Saturday, November 29, 2014



November 23, 2014
First Burroughs - Mt. Rainier National Park - September 2014
Tu m'uccidi, o crudele - Gesualdo - Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley

The second statement of anything turns empty, bitter, dry.

Konzert in D BWV 1050 - J. S. Bach - Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

A nicely balanced recording mostly, with no part artificially pushed to the front so that there exists a reasonable stratification both of instrumental timbres and dynamics. As a happy result, we journey down into the harpsichord's realm at the solo instead of having it dumped on our heads.

Symphony in D (#15) - Haydn - The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman

This opens with what would later have been a middle movement. I love the fluid concept of what a symphony could be made of in those early days, and of how it could hang together, or not, as occasions suggest.

Symphony in D minor K74c(118) - Mozart - Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood

For example, this single movement "symphony" to an oratorio . . .

Sonata in A flat Op. 26 - Beethoven - Artur Schnabel

Variations that proceed by pulling back to reveal that we have held still. Each variation is of a goodly heft. Consequently the Scherzo comes across as about the same size as one of them, the Funeral March as about that same size as three of them, in A B A immobility, and the Finale likewise: about that size.

November 25, 2014
Symphony in C (String Symphony #1) - Mendelssohn - English Bach Festival Orchestra, William Boughton

Mukilteo, Washington - November 2014
In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 23, 2014
Takemine 141123 - Keith Eisenbrey

Improvising on one of my brother's acoustic steel string guitars, on long term loan at the Tintinabulary.

November 24, 2014
Banned Telepath 24 Seattle - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy
Banned Telepath 24 Somerville - Aaron Keyt
Banned Rehearsal 874 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt

In the old days when when we made a telepath we had to wait for the cassette to be mailed or brought back from parts afar. Now the distant bits are in my email the next morning.

November 27, 2014
Chickens 141127 - Keith Eisenbrey

At another brother's house for Thanksgiving, I made this short recording of their four chickens clucking and erupting.

Saturday, November 22, 2014



November 15, 2014
Seattle Modern Orchestra
Julia Tai, conductor
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Dérive / for six instruments - Boulez
Zeremonie for computer-realized sound - Huck Hodge
Treize couleurs du soleil couchant for five instruments - Tristan Murail
Alêtheia for ensemble - Huck Hodge

I don't like being grumpy about local music, but in spite of magnificent performances all around, and the very welcome opportunity to hear Huck's music again (easily the highlight of the evening), I found myself troubled, oppressed by what I admit is my longstanding and increasing prejudice against certain social modes that cling to concert music in general, and which, as larger performance organizations attempt to juice their image for the hipper set, increasingly pervade our thinking about what counts as worthwhile in new music. For want of a better label these are the modes of professionalism - music as career rather than adventure. Here's the thing: professionalism in musical performance practice demands music with professional qualities. It must be difficult to play. It must be significant. It must be explainable. The risks that such music is allowed are limited. Most importantly it can't risk its own subversion. And so it cranks up the volume of its own pretense until we, and it, are deafened.

November 18, 2014
A Sun Ra Centenary Special Event!
Sun Ra Tribute Band
Jones Playhouse, Seattle

The music seeps in from above and behind. It sets up shop for us, with us, as much a social entity in action as a music. When the visitation is over it seeps back out, into the surroundings among us.


November 17, 2014
Then He Kissed Me - Moe Tucker, Sterling Morrison, Sonny Vincent, Don Fleming, John Cale

The best part of this is the intensely weird hollow-in-the-gut left-in-the-lurch emptiness that lingers after the last sound.

The Sentient Insect Variations - Island of Lost Plants - Pete Comley and Dave Fuglewicz

A film from which the visual has been leached away. The plants, or their alien chemistry, are responsible.

November 20, 2014
Namu-Amida-Butsu - Artur Avanesov - Paul Taub and Artur Avanesov

The piano, as a tam-tam, is not, at first, an accompaniment, but a geography in which flute lives.

Talking To A Wall - The Gropers - [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]

Just under two minutes long, it is absolutely magnificent for the first minute-and-a-half, then, unfortunately, deflates.

Eco Slab Gong - S. Eric Scribner

A horde of land barnacles on the move. Be very afraid.

Inside the Stinger
In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 16, 2014
Silvertone 141116 - Keith Eisenbrey

Improvisation on hollow-body electric guitar, through an amp with spring reverb.

Saturday, November 15, 2014



November 11, 2014
Ramones - Ramones

My first introduction to the Ramones was sometime in 1980 or 'so, in what I recall was one of John Rahn's theory seminars at the UW. Neal had brought some records in to share. My immediate impression, simultaneous to the gutpunch sound, was that of a music stripped down to its structural components, and those stripped down to just enough to count as such. Crank up the volume and voilá! Ramones!
me, ca 1976, without hat

And so I took this opportunity of listening, perhaps for the first time, to the whole of their first album with an ear to just what music-rhetorical devices they allowed themselves. Not surprisingly, there is more here than two chords and the truth. But what did surprise me was, halfway through, as I was registering the intentional distinctness of the various devices - here's a drum solo thing (nothing in the way) :: here's a guitar solo thing (nothing in the way) :: here's a backing vocal thing (nothing in the way) :: etc. - the generally well-timed phraseology of the whole (in ample and unambiguous meter), and the power that can be born of fully inhabiting a narrow affect-space, that there popped in my head another creative musician, from another aesthetic planet entirely, whose piano sonatas especially could be potently described in the same terms: Schubert.

Not where I thought I'd end up when I sat down.

me, ca 1981, with hat
November 13, 2014
Season of Glass - Yoko Ono

Ms Ono is of course not primarily a recording artist. Or rather she is one also, but as an aspect of wider-ranging multi-medial activity. So it is probably a mistake to take Season of Glass at face-value as a pop-music-album-shaped artifact in the same way we might, for instance, take a release by a more commercially oriented singer. In other words, it has the requisite production values, but it goes somewhere askew. The songs are uncomfortable in their clothes, the sentiments just wrong for what one imagines to have been expected or hoped for by the hordes (in terms of a memorial). Instead it hovers oddly in a space between private and public. We wonder, useless, why we are here with this, as she wanders, helpless, in an unchosen public space with us.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 9, 2014
Peavey 141109 - Keith Eisenbrey

The link above will take you to the folded version of this solo improvisation. The instrument is my brother's Peavey solid-body electric guitar, currently on loan at the Tintinabulary. I recorded directly into a Zoom R24.

November 10, 2014
Banned Telepath 23 141110 Seattle - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer
{Banned Telepath 23 141110 Somerville} - Aaron Keyt
Banned Rehearsal 873 141110 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

The Banned Telepath project began in August of 1984, not quite two months after Banned Rehearsal itself. One weekend Neal was going to be out of town, and rather than have a by-week we decided to make tapes concurrently (more or less) and mix them together later. The project persisted through the 80's during our educationally-induced diaspora. The last telepath before the instant was made in Seattle on December 29, 1989, intended for Banned Rehearsal #200. For one reason or another the far-flung members never got around to making their side. We remain hopeful this will happen someday. In the early days the mixing was done using three tape decks and 2-to-1 patch cords. Lately, as I transferred all my tapes to digital media I was able to re-mix these with an ear to a more balanced result. As we enter another temporary displacement of personnel we can look forward to more of these. Here, the Boston component was delivered in pieces, by email, and assembled at the Tintinabulary. I arbitrarily clunked it down more or less in the middle of the longer Seattle helping.

Saturday, November 8, 2014



November 1, 2014
Don Giovanni - Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seattle

Listen again to the opening chords, how the bass emerges, swallowing. The entire argument of the opera played out in a few seconds.

Carbon Glacier, Mt. Rainier National Park - 1976
November 7, 2014
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Jacob Zimmerman - selections from a larger set of duets

Jacob was joined by Christian Pincock and Jeff Draper (is that right?) in three duets involving combinations of tenor sax, trombone, and a tray full of electronics featuring a hot pink telephone handset. Each duet proceeded as a series of discrete event-moments of carefully varied length, each event-moment a lively duality within itself - like a first-species counterpoint of timbre-complexes.

S. Eric Scribner - selections from a larger set of compositions involving field recordings and found

I was involved as a performer for Steve's pieces so I don't have a good read on how these came across. Only one of the three selections (the middle one) had a written score, essentially just outlining the density of things to do. The two others consisted of the instructions "kind of noisy" (the first one) and "sustained sounds" (the third one).

Nat Evans - a study using field recordings from The Tortoise

Layers of desert wind, horse-bells and cow-bells (Mahler's last sounds?), deep gongs. Images of movement within stillness and stillness within movement, all of it palpably ancient.

Keith Eisenbrey - J - a solo piano piece written in remembrance of the late J. K. Randall.

I wrote this piece in the Chapel Performance Space last September, while listening to Neil Welch remember the victims of the Cafe Racer shooting. The recording is available on my soundcloud site.


November 1, 2014
Two Episodes from Faust - Liszt - Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, James Conlon

This is the stage scenery in which one imagines operatic action taking place. Particular drama needs to be supplied by the audience's sensibility. There is nothing given but an ambiguous trajectory.

November 3, 2014
Schicksalslied - Brahms - New Philharmonia Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Ambrosian Chorus, John McCarthy

What has been prepared slips to the side. What persists is interrupted, deflected. What we build, dauntless, evaporates.

Variations on a Rococo Theme op. 37 - Tchaikovsky - Northern Sinfonia Orchestra, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, Paul Tortelier
Sonata-Fantasie in G-sharp minor - Scriabin - Michael Ponti

If this were a film the camera would always be in motion, circular, dancing around its subject.

Symphony in C-minor (#1) - Bruckner - Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, Gunter Wand

Like Berlioz, Bruckner has a characteristic flavor of non sequitur. Where Berlioz will drop in just exactly the wrong affect (and then demonstrate that it was exactly correct) Bruckner goes for registration or scale, lurching us forward in time or plummeting us from tiny to vast, or vaporizing the solid rock we were clinging to, leaving us utterly without being.

November 4, 2014
Love Songs After Foster - The Gregg Smith Singers, The New York Vocal Arts Ensemble

Comfort music then: cleaned up for parlor use, non-threatening - possibly even worse now: the nonironic ironic nonironic.

Concerto in C minor (#2) - Rachmaninoff - Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, Serge Rachmaninoff

Imperialism's fatal nostalgia for its own sweet fictions.

The Ragtime Dance - Scott Joplin - William Albright
Finale aus der III Sinfonie - Louis Vierne - Stanislav Surin

Sound fills space from all sides, dissociating what we are hearing from any possibility that a single person could be responsible for it all.

Renard - Stravinsky - Columbia Chamber Ensemble, Igor Stravinsky

The first, and perhaps only, punk rock opera. Brutally perfect.

6 Songs op. 14 - Webern - Heather Harper
Concerto #1 - Bartok - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini
String Quartet - Ruth Crawford Seeger - Pellegrini Quartet

a thorny hedge
a hashing out in court of law
a discussion in the back rows
in the trees just past firelight undulating

November 5, 2014
Psalm - David Diamond - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

A neo-classical mind struggles with the facts of violence.

Melancholy Baby/Rhythm Riff/Nice Work If You Can Get It - Thelonius Monk [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Naked City - Raymond Scott [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

The sound is a stunner: a nearly shrill violin, a baritone sax up from miles deep.

Women In My Life  - John Lee Hooker

The guitar sound pulled fat and the stomp stomp stomp stomped with some crazy palmwine mojo, this is in no meter known to any but JLH.

Klavierstück XI - Stockhausen - Aloys Kontarsky
One Little Star - The Fleetwoods

Self-absorbed, cushioned, protected, oblivious.

Quartet in F minor (#11) - Shostakovich - Fitzwilliam String Quartet

As though from in hiding. Music for narrow dark passages.

The Lovers - Samuel Barber - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Schenck, Dale Duesing

The odd politics of inflating personal intimacy into the realm of corporate expression. Or perhaps merely the high-falutin' counterpart of The Fleetwoods' eternal adolescence.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 2, 2014
Samick - Keith Eisenbrey

Improvising on a miniature electric guitar.

November 3, 2014
Gradus 255 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2014
Symphony in B-flat, Op. 38 "Spring" - Schumann - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

This is a frustrating performance of what can be a magnificent piece. Too slow, too unremittingly legato, too blended and bland a sound - heaven forbid an oboe should sound noticeably different from a flute! It is as though a choice had been made for each passage as to what counts as the main line, and everything else is sent to a muddy purgatory. This is death for a piece that really lives in the articulation and commentary of the insurrectionist inner voices and counter-melodies. What could be radical becomes merely serious and stolid.

October 30, 2014
Die Walküre, Act II - Wagner - Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Karl Böhm, James King, Leonie Rysanek, Gerd Nienstedt, Birgit Nilsson, Theo Adam, Annelies Burmeister, Danica Mastilovic, Helga Dernesch, Gertraud Hopf, Sieglinde Wagner, Liane Synek, Elisabeth Schartel, Sona Cervena

As the trap springs each of the four major characters makes a choice between two of their opposite gender: Sieglinde between Hunding and Siegmund; Siegmund between Sieglinde and Brünnhilde; Wotan between Brünnhilde and Fricka; and Brünnhilde between Wotan and Siegmund. The act starts and ends in hyper-emotional disarray, but at the quiet center it is Wotan muttering to himself (in the person of Brünnhilde) that provides the dramatic fulcrum.

Winter gathering
In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 25, 2014
Mitchell 141025 - Keith Eisenbrey

I improvised on acoustic steel-string guitar, recording through a pick-up directly into a Zoom D24. I have been "folding" my improvisations overlaying the second half over the first, which is what you will hear by following the link. I've also been experimenting a little, resulting in this.

October 27, 2014
Banned Rehearsal 872 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosàly-Meyer

When we started Neal had not yet arrived and there was the possibility that Aaron would be making a companion tape in Boston. If the latter had occurred (it didn't) this would have been Banned Telepath 23 Seattle, the first "Telepath" since 1989. If Neal had not arrived (he did) this would have been Assembly Rechoired 56, the first since last year.