Sunday, June 30, 2013



June 23, 2013
Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins

Carefully balanced and tautly stacked. Every aspect of this mix is a drum except the drums, which are nearly non-present.

Banned Mixer 3 - Banned Rehearsal

An aspect of our early sessions that pushes forward in these four-ply mixers is the heavy inclusion of pre-recorded and captured sound: phonographs, radio, other session tapes, and separately recorded snippets of the current session. One five minute stretch of Banned Rehearsal 7, a "sudden song" improvised by Aaron, is fed back in so often that by the time four tapes are stacked together 10 minutes hardly go by in which Bickleton Burger isn't heard. Somewhat random selections from my phonograph collection attempt both to borrow masterpiece glory and draw rude mustachios. The conflict between these desires comes through loud and clear.

Holmes Harbor near Freeland, Washington, ca. 1985
June 25, 2013
Banned Mixer 4 - Banned Rehearsal

Din run amurk.

June 26, 2013
Banned Mixer 5 - Banned Rehearsal

Distance, residue, attempts at possibilities.

June 27, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 40 - (July 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)

It was the 4th of July and the band was at my folks' cabin on Whidbey Island. I had not a clue that 15 months later I would be there with Karen on our honeymoon. Much of the session is given to spirited readings of my childhood books: Hop on Pop, Are You My Mother,  and a mid-sixties book about space-flight. There is a brassy strummy blatty march featuring, every now and then, some truly fabulous power beats - for a pulse or three: interstitial dynamite. But the overriding sense is theatrical and infantile. A useful bonding activity, perhaps, but not a tape I'd be comfortable sharing.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

June 24, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 839 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Steve Kennedy, Neal Meyer

We celebrated the 29th Bannediversary. We hope to make the 30th a public performance.


Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 8:30 PM
Peterman, Your Mother Should Know, Pouch
Victory Lounge, 433 Eastlake Avenue East, Seattle

Sunday, June 23, 2013



June 15, 2013
Forest Show
Ravenna Park, Seattle
works by Neil Welch, John Teske, Nat Evans
with Natalie Mai Hall, Evan Smith, Christian Pincock

Soundboards in their former habitat

Not an audience, a congregation. Not a draw, an apse. Not a ravine, a cathedral. Not a music, a sermon. Gospel according to Braxton. Long deep draughts of communal prayer. Candles. Reascension into the still light crepuscle to home.


June 18, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 39 "Hunting and Gathering" - (June 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)

Last week's post regarding Banned Rehearsal 38 explained the process behind Neal's score Hunting and Gathering. For this session we let her rip for 47 minutes. The result displays our early sound in all its cruddy glory. I'll leave the link up for a few weeks.

June 20, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 692 - (November 2005, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Meyer)

A journey into the far.

Snoho Piece 3 - Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Scribner

In Session at the Tintinabulary

June 17, 2013
Gradus 228 - Neal Meyer

Neal playing an A-natural
A milestone in the project known as Gradus for Fux, Tesla, and Milo the Wrestler: all the combinations of the eight A-naturals on the piano keyboard have now been worked. And so a little history. Neal made the first 10 Gradus recordings (45' cassette sides) in January of 1987. He was living in San Diego at the time and the opportunity to continue the project dried up. Fast forward to January of 2002. I offered the use of my piano (a 1976 Six-foot Yamaha) and DAT. He started over, and I re-started the numbered sessions. These new sessions began as 30 minute sessions, each devoted to a single combination. The last several years, in order to make some headway to other pitch-classes, he has been doing 40 minute sessions, each devoted to two combinations. Along the way the recording equipment has changed (direct to computer) and I got a new piano (an 1890 eight-foot Chickering). There have been several public performances over the years, including several short samplings at the Seattle Composers' Salon. The first full length performance was at Brechemin Auditorium in December of 2004. This outing set the standard: Three "Rungs" over 2 hours without break.

Next session: E-natural!

UpcomingSaturday, July 6, 2013 - 8:30 PM
Peterman, Your Mother Should Know, Pouch
Victory Lounge, 433 Eastlake Avenue East, Seattle

Saturday, June 15, 2013



June 11, 2013
Banned Mixer 2
Phantom Lake in flood, Bellevue, Washington, ca. 1972

A mixer among mixers, consisting ultimately of sessions 6, 7, 8, and 9. Six and Nine were straight improvisation sessions, but recorded in different locations (Freeland and Bellevue, respectively). Seven was the mixdown of Telepath #1, and so itself consisted of two sessions made on the same day in two locations (Bellevue and Bickleton). Eight was the recording of a walk through a wetland in Bellevue, followed by a drive back to my parent's house, finishing with some noise making. The disparate locations and recording devices allow each strand in the mix to retain more clarity than might otherwise be expected.

June 13, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 38 - (June 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)
Banned Rehearsal acts out, 1985

Continuing our in-session working out of the distinctions and possible incompatibilities between the activities of tape making and improvisation recording, we attempted a solution by composing a framework within which the tape making is forefront but tightly composed, eliminating the social contract problem by re-writing it explicitly. There were three segments. The first, Hunting and Gathering, was a composition by Neal based loosely on Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting In A Room. We each had a small battery powered tape recorder, and for the first few minutes we circulated quietly through my cottage recording. We then put each of these recordings, according to a schedule, into a stack of playback machines, put another blank tape in our recorder and repeated the process several times. At an arranged point in time, instead of putting a blank tape in the recording device, we put in a copy of a tape I had made by mixing Banned Telepath 2 Bellevue together 16 times (the vagaries of tape speeds in the mixing process produced a lovely flange-y stew). So, when these tapes were then placed into the playback stack they eventually folded multiple flange-y stews into the room. At this point, as the second segment, I sat down at the Wurlitzer Funmaker Sprite and played, over the top of the stews, a recent composition of mine, Trance Butchered Knight, since renamed Lacrymosa. As this wound down the others picked up ukuleles and began to pluck and vocalize. Eventually I joined them and the tape finished with this third segment, ever since called The Singing. The whole thing became known as Three Compositions No Breaks, and in that regard has a structural similarity to our more recent Chapel Event of 2008.

We were looking forward to our second public appearance soon, and this was our first run-through and proof of concept.

In Session at the Tintinabulary May 27, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 838 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Meyer


Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 8:30 PM
Peterman, Your Mother Should Know, Pouch
Victory Lounge, 433 Eastlake Avenue East, Seattle

Saturday, June 8, 2013



June 1, 2013

Zuzana Zahradnikova

The 8th Annual Harry & Myrtle Olson International Music & Organ Festival
University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle
Rastislav Adamko, violin; Zuzana Zahradnikova, organ and piano; David di Fiore, organ

Concerto in a-minor - Vivaldi- Adamko, Zahradnikova
Wer nur den lieben Gott läst walten, 8 and 9 - Friedrich Christian Mohrheim - Zahradnikova
Dumky for Violin and Piano - Ján Levoslav Bella - Adamko, Zahradnikova
Gottvertrauen  (Wer nur den lieben Gott läst walten) - Bella - Zahradnikova
Song Without Words - Bella - Adamko, Zahradnikova
Sladké okovy lásky (The sweet chains of love) - Peter Eben - Adamko, Zahradnikova

Rastislav Adamko
Our guests from Slovakia play with a not unattractive flat affect - no histrionics, no distracting faux showmanship - all concentration goes into the sound. This throws the rhythmic, pitch, and figurational structures into strong relief. If it isn't latent in the score you're not going to get it. This worked especially well in the Vivaldi, stripping away layers of encrusted effusion to leave a lean and luminous essay in balance and grace.

Mohrentanz - Tielman Susato - Di Fiore
Grande Pièce Symphonique - Franck - Di Fiore
Variations sur un Noël - Marcel Dupré - Di Fiore
Etude in c# minor (Octaves) - Jeanne Demessieux - Di Fiore
David Di Fiore

It has been quite a few years since David last performed Franck's seminal organ symphony. I'm not deeply familiar with its direct descendants in the organ repertoire, but what struck me more than anything were the carefully accumulated constructions of articulation over huge time spans - more like Bruckner or Sibelius than of what I know of Widor or Vierne.


June 2, 2013
Banned Sectional 8 KEE NWM - (June 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Meyer)

Beginning with funmaker and acoustic guitar, the first 35 minutes or so are about as focused and composed as Banned Rehearsal ever gets. It disintegrates toward the end, and although that is not without its interest it never finds a new place to hang. You can listen to that first part here for a while.

June 4, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 36 - (June 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)

Overdriven and brutal. At the time we were processing a distinction, in real time, between making a tape and recording an improvisation. The former faction (not always the same folks) seized the tools of the occasion, treating all the parts of the tape-making mechanism as fair game - microphones included. Although I have somewhat come to terms with this over the years, my general objection hasn't changed. In the context of free improvisation, if an activity has the effect of completely or largely obscuring the activity of another participant then an implied social contract has been violated. Arguably fabulous results are hardly the point.

June 5, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 37 - (June 1985, Aton, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)

More of same, with some added subtleties of aggressive and passive-aggressive behavior. Not quite as overtly gritty.

June 6, 2013
Banned Mixer 1

Step two in building the banned day (a mash of the first 24 hours of banned rehearsal) is to mix two mixes of two. One of eight.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

June 3, 2013
Gradus 227 - Neal Meyer

I spent the session continuing to think about the structure of the social dynamic in music, and in Gradus as an example in particular. To that end I played with various diagrams, identifying pertinent nodes through which that social dynamic flows. Currently:

G=Gradus (the score)
I=Interface (everything that moves in producing the sound, including parts of Neal and parts of the piano)
M=Mechanism (everything that makes the sound: the hammers, strings, and soundboard)
R=Room (the physical-acoustical space)
S=Signal (the sound that was made)
A=Ambience (the sounds from outside the system)

Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 8:30 PM
Peterman, Your Mother Should Know, Pouch
Victory Lounge, 433 Eastlake Avenue East, Seattle

Saturday, June 1, 2013



May 25, 2013
Northwest Folklife Festival
Seattle Center, Seattle

The Jelly Rollers, Samantha and Tom Braman, St. Paul de Vence, Podorythmie, Song Sparrow Research, Shelby Earl

It took us 42 years, but we finally made it to the gloriously distracting din that is Folklife. The list above is not inclusive of the busker corps saturating nook and cranny. For the most part we worked our way between two locations, catching a fair amount of the acts listed above.
Shelby Earl and band - May 25, 2013

Whether or not any particular instance of music here was properly folk music, they all bear a striking structural affinity: they allow entry at any point. In general these musics are not deep as narrative or as long-line dramatic structures, rather they are deep (when they are deep) as time-localized textures. What is there to hear can be grasped quickly, starting anywhere. What builds over time - over the course of a set, for example - is both a familiarity with the particular configuration of homogeneous elements in play, and thereby the possibility of picking up on subtle shifts among their calibrated intricacies; but also the opportunity for a charismatic performer to establish and play an intimacy with their audience. It is hard to imagine anyone beating Shelby Earl at that game.

And we got to see Emily Doolittle dance a moose.


May 27, 2013
Gradus 87 - Neal Meyer

The pitches are not presented as parts of a whole. Each is a whole, in conversation with others.

Westfalia - Charlie Loesel

Charlie is a local singer/songwriter we met a year or so ago at a fundraiser. The culture from which this music springs has a peculiarly liminal aspect. It is neither urban nor rural, nor is it exactly suburban. Perhaps it is from a poise on the edge of rural looking toward the urban, or at some residual place not quite at the center but not really being passed over. Stripmallia, perhaps, but rooted, human.

Glen Eisenbrey and Space Swag - 1980
Space Sounds - National Geographic Society (1980)

This flexi disc was part of a package that included an atlas of the universe and other astronomy related swag. It came up as a sound source in some of the Banned Rehearsals I have listened to recently. 30 minutes of searching through bookshelves discovered it still in pretty good shape. It veers wildly between hilarious camp and fascinating but frustratingly short samples of stunning things: the roaring magnetosphere, whistlers, Jupiter's dawn chorus.

May 28, 2013
Banned Telepath #3 Greenwood - (June 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt)

Layered, interleaved continuity. Wide open at all moments, (see above), though less simply obvious what it is one is opening to.

May 30, 2013
Banned Telepath #3 Bickleton - (June 1985, Anna K, Neal Meyer)

The mechanisms and quirks of the recording process and medium become as much a presence to the sound as the signals being recorded. Each step in the activity produces artifacts that we, as listeners, are only partly capable of sorting out. As bits of dialogue emerge and re-emerge we are caught up in an oddly engaging attempt to visualize the sequence, count the recorders and tapes involved, keep track of which, at any one time, are recording and which are playing. "How very very nice to meet you!" "This is how I imagine paradise." "Lying down in gravel?"

Banned Sectional 7 KEE NWM - (June 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Meyer)

Allowed space. Much of this is naught but the quiet sounds of coins being tossed.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

May 27, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 837 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer