Saturday, November 26, 2016



November 19, 2016
Finnegans Wake Project
Gallery 1412, Seattle

Chapters 1 and 2 - James Joyce - Neal Kosály-Meyer

In case we had forgotten, Neal brings us up to date on the story so far. The body laid to rest and the crime rumored about. Chapter 3 will be performed at the Chapel on December 17, 2016.


November 20,2016
I did not pay the price on the label
The Best Of Times - Styx [a Rescued Record]

A full Las Vegas style production. Strangely timely.

Guess I'm Falling In Love - Jad Fair, Moe Tucker, Kate Messe, Barry Stock [from I Feel So Far Away - Moe Tucker Anthology 1974 - 1998]

Focus guaranteed. That firehose is, in fact, directed at your face.

Self Portrait in 69 Shades of Grey - Michael Leese - Burning Dog Music Ensemble

Nothing whatsoever to do with the recent infamous book and movie: this predates all that by nearly 25 years. This begins in late 20th century chamber music territory, flute, harp, some brass. An electric bass enters and some cages are rattled and it wanders into jazz band land. ML was a composer I became acquainted with back on CompuServe, when that was a thing. This was one of several tracks on a cassette - transportable medium of choice at the time. We lost track of each other at some point. I was sorry to discover that he had passed away several years ago at the age of 49.

Little Mouth - Sleater-Kinney [from Call The Doctor]

Lust and Disgust shout each other blue in the face.

Doomsome Otherings (reading session unedited) - Keith Eisenbrey - Seattle Creative Orchestra, Roger Nelson

Freefloating passages in a partly clogged rehearsal bay. The music's parts, set adrift, have jostled loose. What comes through, even early on, is the orchestral palette, and a sense of how the colors shift.

Get Daddy A Chicken Sandwich - The Trashies [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]

A screenplay written as a prank or novelty song. Self-parody in the mold of Black Flag or The Dictators, perhaps even leaning toward the full-on satire of Full Toilet.

Xtet: Last Dance for Milton - Elaine Barkin [from Open Space volume 29]

The space between the notes is full of mischief or tenderness. A music of teasing affection.

November 25, 2016
Ivan Arteaga and Keith Eisenbrey 160202 C

A conversation in pantomime, aiming at what just eludes text.

Die Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus III - J. S. Bach - Lionel Rogg

A typical sequence might be expected to climb up or down a ladder. These spin on tilted axes. Organ sounds tend to take up residence within architectural space, in a way that nothing else does that I can think of. Among other things this separates the voices of the fugue along different lines than implied by the score.

Alla Polacca in D Wq. 116/6 - C. P. E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Ostensibly in 3, but I was hearing the meter as a sequence of 4-beat measures overlapping like fish-scales so that beat four and beat one occupy the same temporal location.

Sonata in E Major (#31) - Haydn - Anton Nel

Once again, the sonata that my friend and collaborator Aaron Keyt reworked into a thorny and thoroughly modern semi-pastiche, and once again it wasn't until the opening of the middle movement that I recognized it.

Concerto in A K. 622 - Mozart - Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Neville Mariner, Jack Brymer

A Mozartean imitation is never direct, he delights in subtle differentiation - a narrower ambitus here, a modal shift there, ornaments full of attitude sprinkled liberally. He fully inhabits the means of his own expression, much as Ken Griffey Jr. fully inhabited his home run swing. This more than anything was probably the achievement that left the Romantics gasping for breath.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 21, 2016
Gradus 303 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Among the poking around are frequent bouts of pretty sweet timbral composition.

November 25, 2016
Ravenna Park 161125 A - Keith Eisenbrey

The sun was out yesterday morning so Karen and I took a walk down to Ravenna Park. I recorded two stretches. This first started at the top of the ravine, at 20th Avenue Northeast, and proceeded east along the North Trail as far as the ball field (where there was a game of Kick Ball in progress, what fun!) We heard and saw several winter wrens, and crows, gurgling brooks, and a conversation among our footfalls. I still need to find a good way to silence the microphone handle I'm using, but the extra noise isn't too distracting.

Ravenna Park 161125 B - Keith Eisenbrey

Once we got above the ball field, heading back along the South Trail, we heard a squeaky swing in the playground. I turned the recording back on and we marched up the damp concrete steps (a really nice sound!) and recorded a little bit of the swing in its weary complaint.

Saturday, November 19, 2016



November 12, 2016
The Campbell Brothers
University Temple United Methodist Church

This evening of friendly bluegrass-infused music was given as a benefit for the alley ministries of University Temple United Methodist Church. My long-time partner in the tenor section Dave Campbell was joined by his brother Rick Campbell - both switching variously among guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandola, and mandocello - and by Paul Elliott and Pete Goodall (on fiddle and bass respectively) for a mix of old songs and new, including covers by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. As seems to be typical with bluegrass, displays of instrumental virtuosity are interwoven with bouts of competitive self-deprecation, raised to nearly a blood sport. Many thanks to all concerned. I understand the concert raised nearly $1000!


November 13, 2016
Hubcap - Sleater-Kinney [from Call The Doctor]

Fragmentary and unfinished - in a strong, Schumannesque way. 3 parts are repeated, with a coda of back-around-to-the-top-again to hint at cycles and cycles.

me in the 90's
Doomsome Otherings (edit from a reading) - Keith Eisenbrey - Seattle Creative Orchestra, Roger

Through most of the 90's I was working in a self-consciously neo-classical style, with strong echoes of Arthur Berger and 50's era Benjamin Boretz or Elaine Barkin. Doomsome Otherings (my alternate rendering of "Canonic Variations") was originally written as a viola and piano duo in 1994, riffing on what was probably a mis-hearing of the variations in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto in C Major (#3). What I thought I heard were bits of earlier variations plugged into place in the middles of later variations. So I constructed a set of five variations (or a theme and four variations, depending on how you look at it) into each variation of which, at a set place within its schema, is inserted a bit of the surface style of the variation 3 places in front. The harmonic structure of the whole set proceeds more or less independently by a schema I couldn't explain to you anymore because I can't remember it. I believe it had something to do with transformations of pentachords in two strands proceeding at different rates. I made several unsuccessful efforts to hire players to record it for me, so when the Washington Composers' Forum held a contest for orchestral readings in 2000 I decided to orchestrate it. It's probably just as hard to play as an orchestral piece as it is for viola and piano, but Roger Nelson and crew valiantly pushed through. Many thanks to Christopher Shainin for editing the various starts and stops into a single whole. I'm still pretty pleased with the piece. Any hard-core violists out there?

Don't Care If I Die - The Earaches [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]

anger at existence.

Floorplan - Youth Rescue Mission [from Youth Rescue Mission]

Warm string kodakmoment sound, but flatfooted and begrieved - there are actual living spirits in that quiet shady street!

November 14, 2016
Cançoes Profundas - Steve Peters - Steve Peters, Rafael Carvalho, Lesli Dalaba, Beth Fleenor, Paul Kikuchi, Joshua Parmenter, Naomi Siegel, Greg Sinibaldi

Now that's what I call a baptism! Extreme inundation. You, pilgrim, have been duly dunked.

forth comes human-babble
tongues of deep :: we mimic, talk back

a cathedral a bell we stand inside
clapper voices
the sky a bell we stand under
clapper drums

distillation of ocean roll and roar

water to water :: an island enclosed
clock tick or windroar as time

alternates crisscross in the ether
thin signals from shore

shipcalls shorecalls birdcalls whalecalls
geography as memory :: memory as geography

(Thanks for the CD, Steve!)

Die Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus III - J. S. Bach - Zoltan Kocsis

These gears are in such a tight space they really should seize up. But these cogs are subtly twisted. Creation as machine.

Sonata in B minor Hob XVI:32 - Haydn - Anton Nel

Delicacy and fineness of feeling achieving a state of decadence.

November 16, 2016
Die Zauberflöte Act I - Mozart - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl Bohm

Of all Mozart's well-known operas I struggle with this one the most. Sometimes I can convince myself it all hangs together, but most of the time I can't. I was doing somewhat better this time, considering it as a parable of repression and resistance, patri- and matri-archy, animal human and civilized human. What is missing entirely are the characters that seem to have stepped living and breathing out of the past. These figures were 2D then and are still so. He could sure write a stunning tune or two though.

Sonata in A Op. 101 (#28) - Beethoven - Wilhelm Kempff

My favorite part: how those repeated chords stretch out at angry angles to any world the ostensible beat might inhabit.

Barcorolle in F-sharp Op. 60 - Chopin - Vladimir Ashkenazy

Bachlike, the melody falls to the ground in parts, spreading a single beat (from a phrase-functional standpoint) out over several measures. From theme to theme is a journey and a struggle. Before the new is achieved the old must be dismantled, and the new must be strapped together from the old's parts.

November 17, 2016
King of the Bungaloos- Gene Greene [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

It is difficult to separate the musical value from the icky. On the one hand the proto-scat, in-your-face onslaught of nonsense packs a punch, but in the context it comes across as yet another infantalization of African-American experience and aspiration. In the end all I can cling to is my extreme discomfort and dismay.

Harlem Strut - James P. Johnson [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

JPJ struts out a whole song and dance routine, complete with band and backup singers. In a way he does for Vaudeville what Liszt's transcriptions did for Beethoven symphonies.

Georgia Grind - Louis Armstrong's Hot Five - Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Lil Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr

Finds multiple x-tuple subdivisions of the shifting meter, each on, and creating, its own rhythmic plane. We have our work cut out for us, holding it all together. Those cats blowing on stage aren't letting on how they do it.

My Pretty Girl - Fletcher Henderson [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

A similar effect to GG above, but with whole instrumental groups playing at angles to each other, rather than individual soloists.

Romeo et Juliette, Quatrieme Tableaux - Prokofiev - Orchestre du Theatre Bolchoi de Moscou, Algis Juraitis

I couldn't help but wonder how amazingly diverse "symphonic form" would be if we all took this deeply imagined and delightfully bizarre sequence as permission and model. Such fun! The guitar standing in the corner happily reverberates the up-in-the-air ending.

Tryin' to Be True -Modern Mountaineers [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

The only way to tap the beat of the whole is to join in as an independent player, because that's exactly what each of them is doing. You just got to dance and that's that.

Ballin' The Jack- Art Hodes [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Deep focus on all of the above.

The Rake's Progress, Act II - Stravinsky - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Robert Craft, Jayne West, Jon Garrison, Arthur Woodley, John Cheek, Shirley Love, Wendy White, Melvin Lowery, Jeffrey Johnson, Gregg Smith Singers

An opera infesting a symphonic narrative. Or: a narrative symphony dancing with an opera. I love how at one point the harmony resolves to an old-fashioned perfectly balanced triad, followed immediately by the words "I wish I were happy!"

stray notes:

The first female words of the act: "How strange".

Into the idealistic heart a knife thrusts and twists. (Why nobody really likes satire, as in "likes").

The orchestra interludes work like a curtain: it does not change and it tells you nothing.

Zeitmasse - Stockhausen - Arthur Gleghorn, Donald Muggeridge, Donald Leake, Donald Christlieb, William Ulyate

3D space created on a 2D surface by careful use of perspective alone.

November 18, 2016
Double Concerto  - Elliott Carter - Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Arthur Weisberg, Paul Jacobs, Gilbert Kalish

Bicameral. Two concertos partially conjoined - but not at the soloists.

We Could Be Happy - The Cryan Shames [a Rescued Record]

Just darling! Like the Fleetwoods if they were all guys.

Pillow of Winds - Pink Floyd [from Meddle]

More warm glow music with slidy bass.

Montreux/Berlin Concerts, Cut 7 - Anthony Braxton - The Berlin New Music Group, Gerald Humel, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis

As though AB and GL were clambering to the top of EC's DC (see above), all its clatter and spite. At the top they share some sounds. The ground softens, the trees green themselves and darken. A harp closes the book. At the very end of the track, just before the applause is faded out, somebody on stage (AB? GH?) says "Somehow we got through!"

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 14, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 922 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Includes birthday greetings to Anchorage Aaron.

November 15, 2016
Slow Blues - Keith Eisenbrey

I have been revisiting my 1999 solo piano piece Slow Blues. The recordings I made shortly after its completion are all about 30 minutes long. I feel it moving along a bit faster now that I have gotten better acquainted with it, and this version, though still 'slow', clocks in at a bit under 18 minutes. I am taking my original dynamics and pedal marks to be suggestive guidelines rather than prescriptions. Partly this is because my current piano (an 1890 8' Chickering) responds differently than the one I had then (a 1975 6' Yamaha). For any composer-tech types out there who are interested, this is the first piece I wrote that used each mod-17 M-transform in sequence, (M0, M1, M2 . . . M16, M0) as the structural basis for a whole piece. It also takes a significant lurch out of the neo-classical, or, perhaps, slips suddenly through a crack in the floor.

Saturday, November 12, 2016



"Permission to entertain alternative experiences is neither granted nor denied."
J. K. Randall "Concerning Birds by JKR and AM:" - Open Space Magazine Issue 11 Fall 2009



November 5, 2016
Darrell's Tavern, Shoreline


strangely joyless, as though playing for their own heads

Power Skeleton

How can you not have fun if you wear a cat mask?

The Sun Giants

Has all the parts of a standard 4-piece, drums, bass, lead and rhythm guitars w/vocals. But here it's all about the bass and her wicked quick fingers.


November 5, 2016
Variations for Piano op. 27 - Webern - Charles Rosen

It stands right up to your eyeballs, studying your every blink.

Melancholy Baby - Earl Hines [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Something about the sforzando pokes into new registers that comes across as distinctly Webernian. Well yes, see above. By the end he's got that tune dancing quickstep backwards across the tables in 8-inch heels.

'Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do - George Lewis and The Original Zenith Brass Band [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Here's the shot: a circular bar, the camera aimed inward on an extracircumferential track whipping around, projected several frames per second too fast, multiple bartenders mixing drinks rapid fire, all the while juggling flaming swords.

November 6, 2016
The Rake's Progress Act I - Stravinsky - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Robert Craft, Jayne West, Jon Garrison, Arthur Woodley, John Cheek, Shirley Love, Wendy White, Melvin Lowery, Jeffrey Johnson, Gregg Smith Singers

Each ointment has its particular fly in't. Technicolor sound and stage apparatus plainly in view. It almost wears a neon sign: Caution! Ironic Remove At Work!

November 8, 2016
I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

Rides happily through the clumsy engineering on stupid charm alone. I love the variations played on where exactly in the measure "No I'm not a juvenile" enters. All those "no no no no no no no's" were oddly timely.

Stand By Me - Ben E. King [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

As was this. But: Triangle! Sandblock!

Adieu - Karlheinz Stockhausen - London Sinfonietta

I still remember Benjamin Boretz's comment about this: "when he runs out of ideas he lets Krenek write a measure" (paraphrase from a conversation in about 1983) - both funny and dead on as to how the affective disjuncture feels going down.

November 10, 2016
Evil Woman - The Electric Light Orchestra [Rescued Record]

Since the hook is pretty much all one can hear clearly as words, the song comes across as, effectively, a pure expression of misogyny. Yes I can look up the lyrics (I did), and yes it falls in a long tradition of vindictive breakup songs from all skews of gender and orientation, but really, the only thing that gets through is the bald brainwashing repetition: "Evil Woman Evil Woman Evil Woman . . ." Sorry guys, it's just icky.

The Montreux Berlin Concerts Cuts 5 and 6 - Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Dave Holland, Barry Altschul

Partly a celebration of flights of improvisatory fancy, partly an indulgence of collective intricacy - precisely executed fugal scribbling.

Indiscipline - King Crimson [from Discipline]

A music reporting back on the reaction of its perpetrator. "I like it! I wish you were here to see it!"

Live To Tell - Madonna - [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

I was amused to discover that I could sing along with her in her own register - and my upper range isn't all that high.

Breed - Nirvana [from Nevermind]

Love the way KC's vocals imitate the guitar's downstrokes in a kind of record stuck record stuck power play. Stravinskian, perhaps.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 7, 2016
Gradus 302 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Saturday, November 5, 2016



November 4, 2016
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Jeremy Shaskus - Who's Who Cues - Porter Jones, trombone; Jim Knodle, trumpet; Jeremy Shaskus, tenor sax

bare statements
bare comments
comments bare
statements bare
statements bare comments
comments bare statements

right down the middle for a beautiful strike

Neil Welch - Exit Cycles - Danielle Sampson, voice; Neil Welch, tenor sax

A dance on perilous glass
a dancer on each side (up/down) of the perilous glass
leaping landing sliding stopping
just so
against each other's
stopping sliding landing leaping
to quiver the plane of the perilous glass

Daniel Webbon - St. Helena - Daniel Webbon, drums and electronics

a chorale goaded by drums, its notes shoved into place

Keith Eisenbrey - Corollaries - Keith Eisenbrey, piano

four telemetry readouts from a probe launched through a twisted conceptual void.


November 1, 2016
2 Nocturnes op. 62 - Chopin - Claudio Arrau

staring down stillness
the center holds

tonality here is an image of how the body shifts its center haunch to haunch

Poor Mourner - Fisk University Jubilee Quartet [from Alan Lowe's Really The Blues]

This music is older than the blues,

like psalm tone singing, or as though Gregorian chant or pre-Gregorian chant had been passed down separately from euroculture, received from an older source.

There'll Be Some Changes Made - Ethel Waters [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Big soft beats, ictus cushioned in warm felt.

November 3, 2016
Comet Chop Suey - Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five - Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Lil Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr

Where is it exactly that LA's cornet playing lives?
In the fraction of time between when the embouchure forms the pitch and the valve forms the pitch.

Jesus is a Mighty Good Leader - Skip Johnson [from Goodbye Babylon]

Sings on three levels: first, the center tone; second, several subsidiary centers that are pulled back into the center tone; third, the slithery scoops decorating each center tone.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

October 31, 2016
Banned Rehearsal 921 161031 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer