The Dead Lover's
Dec 16, 1974
Recorded in Anacortes and Olympia WA. Instruments played N.C. Ashley with Ann Fox on clarinet.
Once considered to be lost, this Italian cult classic film, directed by Tyson Theroux, has finally been unearthed to haunt fans once again!
Ashley's previous records were in the quality indie pop style, which made this wholly instrumental (except for some wordless vocals) mock-soundtrack excursion something of a surprise. It's a good surprise, though, if a too-brief one, clocking in a mere 26 minutes. Inspired by '70s-era Italian soundtracks, it deftly blends spooky yet attractive melodies and a pretty astonishing variety of instrumental textures, most played by Ashley: piano, guitars, bells, accordion, Hammond B3 organ, banjo, slide whistle, Moog, and more. The ten tracks have a beguiling air of gothic, romantic, classical melodies, with tinges of progressive rock instrumentation, Baroque keyboards, eerie synthetic whistle-squiggles, and spectral female choral vocals. "This music was intended to be listened to a night, alone, in the dark!!!," it says in small print on the inner sleeve, and the contents do live up to that billing. It's not easy to make a convincing go of a record inspired by a pretty obscure genre and it's too bad it wasn't double the length.
- Richie Unterberger, AllMusic