Saturday, October 29, 2011

Playlist

Recorded

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.

Cardew
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!

Live

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

Playlist

Recorded

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

Live

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

Playlist

Recorded

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.


Live

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.

Shaprece
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

Playlist

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

Recorded

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

Playlist

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
Live

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.