Saturday, January 28, 2017



January 21, 2017
Carolina Shout- James P. Johnson [from Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]
James P. Johnson

the dancer and the bard
the arms and the legs
earth's bind and weightlessness

Sail Away Lady - "Uncle Bunt" Stephens [from Anthology of American Folk Music]

A fiddle tune doing that check in with the open string thing fiddle tunes do.

I'll Lead a Christian Life - Elder Golden P. Harris [from Goodbye Babylon]

Fiddlevoice: holding it in the mask exactly static, high in the sinuses, even when at the bottom of the tune.

Romeo and Juliet (supplement) - Prokofiev - Orchestre du Theatre Bolchoi de Moscou, Algis Juraitis

I guess these might be the parts of the project that wouldn't fit back in the box. A melody is a piece of magic. How could one not believe in magic, given melody?

Rockin' Chair - Roy Eldridge, Graham Young, Torg Halten, Norman Murphy, Babe Wagner, Jay Kelliher, John Grassi, Mascagni Ruffo, Sam Listengart, Sam Musiker, Walter Bates, Milton Raskin, Ray Biondi, Buddy Bistien, Gene Krupa [from Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz]

Snare drum finds a place to sidle in.

(I Wanna Go Where You Go) - Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra

Clarinet, with a long pointy finger, picking at the spots just after the moments where the realization of a moment occurs.

Bud Powell
Dusky and Sandy - Bud Powell - [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

If one imagines a stepped dynamic universe (pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff) as an even metric, like a steady beat of increase, the dynamics in this are in a syncopated relation to those steps.

Etudes for String Orchestra - Frank Martin - L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ernest Ansermet

Lights are on all over the house. What is thought but the play of lights on all over the house? Europe's rowdiest orchestra at the top of their form.

Gypsy Woman - The Impressions [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock & Soul]

Rising repeatedly from narrative to rhapsody.

January 24, 2017
I Can't Turn You Loose - Otis Redding [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock & Soul]

A slow harmonic rhythm with intricately fiddly internal articulative rhythms. The instrumentals define a solid long sequence, ellipsing around the big motions in orbital metrical flow.

Clarinet Solo - [unknown concert waltz recorded ca. 1971] - Paul Eisenbrey, JoAnne Deacon

From my mom's archives, a tape of my brother playing a solo concert waltz (with cadenza!) in about 1971.

Hambone - The Phillips Wonders [from The Art of Field Recording, volume 1]

that ol' bo' diddly, all done by hand clapping, collapsing in laughter.

Lover's Walk - Elvis Costello [from Trust]

Narrow bounds. Nothing will escape.

Banned Sectional 05 KEE AK 860103 - Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, January 1986

Eschewing anything flagrant. Notes played regular, lists spoken as decided. Hanging in there, unflamboyant.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 23, 2017
Banned Rehearsal 928 170123 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

January 26, 2017
Entracte (170126) - Keith Eisenbrey

I wrote this little (17 bars of 4/4) piano duet in about 2000. My idea was that others could write
independent but equally sized duets so that the parts could be mixed and matched. Neal bit, sort of, but playing his "Piano Fore-Heads" with anything else was perversely impossible. Gavin Borchert came through and we played the various combinations toward the latter part of Polestar's presence. The recording of our performance is, alas, not in my collection. I made this dubbed recording yesterday.

Saturday, January 21, 2017



January 14, 2017
I Fought The Law - Bobby Fuller Four [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

Nice triplets in there. I love the dipthong on "law", curling back on itself as though hitting resistance. Almost appropriate: Karen and I recently watched "I Was a Fugitive from a Chain Gang", which has some truly amazing sound events in it, as well as a fascinating view of the connection between the penal system and slavery.

Samuel Barber
Prayers of Kierkegaard - Samuel Barber - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Schenck

The solid tonal sensibility loses grip in places, it works to break free, struggling slowly, manages to unsettle the more settled.

John, I'm Only Dancing - David Bowie [from Changes One]

Technically perfect song-writing. The voice pushes at the instrumentals, as though it were trapped in their cage.

You Better You Bet - The Who [from Face Dances]

Postural pullback, only to return to full frontal, hiding the low point of tenderness from prying eyes. Or letting it hang.

Violin Concerto - Henri Lazarof - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, Yukiko Kamei

Icy spreads its arms and twists 
orchestral circus stage 
big top fire breathing peril 

here come the clowns sardonic 
self regarding self 

chatty nervous

Janaury 16, 2017
Adagio (3rd Movement from 11th Symphony) - David Diamond - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

Triumphal weariness, as settling to the ocean floor's deepest trench, through its subtle gradations of dark.

Good Things - Sleater-Kinney [from Call The Doctor]

Held close, stiffly still, simmering under pressure.

Work Architecture Unity And The ("17 Crags" 010511) - Keith Eisenbrey - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, Anna K, Isabel K, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Second go at it. A sense of enforced singularity of event, severing any particular participant's interest or curiosity. Salutary to the extent we find a way to do what we always do but spread over thinner space. Or: an exercise in leaving space so that we can't always fall into the always-going-on-ness, leaving space for sharper corners?

Judith Shatin
Homemade Music - Judith Shatin [from Open Space 21]

Intervals Between Events: A Study.
Intersections of sets of distances between events as motivic cells. Clearly, so as to index the sets.

The Dancer - Patrick Marland [from Hendrix Uncovered]

Easily lovely. the bass is subtly amped, close the fingerboard.

January 17, 2017
Finnegans Wake Chapter 1.3 - Steve Gregoropoulos [from Waywords and Meansigns]

Spoken with attitude. 'scuse, with AttiTude. The music allowed to attempt to overpower, the vocal imitating the lingo of partisan journalism. Drunken sbrawling squalities. Text just one ring of a circus co-occupied by dueling Captain Beefheart Impersonators, infiltrated by multiple iterations of the Chaotic Noise Marching Corps. Babble of neverending political speech. Each music change: to enter a new room.

January 19, 2017
Die Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus V - J. S. Bach - Lionel Rogg

How they do crowd upon each other! At the end (and this is frequent in these fugues) there is the sense of "OK, now we're ready to really dive in, now that the preliminaries are over."

Alla Polacca in C Major Wq. 116/4 - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

The purpose of ornamentation is to skew counting, to turn tables on the concept of number. These little pieces are about meter in a way that little else is again until Chopin's Mazurkas.

Symphony in E-flat Major (#76) - Haydn - Hanover Band, Roy Goodman

It is not simply that he moves in the unexpected way (surprise!) but that he gauges each unexpectedness so carefully, veering just so far along the circle of fifths, just so much further at the structural hingepoints: Where we have gotten to determines the depth and yaw of the veer. The slow movement has a focus that allows a huge dynamic range (a model for Schubert's late sonatas?) Then an extra fancy last movement.

Ave Verum Corpus - Mozart - University Temple Chancel Choir, Keith Eisenbrey, director, Howard Wolvington, organ

Last Fall our choir director, Chris Vincent, was in Italy and kindly allowed me to take the choir for a few weeks. He even let me conduct this justly famed anthem from late in Mozart's short life, for which I remain ever so thankful. What a pleasure! Listening one becomes so rapt that it is not until it winds down into the cadential trill that one realizes what a ride one has been on. A bit like life that way.

Sonata in A-flat Major Op. 110 - Beethoven - Rudolf Serkin

An earnest attempt to clearly play what is clearly there. He makes some interesting connections among the tempi in the fugal bits.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 16, 2017
Banned Rehearsal 927 170116 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Aaron is back from the far north for a few weeks. Hurrah!

Saturday, January 14, 2017



"And lady stardust sang his songs
Of darkness and disgrace"

David Bowie, "Lady Stardust" The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars



January 8, 2017
Star Anna & Synergia NW Orchestra perform Ziggy Stardust
Neptune Theatre, Seattle

My introduction to David Bowie was his amazing performance of "Life on Mars" and "Ashes to Ashes" on The Tonight Show in 1980. Scary Monsters is still, for me, the gold standard of all things Bowie. As I write these words I had to find the clip online to listen. 37 years ago. Still a knockout.

Star takes back orange hair
Being somewhat obsessive about collecting music, under the general theory that if I like one thing somebody does I'll probably like everything, I quickly amassed most of the existing vinyl releases. Ziggy, of course, came up early on, and its iconic status is easy to understand on several levels. The song writing is strong throughout, and though the musicianship is as superb as one expects from DB he hasn't yet got to the point where the image of hyper-professionalism is so upfront as to be a smokescreen. This, as intricately thought out as it is, is personal. My interest, at the time, was mostly in the clockwork of his performance - in how each line is sung as though from an entirely different persona, the lyrics not spelling out a clear narrative but acting more like a scrapbook, each song being a page of scattered thoughts / quotes / comments / overheard conversations and the like. There is no single voice that talks to us, but a multitude of voices, most of them, it would seem, not Bowie's, but ours.

Until, that is, at the end of "Rock and Roll Suicide", he reaches out his hand to those voices, most of them ours, in what may be pop music's most sincere attempt at rescue.

Star Anna's voice sits a little lower than DB's, and she chose not to take some of the higher full power notes, but on a few remarkable occasions she moved to a light high falsetto that took my gasp away. (More please.) She also chose to use her prodigious vocal charisma to bind all the disparate voices that Bowie commanded into single, extraordinarily rich and supple presence. By her own admission she had been working toward this performance for the last 24 years. It showed. This was personal. This was for family. For all of us in the road of salvation, we have each other.

She gathered a fine orchestra, warmed us up with a short set of her own, and followed the album's tracks with encores, including "Changes" and "Rebel Rebel". The costumes were great. My phone pictures from the Neptune's balcony only capture the glow.


January 10, 2017
I Guess I'll Have to Dream the Rest- Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers, Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra

Sleep and dream as a stand-in for sexual surrender, played from the outside. Teasing by accusing the teased of teasing. Kind of a dicky move Frank.

Hollywood Hi Hat - Tommy Dorsey [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

In its light tight staccato, a precursor to James Brown.

Early Spring - Miles Davis, The Metronome All Stars [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Everybody checks in with a quick solo. Is it just me or had Miles heard a little Tommy Dorsey in his day?

January 12, 2017
Ooby Dooby - Roy Orbison [from Sun Records Definitive Hits]

A question for my sound engineer friends: Was the fingerboard of the upright bass mic'd separately? Is that the clicky sound I'm hearing that more or less tracks the rhythm section? What is that?

Rotate the Body in All Its Planes - Harry Partch - Freda Pierce, John Garvey

No effort is made to obscure the fact of its assemblage, in production, from individually recorded snippets, discrete sets of moments. I am reminded of J. K. Randall's recording of his some old troubador songs collected from around 1200 with interludes, including his in your face low-fi announcements of the titles.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 9, 2017
Banned Telepath 53 In Flight 010917
Banned Telepath 53 Seattle 010917
Banned Telepath 53 Tucson 010917
Banned Rehearsal 926 010917 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Kosály-Meyer (Seattle); Steve Kennedy (Tucson); Aaron Keyt (In Flight)

A first! Sound from midair!

Sunday, January 8, 2017



January 6, 2017
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Nadya Kadrevis

Little Big Blue - (if I got the name right). Whatever else this was or was intended to be, what got my attention was a sense of quantum jumping from one style-world to another, from one musical-poetical realm to another, from one established set of givens to another, often within the same part, or even, as they intersected, within a single gesture or note. Given enough such jumps a ghostly image could arise, a tracing of the exact points where nothing could possibly be.

Tom Baker

from Three Movements: Slalom and Butoh - Satchel Henneman, guitar. Concordance between name of sound and motion sounded. Slalom? Yep, that's slalom all right. Butoh? you betcha, nailed it. Except that the dynamic of the concordance moves in both directions. Sound sounds name as name names sound. Switch the names. What happens? Ditch the names? Not the same at all.

Jay Hamilton

Impossible Thoughts - a live-action sci-fi-film, dancer Erica Akiko Howard living a bird mask, JH in bodily indication of verbless text. Equal parts of the best aspects of Harry Partch and Ed Wood. What could possibly be better?

Andrew Olmstead and Elk Paauw (Spooky Action)

Acts of making unmasking. A collaborative reveal. There was some discussion after about the aesthetics of the webcam's slow frame rate. Here's my take: Pushing an image (of any media) through a technology isn't about perfecting the technology, isn't necessarily done in the hope that the technology will be transparent to composerly intent. It is (or could be) about the activity of the pushing through. Not revealing its transparency but its resistance, what arises, or what can be made to arise, through its limitations. Especially when the subject matter of the whole is, exactly, unmasking.

Patsy Cline

January 1, 2017
Doggin' Blues - Linda Hopkins and Johnny Otis [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Ray Charles must have stayed up at night thinking about this.

Go Go Go - Roy Orbison [from Sun Records Definitive Hits]

Stripped down vocal, but hadn't lost the ornate instrumentals.

I Fall To Pieces - Patsy Cline [collected from Dave Marsh's The Hear of Rock & Soul]

Soft landing, then press hard. or: working, as an ornamentation, on specific places within an attack. or: multiple attack envelopes per word.

I Want You - Bob Dylan [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock & Soul]

The Band is a rich set of springs. Bob is jumping up and down on it.

Tired of Being Alone - Al Green [collected from Dave Marsh's The Heatr of Rock & Soul]

The smooth sound of the backing allows the vocalist a huge dynamic range / articulative space.

Comin' - Chocolate Milk [a Rescued Record]

Solid musicianly soul/r&b sound in how the rhythm rolls around the beat.

Count On Me - The Heats [a Rescued Record]

Kind of a Beatles-y vibe, due to the close harmony singing, and placement of the voice high up inside, toward the sinus.

These Days - REM [from Life's Rich Pageant]

Wide clear space between each track, lots of space for the vocal to hold forth, the backing vocals poking their words out from behind, here and there, as from behind the trees.

The Telephone Tree - The Young Fresh Fellows [from Electric Bird Digest]

Always space left for response. Up to the mic, down then and back away to wail the guitar.

Stay Where You Are - Sleater-Kinney [from Call The Doctor]

No room here for response - but deep in the back the sub-vocals are magnificent.

Work Architecture Unity And The ("17 Crags" 010504) - Keith Eisenbrey - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Aaron Keyt, Anna K, Isabel K, Neal Kosály-Meyer
(16 years ago, a first, experimental, stab at an idea for a piece. The underlying idea was an image of coming upon sounds suddenly, hurtling through dense fog sparked with crags.)

An odd thing about chamber music, as a thing for a group of humans to do together: no talking!

An attempt at self dismemberment.

Utterly unlike the piece I imagined and explained (or attempted to explain) but utterly its own thing itself instead.

An attempt to collaborate between workbenches.

Problem: The overscore flattens time.

I think there are still some of these scores lying around in the studio . . .

the fellows in electic bird drag
Eazy - The Cripples [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]

Space! By which I mean actual rests (except in the chorus). Perhaps a bit too musicianly for a punk song.

Almost Nothing Like Purple Haze - Michael Langton - Lafayette string quartet (Ann, Sharon, Joanna & Pam) [on Hendrix Uncovered - New Music Inspired by Jimi Hendrix]

Little pokes above string tremolo. Each poke pokes or twists one's sense of the subdivisions within the violin jitter.

January 2, 2017
Finnegans Wake Chapter 2 - David Kahne [from Waywords and Meansigns]

Persona Speaking: a reporter of knowledge from manuscripts books and writings.

Punmeanings: little drawings made on the letters, inter-cavorting, often inter-transforming the letters upon which they play and posture.

Proper Venue: A dark street, somewhat chilly, en route from public house to home.

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

Upward trendingness and downward trendingness, tending to a tightly sprung inward warpingness.

Menuet I and II in E-flat Major Wq 116/1 - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Unlike Bach the elder's culture of ornate ramification, Bach the younger's is of elegant decoration and balance - not that he plays it straight, mind you. These come off like teaching pieces, demonstrating simple figuration transformations. "See? Here are two ways to play the same motion."

Symphony in B-flat Major (#77) - Haydn - The Hanover Band, Roy Goodman

Completely sure and at ease with itself and its surrounds. Enlightened. Insufferable. The aural equivalent of a set of fine china depicting a rustic peasant dance. "How quaint!"

January 3,2017
Concerto in A Major K. 622 - Mozart - Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, David Shifrin

The most interesting thing about this recording is the soloist's use of an extra long clarinet (like the one M wrote for, if I recall the program notes correctly) that allows passages to be played "as written". I guess with a modern clarinet some of these passages are transposed or otherwise altered. Unfortunately the tempi trend slow, as though trying to impose a Schubertian sprawl. It doesn't do the job for me.

Sonata in A-flat Major op. 110 - Beethoven - Artur Schnabel

As AS explains here, making a unified statement of the opening sequence misses the point, and would obscure the way it is, actually, a unified statement of disarray. It keeps heading in directions and then jump-cutting to where it would have been going had it always been heading there by another route. Or: This stuff here is necessary for you to hear (as JKR might have put it: it matters that order doesn't matter) before I can lay this new jive on you. Love the way the fugue keeps fast-forwarding through fiddly bits to catch up with itself.

January 5, 2017
Red Pepper Rag - Prince's Orchestra [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

This has a toy-orchestra hit. The audience must be brought along slow, must be taught.

Ma - Eubie Blake [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

A study in extended joplinesque keyboard figuration. See "CPE Bach" above.

Lost Your Head Blues - Bessie Smith, Joe Smith, Fletcher Henderson

Bessie and Joe converse across Fletcher, whose piano ping-pongs head turns one to the other. Or: Joe provides an interlinear translation of Bessie into trumpet (or cornet, not sure which).

Daniel Saw The Stone - Silver Leaf Quartette of Norfolk [from Goodbye Bablyon]

With this sort of rhythmically charged arrangement I wonder if the particulars of the text are more an excuse than a message. The music makes perfect sense, but the text is all over the biblical map.

Romeo and Juliette Act IV Epilogue - Prokofiev - Orchestre du Theatre Bolchoi de Moscou, Algis Juraitis

Two minutes plus. The clowns carry out the bodies. Xylophone hollowness could be a macabre cliche, except that Serge nails it. Brevity and clarity.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 2, 2017
Figure Study 170102 - Keith Eisenbrey
Neal couldn't come over for Gradus, so I made some noise on my piano myself.