Saturday, June 25, 2011



June 19, 2011
The Ventures Twist Party Vol. 2 Radio Spot - The Ventures
Rapport 3  - Robert Morris, David Mott
Bryde one Brere (live) - Keith Eisenbrey - Keith Eisenbrey, Aloysia Friedmann
Three: for Keith: 2 Commentary - Benjamin Boretz
Holden Greets the World - Banned Rehearsal
Banned Rehearsal 562 - Banned Rehearsal

The first 35 to 40 minutes of this is truly fine, becoming a thought of the past, the present, and of what we just have been. At our most symphonic.

June 21, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 679 - Banned Rehearsal
Figure Study 3 - Keith Eisenbrey

Slow, disjunct tempi, with occlusions.

June 22, 2011
Steel String Blues - Sylvester Weaver
Blue, Turning Grey Over You - Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra
I Belong To The Band, Hallelujah - Rev. Gary Davis
W.P.A. - Louis Armstrong, The Mills Brothers, Norman Brown

An humorous take on the New Deal, from the thick of it. "I'm so tired, don't know what to do/Can't get fired, so I'll take my rest until my work is through".

You Always Hurt The One You Love - Bunk Johnson
Ornithology - Charlie Parker, Navarro, Bud Powell
The Wayward: San Francisco - Harry Partch

A magnificent and phenomenally gorgeous memento of lost time and lost sound. 

The Last One To Know - The Fleetwoods
Pedal Pusher - The Ventures
Tony Gave a Picnic - Ralph Shekel
Fox Chase - Coy Martin

June 23, 2011
Language, as a music - Benjamin Boretz

What do we mean when we say that a music moves us?

While studying at the UW in late winter or spring of 1981, soon after I first heard Ben's (" chart shines high where the blue milks upset..."), John Rahn played a recording of Language, as a music for us in a theory seminar. If my chart was the seduction, this was the sucker punch. A year later I was on a plane to New York to spend two years with Ben in life-changing verbal and musical conversation. But now that I can't hear Ben's voice without immediately bringing forth an image of his physical and gestural presence it is difficult to recall the sense of that first hearing: just a voice on a tape, a peculiarly articulate voice, gesturing in itself, creating a series of personae to speak with, and, as it seemed, to challenge me with. After all these years I can point to many ways this piece, and the thinking about this piece, changed, moved, the path of my life. Here is the seed of my decision to abandon an attempt at an academic career and also of any real attempt at a musical career. Through this piece it became clear to me that music and the thinking of and in it was far too vital to my self to allow the vagaries and exigencies of career to get in its way or limit my doing.

In short, this piece of six invented personae, each deeply concerned with illuminating and valuing that moment in which meaning happens, inhabits me in what I have become. It has moved me, and it has moved into me. It has become personal to me, which is all that ever matters anyway.

Saturday, June 18, 2011



June 11, 2011
One: Three: Text - Benjamin Boretz

This is the recording on the Open Space disk. Although it is in fact the same session as the recording that Ben had sent me on tape back in 1985, called there Three: for Keith 1: text, they are given different dates. The instant recording is dated 1/31, the other is labeled 1/30. This is the first time I listened to them more or less back to back.

June 12, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 219 - Banned Rehearsal

Chock full of wee incidental sounds - moving, setting down, picking up, sneezing, shifting. The playing proceeds best in staccato plosives. It doesn't quite manage to hold concentration the full 45 minutes.

PCKE 000227 - Pete Comley, Keith Eisenbrey

Pete and I play bells and gongs.

Banned Rehearsal 679 - Banned Rehearsal

Steven Kennedy joins Karen, Neal, and myself on a session full of guitars and amplifiers accumulating noise and color within a remarkable panmetric groove.

Figure Study 2 - Keith Eisenbrey

This is part of a project to explore and build a sense of keyboard figuration improvisationally from the bottom up. Attempting singularities and finding sequence, steering between a structural sense of form-making and sheer sensuality. Considering that, perhaps, the well-shaping of a sequence does not necessarily produce a sequence of well-shaped moments, that if the well-shaping of moments is given its due the sequence shape will take care of itself.

 June 13, 2011
Red Man Blues - Piron's New Orleans Orchestra
Bessie Couldn't Help It - Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

I am curious how this recording was engineered as to the balance between sax choir and trumpet - did he muffle them? put them in a box to record?

I Am the True Vine - Rev. Gary Davis

From another great collection: Goodbye Babylon

June 14, 2011
Boog-It - Louis Armstrong, The Mills Brothers, Norman Brown
Alexander's Ragtime Band - Irving Berlin - Bunk Johnston
I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You - Earl Hines

June 16, 2011
The Wayward - U.S. Highball - Harry Partch

Snapshots of journeying with wordplay.

The End - Allen Ginsberg
Passio et mors domini nostri Jesu Chrisi secundum Lucam - Penderecki

At its best in its compositional imitation of the acoustic effects of cathedral architecture. I find the final big chord a disappointment. All that work and all we get is a triad ex machina?


June 11, 2011
Festival de Musique - University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Organ Recital, featuring Stanislav Surin, Zuzana Zahradnikova, David di Fiore

Concerto in a BWV 593 (after Vivaldi) - J.S. Bach - Stanislav Surin
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV 771 - J.S. Bach - Stanislav Surin
Sonata No. 1 in d - Final - Alexandre Guilmant - Stanislav Surin

O Mensch, bewein dein Sunde Gross, BWV 622 - J.S. Bach - Zuzana Zahradnikova
Offertory on  "o fili" - Alexandre Guilmant - Zuzana Zahradnikova
March funebre et Chant seraphique - Alexandre Guilmant - Zuzana Zahradnikova

A Suite of Dances - Anonymous 16th Century - David di Fiore
Sonata on the 94th Psalm - Julius Reubke - David di Fiore
Come Sunday - Duke Ellington - David di Fiore
Etude No. 5 in c-sharp - Jeanne Demessieux - David di Fiore

This festival, at the church of which I am a member, stretched over three days. The evening prior was a choral concert in which I participated in the choir. The next day was a 2 hour service to celebrate David's 40 years of music ministry at the temple - 2 hours o'er-brimming with music. I made a decision early on not to discuss my church-music life in this blog, mostly because, due to its different social and spiritual function, I think about it differently than when I consider the aesthetic aspects of my musical life. Organ recitals, though clearly intended as an aesthetic event, often occupy an odd sort of middle ground for me, especially when presented in a worship space, and because so much of the repertoire was originally designed for worship, or was composed in consideration of the sacred.

But the instrument, when played as beautifully as it was by all concerned, does present some unique challenges to the listener, as well as unique rewards. No solo instrument can match it in dynamic, timbral, or spatial range. And the spatial aspect isn't merely the sense of from which particular direction a sound emanates, it is also and even more strongly the sense that the sounds occupy various regions in the chamber in which we listen, i.e. "That tune didn't come from over there, it is over there". Which is to say that the parts of the music become bodies in the room with us. The musical parts become concrete, other, out there. For me, this is always fascinating, and often disconcerting, almost generating a quasi fight or flight response. When a sound 'comes from' a point in space, I can accept it safely into my ear and allow its workings. When a sound has 'come into the room' with me, I'm never quite sure of my safety.

Saturday, June 11, 2011



June 4, 2011
Nights When I'm Lonely - Boswell Sisters
It Must Be True - Bing Crosby

June 5, 2011
Here Comes Cleo - Cleo Brown

I was so taken by Cleo's knockout recording Lookie, Lookie, Lookie (aka Here Comes Cookie) on Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune collection that I bought an album. Brown is the very model of supple articulation, both in her piano playing and in her singing. She has a lovely pianissimo, shivery-vibrato melodic tail-off to her phrases that is a world all its own. The later songs, some of them not much more than bad jokes, are a real heartbreak. I don't know the whole story, but if this is the only kind of material they would record for her, it's no wonder she quit the business.

June 7, 2011
Pickin' The Cabbage - Cab Calloway
Tall, Dark, and Handsome - Ivy Anderson
Zulu's Parade - Johnny Wiggs and his New Orleans Band
Brandeis - Elaine Barkin - Keith Eisenbrey

This is from my recital of November 5, 2005. These pieces are right at the edge of my capabilities as a pianist. Consequently I am so focused on notes while playing them that I find it difficult, at the same time, to project much of a coherent idea of what the piece is doing. Next time I perform this I need to spend more time recording myself and listening back. I think there is something there about the persistence of register within layered and tesserated fragments.

The Best of Lenny Bruce - Lenny Bruce

Even after all these years, and even remembering some of the punch lines, this made me laugh. A pretty amazing voice actor, among other talents.

My Special Lover - The Fleetwoods
The Ventures' "Rocketing Rhythms" Interview - The Ventures
Beaumont Rag - Frosty Lamb/Buzz Fountain
Bryd one Brere (studio recording) - Keith Eisenbrey - Aloysia Friedmann/Keith Eisenbrey

Aloysia was a classmate of mine at the UW back in mumbletymumble, and she graciously agreed to play this little violin & piano piece. She has since gone on to great things and a wonderful career, as we all knew she would. The title comes from a 13th century English song that had come up as an example in a music history class. Here is a link to a page about it. At the time my compositional method was to throw as many techniques as I could think of at the page and see which ones stuck. Use of quotations was one of them. The result in this case is kind of rollicking and showy. Aloysia negotiates my occasionally violinistic writing with pizazz. I do my best to keep up.

Saturday, June 4, 2011



May 29, 2001
My Special Lover - The Fleetwoods
The Stoned Guest - PDQ Bach
Fynne's Polka - Dwight "Red" Lamb
Leaving Here, Don't Know Where I'm Goin' - Joe K. Rakestray, Art Rosenbaum

The last two tracks are from Art Rosenbaum's magnificent 4 disc collection "The Art of Field Recording vol. 1".

Three: for Keith 1: text - Benjamin Boretz

May 30, 2001
Banned Rehearsal 218 - Banned Rehearsal
Banned Rehearsal 564 - Banned Rehearsal

A lesson in transparency and balance.

Hockets - Keith Eisenbrey

This is from my recital of November 5, 2005, and the only recording I have of the piano solo version. I am pleased that in spite of the mind-boggling complexity of composing the thing, the final effect is luminous and clear. The idea was to write a piece that was an essay in pitch-class-set content determinacy within a mod-12 syntax (the usual 12 notes), while at the same time was entirely composed of order-determinate row forms derived from a single index row within a synthetic mod-17 syntax (in which pitches 17 semi-tones apart are defined to be pitch-class equivalent). The challenge is that within mod-17 arithmetic, unlike within mod-12 arithmetic, all of the multiplicative transforms (except M-0) to pitch and order yield like-sized sets. In short, there are 17*17*17*17 distinct derivations that can be made of any row. Math types out there will realize that there are many duplications among them, but it still adds up to a huge matrix of possibilities. I had to write a computer program to calculate which mod-17 row forms would yield the required sequences of mod-12 pitch-classes. Otherwise I'd still be at it.

June 2, 2011
Gradus 173 - Neal Meyer

Neal says farewell to just three notes for many years. Next time, there will be an E involved.


May 30, 2011
Gradus 193 - Neal Meyer