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.