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

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