Robert Ashley – Wolfman LP



Alga Marghen, 2002. One-sided LP, Edition of 290 copies.

The most extreme experimental side of Robert Ashley.

“The Wolfman”, was composed in early 1964 and first performed on Charlotte Moorman’s festival of the avant-garde in New York in the fall of the same year, gaining considerable reputation as a threat to the listener’s health. For the occasion instigated by Feldman, Robert Ashley composed a piece of tape music, “The Wolfman Tape”, to be played along with the vocal performance of “The Wolfman”. The idea of a tape composition, which is to come out of the same loudspeakers as the voice and the feedback (the main sound source for this composition), is to fill-in the ongoing performance sound and to transform the performance into an elaborate version of the ‘drone’ under the influence of electronics. The choice of what sounds should be on the tape is determined by the need to have the whole range of frequencies brought into the feedback, but to give those sounds a short duration-in other words, a blizzard of very short sounds across the whole frequency range-so that the illusion of the sounds coming from all parts of the room is preserved. For the performance of “The Wolfman” recorded here, produced at the University of California at Davis, Robert Ashley used an earlier (1960) tape composition entitled “The 4th of July”. That composition changes gradually from a parabolic-microphone documentation of a backyard party into a layering of tape loops and tape-head feedback.


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