@ The Hideout: A Note On Casiotone

May 27, 2009

posted by caroline picard

This was originally published by Newcity. You can read the entire article by going here.

Lonesome Dove: Casiotoner Owen Ashworth sets his sights on children

By Caroline Picard

The Casiotone SK-1 is the instrument of choice for Owen Ashworth. It has been dubbed the “poor man’s sampler” and you can see old Ferris-Beuler-style commercials circa 1985 online. If anything, the ad is worth looking up because the thirty-two piano keys are so small. Popularized in the 1990s as an affordable (at the time, $100) household instrument for the family, the Casiotone is known for its lo-fi aesthetic—offering immediate entertainment in as much as one might record the squeal of a sneaker (among other things) and then play “Three Blind Mice” with said sound byte. Thus, using the SK-1 as a centerpiece for a band is pretty awesome.

Owen Ashworth has been making music under the moniker Casiotone For the Painfully Alone since 1997. During that time he has released an impressive collection of seven records, not the least of which are his latest two, a compilation “Advance Battery Base Life” and new full-length “Vs. Children.” Originally all of the music was produced on the small battery-powered keyboard. Upon discovering “the organ sound,” the built-in drum machine and an introductory piano class at San Francisco State University, Ashworth started writing songs. “I only played the songs for a few people, but one of my friends liked them enough to coax me into opening a show that she had booked for a few other local bands…the next thing I knew I had a band.”

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone plays May 28 at the Hideout.

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