Saturday, January 7, 2012



January 3, 2012
Banned Rehearsal 682 - Banned Rehearsal

Participants were Karen, Neal, and me. April of 2005. As an experimental adjunct to Neal's Gradus project we devoted a dozen or so sessions to Midden, a systematic exploration of extremely limited instrument sets, their possible groupings, and who was playing them. Neal was in charge of keeping track of who was to play what, and I don't pretend to remember the protocol. This was the tenth session of that series. The effect is to focus the sound of the session and to force the issue of composition and inventiveness within a narrow range of options. It certainly did that, but I can't help thinking that the reason we abandoned the project may have been partly because the focus was only apparent, and too easily obtained.

Sonata Liebeslied - Keith Eisenbrey

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This was a home recording I made a few days after my recital of June 2010. You can listen or download here. The score is available here. The impetus of the piece was Ben's invitation to re-compose his unfinished Liebeslied, for a pianist alone. He had done much the same thing himself, crafting a re-configured version of the opening pitch-class set (more or less) and spinning it into the wholly remarkable (" chart shines high where the blue milks upset...") of 1977. My first go at it was essentially cosmetic, and you can see my score here. This time around I decided to try something more like what Ben had done, recomposing from the seed outward. My method was to take the re-configured seed (the first six dyads), and compose a set of series of versions in which each subsequent iteration within each set was derived from the last by various mod-17 functions. The functions were derived from dyadic relations within the seed. The sets were rhythmically differentiated, and then layered into a large-scale time-scheme that reflected the rhythm of the opening iteration of the seed. What a chore! But the result is a big strong piece, at the outer edge of my capabilities as a pianist.

January 4, 2012
Grandpa's Spells - Charles Creath [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Listening to these old recordings, 1925 for this, one can only wonder, from what little remains of the sound how much had been there, and yet how much remains to be heard through the little that is left. I wonder though how much our epicure's delight in the old-timey sound as new-timily produced obscures our hearing of what was there, and if it matters.

Expressman Blues - Sleepy John Estes and Yank Rachell [from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music]

As perfect a use of out-of-tune piano as could be got.

I Got To Cross The River Jordan - Blind Willie McTell [from Dust to Digital's Goodbye, Babylon]

This is an astounding performance in which the steel guitar plays some of the words, hocket-like. To explain what he does makes it a gimmick, but to hear it happen is breathtaking.

Only You (And You Alone) - The Platters [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Let Them Talk - Little Willie John [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Help (song) - The Beatles [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine, Part One - James Brown [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Master Race Rock - The Dictators [collected from Nancy's Mix]

A self-parody of self-parody. 

Funkytown - Lipps, Inc. [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

Each of the songs, and all of them as a collection, are an essay on the ways in which the vocal and their accompaniments converse. Listen to McTell's intertwining magic act and to The Platters' and Little Willies John's understated perfection. In Help the accompaniment is a force unto itself, while for James Brown it is a cooperative endeavor, moving finally to Funkytown, where the vocal line has been dethroned and becomes the most equal among equals.

Psalm 121 - Gerald Kechley, UPS Chorale (1985), Thomas Goleeke
Banned Rehearsal 229 - Banned Rehearsal

Participants were Karen, Aaron, and me, in August of 1990. We used this session to announce our pregnancy to Aaron, but even amid the silly talk there are some fine percussion sounds.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 2, 2012
Train Case - recording The Quaker's Courtship
Your Mother Should Know - recording Rocks And Glass, unplugged, or as Karen quips: "Not Your Mother's Train Case".

I hope to have these on ReverbNation soon.

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