Saturday, February 23, 2013

Playlist

Live
Poised

February 22, 2013
Banned Rehearsal - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Banned Rehearsals 831 and 832

We have played in public, doing more or less what we do, six times now. The first three shows came early and in quick succession: January 18, 1985, (Banned Rehearsal 23 The Fishcritic); July 13, 1985, (Banned Rehearsal 43 A Short and Simple Concert); and January 9, 1986, (Banned Rehearsal 63 Three Compositions No Breaks, with Sudden Songs); all at Brechemin Auditorium in the UW School of Music. Another 10 years passed before the next two performances: March 27, 1996 (Banned Rehearsals 418 and 419 at Speakeasy Cafe in Belltown, Seattle); and January 11, 1997 (Banned Rehearsal 440, back at Brechemin).

Last evening's performance in the Chapel, a wonderful space with a fabulous wooden floor, felt really good. We enjoyed bringing some of our noisemakers to a new acoustic, and we look forward to playing out again soon.

Recorded

February 16, 2013
That Was The Year That Was - Tom Lehrer

"We'll try to stay serene and calm / When Alabama gets the bomb!"

February 17, 2013
Banned Sectional 1 AKNWM - (May 1985, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)

Two pianos recorded on a boombox in a practice room at the UW. Every time a loud sound is produced the compressor in the box pulls the input levels way down. Every time there is a lull the compressor allows the input, with its ominous 60-cycle hum, to fill the vacancy. It turns the resulting tape into a theater of desperation: sound must be made or this space will be fill with choking hum.

PCKEE 001111 (my recording) - Pete Comley, Keith Eisenbrey

Last week I listened to Pete's recording - this is my recording of the first 20 minutes of the same session. Comes across as though it were a room.

Banned Rehearsal 590 - (November 2000, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Isabel Kosály-Meyer, Neal Meyer)

This tape takes its time finding a focus. After about 10 or 15 minutes it is solid.

February 18, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 591 - (December 2000, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Isabel Kosály-Meyer, Neal Meyer)

Delicate and transparent from the start, emphasizing metallics: bells, wires, cans, lids, and tam tam. It remains small thin and slow in ferocious consistency. Built nearly entirely of singularities and fixations, scratching only the surface of the quiet.

Februay 19, 2013
14 Songs - Kent Jeppeson
Blood and Fire, Hallelujah! canned bit - Keith Eisenbrey

February 20, 2013
Blood and Fire, Hallelujah! (100914) - Keith Eisenbrey

This was my home test of improvising along with the canned bit. Looking back on the whole project I think that the stuff coming out of the speakers is the strongest and most fully realized part of the piece. The piano improvisation, though it was in the conception from the very start, ends up sounding like an unnecessary add-on. That may be less of a problem in a live performance, where the presence of an actual person on the stage carries its own theatrical weight. As a recorded item though it falls flat.

February 21, 2013
Sonata in F - Sylvius Leopold Weiss - Lutz Kirchhoff
Portals - Carl Ruggles - Buffalo Philharmonic, Michael Tilson Thomas

Mineral homogeneity. Brittle. Cold. Ancient.

Angels (version for trumpets & trombones) - Carl Ruggles - Studio Brass Ensemble

Not monumental - mythic, but not that exactly either. More like the bedrock out of which the myth emerged.

Evocations - Carl Ruggles - John Kirkpatrick

Any pianistic figuration fancier than necessity is brutally eschewed. Its sensuality is pointedly ignored. It is the image of a mechanism evoking music-meaning data, the image of a thing to be analytically considered.

In Session at The Tintinabulary

February 18, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 830 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer

This in from Steve: "One member of my little plethora of 'beat slicing' programs made 893 samples out of session 830 in a vain attempt to find a pattern. Ha!"

Later: "heretofore unknown software features department: when our 893 samples were imported into another program a 'groove' created by the beat slicing program generated 192 'patterns' of various subsets of the 893 samples at '70 bpm' which can then be arranged on a timeline."

Cool!

Upcoming

Saturday May 4, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Keith Eisenbrey and Neal Meyer at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
Music for solo piano:
Eisenbrey: Welcome to my planet. I come in peace.
Meyer: Cage - Solo for Piano

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Playlist

Coming Up This Week

Banned Rehearsal Reduced to Essence
Friday February 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Banned Rehearsal at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

"Let's try a session playing instruments we don't know how to play." This simple suggestion in June of 1984 among three newly re-united musicians wrought an improvisational project of uncommon longevity and abundance. Nearly 29 years along, and with 829 recorded and numbered sessions behind us, we are still not entirely sure what we are doing. Charter members Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, and Neal Meyer will be joined by long-time collaborator Karen Eisenbrey, and by our recent adoptee Steve Kennedy in an evening of noise and exploration. Having persisted these several decades happily in private workshop mode, the February 22 event will be the group's first public performance since 1997.

Recorded

February 10, 2013
PC KEE 001111 "Bells for Lost City" - Pete Comley, Keith Eisenbrey - (November 2000)

The Kingsbury in its natural environment
Pete wanted to use some of the sounds available at the Tintinabulary in a composition project, so he came over and recorded while we half improvised half demonstrated various items. Pete divvied up his recording into 7 tracks, each featuring certain groups of sounds. The first couple of tracks were mostly bells, gongs, and tam tams. After that there were some rattles and janglies, a flute with clang and taptik, a drum, and a penny whistle with a host of toys. A challenge for me in this project, and one which I overcame only fitfully, is my disinclination to leave sounds be. My background in improvisation is to regard the process as another mode of composition and so if I play a sound I am immediately thinking how to skew and transform it. But here, to a certain extent, the idea was to record a sample track that would be malleable to composition at a later time rather than to create a unique and solid timespan.

But for the last track Pete let me loose on the piano, and the result is quite nice. There are a couple of audio issues resulting from Pete's risky improvised microphone placement running afoul of a sudden dynamic accent, but other than that he made the old Kingsbury sound pretty amazing. I am about as pleased with my compositional/improvisational thought as I have ever been. You can listen to it here on my Soundcloud site.

February 11, 2013
Gradus 85 - Neal Meyer - (September 2005)

Silence generously applied confounds ratio and number.

February 12, 2013
Gradus 181 - Neal Meyer - (August 2010)

A huge dynamic range, the correspondence among which are not just those of impact to impact, but also envelope to impact and envelope to envelope.

Prelude in E-flat Major - Sylvius Leopold Weiss - Lutz Kirchhof

A sudden staccato passage, crazy chromatics, dissonances voiced inimitably. The more I hear of Weiss the more ecstatic I am to have found him.

In Session at The Tintinabulary

February 11, 2013
Gradus 221 - Neal Meyer

The substance into which these pebbles are dropped and poked and fired can be pulled into various tautnesses by the dampers: now a liquid, now a gel, now a sheet of iron. The hissy halo of sound co-opted the whorling roar of a jet - distance and trajectory united in a luscious noise.

Upcoming

Friday February 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Banned Rehearsal at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
See top of post.

Saturday May 4, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Keith Eisenbrey and Neal Meyer at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
Music for solo piano:
Eisenbrey: Welcome to my planet. I come in peace.
Meyer: Cage - Solo for Piano

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Playlist

Live

February 2, 2013
The Sonics and Mudhoney
Showbox at the Market, Seattle

Two quintessential Puget Sound bands of yore did what they have always done: rock the planet down to its roots. When we caught Mudhoney's act at Neumos a year ago in October they were the old guys, showing us how it was done in the old days. Put them on stage with The Sonics and suddenly they're the upstart kids. Both bands played fabulous sets, but it's hard to understate the impact, even 50 years along, of hearing The Witch, the song that launched 10,000 punk bands, played full out by the makers. Punkest geezers ever.

February 9, 2013
Seattle Improvised Music Festival
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

LaDonna Smith, Tari Nelson-Zagar, Monica Schley

Bartokian nightmusic found in the back of the cupboard. Nobody was looking so it got frisky. Violin and viola imitating theremin imitating violin and viola. Viola using woody side of the bow as steel. Harp and violin and viola con-pluck and con-bow. "Have a bow. You need one." Boxes with strings to make them go.

Craig Taborn, Greg Campbell

A common complaint about improvised music is that it too often follows the same trajectory: starts soft and slow, gets loud and fast. But it is not so very often that it occurs with the carefully measured increment and just perceptible gradations from bells & gongs bending pianissimo tones to the ten simultaneous games of speed chess that these gentlemen brought to life. Followed by a poem.

Tucker Dulin
Tucker Dulin

Landscape: a nocturnal plain hours from everywhere. Highways variously distant. None near. An immense dark sky. Trucks doppler by, interrupted by unseen landforms, twisted by airmasses shifting.
Trombone and mute and chair and human.
Complete and lovely.






Recorded

February 5, 2013

King of May - Allen Ginsberg

Another day in the life of Mr. Ginsberg.

Banned Rehearsal 33 - (May 1985, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer)

A chorus of liberated intonation. We must have decided to do an entirely vocal session, and for quite a while it finds wonderful places and textures. After about 25 minutes I think we got light-headed, so it went all silly.

February 7, 2013
Banned Couple 8 - Banned Rehearsal

Two early sessions mooshed together - miniatured - tightly bound - a mutual interruption upon a murky hum.

In Session at The Tintinabulary

February 4, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 829 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer

Upcoming
Since 1984, an argument in creative musical expression
Friday February 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Banned Rehearsal at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

"Let's try a session playing instruments we don't know how to play." This simple suggestion in June of 1984 among three newly re-united musicians wrought an improvisational project of uncommon longevity and abundance. Nearly 29 years along, and with 829 recorded and numbered sessions behind us, we are still not entirely sure what we are doing. Charter members Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, and Neal Meyer will be joined by long-time collaborator Karen Eisenbrey, and by our recent adoptee Steve Kennedy in an evening of noise and exploration. Having persisted these several decades happily in private workshop mode, the February 22 event will be the group's first public performance since 1997.

Saturday May 4, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Keith Eisenbrey and Neal Meyer at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
Music for solo piano:
Eisenbrey: Welcome to my planet. I come in peace.
Meyer: Cage - Solo for Piano

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Playlist

Live

January 31, 2013
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Ludovic Morlot, conductor

Turangalîla Symphony - Olivier Messiaen
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano; Cynthia Millar, ondes Martenot

ondes Martenot
I have come to the music of Olivier Messiaen only recently, and this was the first time I had heard this massively ambitious work, behind which lurk the specters of Berlioz, Busoni, and Strauss. I do not expect to be able to grasp such a huge and clotted thing on first blush, and I have been interested over the last few days that though I found much to dislike about it I also found much to think about. I am guessing therefore, and hoping, that closer acquaintance with it may clarify for me the image of those aspects I initially find off-putting and recalibrate them into pieces of a larger design.

The first thing I wrote in my note-book was "super-accoutred". The lushness of the scoring is only occasionally remitted by exquisitely delicate duets and trios. Each line is stuffed to bursting with big "O" Orchestration. More became more and more less and less. The go-to destination was, juice it how you will with modernist spice, the big tune wallow of Rachmaninov and other such faux-Romantics. It was difficult to shake the suspicion that, like them, once he had burdened a musical idea with a personal meaning his faith was unshakeable that this personal meaning was from then on and for all time a permanent attribute of that musical idea. So that, instead of the development of a musical idea through chains and webs of association within a shifting dramatic context (as in Wagner, for instance), we hear musical ideas in succession, standing opaquely for some poetic idea in the composer's impenetrable head.

I think though that there is hope. Often the movements just stop. Similarly, entrances are abrupt. Progression is static. These features I find deeply intriguing. They hint at a peculiar structural rhetoric akin to that of murals or collage. I look forward to hearing this piece again, and I am ever so glad that my first listening was to this excellent live performance.

But I would like to vent about performers talking and talking and talking and talking before the performance. My 'd'rothers would be for no talk at all, or at most a sentence or two. But this went on and on, with musical examples (spoilers), and egregious gushing about personalities. Please! A short demonstration of the ondes Martenot would have sufficed, but this lecture was so long there had to be an intermission before the performance. If I had been warned I would have stayed in the lobby until after the break. Pre-concert lectures, if you must do them, should be PRE concert.

Recorded

January 29, 2013
Banned Rehearsal 689 - (September 2005, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Meyer)

Opens with a thumping gradually gelling into the onning and offing of the big Wurlitzer. thump thump on off, A sawtoothy feedback wanders about the room.

January 30, 2013
Alive Against Better Wishes - Smokestack and the Foothill Fury

Karen & I caught Smokey's remarkable one-man-blues-band at the Shanty Tavern in March of 2010, just a few months after this album was recorded down at the opposite corner of the country. I have always been dumbfounded at the ability of fine blues guitarists, Robert Johnson comes to mind, who seem to play in several inter-malleable tempos at once. Smokey takes it up a few notches by not only doing that but also playing his own bass and drums. Well I don't think he's actually playing a bass, at least I don't remember that, but it sure sounds like a distinct bass part down there. When you get tired of well-scrubbed and slick, this is for you.

Prelude in D Major - Sylvius Leopold Weiss - Lutz Kirchhof

Hangs it out and sticks with it.

Guru - Allen Ginsberg - with Ralph Carney, Marc Bingham, Bill Frisell, and Marc Ribot

Prelude and a few chosen words.

In Session at The Tintinabulary

January 28, 2013
Gradus 220 - Neal Meyer

Upcoming


Friday February 22, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Banned Rehearsal at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle


Our first live performance since January of 1997. That was  #440. This will be #831.

Saturday May 4, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Keith Eisenbrey and Neal Meyer at The Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
Music for solo piano:
Eisenbrey: Welcome to my planet. I come in peace.
Meyer: Cage - Solo for Piano