Saturday, August 30, 2014


Upcoming This Week

Thursday, September 4, 2014 9pm
Your Mother Should Know
The Spencer Glenn Band
Canals of Venice
Rendezvous, Seattle
August 26, 2014
Percussion Symphony - Charles Wuorinen - New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Raymond DesRoches
There are very few pieces of recorded music I feel are better served on headphones than through speakers. This may be one of them, simply because the volume needs to be cranked so high to bring the quiet stretches up from inaudible that the loud bits make me nervous for my speakers, not to mention my neighbors. Live, I presume, the effect would be magnificent - thunderous to intimate whisper.
The Flowers of Romance - Public Image Ltd.
Fastidious insistence on deliberate drabness. Upside-down sound design. Eno's flip side.
Casio Improvisation No. 1 - Larry Solomon
Cross-rhythms of frantic birdhoot in viscous undulation. Starlings flock through honey.
August 28, 2014
Two3 No. 5 - John Cage - Stefan Hussong, Hiroyuki Okano
All cues to pitch-centered listening activated in order to be thwarted.
Deceived By Starlight - Roger Zahab - Dale Speicher
steady yearning unwavers
firm vigorous resolves
shrugging off magic if possible (or)
Tango Orientale - Ole Saxe - Karen Bentley-Pollick, Ivan Sokolov
Never gives up its dance.
Midnight at the Apollo 13 - Gas Huffer [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]
This is not about being new, it is about being plugged in to a source.
In The Pines - No Man's String Band
Sthrum-heavy plain song straight play.
In Session at the Tintinabulary
August 24, 2014
Transverse Flute 140824
August 25, 2014
Banned Rehearsal 868 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Meyer
One last time on the porch for the Summer. (we presume).
August 29, 2014
Walk Home (parts 1 and 2) - Keith Eisenbrey
Last year I walked home from work (about 7 miles) one evening, meeting Karen at the half-way point for supper. This time I decided to record the experience. I tucked a miniature recorder into the right side pocket of my backpack, padding it with a wool sock, and off I went. I turned it off when I got to the restaurant and started it again when we left. The first part, from the Columbia Center at 5th and Columbia, north on 5th Avenue, right on Stewart, left on Eastlake is mostly traffic noise and a few glimpses of conversation. The second part, across the University Bridge, right on Campus Parkway, left on the Ave, right on NE 75th, left on 20th, left on 88th to home, includes my conversation with Karen, the subject of which is partly the remarkable coincidence of our chance dinner companions at Little Water Cantina. We were sharing our table with a young couple and as we talked it eventually came out that they were also Karen and Keith. We showed each other our IDs to prove we weren't pulling legs. On top of that, they had gotten married in Ship Bottom, New Jersey, which is the one place on the shore I've actually been to.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


August 16, 2014
Noisegasm, Coreena, Ron Rice, Seattle Noise Collective, Distorrent
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
It is commonly perceived that the rather static theater of performers standing behind tables twiddling knobs is a problem for the audience.There's a bunch of noise coming at us, but those responsible don't appear to be doing anything, or at least they don't seem to be doing anything commensurate with the sound. There is a disconnection between the visual and audible. When a pianist is performing, for instance, there is a clear correlation between keys we can see being pressed and the tunes we hear, and to a certain extent, between the range of motion of the pianist's arms and wrists, and volume of sound. A certain amount of this is necessary just to play correctly, but if truth be told, much of the flamboyance seen on the regular concert stage is unnecessary and frankly kind of icky.
So what's to be done if you're a knob twiddler? One option would be to do nothing at all. Another would be to dress in costume and/or incorporate a dance routine like a big name pop act (please don't). Or, as done on this night, one could provide a video back drop, a new-fangled light show like a 70's prog rock outfit. The problem then is that we read it as a film, and we want it to be at least as interesting as the sound we're hearing, or perhaps to offer a salient comment upon it, give us some reason to be seeing what we're seeing other than to distract us from the people on the stage. I really tried through a good part of the show to find such a reason for the video to be, but in the end it just looked like a souped-up spin cycle and I would not have missed it.
Complaining is now done. Each of the groups or acts or collectives or whatever they call themselves was a different take on playing with synthesizers, and enjoying the hell out of filling the space with high definition bigness. A real ear scour. Next time I'll just keep my eyes closed.
August 22, 2014
(The) Nature (of) Sound - S. Eric Scribner
I played a small part in this production. If you listen closely you may occasionally hear the sound of a toy steel drum. That's me.
None of this should work at all. A quiet sound track of birds and such with an oh-so-careful overdub of instruments all spaced out wide. And on the screen what is really just a pretty slide show with an achingly slow fade. But the effect is complete magic, as though one were plunging vertically through the experience of dawn in an alien geometry. Up, down, left, right, fore, back, all gone or rather never been. This is not a new planet, it is in (if there is anything like 'in' here) some radical cosmic otherwhere (if there is anything like a 'where' here).
The installation will be up through October 24. I have linked to the gallery above for details.
August 19, 2014
Symphony in C "Leningrad" - Shostakovich - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Berglund
The concern here is the mediation of the personal with the public. The cumulatorific set-piece in the first movement notwithstanding, the most typical gesture is a retreat into isolation. Very slowly it is acknowledged that we are, after all, in a public space together. And so, each of us takes what we are given, transforms it a bit, and passes the baton to the next of us. The musical material itself, for all its coloristic shenanigans, is as abstractly functional as could be. This little theme takes us up a Major 2nd. This one shifts the focus from the 3rd of a harmony to the 5th. They are bricks.
August 20, 2014
Concerto for Oboe - Strauss - Staatskappele Dresden, Rudolf Kempe, Manfred Clement
A bit more complaining: this recording is engineered so that the solo oboe has the sheer volume to be in front of anything and everything. This seems to my ears to be a gross exaggeration of what I hope was intended to be a more subtle play of balance between the forces.
Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth - Howard Hanson - New World Chamber Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, Carol Rosenberger
The material is packed tight, trunked for decades. The creases have become permanent.
August 21, 2014
Maybellene - Elvis Presley [from The First Live Recordings]
Lover's Island - The Blue Jays [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
The line between doo-wop and barbershop is nowhere thinner than here.
The Owl and the Pussycat - Stravinsky - Adrienne Albert, Robert Craft
As perfect an art-song as there could be. It is utterly endearing but eschews sentiment or word-painting, focusing the sing-song rhythm of the text, illuminating coolly, just enough. All that and a contrupantal accompaniment as runsible as could be.
The Line Between Love and Hate - The Persuaders [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]
In Session at the Tintinabulary
August 16, 2014
Like a Bird on the Deep - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey
The Packard
Karen and I recorded a version of my hymn tune composed to a text by Fanny Crosby. We did this partly as part of a project to record all my hymns and partly as a 90th birthday audio-card for our Aunt Mary Ellen Juhola, who so graciously passed her beautiful old pump organ to us recently. There is a bit of wheezing and creaking but Karen and the harmonium both sound pretty good.
August 18, 2014
Gradus 249 - Neal Kosály-Meyer
In time past great effort was placed on transcending the bar-line. These days we are struggling with the metaphor of the singular note, with the irreducible token of information. Dissection is a common strategy, or we might collide them like protons.
The second half of the session was a cat's cradle.

Saturday, August 16, 2014



August 10, 2014
Bucktoad, Canals of Venice, Your Mother Should Know
Your Mother Should Know - Skylark
Skylark Café - Seattle
Bucktoad is a solo act, a guitar-wielding he-minstrel singing a short set of clever songs about (mostly) love gone wrong. The style is clearly on the rock (urban) side of bluesy-folk, but it wouldn't take much to slide it over into straight country blues.
Canals of Venice played a longer set, as befits their larger ensemble (now with a drummer!) and more varied arrangements. The front-man and instigator, Rob McDonald, has collected an array of fine musicians to match his big tenor voice. It is an odd mix - acoustic guitar, bass, viola, cello, trumpet, and drums - and it's range is expanded even more because many of them also sing more than creditably. They're working on putting together a theater piece (hey kids! let's put on a show!)
Canals of Venice - Skylark
Your Mother Should Know is of course my brother-in-law (guitars/keyboard/vocals) and my spouse (drums/vocals). They have just finished recording an album, which is still in the mixing-mastering laboratory, but since it was Neal's birthday they played the whole thing and then some.
Karen - indubitably cool rock star
In Session in the Tintinabulary
August 11, 2014
Banned Rehearsal 867 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer
Once again on the porch.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Upcoming This Very Evening
Your Mother Should Know
Canals of Venice
August 10, 2014, 7pm, at the Skylark. All ages!
August 3, 2014
Asrael - Josef Suk - Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Vaclav Neumann
I was thinking about the titles of musical works and the degrees to which, and the ways in which, those titles, and our various understandings of them, color our experience of episodes of musical experience. Specifically I was interested in how a title, if allowed, groups its instant work into a literature of like objects. Symphonies can be compared to each other, as can concerti, string quartets and piano sonatas. The flowering of program music in the 19th Century, among other things, forced a door (or merely removed the illusion of a door) between concert music and allegory, mapping explicit ideas from outside into the pure (or stagnant) realms of music. Titles such as Symphonie Fantastique reveal the dialectic: pure symphony or story told? Is there a program? Why do I need a program if it works as pure music? If it doesn't work as pure music how could it work as program music? Asrael is deeply invested in this dialectic, but the spectacular elements of Berlioz and Liszt have vanished. Death is not played here at the remove of the big screen. The sublime is for keeps.
August 5, 2014
The Gong on the Hook and Ladder - Ives - New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein
I was going to say "talk about your spectacular elements" but there's something more going on here. Not a picture, but a poem or conceit, concerning or from an imaginary point of view. We are the title object and we have a sound comprised of our receptions, through our life's duration, of the sounds of our surroundings. We are what we have heard.
4 Impressions - Griffes - Olivia Stapp, Diane Richardson
I wonder if the vernacular ghost of Stephen Foster lurked too closely behind Griffes to allow him anything but this starchy oh so artsy style of song writing.
Concerto in C - Prokofiev - Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit, Kun Woo Paik
All sorts of things can be strung along a steady riotous pulse.
August 6, 2014
Mass - Frank Martin - Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Robert Shaw
A completely devastating piece of work. Clarity and inflection are painted here, not words.
Liberty Theatre, Toppenish, WA - July 2014
August 7, 2014
Piano Concerto 2 - Bartok - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini
The concert abstract in your face. This is built of bricks and so it is.
Carmina Burana - Carl Orff - London Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus, Eduardo Mata, Barbara Hendricks, John Aler, Hakan Hagegard
It would be easy to dismiss this work as an overblown Les Noces wannabe, were it not for the fact that, it seems to be establishing itself culturally as a kind of sinner's Messiah: On Christmas we sing-along with Handel, but on New Year's Eve it's Orff all the way. A series of short pieces, strongly pulsed, constructed with such narrow pitch material that the particular slant each has on the idea of tempo is the real point, strung together for contrast and sequential impact. One would almost think it's a '70s concept album stripped down to bare punk and re-imagined as though the universe had never heard of rock and roll.
In Session at the Tintinabulary
August 3, 2014
Takemine 140803 - Keith Eisenbrey
The blogger on woodchips - Seattle - August 2014
Trying something a little different: playing two sessions following each other immediately and then layering them. End result is three little improvisations. Not sure yet where it might go.
August 4, 2014
Gradus 248 - Neal Kosály-Meyer
A Short History of Pitch-Class Colonization in the New World:
expand realms
start over
consolidate gains
start over (armored)
start over
apply policy

Saturday, August 2, 2014



July 27, 2014
Die Walküre Act 1 -  Wagner - Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Karl Böhm
Longmire - Mt. Rainier National Park

Slowly unpeeling layers of, and then suddenly springing, a deeply wrought trap.

Quartet in G minor Op. 25 - Brahms, Eastman Quartet

Four answers four. Two answers two. One answers one, until it all flies apart. But even the flying apart is answered up to down, left to right.

On another topic - the well-known orchestration of this piece by Schoenberg has been offered as an example of what Brahms could have done had he been a coloristic orchestrator. But I think Brahms's piano quartet version demonstrates that he was exactly that all along.
Les Saisons - Tchaikovsky - Ramzi Yassa

Ramzi Yassa
Fascinating little pieces for solo piano, carved with the exactness of a Chopin Mazurka, but ingenuous as Album für die Jugend.

July 29, 2014
Symphony in A (Original Fassung) - Bruckner - Staatskapelle Dresden, Eugen Jochum
A symphony of leftovers, scraps. The unfitted fragments of ever and anon hung from a wire in bare space.

July 31, 2014
Variations Symphoniques - Franck - Orchestre Philharmonique De Liege, Paul Strauss, Aldo Ciccolini
An economy of balance attended with all the fussiness that Bach applied to keeping his voices in order.
2 Impromptus a la Mazur Op. 7 - Scriabin - Michael Ponti
Stepwise motion a la Escher.
Jungfrun I Tornet - Sibelius - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Neemi Järvi, Erland Hagegard, Jorma Hynninen, Tone Kruse, The Gothenburg Concert Hall Choir, Gunno Palmquist
Avon, Montana - 1988
Among other things this little one-act opera traces a path through 19th century operatic posturing, from Rossini through Verdi to Tchaikovsky.
Les trois valses distinguées du précieux dégoûté - Satie - Frank Glazer
All hat and no cattle.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

July 27, 2014
Silvertone 140727 - Keith Eisenbrey

A short improvisation on an electric hollow-body guitar.

July 28, 2014
Banned Rehearsal 866 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt

Once again, on the porch in the cool of evening, making very little sounds.