January 6, 2017
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
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.
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.
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.
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|
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!"
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.