardry than it was to project them onto the silver screen. Armed with antiquated electronic instruments like the battery operated Casio SK-1 and old drum machines, the Portland, Oregon native quickly carved his own musical niche by framing brutally honest tales of love and loss in dour ambient soundscapes. The moniker, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, pays homage to the old Casio keyboards Ashworth was using when he first started out.
The self released debut full-length, Answering Machine Music: A Brief Album in 12 Parts (2000 Cassingle USA) was recorded straight to 4-track cassette with many songs containing vocals literally sung into an answering machine. The album made a big enough splash in the underground scene to catch the attention of the German label, Tomlab, who signed CFTPA later that year. Ashworth added more organic instrumentation like cello and drums to his short forlorn synth pop tales (most CFTPA tracks are just over a minute long) on the followup full-length, Pocket Symphonies for Lonesome Subway Cars (2001 Tomlab). Ashworth’s third CFTPA outing, Twinkle Echo (2003 Tomlab), is a semi-concept album with each song telling the story of various characters name checked within individual song titles, including one of his most beloved tracks, “Casiotone for the Painfully Alone in a Yellow T-Shirt,” about Ashworth himself. Etiquette (2006 Tomlab) expanded Ashworth’s sound dramatically by adding pianos, flutes, strings, and numerous guest vocalists with co-production by Jason Quiver of The Paper Cuts. Ashworth’s most recent full-length is Vs. Children (Tomlab) released in April of 2009.