Saturday, September 8, 2012



September 1, 2012
Sidewinder - University Heights Farmer's Market, Seattle
James DeJoie: Reeds/flute, Jim Knodle: Trumpet, Everett Sarono: Guitar, Ryan Berg: Bass, Dylan Savage: Drums

On a perfect Saturday afternoon we sat on the grass in the shade sharing excellent El Salvadoran Pupusas and enjoyed this fine local souljazz outfit. I believe this is the first time I have heard an instrumental cover of the Lennon/McCartney song The Word, a song so precisely of its era that it sounded dated within a week. And yet, turned just a bit to the side and it became a Chicago-pop nod to Miles Davis. It got a bit warm for us, so we took a bus downtown to catch the last day of a gallery show only to find the door locked. So instead we stopped in at SAM to see the exhibit of Australian Aboriginal art. If you missed it, like we almost did, you missed the loudest music ever seen on Seattle walls. Ear purge jacked in through the eyes.

September 4, 2012
Empty Words/Indeterminacy - Jack Straw Studios, Seattle
Celebrating the One Hundredth Birthday of John Cage
in order of appearance: Stuart Dempster, Neal Meyer, Roger Nelson, William O. Smith, Doug Haire

This show ran from noon to midnight, and included performances of Solo for Sliding Trombone, Empty Words, Indeterminacy, Sonata for Clarinet, Writing for the Second Time Through Finnegans Wake IV, and In a Landscape, all by John Cage, and Seattle Environmental Recording by Doug Haire. We were able to attend from just past 7 to just past 9, hearing some of Neal's intonation of Empty Words, some of Roger's readings from Indeterminacy, and also his performance of In A Landscape. I scribbled two and a half pages of notes, consisting for the most part of an unsuccessful attempt to figure out how or why emptying a word would be a good idea. For my part, emptying a word of meaning is the same as emptying out my responsibility from my utterance - as though emptying myself of ego would render me innocent. I'm not buying it.

For all that, the event was an heroic effort and I heartily thank all those involved for this presentation of some of Cage's thorniest expressive artifacts.

September 7, 2012
Seattle Composer's Salon - Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Matthew Briggs had the first presentation, but since I was up next I'm afraid my brain was not fully engaged. His piece opened with canned crickets, into which big bass-y piano sonorities were ladled, with slow violin and cello. At the end the drums played a slow beat, as though descending into prog rock out of a thick fog.

I performed Preludes 9 - 16, from my 24 Preludes for Piano. The score is here, and a recording of the entire set is here on my soundcloud site.

John's bass wagon
John Teske presented a short version of a long ensemble piece that will be performed whole in a few weeks. I was still post-occupied with my own performance (the real drawback to having a piece on the show) so I am eager to hear the whole thing with the full ensemble. It is interesting how, in working largely with textures and transformations of textures, this piece throws into relief an aspect of music that is otherwise often overlooked, and which is completely and pointedly absent here: any image of number and quantity. To steal a turn of phrase from J.K. Randall, it matters a great deal that counting things does not matter.


September 3, 2012
Got The Farm Land Blues - The Carolina Tarheels [from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music]
Klavierst├╝ck VII - Stockhausen - Kontarsky
Gloria - Jan Novak
New York's A Lonely Town - The Tradewinds [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
Alleuja Psallat - William Matthias
Sequence Symbols - James Dashow

An interesting disjuncture between the textural rhythm and the harmonic rhythm.

September 5, 2012
Banned Rehearsal 240 (December 1990, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt)

Lots of big.

September 6, 2012
Confessions of a Polyphonist - Keith Eisenbrey - Neal Meyer

Neal reads my textsound score.

Gradus 83 - Neal Meyer
YMSK Drums - Neal Meyer

An early thought about how to record a Your Mother Should Know song, all parts to be performed by Neal. I think it got as far as these 60+ minutes of drum tracks.


Thursday October 4, 2012
Your Mother Should Know at Blue Moon, Seattle

Saturday October 20, 2012 concert begins at 8:00 PM
Keith Eisenbrey - piano recital at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
Preludes in Seattle Part 4: Preludes by Ken Benshoof, Keith Eisenbrey, Lockrem Johnson, and Greg Short


  1. For what it's worth: "Since words, when they communicate, have no effect, it dawns on us that we need a society in which communication is not practiced, in which words become nonsense as they do between lovers, in which words become what they originally were: trees and stars and the rest of primeval environment. The demilitarization of language: a serious musical concern." From Cage's "The Future of Music" (1974)

  2. I find that deeply wrongheaded and disturbing. Communication is our most vital human concern, linquistical or musical. We profoundly need a society in which communication IS practiced. A society without communication is oxymoronic, nonfunctional, and deeply inhumane.