Saturday, December 31, 2011



December 26, 2011
Squeeze Me - Clarence Williams' Blue 5 [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Stripper tempo.

Jack Purvis
What's the Use of Cryin' Baby - Jack Purvis [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

In a single song the horn steers a course from song to dance, from image of voice to image of body.

Moten Swing - Jay McShann [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Maybellene - Chuck Berry [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Lead Me On - Bobby Bland [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Don't Look Back - The Temptations [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

Arranging chunk to chunk, the patterns of notes don't create the harmonies from themselves, but just bounce around as though trapped in them.

Domino - Van Morrison [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind - John Rutter - UPS Chorale (1985), Thomas Goleeke

Egregious word-painting coupled with sicky sweet sentimental pop - and politely British to boot. Not a winning combination.

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys

The instrumentals are fabulous, riding just on the edge of too fast for the tempo. They would have been miles ahead in my book if the one-trick pony singer, a misanthropic spawn of Frank Zappa & Ian Anderson, had kept his mouth shut. Cutesy art-punk.

Let Us Break Bread Together - UPS Women's Chorus (1985), Sylvia Munsen

December 27, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 228 - Banned Rehearsal

Over the decades these sessions have been many things. Among them has been a sort of aural snap-shot album of our collective life. Midway through this session Karen's mom comes over to visit, sharing some of the first pictures of our then new-born nephew. Prior to that were 10 to 15 minutes of luscious noisy roar. August of 1990, Karen, her mother Marilyn, Aaron, and I participated.

December 28, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 575 - Banned Rehearsal

A session full of players: both my sons, Karen, Aaron, the above mentioned nephew, Anna, Neal, and me in June of 2000, celebrating the 16th Bannediversary. The opening does not bode well, a muttery electric guitar (played by me, I think) dominates a sound that could be the quintessence of incessance. As we peel players the sound thins out, guitar and drums are put away, and we find a surprisingly lovely quiet peace.

Saturday, December 24, 2011



December 18, 2011
St. Andrews Night Recovered - Benjamin Boretz/Dorota Czerner

This is another file that Ben sent me recently (Thank you!). I'm extracting the title from the computer file, so I am only presuming it is more or less correct.

Spoken text and percussion feeding back into the spoken text through its un-pop-filtered pop. Room reverb cut short as though damped. Page turns to the remains after spoken text.

Sanctus - Faure - UPS Women's Chorus (1985), Sylvia Munsen
Charles Fulcher & Orchestra
My Pretty Girl - Charles Fulcher [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

A master class in tightly measured silences.

I'm Bound For Home - North Canton Quartet [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]

Apparently this vocal quartet recorded exactly two cuts ever, both on the same day. For about a half a second at the beginning of each verse you could believe you are in for some very nice ordinary music. Then you are pitched headlong into a rhythmic and contrapuntal whitewater. Up for air just in time. Back you go.

Lament for Javanette - Barney Bigard  [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Barney Bigard

I love the way the low clarinet occupies a border between vamping for time and being the main melody, and how the piano just melts a few notes into the sound.

Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters  [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Georgia On My Mind - Ray Charles [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Bourree For Bach - Bach/Williams UPS Women's Chorus (1985), Sylvia Munsen
Bring The Boys Home - Freda Payne [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

It's the backup singers and arrangement that make this one for me, how they pile up.

Bad Luck - Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

What a rhythm section is about: a multitude of specificities within the beat.

Cold Love - Donna Summer [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Ev'ry Time I Feel The Spirit - UPS Chorale (1985), Thomas Goleeke

December 20, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 227 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Aaron, and me in July of 1990. Transparent but mis-balanced in a fine way.

December 22, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 574 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Anna, Aaron, Neal, and me in June of 2000.

Two Pomes Play (two midi versions) - Keith Eisenbrey

In the late '90s I was starting to play with the possibilities of composing using a mod-17 pitch-class system, i.e. treating pitches that are 17 semi-tones apart as being "the same note". As part of this project I wrote several pieces of music-like music in order to find out what music-like music would sound like in the synthetic system. Two Pomes Play was originally written as a duet for clarinet and bassoon, but having midi easily available I was tempted to tinker with it. These versions are from 2005 and end up sounding like computer or video game music of an earlier era. Not bad, and not so long as to cloy - kind of fun actually.

Sonata Liebeslied - Keith Eisenbrey

This was the recording from my recital of June 2010, at the Chapel. I still groove on how it spreads immovably from the ordinary into oddly warped planes. Here's the score. And here's a home recording with more right notes.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

December 19, 2011
Gradus 203 - Neal Meyer

Saturday, December 17, 2011



December 16, 2011
Gradus for Fux Tesla and Milo the Wrestler - Three Rungs (Gradus 202)
Neal Meyer
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

There are many musics in the world that are not quite like any other, but there are few of which it must be admitted that there isn't any other at all similar. Neal's Gradus project, in conceptual scope, dedicated application, and sonic delicacy, is without peer.

rounded endings   and then not    or protract


December 13, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 573 - Banned Rehearsal

This lovely session persists as sound without resorting to musical contrivances. Scrape and bang, with light drumming. Nicely transparent throughout. I posted it on Sound Cloud, so it should be there in a little while. Karen, Neal, and me in May of 2000.

Gradus 77 - Neal Meyer

December 15, 2011
Gradus 176 - Neal Meyer

In Session at the Tintinabulary

December 12, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 804 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Steve Kennedy, Aaron, Neal, and me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011



December 9, 2011
The James King Band
University Temple United Methodist Church (Chapel)

James King of Virginia
This was at my church, so I suppose disclosure is appropriate, but I would heartily recommend this gentleman to your ears anytime and anywhere. He played two sets at the gospel end of bluegrass or at the bluegrass end of gospel, depending on which way you look at it. The rest of the trio consisted of Clay Lillard on banjo, and a young man who's name I regrettably did not catch playing upside-down mandolin (right-handed mandolin played left-handed) and singing the tenor harmonies. Among other joys, they presented a veritable master-class on just how easily tight an ensemble can be.


December 5, 2011
Quixingshan: String Quartet No. 2 (midi realization) - Benjamin Boretz

In the fifth chapter of the book of Daniel, at the height of the king's feast, a human hand appeared and began writing words on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. I don't know what 'Quixingshan' means any more than what Belshazzar knew what the writing on the wall portended, but even through the midi with its lock-step vibrati and armless string players the sense in the sound of an indictment not to be ignored, of a divinely accusatory graffito, was enough to give me the willies.

December 8, 2011
Crazy For You - Madonna
Banned Rehearsal 226 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Aaron, and me making noise back in 1990. The first 10 minutes is spectacular, but as soon as we start talking it falls apart. I was the first guilty party this time around.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

December 5, 2011
Gradus 201 - Neal Meyer

Saturday, December 3, 2011



November 26, 2011
Your Mother Should Know
Sky Church at EMP, Seattle

Your Mother Should Know sound check. Mike Gervais of Curtains For You, Karen Eisenbrey, Neal Kosaly-Meyer
Full disclosure is required here: I'm married to the drummer in this band, and the other half is my longtime collaborator Neal Meyer. The show was great fun, Karen's VistaLites looked great, and the light show on the big screen behind them was stupendous. There is still some work to do balancing all the parts, but I've heard similar problems in some pretty big-name venues, with some big-name acts.

Your Mother Should Know on Mars


November 27, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 572 - Banned Rehearsal

From May of 2000, the classic five-piece personnel: Karen, Anna, Aaron, Neal, and me. Reeds and percussion move toward plucks plunks and percussion ending with evening lounge.

November 29, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 681 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Neal and I were joined by an old friend of N&K, Brent Bankson. It ended up being something of culture clash, mutually mystifying. Listening back though one can hear the ebb & flow of various attempts to find anything like a common ground. 

Banned Rehearsal 774 - Banned Rehearsal

In May of 2010, Karen, Neal and I are joined by Neal's young progeny Isabel. Mostly drums, electronics, plucks and twangs.

December 1, 2011
Ain't No Flies On Auntie - Perry's Hot Dogs [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Down On Me - Eddie Head And His Family [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]
Lafayette - Hot Lips Page [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
A Bit Of Blue - Art Pepper [from Smack Up]
Gloria - Them [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

It's a few years later, but the sound and vibe remind me of the Northwest garage bands of the early 60's: It could almost be the flip side of The Kingsmen doing Louie, Louie.

The Psychedelic Furs (album) - The Psychedelic Furs

Post-Bowie glam from 1980, shading more arty than ultra-professional. Constructed with clean transparent tracks, each in its own echo chamber, the whole then lightly smeared with a slow flange. The Psycho Furs were, if not the favorite pop band of my friends at Bard, then at least among the most-often mentioned. This may have been the first time I've listened to them carefully.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 28, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 803

Just three of us - Karen, Aaron, and me. Flashback to the early 90's.

Sunday, November 27, 2011



November 19, 2011
Curtains For You
Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs
The Posies
Neptune Theater, Seattle

I am coming to the local rock & roll party late, and I usually feel like the old guy who's just there to give the kids a ride home. Late in The Posies' set they were thanking all the people who helped put on the show (thoughtful!) and finished up by thanking us, their fans, for being with them all through the decades. I'm sure the spotlights weren't aimed just at me, though it felt that way, and I wanted to say "No, you should be thanking those guys in the next row down! I've never heard you before!"

In the old days when kids were asked what they liked about rock & roll the nearly unanimous answer was "It has a beat." But Bach has a beat and Chopin has a beat. It takes a good bit of work to avoid it. I think, though, that the ubiquity of the popular meme is a pointer to a more interesting inquiry. It isn't just that the beat is loud and in your face (sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't), it is that this music, as does jazz, gospel, the blues, and all their kin and progeny, consists not so much of particular relations to harmonies and pitch-patterning clarified by their metrical contexts, but rather of subtle vocabularies of weights, bounces, and viscosities in and among the beats themselves and between them and all their subdivisions. Pitch here is the handmaiden, not the lord of all.

What was interesting to me about these three fine acts is how exactly the players relate, amongst themselves, to the particular flavors of beats they create, how those flavors differ from each other, and how the idea of what a beat is in these musics is both different from and also akin to such ideas in other musics. Curtains For You plays with a quick, effortless, Superball bounce. Star Anna fills long bluesy measures with heavy, blunt, heels-to-the-ground hammer blows. The Posies are all about power and drive. Karen thought they were like a psychedelic-grunge version of Simon & Garfunkle, but I came away with a less clear picture of them than of the other two bands. This is partly because I have become familiar with Curtains and had time to think about them, and because Star Anna inhabits turf made familiar by many another electric blues diva. If and as I become more familiar with them I'm sure I'll have more to say.


November 20, 2011
Maggie Jones (Faye Barnes)
Dallas Blues - Maggie Jones [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

I love the sound of this recording. You can hear the room, its walls and chairs. The center of the beat is wide and soft, but precisely so.

John the Revelator - Blind Willie Johnson [from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music]

Folk song as catechism.

Save It Pretty Mama - Sidney Bechet [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Please Be My Boyfriend - The Shirelles [from The Shirelles Anthology, Rhino Records]

Just careful enough. Just articulate enough. 

Get Off Of My Cloud - The Rolling Stones [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Rock and Roll - Heart [from Heart: Greatest Hits]

November 21, 2011
Banned Sectional #1 KEE NWM - Banned Rehearsal

Neal and I made this tape in the spring of 1985. We begin with nearly 40 minutes of tiny sounds in spectacular concentration and wonderful cross-communication. In the last 7 to 10 minutes Neal started playing with feedback sound. I remember at the time I thought this was a big disappointment. We had been sharing something quite fine and subtle for most of the tape, and then the electric walrus comes in and nothing else can be heard. Listening back at it now I hear yet another installment of Banned Rehearsal's ancient argument between the sessions as experimental socialization and the sessions as the making of artifacts of recorded sound. As much as I admire the latter, and admit its often brilliant success, I am convinced it is the former that is a more difficult task, and holds higher possibilities.

November 22, 2011
Banned Rehearsal #225 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Aaron, and I made this tape in 1990 while Aaron was house-sitting somewhere. Fallacious Assumptions that are laid out here as on a slab: 1. The What (the notes, the information) of what is being played is crucial, not the How of how it sounds. 2. The Fact that a thing is made up on the spot guarantees its authenticity. 3. Known, identifiable, and scholastically approved compositional procedures have the power to unify and to make chaos coherent.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Upcoming Show

Your Mother Should Know
Karen mugging at EMP
Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 1PM - FREE - 
Sky Church at EMP, Seattle

Neal at Full Tilt Ice Cream

Your Mother Should Know is Neal Meyer and my spouse Karen in Rock and Roll mode. It will be loads of fun, so come on out!


November 13, 2011
Gradus 76 - Neal Meyer
Fungus - White River Valley, Mt. Rainier National Park, September 24, 2011

Subtly melodicizing the dynamic gradations. Beyond loud and soft.

Old Habits (album) - Hot Bodies In Motion

I bought this CD at their live show a few weeks ago. Their funk beats lead from the hip, and they make fine use of nearly silent breaks and big fat instrumental sound. Every once in a while the ping in the singer's voice reminded me of The Humidiflyers, a now-dissolved but much missed local band from the early oughts. This may count as the first time I listened carefully to a track that uses what I presume is Auto-Tune (just once, as an effect). Oddly, it gave off strong whiffs of Charles Dodge's Speech Songs. I guess there is really nothing new under the sun.

The Wagon - Ben Harney [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
The Lone Star Trail - Ken Maynard [from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music]
In A Mellotone - Duke Ellington [from The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]
When It Rains, It Really Pours - Elvis Presley [from Sunrise]
Stay - Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

This fabulous arrangement is too darned short!!

A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

November 15, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 26 - Banned Rehearsal

Participating were Aaron, Neal, and me. It was March of 1985. It barely moves. What enters first waits, waits, waits. Then enters. Not a perfect session, weakening toward the end as we succumb to the stupid, but for the most part patient and still.

November 17, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 224 - Banned Rehearsal

Anarchy endrummed.
Participating were Karen, Aaron, and me. It was June of 1990. There are some big drum beats in here that sound great! I thought of a possible strategy for improvisation: Avoid variety and eschew repetition.

Nothing As It Seems - Pearl Jam

I am new to Pearl Jam, but I am finding some deep listening in these songs by all concerned. The arrangements are full of "just so" sound, even though the sound that it is "just so" as is far from simple, and far from simply good.

Book of Windows (studio version of 3/20/2005) - Keith Eisenbrey
Me, Neal and Aaron with scores of Book Of Windows in 1982

I used to say that I didn't need to think about minimalism anymore, because I had already written music that was much more repetitious and much much uglier than anything anyone else had ever done. Possibly not true, but not particularly interesting even if it is. Book of Windows is a massive score that I made in 1982. It is composed of a long text (Ben called it a word-mare) containing (among other things) three interlocked acrostics, and hugely repetetive, repletely patterned musics for piano and saxophone. I was exploring the notion of score-making as opposed to musical composition, and the format of the score has as much or more to do with how it hangs as a book than with how the music might go. The immediate influences were, I suppose, Ben Boretz's (" chart shines high where the blue milks upset...") with its lines of music as carefully placed on the page as any poem, and Gertrude Stein's Lucy Church Amiably. The score is explicitly open to interpretation concerning how it might be performed, and it never has been done with a saxophone. Aaron, Neal, and my brother Paul recorded it in 1982 with piano and clarinet, with Aaron speaking the text. Later that summer it was performed and recorded in the common area at Bard College with Jill Borner speaking, Bruce Huber on electric guitar, and me on Crumar. Both of these performances are long slow affairs, clocking in at between 90 to 120 minutes, but they are not without their charms. I spent several years re-making all of my scores digitally, and when I got done with this one I realized I could use the score to make a midi performance. I used a marimba sound instead of piano, and stuck with electric guitar for the sax part. I recorded the text, amending the sound of my voice with various cheap digital effects, and sped the whole thing up so that it goes by in just over 30 minutes. The result is a lighter-weight performance, not so much of an endurance test as the earlier version.

BF Vocals Rough - Keith Eisenbrey

This is the first mix of the choir of me singing There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood, for eventual use in Blood and Fire Hallelujah.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



November 6, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 223 - Banned Rehearsal

Participating were Karen, Aaron, and me in 1990. After about ten minutes of transparent chamber music, we call Anna in San Diego to celebrate the 6th Bannediversary. The rest of the session is 1/2 of a telephone converasation.

I Got Shit - Pearl Jam [from Rearviewmirror]

Check out the slow flange of the cymbal's sound rolling through the pounding rhythm. It is the antithesis of an 80's tight-ass production.

November 7, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 571 - Banned Rehearsal

My index only lists Karen, Anna, Aaron, and me, which would be an unusual grouping, in that Neal is not there. An error is always a possibility. A delicate session, and then raucous. But when raucous, raucous in detail and briefly.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 10 - hosted by Keith Eisenbrey & Mike Marlin

The final mass improv of the evening.

BF Percussion Rough - Keith Eisenbrey

All the percussion tracks collected for eventual use in Blood and Fire Hallelujah mixed together. Seven minutes of kaleidoscopic rhythm wheels.

The Wagon - Ben Harney [from Allen Lowe's Really The Blues]

Allen also includes this cut in his earlier collection That Devilin' Tune, so I'll get to listen to it again soon. Ben's voice, alone, sings a cheerful tale of woe.

The House Carpenter - Clarence Ashley [from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music]
Milenburg Joys - Kid Rena [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Trying To Get To You - Elvis Presley [from Sunrise]
Only The Lonely - Roy Orbison [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

Until Roy comes in, this could be The Fleetwoods. It must have been something in the air. I guess we could always blame Sputnik.

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Who'll Stop The Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Born to Run (single)- Bruce Springsteen [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Bebe Le Strange - Heart [from Heart: Greatest Hits]

November 8, 2011
Trance Butchered Knight 3 - Keith Eisenbrey

A somewhat less than successful mix of percussion (#1) plus Funmaker Sprite (#2). The progressive loss of signal has tipped a tidge past the optimal garbage-y quality of the Sprite tracks alone.

Recitative, Aria, and Burlesque - Sergei Slonimsky - Paul Taub, Roger Nelson, Matthew Kocmieroski - [from Edge - Flute Music from the Periphery of Europe]

I must presume that composers from within the former Soviet block view the various techniques and attitudes of free-world post-war concert music from a perspective that is as difficult for us to comprehend as our view of their attitudes and techniques are to them. And so it is no surprise that to some extent what is picked up as salient from our culture is just what seems to us most superficial to it. Extended instrumental techniques are as easy to hear as new and weird as they are difficult to produce well, and so can give what is otherwise a fairly standard musical endeavor the sheen of open-to-western-ideas-ness, without necessarily engaging in the full decades-long dialogue that led to them in the first place. The performances here are top-notch, but the overall effect is more like a duct-tape skin graft. The glitz of the not-so-unusual-as-all-that-special-effects doesn't shine from within the musical fabric. Instead, it obscures and distracts.

Sonata - Pteris Vasks - Paul Taub - [from Edge - Flute Music from the Periphery of Europe]

This one gets closer. Paul plays magnificently, as always, and the piece doesn't spend much time being music-as-usual - though it doesn't exactly not do that, either. Somehow in the midst of it, the technique of playing the flute while singing, and of playing the flute, and of singing itself, all become part of the activity of inhabiting this piece.

Light Years - Peal Jam [from Rearviewmirror]

The vocal part studiedly narrow both rhythmically and pitchwise. A composer's performance.


November 10, 2011
Solstice Quintet at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center Seattle
Ann Marie Yasinitsky, Keri E. McCarthy, Shannon Scott, Matthew Aubin, Ryan M. Hare

Wooden Miniatures - Gregory Yasinitsky
Three Little Fantasies - Oliver Knussen
Towns of Wood and Wind - Carl Schimmel
Mythos - Ryan Hare
Suite for Wind Quintet - Ruth Crawford Seeger

The wind quintet as an ensemble presents composers with numerous challenges. The instruments don't really balance dynamically all that well, each pairing has unique characteristics of blending-ness and not-blending-ness (which shift with the various pitch ranges), and unless you have five heroes of circular-breathing to work with you must always consider length of breath in every idea and at every moment. None of these are really bad challenges, and they are often met and vanquished to huge success.

This fine Palousian band was brave enough to travel from over the mountains, in November no less, to offer five largely successful assays into the field. I was especially taken by Oliver Knussen's little pieces with their surprising and imaginative textures and phrasings, Ryan Hare's subtle theatricalities, and of course Ruth Crawford Seeger's supremely slippery notions of parallel play. All said and done this was an attractive and well balanced program, and I enjoyed it immensely.

November 12, 2011
Curtains For You, Out On The Streets, and The True Bugs at North City Vintage Honda, Seattle

Neal had informed us that Mike Gervais's "other band", The True Bugs, would be playing in Lake City on Saturday night. Later we were informed that it was at a "used car dealership", and then at a "vintage Honda store" - "more of a party than a show". We had an intersection a vague time (8 or 9), and the instructions that the "entrance is on 140th". We drove by it twice without seeing anything even remotely lively, explored the other side of Lake City Way, and just before giving up and going home Karen happened to spot a van with North City Vintage Honda printed on it. It was parked in front of a dark commercial building. A "For Sale" banner covered its streetward sign. We wound back to the correct side of Lake City Way, parked a block off and, fortunately, spotted some folks heading in the right direction carrying instruments. We followed where they had disappeared into an unlit vacant lot. Hidden around the corner of a building a square canvas awning had been set up, with a fire-barrel in the middle for heat. We found Neal, and said our howdys to those we knew, finding out only then that not only would The True Bugs be playing but also Curtains For You. After an hour or so we wandered inside. Of course it turns out that the Hondas in question aren't cars at all, but motorcycles, with what I presumed to be a repair-shop garage space as the venue. The bands set up toward one end (with the restroom behind them), and we were surrounded by shelves of tools and motorcycle parts.

If I am not mistaken, the connection between all the bands and the venue goes something like this: Jeremiah, who I gather is the the proprietor of the venue, plays guitar in both Out On The Streets and The True Bugs. Mike and Matt Gervais, the respective singer and drummer of The True Bugs, are also the front end of Curtains For You.

CFY plays with an infectious bouncy beat. Their songs and arrangements are accomplished, gleefully professional endeavors. We'll be seeing them again next week - so more later. To my ear, OOTS was a bit under-developed. They play music reminiscent of early U2 with lots of skill and energy, but their sound hasn't gelled. I couldn't help thinking that it would behoove them to think hard about how much like U2 they really want to be. Why be a 300th rate Bono when you've got a shot at being a 1st rate Out On The Streets? I leave open the question of why anyone would want to emulate His Insufferableness in the first place, but to each their own. TTB is a fine specimen of second-generation Seattle Grunge, straight up and hard reckless driving beats. The moshing in the crowd got more reckless than I am comfortable with (being an old guy), but I suppose the young folks were having fun, and I didn't see that anyone got hurt.

Saturday, November 5, 2011



October 30, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 222 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Aaron and I participated. This session got blatty and chatty discussing the word assuage, and went downhill from there. 

Assembly Rechoired 45 - Banned Rehearsal

Pete Comley, John, Karen and me in April of 2000.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 9 - Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Meyer

Neal drags the washtub bass across the floor of Gallery 1412 to great effect.

Garage 100520 - Keith Eisenbrey

Five minutes of my neighbor tearing boards off an old garage.

November 3, 2011
All I Want Is A Little Spoonful - Papa Charlie Jackson [from Allen Lowe's Really The Blues]
Cosmics - Frank Melrose [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Frank Melrose
As though junkyard versions of Thelonius Monk and Art Tatum were mixing it up something fierce. Frank produces a whole suite of pieces in a four minute tour de force of pianistic touch.

Harlem Air Shaft - Duke Ellington [from The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]
Mystery Train - Elvis Presley [from Sunrise]

Elvis the musician's musician. The closer the listen the more dropped the jaw.

Black Beauty - Duke Ellington [from Ken Burns' Jazz]

In 1960 Ellington drops in the sounds of 30's solos and ensembles.

Winter Potato 3 - Cornelius Cardew - John Tilbury

Two minutes of folds and creases. Tiny but not exquisite. It's more like a wee but perfect construction of found objects.

Turkey In The Straw - George Childers  [from Art Rosenbaum's The Art of Field Recording volume 1]
Trance Butchered Knight 2 - Keith Eisenbrey

My second go at this, and by now I was using the score that I later re-named Lacrymosa. Once again I was overdubbing using an erase-head override switch. In this case it ends up sounding rather grandly horrible.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 31, 2011
Gradus 200 - Neal Meyer


October 29, 2011
Carmen - Bizet - Seattle Opera

November 4, 2011
Seattle Composers Salon - Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Winds Go South - Yvonne Hoar

A short tango for woodwind quintet. For my part it seemed undercooked, and I wish it were more fully worked out. It just seemed a bit too satisfied to be what it was.

42 - Scott Adams

A solo accordion piece literally at sixes and sevens with itself. The tunes are nothing special, but they are exactly all they need to be to make the rhythmic concept shine wonderfully. Nice job!

Eternal Silence of Infinite Spaces - Conan McLemore

Conan dips his hands and splashes with cups in this attractive little piece for baptismal font.

Two Pieces - Nelda Swiggett

Nelda on piano with her husband Cliff on trombone, which he claims to have just picked up a few weeks ago after many years of neglect. We were all in amaze at the apparent resilience of his lip. I ended up liking most the second, less finished, of the two pieces she played. It had some nice Monkish touches.

Saturday, October 29, 2011



October 22, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 570 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, Anna K, Neal Meyer, and me participating. This session dates from April of 2000. We called it Gradus ab Parnassum in possibly bad Latin. It wakes itself mostly into the upper spectral ambit with low frequencies entering later. It settles after about 10 minutes into a place that just doesn't gel, but which is nevertheless a pretty interesting collection of sound. I got to thinking about some of the ways that our knowledge of the social history of an artifact affects our perception of it. Knowing that a recording was made on the spot without prior restraints beyond our past of social and musical interaction frees us from trying to discover the intent of its maker as a single utterance, and allows us to focus on how multiple utterances interact on the fly, without any of them knowing where it is headed. It ends with bells.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 - Track 8 - Jim Knodle, Mike Marlin, and Tom Swafford (I think)

Deliciously lyrical, warm and folksy

Man of My Dreams/Be Like You - Shaprece

Extraordinarily sophisticated arrangements that play with the sound and surface of sound. As lush as it gets it is always intricate and transparent.

October 23, 2011
A Married Man's Blues - Wade Ward [from Allen Lowe's Really The Blues]

The interaction between downbeat and pickup is to die for, like Schumann with a wicked twist.

Piano Breakdown - Frank Melrose [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

The vinylscratchysound provides a worthy and sophisticated percussion track to this. 

Harlem Air Shaft - Duke Ellington [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
I Forgot To Remember To Forget - Elvis Presley [from Sunrise]
Tonight's The Night - The Shirelles [from The Shirelles Anthology, Rhino Records]

bump sh' bump. oh yeah.

Winter Potato 2 - Cornelius Cardew - John Tilbury

Microphones up close to the action, all sorts of odd rumbly sounds exude from the piano's inner workings.

She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain - Maude Thacker [from Art Rosenbaum's The Art of Field Recording volume 1]

October 27, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 25 - Banned Rehearsal

Banned Rehearsal in 1985
Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer, and me participating. This session dates from March of 1985. If I recollect rightly I had rigged the space prior to the band's arrival by covering the floor with blue paper pup tents and inserting them between books on the bookshelves. My intent was to give the space a sense of otherness. All the sounds set themselves onto a vast wheel revolving through. A recording of a Bach Cantata finds its way into a tin can to explore the science of the beauty of bad audio. The last 10 minutes are a silly waste, but most of this is raw and interesting.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 24, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 801 - Banned Rehearsal

Present and making noise were Karen, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer, and me.

October 25, 2011
Your Mother Should Know - recording The Day You Deleted Me

Neal made an attempt at a cornet track, and then we got two vocal tracks. On to the mix!


October 22, 2011
Lovesick Empire, Thee Emergency, Mudhoney, Hot Bodies In Motion - at Neumos, Seattle

Hot Bodies In Motion (standing still)
Four extremely able bands put on a spectacular show for us. Both Lovesick Empire and Thee Emergency are straight-ahead driving local bands, with LE tending toward the solid beat style of Goodness, while Thee Emergency tends toward a more bluesy style reminiscent of Heart. I was quite taken by both of them, and I sure hope LE puts some music up for download soon, since I missed out on the free CD they were giving out. Mudhoney of course is well known and their set was loud, fast, non-stop, and loud. To my (ringing) ears it is as though The Sonics, The Stooges, and The Dead Kennedys were thrown into a paper bag and shaken vigorously. Did I mention that they were loud? Hot Bodies In Motion will forever after be known as "that band that came on after Mudhoney," which is unfortunate because they are tremendously accomplished musicians and they put together a fabulous funky set. The guitar player looks like Gunther from Greg Evans' Luann, and he doesn't move around much, but he sure can play that thing. The bass was matching him funk for funk, the drums were solid and the singer was all in. Great job guys!

Saturday, October 22, 2011



Lovie Austin
October 15, 2011
Too Sweet for Words - Lovie Austin [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune

Check out this fine bio of Lovie Austin.

Dear Old Southland - Louis Armstrong [from Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens on JSP records]
Perdido Street Blues - Louis Armstrong [from Jazz Heritage Series Vol. 7 on MCA records]
Greeting Prelude - Stravinsky - London SO, Michael Tilson Thomas

The biggest and solidest 40 seconds you'll ever hear.

How Long Blues - Guitar Pete Franklin [from Art Rosenbaum's The Art of Field Recording volume 1]
Winter Potato 1 - Cornelius Cardew - John Tilbury

October 18, 2011
Red Ink Blots - Benjamin Boretz, Jeff Presslaff [from Inter/Play]

At first first one then the other
Then the other then the first
Riffing jointly then in creative spelunkery
First in light then elsedown

Reminding myself: It isn't about weirdness or extremeness. It's about specificity.

Pastorale for Anna - Aaron Keyt - Keith Eisenbrey

Aaron Keyt - back in the day
Aaron composed this lovely little piece a few weeks too late to be included with his two other Pastorales (for Keith and Helena), in Banned Rehearsal's first live performance in January 1986. But this home recording I made shortly after really gets somewhere as this dancing song emerges from shadows. I only wish I could play that well consistently!

Banned Rehearsal 221 - Banned Rehearsal

Karen, Aaron and me participating back in 1990. Starting with guitar, fiddle, and harmonica we focus on the sounds of a root music. Interestingly I can't be sure who is playing which instrument. Every time I think some part sounds like the sort of thing I do, or Karen or Aaron does, it moves to something distinctly like what another of us does.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 17, 2011
Gradus 199 - Neal Meyer


October 15, 2011
The Slagg - Live at Cafe Racer, Seattle

Cafe Racer seems like it could be a nice place to hear music. Karen and I hadn't been there yet so we went to hear somebody we'd never heard of. The Slagg was apparently trying to play reggae, but they were pretty lame and didn't come across as all that excited to be there playing for folks. We left before they finished their first set.

Saturday, October 15, 2011



October 10, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 569 (Fritz with Fritz) - Banned Rehearsal

Participating in this session from April of 2000 were Karen, Anna, Aaron, Neal, Pete Comley and me. This was a dub of the recording Pete made using 'Fritz', a head-shaped binaural microphone.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 7 - Keith Eisenbrey and Jim Knodle
Gradus: Three Rungs for Marcia Bellamy - Neal Meyer

One of Neal's overt practices since early in this project has been to leave prodigious gaps of not playing. Under certain circumstances these can stretch up toward 10 or 15 minutes long. Part of the reason for doing this stems from considerations surrounding Cage's 4'33", i.e. that the sounds leaking in from the environment are or should be valid parts of the performance, and that we should be attending to them every bit as much as we attend to the traditionally valued slices of sound. Underlying this notion is the assumption that a sound ontologized as an intended sound will drown out, psychologically, sounds ontologized as accidental to intention, or at least to the intention we are attending to, and that therefore the act of making a sound intentionally is an egotistical aggression and a violence upon Cage's silence, upon the goodness and purity of sounds just being themselves. A paraphrase of Neal's formulation might be: Do nothing that would substantially interrupt a performance of 4'33".

But the case could be made that imposing lengthy silences as a compositional decision preceding the hurly burly of the session is a too easy solution or penance for the aggression of soundmaking, is a way of having one's cake and eating it too. If the method is simply to spread out the soundmaking portions among vast stretches of doing nothing, stretches often much longer in extent that 4'33", so that one could quite literally overlay conjoint performances of Gradus and 4'33" in such as way as to have no actual interruption, then does this constitute a lack of substantive interruption? Are we attempting the classic aesthetic cheat of pretending that a fact trumps an image? Wouldn't it be a far more interesting and difficult challenge to make noise while not interrupting? What might it mean to succeed at this? To play with such transparence that it were as if no music had transpired - no notes played - no utterance uttered - no intention voiced - as though one had not been. . . ?

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 10, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 800 - Banned Rehearsal
Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer participated in this milestone session.

October 11, 2011
Your Mother Should Know - recording The Day You Deleted Me
Karen Eisenbrey, drums; Mike Gervais, tenor & alto sax; Neal Meyer, guitars & vocal

Neal's friend Mike (of Curtains For You - see below) was available to lay down some horn tracks so we had a grand time getting enough on the MR8 to make that feasible. We still need to record the vocal, and Neal also wanted to try a cornet track.


October 8, 2011
Reverb Festival - Seattle

Mutiny Fires at the Tractor
Shaprece at the Sunset
Stephanie at the Eagles Ballroom
Less Than Equals at Conor Byrne
Tom Price Desert Classic at the Tractor
Curtains For You at the Tractor

Five out of six sets were musical dynamite, and the sixth (Stephanie) is a very young but listen-worthy up&comer group. Very quickly so that we have some idea where we are standing, Mutiny Fires is power-pop-punk-a-billy, Shaprece is up-to-date soul r&b, Stephanie is (I think) still in flux but tending toward pop-glam, Less Than Equals is echt-old-school, Tom Price Desert Classic is electric-bigsound-blues, and Curtains For You is pop, if some raucus combination of The Beatles, The Young Fresh Fellows, and Elvis Costello counts as simply pop.

I was struck by the different feels of each band's stage presence. Mutiny Fires was all friendly and loose lets have a beer but how the heck am I going to rock out at this hour. Shaprece and her backup band - nine people on the wee stage at the Sunset!! - were both scary professional and family warm. Her dad was playing keyboard and was easily in charge, her sister sang backup vocal, and the rest of the crew could have been a re-union of uncles and cousins. Strictly from a hair-style angle having Shaprece and her sister on stage at once was like having Sarah Vaughan and a teenage Ann Peebles standing there. Stephanie, a group of four or five guys topping out, to my old eyes, at about 20, was having some unfortunate technical difficulties (the trouble with pedals!) but they were doing their best to have a good time anyway. I look forward to hearing them under better circumstances.

Less Than Equals is a two piece with guitar and drum. Both gentlemen sing.They are there to put on a show, dressed in matching white suits and pastel shirts, trunks of bodies held still in space but vibrating with energy. Kurt is a wrecklessly effective drummer - nothing fancy but everything whang on. John Bamberg is one of those guitar players who doesn't sound fancy until you realize he's got an entire combo in there with him.Tom Price Desert Classic has an easy bluesy presence, late night at nearly any roadhouse anywhere in America any time in the last 30 years. Curtains For You is self-described as "happy shiny people". By the time we got back to the Tractor after dinner the place was packed. These guys are having a blast playing high competence rock & roll. But don't take my word for it, check them out on the November 19th at the Neptune on a terrific bill with Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs, and The Posies.

Shaprece is knock-out sensational.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Now Music in New Albion is now one year old.
Fungus, White River Valley, Mt. Rainier National Park, September 24, 2011


October 4, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 24 - Banned Rehearsal

Banned Rehearsal, Little Greenwood House, 1985
Participating were Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, and Neal Meyer. In early 1985 I moved into a little house in Greenwood. This is the first full session made there, and also the first full session after our debut performance at Brechemin. Long bowed drone tones on acoustic guitar, plucks and high bell dings interrupted by low-fi images of the just recently passed soundscape. The overall effect is of careful composition holding steady and true for about 35 minutes, after which microphone silliness begins and the energy sags. A rule to remember: Cleverness kills music.

A Cat's Life Act III take 3 - Keith Eisenbrey

The last take from 1992, reasonably well played but marred by radio bleed of some horrible pop song.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 3, 2011
Gradus 198 - Neal Meyer

Neal Meyer, The Man Who Plays A

Saturday, October 1, 2011


In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 26, 2011
   Rehearsal  - Banned Rehearsal 799

Participating were Karen Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer, and me.
Fungus, White River Valley, Mt. Rainier National Park, September 24,2011

September 29, 2011

Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Ludovic Morlot, conductor

Le Sacre du printemps - Stravinsky
An American In Paris - Gershwin
Ameriques - Varese

We had a fabulous dinner at Juno, in the revamped Arctic Building (1914) on the corner of 3rd and Cherry. From our booth the only buildings visible either existed at the time of the programmed works or were built contemporaneously to their composition, emphasizing how much of what we tend to think of as the old Seattle is quite literally a city born of modernism.

It is a small thing, or it should be a small thing, but I applaud Morlot for programming these three works in this less than obvious sequence. A more usual approach would have been to reverse the halves - starting and ending with the ultra-popular and hiding the crowd-chaser in the middle where fewer would be able to escape it. Instead we were presented with an ordering that entwined them into each other. Gershwin holds his modernist own remarkably well in this company of giants, matching car-horns to air raid siren, dance to dance; and never does Stravinsky sound so tunefully populist and rhythmically straightforward as when we hear his primitivism foiled by Varese's war-poet sensibility. Here is what that music is like with the folk tunes shelled out of it and no dancing to get in the way of rhythmic imagination.

Sunday, September 25, 2011



September 18, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 569 - Banned Rehearsal

Fungus with Ooze - White River Valley, Mt. Rainier National Park - September 24, 2011

Participating were Karen, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer, and me. Pete Comley was recording us with a fancy binaural microphone shaped like a human head. We called it Fritz. But this was my recording using our usual setup of two Realistic PZMs taped to opposite walls. Usual, that is, until a couple of months ago when one of them finally failed after 20+ years of trouble-free use. The alto sax makes a valiant effort at a jazzy vibe. The rest of us do not so much resist as see just how far off around the edges of jazzy vibe we can possibly get. At 10 minutes in we begin to collectively rub the greater balloon of noise while the tamtam flanges roomsized waves of threads of jazzy vibe.

September 20, 2011
Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 6 - hosted by Keith Eisenbrey and Mike Marlin

I think this track was Tom Swafford on violin, Mike's spouse Deb singing, and one other vocalist whose name I can not recall. I apologize for that because this is quite a nice slithery trio.

BF Tongue Drum, Tub Drum, Twang, Wood Drum - Keith Eisenbrey

The last of the percussion sounds collected for what became the canned bit for Blood, Fire, Hallelujah.

September 22, 2011
Why Can't It Be Poor Little Me? - Stomp 6 [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Dear Old Southland - Louis Armstrong [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Best I can tell from a quick google, Buck Washington is the pianist for this duet. They seem, for their own amusement, to be trying to outdo each other in rhythmic play.

Down In Honky Tonk Town - Louis Armstrong [from Jazz Heritage Series Vol. 7 on MCA records]

With: Claude Jones, Sidney Bechet, Luis Russell, Bernard Addison, Wellman Braud, and Zutty Singleton.

I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (slow version) alternate take - Elvis Presley [from Sunrise]
O Day - Bessie Jones and the Sea Island Singers [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]

Not just a perfectly tuned quartet blend of individuated voices, but also the be-all and end-all of clapping percussion - it isn't just on the offbeat, it creates the offbeat, and composes it's own slap-echo effect to boot.

Who Be Kind To - Allen Ginsberg
Om Namah Shivaya - Benjamin Boretz, Marjorie Tichenor [from Inter/Play]

Crumar and voice discuss mouthshapes and vowels. Barely voiced. Not whispered. Hollow shapes.
Fungus with Ooze - White River Valley, Mt. Rainier National Park - September 24, 2011

In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 19, 2011

Gradus 197 - Neal Meyer

September 21, 2011

Your Mother Should Know - recording Chaotic Heart

Karen Eisenbrey, drums; Neal Meyer, guitars & vocals.


September 17, 2011

Medula Pinata and Pouch at The Josephine, Seattle

The Josephine seems to be a kind of BYO speakeasy. No sign out front that I saw, just a number and a gate. From the outside you can't tell what might be going on inside, which is probably all for the best given the thickness and complexity of the atmosphere.

Jake Thompson of Pouch
Both bands are loud and rhythmically charged, though I was somewhat frustrated by the balance in that (especially with MP) although vocalizing seemed to be a part of what they were doing theatrically it didn't get into the sound with much success. I know I'm a fuddy duddy, but it seems if you are going to all the trouble of learning words and shouting them with all your heart in front of friendly folks it would make sense to work with the sound so that we could at least tell that's what you were doing and that you weren't just making faces - even if we can't understand the words without a script.

Still, it was enjoyable and I was glad I got to hear Pouch again. We couldn't stay for the last two bands because, well, because we're old and we had stuff to do the next morning.

Saturday, September 17, 2011



September 12, 2011
Gulliver's Eight Wonderful Resonant Pipes - Banned Rehearsal

A short session from 1985 with Aaron, Neal, Anna, and myself, indulgent with obliviously parallel play. Early on, and less so continuing to the present, we have experimented (under some protest) with the idea that if X-quantity of people make noise in the same room for a timespan without paying any particular attention to what the others are doing then the resultant tape will have some special quality of ineffable otherness worth striving for. For me this has seemed a mis-placed act of faith resulting, usually, in a desperate filling up of the void where we might, to our benefit, have risked actual communication.

A Cat's Life Act III (take 1) - Keith Eisenbrey

From 1992, first of three takes.

Humoresque - Keith Eisenbrey - Rosario Sounds

Rosario Sounds was an amateur string quintet based on Whidbey Island. My mom played 2nd violin. This is a recording of their live performance at a Good Friday service at a church in Oak Harbor back in aught aught. It was, to my amusement, programmed as a contemplation of the crucifixion. Of course I had no such image in mind when I wrote it, and they re-titled the work for the program (Quintet, I think). Kind of a grim joke on me, I think. Being played late in the service, after several hundred worshipers received communion in the least efficient way imaginable, I think I can confidently state that never have so many suffered so long just to hear my music.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 5 - Keith Eisenbrey, Mike Marlin & Others

Not the most successful bit from this concert, veering toward the idea that there is some specific sense that music makes that we have to make this particular music make. It opens out right at the end.

BF Gong/Kora/Organ Pipe/Shell Shaker - Keith Eisenbrey

More sound collecting for Blood and Fire Hallelujah. The gong take is quite lovely on its own.

September 13, 2011
Jimmie's Blues - Jimmy Blythe
When They Get Lovin' They's Gone - Billie Young, Jelly Roll Morton

Yodeling cross-dressing as scat jazz - or the other way around. Weird.

Coal Cart Blues  - Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Bernard Addison, Wellman Braud

Would I had been a fly on the wall for this. Jeepers!

Wee Wee Hours - Chuck Berry

Chuck's make-out song.

Django - Modern Jazz Quartet

Limpid and articulate, but a little spooky too.

Volo Solo - Cornelius Cardew - John Tilbury

A ferociously difficult piece brilliantly played. Single-note tremolos skewer through the timemeat.

Who Killed Poor Robin? - Ollie Gilbert

weren't me.

September 15, 2011
Breathe - J.K. Randall, Marjorie Tichenor

I sit as usual breathing quiet and slow to find myself hearing sound of breathing distinct and slow and sound of flutepipe breathing fibrous and distinct and slow and sound of fibre timbre wiggle distinct and slow plucked. And at every moment a newly created sense of having just gotten somewhere.

Prelude op. 1 Revisited - Keith Eisenbrey

The first piece I ever wrote (back in 74 or 75) was an e-minor string quartet movement. In early 1985 I made this version by recording each part separately on a Wurlitzer Funmaker Sprite that I had purchased in Greenwood for $200. The result is pretty hoary. The Funmaker went on to feature prominently in many a Banned Rehearsal session, and was even carted to a couple of live shows. It is currently being refitted by Steve Kennedy into what I hope to be a remarkable bizarre contraption.

A Cat's Life Act III (take 2) - Keith Eisenbrey

see above - take 2.


September 14, 2011
Monktail Creative Music Concern at Composer's Spotlight - Jack Straw Productions, Seattle
Stephen Fandrich, Mark Ostrowski, John Seman

John, Mark, and Stephen spoke about their personal musical history together, and Stephen performed three solo piano pieces. The first was his set of variations on John's theme LG, the second a Nocturne by Mark, and lastly a gamelan-informed Ballade by Stephen. In each case I was quite taken by the starting points, but was disappointed by the end result. John's jazzy little two-part theme would seem to make quite fine fodder for improvisation, and such shenanigans are apparently a big part of its back-story. The inside-the-piano strummy bits that start and finish Mark's Nocturne are lovely and clear. And finally, the delicate rhythmic counterpoint with which Stephen's Ballade opens are among the most exquisite episodes of piano figuration it has been my privilege to hear. But in each case the insidiously persistent phantomic memes of pianistic virtuosity take over and we are beset by the sterile ghosts of Scriabin and Sorabji, Liszt and Busoni. What for those guys were means to their various aesthetic ends becomes here a default end of its own - a kind of hollow shell, all two-fisted sound and fury, signifying (to me), what sound and fury always signify. There is lovely stuff here, I wish it had not been drowned out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011



September 8, 2011
Pitch Fix - J. K. Randall, Linda Smukler [from Inter/Play]

Crumar and piano. The anchor sound of the Inter/Play ensemble.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 5, 2011
Banned Rehearsal - Banned Rehearsal 798

Karen, Aaron, Neal and myself.

September 6, 2011
Your Mother Should Know - recording Ask Your Question

We adjusted our method a bit, and played with different microphone placements for the drums & vocals - each of which needed just one take. We ran the guitar part three times - mostly to nail the solo and cover a problem with the patch cord connection. Neal's vocal performance was more nuanced than during the first session with many nice details and good tone quality throughout. I played with the mix yesterday and hope soon to have something to share. Your Mother Should Know consists of Neal Meyer on guitar & voice, and Karen Eisenbrey on drums. We decided not to bother laying down a bass track this time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011



August 27, 2011
Chili Pepper - Gred Longshaw [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

fallen ragtime.

Goodbye, Babylon part 1 - Rev. T. T. Rose and Singers [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]
I Surrender Dear - Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

I love the ambiguity in the title. A mid-evening tempo.

Maybellene - Chuck Berry [from The Best of Chuck Berry]
Down The Road Apiece - Chuck Berry [from The Best of Chuck Berry]

That must be where he put the piano player.

August 28, 2011
Steppin' Out - Paul Revere and the Raiders - [from The Legend of Paul Revere]
Plastic Ono Band - Yoko Ono

Studies in the use of voice as an instrument rather than a medium for text. What she is doing is not singing (and I don't mean that in any snarky sense), it is playing. John plays guitar, Yoko plays voice. The last cut, a bonus on the CD version, is a nicely intimate acoustic session with no underlying rhythmic groove.

Five to My Five - Rev. Howard Finster [from Art Rosenbaum's The Art of Field Recording volume 1]
Trance Butchered Knight 1 - Keith Eisenbrey

This recording from early 1985 is the first salvo in a project that eventually became my piano piece Lacrymosa. My memory is hazy as to what exactly I thought I was doing, and as to how exactly I accomplished it. But I think I was using the "overdubbing" button on my tape deck. I had my cousin install a switch that turns off the erase head, so that I could get a kind of double exposure. Aesthetic results vary, and the sound quality is about what you would expect.

August 31, 2011
A Cat's Life Act II - Keith Eisenbrey

A draft recording from March of 1992.

Humoresque - Keith Eisenbrey

The midi version of a string quintet movement I wrote for my Mom's amateur ensemble.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 4 - Keith Eisenbrey, Mike Marlin

A long session that is remarkable in how carefully and lingeringly it protracts that moment when it finally starts to sound like music. The picture is from that session. You can listen to it on Sound Cloud.

BF Autoharp/Barang/Clay Drum/Frame Drum - Keith Eisenbrey

Collected sounds for what became the canned bit of Blood and Fire, Halleluja.

September 1, 2011
Hersal Blues - Thomas Hersal [from Allen Lowe's Really The Blues]

Starts plain, sneaks fancy in.

Goodbye, Babylon part 2 - Rev. T. T. Rose and Singers [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]
2:19 Blues - Louis Armstrong,  Claude Jones,Sidney Bechet, Luis Russell, Bernard Addison, Wellman Braud, Zutty Singleton [from Jazz Heritage Series Vol. 7 on MCA records]
Thirty Days - Chuck Berry [from The Best of Chuck Berry]

As solid a single as you could ask for.

The Way You Look Tonight - Art Pepper, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb [from The Way It Was]
Variations IV vol. 2 - John Cage - John Cage, David Tudor

"In the grooves of this record is the sound of John Cage." John Cage is his own least reliable commentator, which is another way of saying that I dig his music but I don't buy his talk. Variations IV, or at least this recording of a portion of it, has nothing to do with sound as sound, and precious little to do with chance. Instead we are offered snippets of variously recognizable recordings (mostly instantly recognizable classical pieces) mixed with street sounds, bar sounds, and others, arranged using a system that involves a chance procedure somewhere, but carefully chosen for iconic quality and carefully trimmed for comprehension. This is a craftily composed commentary on music, not an invitation to hear sounds as simply sounds breathing free. Gird your loins for some heavy duty mind warp action.

Stony Point - John W. Summers, Art Rosenbaum [from Art Rosenbaum's The Art of Field Recording volume 1]

In Session

August 29, 2011
Train Case - recording Gramma's In The Cellar at the Tintinabulary, Seattle

Train Case is Neal Meyer and my lovely spouse Karen singing old folk tunes. This is a song that their mother taught them as children. We suspect she picked it up at Girl Scout Camp. They kindly allowed me to lay down a spoon track. We should have this available for download soon on ReverbNation.


September 2, 2011
Seattle Composers Salon - Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Three Student Pieces - Sean Osborn - Sean Osborn, clarinet
Quasi Improvisando - Ryan Hare - Ruth Boden, cello
Three of Five Dovetailed Pieces - John Teske - John Teske, bass
Eight Preludes from 24 Preludes - Keith Eisenbrey - Keith Eisenbrey, piano
Three Movements from Woodwind Quintet - Paul Gillespie - Cliff Dunn, flute; Janet Putnam, **; Judy **, **; David **, **; Jenny **, **

A remarkably strong Salon, with nary a clunker in the mix (yours truly perhaps excepted). Of Sean's pieces I really dug the second, a lovely and clearly thought poem using various extended techniques - like an easy starter drug. Ryan's four-movement cello solo deftly shifted the focus from the composer persona behind the notes to the performer persona behind the sound, with an immediate spike in the social-intimacy index. I could listen all day to John Teske bowing his open D-tuned low string. The sensual hit of the bass sound is forever in danger of overpowering other aspects of utterance, but as Doc Holliday said in Tombstone, "That's my game." I look forward to hearing the whole thing.

I'm sorry I didn't get all the performer's names lined up with their instruments in Paul's number. Wind Quintet is an attractive ensemble as to both timbral variety and dynamic range. But there are daunting challenges as well. Each instrument has a unique matrix of registral color and technical limitations that can easily confound an unwary composer. If this attractive neo-classical essay is truly Paul's inaugural effort then I am stunned, and look forward to much more.

As for my preludes, I hope to have a final enough edit of the score available on my website within the next few weeks. I was just about thinking I was done when I had a better idea about the E-Major one, and I think I can tighten it up considerably. If I can get over some of my pianistic problems I hope to perform the whole set sometime. At the very least I'll record them soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011



August 23, 2011
Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel

We were so earnest! But I like the fancy guitar work here and there and the arrangements hit pretty well about half the time. For me the strongest cuts are Blessed (if for nothing other than the line "blessed is the church service / makes me nervous"), Kathy's Song, Anji, April Come She Will, and We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin'. Who spells 'groovy' that way?

Get Back to Toronto - The Beatles

A bootleg LP I purchased for $12 in 1983 or so at a record store in Woodstock, NY. It comes in a plain white cardboard sleeve with GET BACK TO TORONTO stamped at a rakish angle in purple across the middle front, and lower down, at somewhat less rake, HIGH-QUALITY STEREO. On the label it says "I.P.F. Records Presents" and the sides are I.P.F. 1A on the front and I.P.F. 1B on the back. Side One claims 22:26: 1. Peace Message-Get Back, 2. Teddy Boy, 3. On Our Way Back Home, and 4. All I Want Is You. Side Two claims 23 54: 1. I Got a Feeling, 2. Let It Be, 3. Don't Let Me Down, 4. Sweet and Lovely Girl, 5. Get Back, 6. When You Walk Christmas Message.

August 24, 2011
In Under, Not Toward - Benjamin Boretz [from Inter/Play]

In the '80s at Bard the synth of choice was the Crumar, which in my head for some reason is always spelled with a K. This 20 minute solo session trots out the sound in all its shaggy glory.

Corinthian Perspectives on Ukelele, Doritos, and 8 Resonant Pipes - Banned Rehearsal

Participants: Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, and Neal Meyer. A short exquisitely gentle session from early in 1985. After our first live performance we experimented with forms of framing other than our usual practice of playing until the tape ran out. I'm guessing we were thinking that if we were to play again in public it might behoove us to do shorter bits.

A Cat's Life Act I - Keith Eisenbrey

This was the last of my takes from February 2002, and by far the most solid. Here is another of Karen's fine illuminations from the score. At the end of Act I Hero Cat falls asleep. He doesn't re-awaken until the very end of Act III - though he has an active mid-nap life.

August 25, 2011
Assembly Rechoired 44 - Assembly Rechoired

When Banned Rehearsal was at its most geographically diffuse, Karen and I would often make tapes together as Assembly Rechoired. The name and sequence of numbers continued and now constitutes all those sessions in which Karen & I participated but in which neither Aaron nor Neal was present. This session was from April of 2000. Karen & I are joined by our son John (who was 9 at the time) and our frequent guest and neighbor Pete Comley. The session increases like a huge leaky silk balloon slowly failing to be filling from supine quiet.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 Track 3 - Keith Eisenbrey, Mike Marlin

Recorded live at Gallery 1412, five minutes of scrapy twangy.

Gradus 175 - Neal Meyer

A lovely session. Thinking about aspects of John Cage as attempts to abstract the concrete out from within the rhetorics of musical abstraction. Never have the several A-naturals felt so alien to each other.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



August 14, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 568 - Banned Rehearsal (from April 14, 2000)

My index shows the participants to have been Karen, Aaron, and myself, but I'm not sure Anna and Neal weren't there as well judging from some of the sounds. This session, though often wonderful and getting to a lovely peaceful plane at the close, brings up one of the perennial discussion points that makes Banned Rehearsal such a lively argument (and I admit to framing that discussion point to skew): Is falling into a groove, even when it feels good, likely to lead us somewhere unexpected and unexplored, or is it a retreat to the familiar and the known? From my standpoint the other side of this argument comes across as: What have you got against music? For me, in the context of improvisation especially, but for that matter in a more global compositional sense also, it isn't music as such I have a problem with, it is the known, the too easy, the facile, and the clever. All of these things tend to blind us to more strenuous possibilities.

Sounds of the Underbrush 2/28/2005 track 2 - Keith Eisenbrey, Mike Marlin

Two distinct parts: the first clattery and the second luminous and pretty.

Extracts 9 - Keith Eisenbrey

Part of a midi-enabled music analytical experiment based on Scriabin's Prelude op.74#4. If a piece of music is considered to be based on or derived from a certain pitch set, then it would be interesting to find a way to hear exactly how that pitch set and its transformations sit within the rhythm-scape of the piece. If we were to analyze a piece of music as being "in C-Major", for instance, then we could play through the piece but only play the notes within the C-Major triad. One could then make different versions using each different triad, differentiating them by timbre, and also combining them together in sets. One set might be the C-Major and G-Major triads , to hear how the Tonic and Dominant harmonies interact. Each set or combination of sets would be a unique abstraction or analysis of the piece. This is essentially the idea I was using in Extracts, though I thought Scriabin's Prelude might better be analyzed as being based on the (0,3,4,7)-type tetrachord (C-natural, E-flat, E-natural, G-natural is one transposition). I made one version of 12 runs through the prelude, once on each transposition. Then I made eleven more to combine all the possibilities of combinations of bi-tetra-chordal sets in all their transpositions.

Augst 16, 2011
Careless Love - Bessie Smith [from Allen Lowe's Really The Blues]
The Old Ark's A-Movin - A.A. Gray and Seven Foot Dilly [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]
Dinah - Ray Noble [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Ends as a completely different song than what it starts out being.

I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me - Roy Eldridge [from The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]
Aviary - Charlie Mariano [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (slow version) - Elvis Presley [from Sunrise]
Bye Bye Johnny - Chuck Berry [from The Best of Chuck Berry]

In Session

August 17, 2011
Your Mother Should Know - recording Ask Your Question at the Tintinabulary, Seattle

Your Mother Should Know is a two-piece rock and roll band made up of Neal Meyer (vocal, guitar, and bass), and Karen Eisenbrey (drums). This is their first attempt to record a song, and my first attempt at multi-track recording of amplified sound. Due to time and equipment constraints, we are going about it in an other-than-standard method. First I had them play it together for a guide-track. Then we recorded the drums separately, followed by guitar, vocals, and finally bass. I'll be spending some time mixing the tracks, but hope to have a listenable version in a couple of weeks.