Saturday, May 28, 2016



"To the recording, sound is simply data contained in time - each "instant" of time holds a certain value of pitch, intensity, timbre, etc. Time is nothing more than a container. And just as the film reel reformulates motion as a large number of pictures laid side by side, the audio recording makes it possible to turn a sonic flow into a progression through space, in foil, vinyl, or magnetic media. In a word, the recording causes sound to become reified - it is turned into a thing." - Bill Rankin, The Reification of Sound (2002) - The Open Space Magazine issue 8/9 Fall 2006, Spring 2007


Bruno Walter

May 24, 2016
Das Lied von der Erde - Mahler, New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter, Mildred Miller, Ernst Hafliger

The big beats arrive together. Between them is the subtle polyrhythmic play - meters loosed from each other, our hold on now made increasingly tenuous, desperate. It winds down to mere alternations of notes, holding patterns, the howling gravestone ape (does Ernst know the text he is singing is pointing back at him?) less than a shimmer on the horizon, effaced.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

May 23, 2016
Banned Telepath 48 Somerville 160523
Banned Telepath 48 Seattle 160523
Banned Rehearsal 910 160523 - Aibell, Jenny Chung, Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park
(near Panhandle Gap) - August 1976
All told there are currently 1,324 sound files that are part of the Banned Rehearsal project, well over 1,000 hours of whatever it is we have done over these 32 years. I got to thinking during the last few weeks about the nature of it all as a body of work. What is it most like, or, what kind of thing outside of music, were I to run across it, would strike me as being very like Banned Rehearsal? Try this: a vast and expanding landscape constructed bit by bit of junk sculptures, hundreds and hundreds of them, sharing variously persistent characteristics for sure. But the more globally one tries to take it in, the less essentially one grasps what the things themselves are. They are none of them, intentionally, compositionally, or effectively, parts of any bigger thing. Rather, the closer you look, the more fascinating the singular found moments are. The big view is deafening.

This will be our last cross-continental telepath for a while, as we hope to see Aaron and Jenny in actual person soon. Aibell is their cat, who sang for supper and gets the last word.

Sunday, May 22, 2016



"A Sentence is not emotional a paragraph is." - Gertrude Stein, Sentences and Paragraphs



May 14, 2016
Donald Byrd
Spectrum Dance Theater in Association with Seattle Repertory Theatre
The Leo Kreielsheimer "Leo K." Theatre - Seattle

A Rap On Race - Created by Anna Deavere Smith & Donald Byrd

A theater of two and more theaters concerning the minds among two and more minds. On a platform above, seated at a table, drinking, actors playing James Baldwin (Donald Byrd) and Margaret Mead (Julie Briskman) hashing out their differences at mid 20th century: liberal humanism being faced down by a desperate existentialism. On the stage below, at intervals, groups of pairs and more of dancers grope into each other's bodies' spaces to selections from Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. Minds, talk, and language bodies - face  minds, dance, and music bodies.

May 21, 2016
Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seatle

The Flying Dutchman - Wagner

This is one of those apparently popular works that just doesn't make it for me as a thing, as though Wagner were still trying to figure out how to manage what he wants to accomplish. The music starts in the middle of a storm but never really gets anywhere by it. Instead it waffles into a light comic mode overdosed with pious syrup. The erstwhile hero is a half-baked Manfred and, in a queasy trope of that era, the only faithful woman is a dead one.


Arturo Toscanini in excellent hat
May 15, 2016
Symphony in B-flat (#4) Op. 60 - Beethoven - NBC Symphony Orchestra, Arturo Toscanini

It spends enormous amounts of time and energy nowhere: befores- betweens- and afters-ville. The scale degree functions are adrift, the meters unmoored to any downbeat. Everything is exactly clear as to where it is as it, but where we are with it, as it, is just out of reach.

Fantaisie in F minor Op. 49 - Chopin - Alfred Cortot

Phrases escape the square. As long as we can keep an eye on the tiniest thread of where we've been we can find our way to a place to land.

Symphony in D minor (#4) Op. 120 - Schumann - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - Herbert von Karajan

Coming in around upon it again. Tunebits fan out like cards. The second does not follow the first, but occupies the place of the first's centering, within which we find a little story book violin concerto. From then on it is neither clear on which side of the cover we are, nor whether the music is told from in or out as we pass through the quiet fields and woods, along the brook, discovering bit by bit, turret upon turret, a distant glory nearing.

May 17, 2016
Trio für Klavier, Klarinette und Violoncello Op. 114 - Brahms - Christoph Eschenbach, Karl Leister, Georg Donderer

Fronted ideas melt into the back, nothing is here heard whole. The threads of stray variations (they may have been a part of it, had it ever all been there) lift in the wind like battered flags.

Saturday, May 14, 2016



May 8, 2016
Keyboard Sonata in G minor Wq. 65/17 - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

This one must have been written specifically for fortepiano, because it makes heavy use of the damper pedal. One imagines the composer saying to himself "Cool! Let's see what we can do with that." I suppose it was a bit like getting a new synthesizer.

The first movement is a twisted psycho recitative, the second a wide ranging emotional landscape, echoing repeated notes from register to register, the third brings itself up short. Clearing the sound is optional, stability is not the norm, safety is not in sight.

Keyboard Sonata in E minor Hob. XVI:34 - Haydn - Christine Schornsheim

The space left open by twitchy articulation is leveraged into ornamental and rhythmic expansion. Where CPEB stops short, JH pivots gracefully in finetuned variations, always in exquisite taste.

Le Nozze di Figaro, Act I - Mozart - New Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Invites you in, sits you down, hands you drink. On this big canvas the large gestures can breathe, cartooning in the relations of power: male to female; noble to servant - and revealing both the sexual lust that drives the plot and the deep social cleverness that will, for a moment, resolve the whole.

In Session at the Tintinabulary - Remote Outpost

May 7, 2016
Lincoln Park Beach Walking North 160507
Lincoln Park Beach Walking South 160507
- Keith Eisenbrey

My recording device was turned on accidentally on the walk north (along the path), so there is more handling noise, but intentionally on the walk back south, along the beach. Lots of Salish Sea breakers and kids.

May 14, 2016
Riverview Park Playfields 160514 - Keith Eisenbrey

We took a morning walk to catch the sound of baseball in its native land. We saw hummingbird perched, being very quiet, though I might have caught its itty squawk before it noticed us seeing it.

Saturday, May 7, 2016



"A tone, once duplicated, becomes not only out of perceived pulse, but out of perceived time; or rather changes the linearity of temporal perception, particularly when moments of duplication, of time doubled back on itself, occur contemporaneously with moments occurring in, for lack of a better word, the normal flow." - Aaron Keyt, Considering "Group Variations II for Computer -  The Open Space Magazine, issue 19/20 - Fall 2015, Spring 2016



May 6, 2016
Seattle Composers' Salon

Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Jake Svendsen
Centipede, for solo alto sax, opens with a midrange leap that brought to my ear, unbidden and immediate, the ambitus of the opening sax sweep in Sarah Vaughan's brilliant recording of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes on No Count Sarah. But it was as though we had appeared there in the middle of a series of brilliant pitch parkour, feline, lifting into higher planes by simple shift of weight, the glory of Basie's orchestra lighting our way as we ascend the partials on the merest quiver of tongue.

Sheila Bristow
Two Songs for mezzo soprano and piano, part of a set in progress on a dance theme. Songs of dance, if you will. The first opened with a series of dyadsingularities on piano marking the vertical pitch space, voice starting at the bottom, climbing  the ladder, or pulling the heights down to the personal, until the dyads detach from themselves, one strand floating up high, another floating low, voice, weightless, between. The second song, on a poem by cummings, is more playful, with rhythms and melody drawing short straight lines, pretending they are planes, and boofing about giddily, like a draw as you go platformer.

Steve Escoffery
Transcendental Object - a lovely quadrophonically projected, computer generated piece. Just that afternoon, while reading an essay about Language ,as a music, I was musing about a possible language that could exist hidden within our spoken tongues, a language that could only be understood by its native speakers, but whose native speakers could use any natural language as its carrier wave. In other words, a native speaker of this hidden language could say anything in any language and, simultaneously, say anything at all in the hidden tongue. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found the Steve had managed to extract it whole and lay it out for us to hear.

Clement Reid
Theater Piece #1 for solo cello - at first blush it sounded like some virtual famous (insert trademark mark here) cello solo from a literally posthumous Shostakovich string quartet. But other than a passing resemblance to the oh so particular chromatic hue of late Shostakovich, I wasn't sure why I would think of that. As it progressed though, as it unfolded itself, all the while carefully refolding in upon itself, covering its tracks, laying it out there thick so as to obscure its swift deepening inward retreat, it became clear. It wasn't the hue of its pitch space, it was the sting of its irony.


May 3, 2016
Es erhub sich ein Streit BWV 19 -J. S. Bach - Gächinger Kantorei, Helmut Rilling

Whose is the voice of the chorus? The other's, the other's that is Immediate always, begun always, continued always, The other's that arises from within,  fountain of grace. Whose is the voice of the recitative? Ours, our contemplative voice. Whose is the voice of the solo? The ecstatic's, lifted and held aloft. Whose is the voice of the chorale? Ours, our common voice. Whose is the voice of the permeating chorale melody? The other's, the other's that has always appeared from within.