Coming soon: Thorny Id

Coming soon: Thorny Id, the live solo acoustic guitar free improvisations of Abel Ashes, including 5 performances from the Second Annual San Diego Experimental Guitar Show.

Posted in Live music, New Releases | Leave a comment

New release: Abel Ashes & The Runs – Live and Shitty in San Diego

Posted in Downloads, Live and Shitty in san Diego, Live music, New Releases | Leave a comment

Ghost Town/Dust Devil ep now available at

Posted in Ghost Town/Dust Devil, New Releases | Leave a comment

New releases of old music from the archives

Over the next few weeks I will be releasing lots of music, the best of what I have in the archives. The first release, these two live-in-the-studio solo guitar improvisations (Ghost Town and Dust Devil) have sat collecting dust for more than a decade because they never fit in with any of my other albums and eps, so here they are as an ep unto themselves.

Coming soon on, download only reissues of:

Abel Ashes & The Runs – Eat Plastic (studio album)
Abel Ashes – Other Elements (studio ep)
Abel Ashes & Eric Hensel – Found Objects (live ep)
Abel Ashes – The 9/11 EP (studio ep)

And previously unreleased material such as:

Abel Ashes & The Runs – Live & Shitty in San Diego (live album)
Abel Ashes – The Dark and Dusty Corners of the Room (studio ep)

…and maybe more.

Posted in New Releases | Leave a comment

Progression Magazine review of Abel Ashes – Eat Plastic and Other Elements

PROGRESSION: The Quarterly Journal Of Progressive Music

CD review by John Patrick, Progression 60: Autumn Issue 2010, page 82

Progression, The Quarterly Journal Of Progressive Music, Autumn Issue 2010

Progression, The Quarterly Journal Of Progressive Music, Autumn Issue 2010


Eat Plastic and Other Elements

2010 (CD, 75:34)



RATING 13.5 (out of a maximum possible rating of 16)

Abel Ashes - Eat Plastic and Other Elements

Abel Ashes – Eat Plastic and Other Elements

Combine the controlled guitar tantrums of Sonny Sharrock, the booby hatch mannerisms of Captain Beefheart, and meld them to modern experimental rock sensibilities. With that unlikely combination, Kentucky’s Abel Ashes builds a foundation by which to celebrate the decay and collapse of consumerism, and cautions us on the general consequences of bourgeoisie stultification.

Ashes’ bottomed-out vocal tessitura will remind listeners of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum‘s Nils Frykdahl, or Steve Cash (Ozark Mountain Daredevils). Although assisted by six other musicians, Ashes does all the heavy lifting instrumentally. Eight of these 24 tracks are “rock” pieces, with the standard vocals/ guitar/ bass/ drums arrangements (“Alamogordo Testing” is a vehicle for dizzying ostanatos). The remainder is stream-of-conscience guitar daydreams, or disturbing montages (“The Planes Operation“, “Phantoms of Lost Liberty“) created from 9/11-based news casts.

Whatever stylistic corridor Ashes’ subtle-as-a-plane crash muse guides him down, his stubbornly independent West Texas roots are ever present, and a genuinely tragic-comic posture would indicate that all this is meant to be good fun.


Posted in CD Reviews, CDs and MP3s, Eat Plastic and Other Elements, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The One True Dead Angel review of Abel Ashes – Eat Plastic and Other Elements

better late than never….

Abel Ashes — EAT PLASTIC AND OTHER EXPERIMENTS [self-released]Even by my standards, this is a pretty eccentric album. Multi-instrumentalist Abel Ashes has a peculiar sense of humor and surrealist sensibility highly reminiscent of Frank Zappa circa JOE’S GARAGE, with an experimental neo-jazz sound to match. (When you have band members like Marcos Fernandes and others from the West Coast free jazz / experimental scene in your band, it’s not quite as hard as you might think to match Frank’s instrumental genius.) This is actually a reissue featuring the original album’s ten tracks plus ten solo pieces recorded from 2000-2009 and four live recordings featuring Eric Hensel that were recorded at Lestat’s Coffeehouse in San Diego in 2001. In the same way that Zappa combined elements of early rock and roll and doo-wop with jazz and progressive rock, Ashes combines a poetic lyrical sensibility (he was originally a poet before moving on to more musical endeavors) with a musical sound that straddles the divide between progressive rock and free jazz. If you’re familiar with Cheer-Accident‘s idiosyncrastic approach to prog rock, then the eclectic sound on display here will be familiar. The solo pieces are even stranger and, by and large, even more experimental, often delving into the pure exploration of sound rather than anything resembling actual songs, while the final four tracks — the live ones recorded with Hensel — are every bit as bizarre as anything else on the album, but more intense and immediate. Recommended for enthusiasts of eccentricity and those still pining for the late, lamented Zappa.
Posted in CD Reviews, CDs and MP3s, Eat Plastic and Other Elements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aural Innovations review of Abel Ashes – Eat Plastic and Other Elements

Abel Ashes – “Eat Plastic and Other Elements”

(Eat Plastic 2010)

From Aural Innovations #42 (May 2011)

Hailing from El Paso, Texas, Abel Ashes first started writing poerty as a teenager when his family moved to New Mexico. By the 1990’s, he was performing in various small venues in San Diego, both solo, and as half of a duo with guitarist Eric Hensel. In 2001, Ashes released the ten track album “Eat Plastic”, which has been remastered and resequenced for this 2010 anthology; it is joined here by a further 14 pieces recorded between 2000 and 2009. While Ashes himself provides vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion on most of the original album tracks, he also enlisted a certain amount of outside help, including Fayd (marimba, keyboards and lack of last name) and Marcos Fernandes (drums and percussion).

On the original “Eat Plastic” album, it is apparent that Ashes filled his head with the sounds of early Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, before graduating onto the likes of The Residents. The opening instrumental “Stop and Go Traffic” is an excellent FZ style marimba and percussion-led jazz-funk workout; the extended introduction to “The Revolution Is Making Me Dizzy” grooves along in similar vein. Meanwhile, “The CEO” features rapidly changing time signatures, before Ashes gives us his opening vocal shot, an impossibly deep and gravelly Beefheartean baritone, which includes one very long sustained bass note. The lyrics of this song (“I am the CEO / and I’m gonna whip your ass”), “Food In My Gut” (“Sometimes I wish that I was dead / instead I crawl back in my head”), and “Commercials” (“Here’s some commercials, here’s something else / here’s some commercials, you stupid ass”), contain post-modern satire for the working classes, the former featuring funky bass playing from Max Vazin, the latter some gloriously edgy guitar riffing. “Amtrak Out of Orange County” is a nightmare train journey, with noisy and atonal electronic soundscapes courtesy of Fayd. By comparison, “Goddess/Godless” is a gentle (if markedly twisted) guitar and piano ballad, with one reassuring and repeated verse: “I will have no fear / with the goddess lying next to me”. The spoken word delivery and avant-garde backing track of “Lemming Sunset“, the final track on the original album, calls to mind Sun Ra reciting cosmic utterances over the top of Rick Wright‘s “Sysyphus” – certainly not the kind of thing you would use to open a party!

The next section of the album features solo pieces recorded between 2000 and 2009 by Ashes, who by this time has completely dispensed with his own vocals. In light of tracks such as “The Planes Operation” and “Phantoms Of Lost Liberty” (complete with newsreader samples about terrorists, CIA headquarters and dire warnings of lost freedom), it is both intriguing and unnerving to read that, following the 9/11 attacks, Ashes temporarily quit music for activism (although he declines to elaborate what that might entail). Avant-garde keyboard and percussion noises return on “Swamp Cooler“, “Vehicle of Choice“, “Giant Metal Cockroaches” and “Caveman Diplomacy“, before a semblance of musicality returns on “Steel Monster Hula Dance“. “Long Arm of the Hydrocarbon Mafia” concludes the solo tracks in suitably minimalistic and chaotic fashion, with much of its nine minutes featuring what sounds like a hacksaw assaulting a set of untuned guitar strings.

The final four “Other Elements” tracks are live recordings by Abel Ashes and guitarist Eric Hensel from a Found Objects concert in San Diego on August 15th 2001. Of these improvisational pieces, “Singing Whales of the Totem” is the easiest on the ear, while “Zigzag Kamikaze” is the most brutal, although the latter has stiff competition from set-closer “Adios Rendejos“.

Many of Abel Ashes’ compositions bring to mind the sound of someone sitting (often alone) in their bedroom with a table full of diverse instruments and cheap recording equipment, making the kind of music they want to make, and caring less whether or not anyone else likes or even listens to it. With the exception of a few almost-jazz/rock tracks from the original album, it would take a brave soul indeed to explore this private musical journey. Nonetheless those with an ear for the extreme and experimental may find much to enjoy here.

For more info visit or

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Posted in CD Reviews, CDs and MP3s, Eat Plastic and Other Elements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment