For Pittsburgh City Paper’s 8/31/2011 issue.
Just over a year ago, Owen Ashworth announced he was killing his one-man-and-collaborators band, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. He spent the back half of 2010 playing his last shows under that name — the band’s final appearance on Dec. 5, 2010, was the 13th anniversary of its first — and producing half of Serengeti’s new album, Family and Friends, under his new moniker: Advance Base.
The new name may sound more upbeat, but it’s really just more subtle in conveying its isolation.
“The name Advance Base comes from the explorer Richard E. Byrd’s memoir, Alone,” Ashworth writes via email. “Advance Base was the name of [an] outpost in Antarctica where Byrd lived alone for five terrible months in 1934. I’d taken the name Advance Base for my little home studio ever since I moved to Chicago during the winter of 2006.” Ashworth’s Advance Base is where he recorded most of the songs on Casiotone’s 2009 singles-and-rarities compilation on Tomlab, Advance Base Battery Life. (Byrd’s Advance Base was where he almost died of carbon-monoxide poisoning.)