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.

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