Saturday, February 25, 2017



"Meaning and sound, as Nancy describes them, both share the same 'form, structure or movement': they are comprised of a series of infinite referrals, a sending-away which returns, only to be sent away again, ever anew. The return penetrates the sending, 'all simultaneously,' producing a dispersal of bounds and rebounds without end. This applies, for Nancy, equally to the actual physics of sonorous reverberation as well as to the infinite circulation of meaning and reference. Meaning and sound share the 'form, structure, or movement' of resonance." Brian Kane "On Reading Listening" - Open Space Magazine Issue 12/13 fall 2010/winter 2011


Mud On My Bra!

February 24, 2017
Café Racer, Seattle

Mud On My Bra!
Merchant Mariner
The Snubs

What a great evening all around.

MOMB!'s jawdropping togetherness was a masterclass in perfect ensemble. It's more than technique, it requires a personal sympathy that can't be bought. I was seated around a corner from the stage so I couldn't see the whole band, but had a wonderful view of the drummer's expressively intelligent face, totally in it. MM spilled off the stage (seven people in a space that three makes tight). We were surprised and delighted to recognize an old friend from another part of our life playing violin. Hey there small world! TS wore masks like bandits and ripped out Black Flag-like song bursts. Good feeling all night. Thank you!


February 19, 2017
Way Down Old Plank Road - Uncle Dave Macon [from Anthology of American Folk Music]

Attempting to answer the age old question: how many times can whoop-diddle-iddle-iddle-oo-bedop-day come up on a 3 minute banjo scrub?

Merchant Mariner - the electric ukelele player
I'll Be Satisfied - Bryant's Jubilee Quartet [from Goodbye Babylon]

An easily gracious a cappella phraseology, breath-based. The singers don't blend so much as give up just enough of themselves to allow the others space to do likewise.

Satisfied - J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers
[from Goodbye Babylon]

Same song slightly different feel. This one adds banjo and fiddle to provide a table for the singing to stand, and a commentary like wine to pace it.

The Star Spangled Banner - arranged by Stravinsky - London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas

MTT takes a broader tempo than Stravinsky's recording does, and eschews the chorus. Revealing of some truly sweet voice leading.

A Hundred Years From Today - Sarah Vaughan, Georgie Auld and His Orchestra [from Interlude - Early Recordings 1944-1947]

Suave take on a Shakespearean ploy (why wait? no one will care what you did). You can hear the expression of her eyes in the tang of her voice.

My Heart Belongs To Daddy - Charlie Parker [from Cole Porter Songbook]

And here you can hear the words CP is singing with his axe. He plays like a singer. Must have been listening to Sarah.

Lonely Avenue - Ray Charles [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock & Soul]

Arranged wth a capital A. RC sings like an instrument, articulating time spans with pitch-words.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh) - The Tokens [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock &
The Snubs in masked action

So close to yodeling you can smell the cowpoke camp smoke.

(I Know) I'm Losing You - The Temptations [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock & Soul]

Putting it all together, strands wound strong as rope.

Baba O'Riley - the Who [from Who's Next]

New toys! Not just the synths but also the whole stadium filling hugeness of it. And yet the final instrumental could be a hoedown from anytime.

Frankie and Johnnie, Twenty Froggies Go To School - Margaret Kummett [from Art Rosenbaum's The Art of Field Recording Volume 1]

Which is the more accurate memory device? Recordings or brains? When an elder pulls out songs sung in childhood the memory has been ripened, fermented, purified.

I Fall Down - U2 [from October]

A confessional. There is a hint of Ray Charles (see above) in the way he fits words to a note-y tune, almost like a mallet instrument here and there.

Note to reader: Cue up all of the above on whatever song performing software you have. You won't be sorry.

Banned Sectional 20 KEE NWM - Keith Eisenbrey, Neal Kosály-Meyer, January 1986

Using cheap consumer stereo gear to turn half the little house in Greenwood into a mailbox. Neal, still relatively new to Finnegans Wake, reads from it lickety split, on psalm tones. (Joyce: comic vocabulist, propounds an Eruditerad.) I am playing the mailbox room, at the end making a train with windups and feedback whistle. One of my finer moments if I do say so myself.

February 20, 2017
Fired Up - Moe Tucker, Lou Reed, Daniel Hutchens, Sonny Vincent, Brian Ritchie [from I Feel So Far Away - Moe Tucker Anthology 1974 - 1998]

What's left of the bare outline of song structure is pounded into submission, a massy pulp.

Banned Rehearsal 419 (Speakeasy Set #) - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer, March 1996

A roar gathers slowly in the high places. Bit of a blast fest at the sound-work shop. Hammering a plate of noise into shape (see MT, above). Big fat blobular trio of sax cornet electric guitar naked obesity || shh it's almost sleeping || Armor On! Now hold still! War Drums. Overpower the recording equipment (not a bad plan of attack). The pluckystrings help clean up what's left of the oily mess. Alarms sound, they're marching back to ecstatic dance village. It goes on too long several times over, each time worth the effort of going on too long again.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (050517A) - Keith Eisenbrey - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey

Recorded by Doug Haire at Jack Straw as part of the 2005 sessions in which we recorded all of my then existing Gathered Songs. This one seems stronger to me every time I hear it. A set of double variations, or perhaps of angled adumbrations on a lyrical habitat.

February 21, 2017
Roll Call - Aaron Keyt

Lift the rocks, show all that lurks there. Kick-ass untamable acidspitting malevolent staring glimeyes and unearthly Tierschrei. A curated bestiary. What DIY can lead to, given an actual aural sensibility. This is about as fabulously raw an hour of sound as I can remember.

Too Slow - Newton Armstrong - Mark Knoop [from Milton Babbitt, a Composers' Memorial]

A solid body called into presence by the gentlest of indications. here. here. and here.

Ivan Arteaga & Keith Eisenbrey 160202 A - Ivan Arteaga, Keith Eisenbrey, February 2016

We tell tales at each other.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

February 20, 2017
Gradus 307 170220 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

What if there were a way, equally methodical, of working through all the rhythmic/metric/dynamic/agogic combinations as well?

February 23, 2017
Your Mother Should Know Acoustic Demos - Karen Eisenbrey, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Although they haven't been out and about for a while they have been working on songs old and new. Time to set up some microphones and record an acoustic demo of a bunch of songs. For the big boxed set.

Saturday, February 18, 2017



February 12, 2017
Morris Clyfford - Arthur Margolin, J. K. Randall [from Inter/Play]

Two voices, call them Plain and Fancy, make attitudinal micro-adjustments to each other, each chomping at the bit to engage, but neither desiring the other to give up an inch of what they are. Dog bark in the next room joins the rhythm, and suddenly the co-agonists find themselves occupying a mutual corner. That's just about when the tape ran out.

Who We Hatin' Now, Mr. Reagan?- The Center for Disease Control Boys

Broad political comedy, mostly for each other.

One7 - John Cage - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Muttered in secret || DECLAIMED!

February 14, 2017
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone - Sleater-Kinney [from Call The Doctor]

I love the quick-echo between the vocalists. Grooving on the texture of close-packed material.

Banned Rehearsal 608 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey,  Anna K, Isabel K, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Spiral up incline slow vista shift toward intimate familiar || radio fog dissipates, as the.

Do the Stomp and Drag - Glorious Day [from The Funhouse Comp Thing]

In punk-face: If you are treated like a zombie you may as well dance the dance.

Isaiah 6:1-5 - Keith Eisenbrey - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey [recorded at University Temple United Methodist Church, on December 21, 2014]

The recording linked above was done in the studio. The live version was recorded during the Offering, which adds a great deal of extraneous noise.

High Plains Drifter - Denise Glover [from Pathways]

The pages of this hand-scrawled book, a bit narrow for the lines, are full and generously so. The letters give each other room to sing.

February 16, 2017
Die Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus 6 - J. S. Bach - Lionel Rogg

Two fugues crammed so tightly together that stray bits extrude suddenly into oddly contoured voids. Quartz in schist.

Menuet in D Major I and II Wq. 116/3 - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Lighter than air, the glance into minor thrills, a mutual stillness.

Symphony in D Major (#96) - Haydn - Austro Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, Adam Fischer

What might break out into the open from within the polite.

Quartet in B-flat op. 130 - Beethoven - Amadeus Quartet

Gets going by never quite having been got going so that each :: place from which :: never is a place deflected || from this we persist || systemic flaws and their extensions

In Session at the Tintinabulary

February 12, 2017
Ghosting Doubles (first) (after Amy Denio's "Ghosting") - midi realization

I had been working since late last year on the next part of a long project, an extension of my Etudes
d'execution imminent, and had gotten pretty far along on a hunk of sound generated by a pretty ferocious chart. When I heard Amy Denio's fabulous solo accordion piece, Ghosting, recently I immediately thought that I would use that as the basis, in some way, for the next part. But on Saturday I had, as Ben put it once, "a better idea", and the above is the first of three (?) sets of doubles upon her tune. For those with a quick ear, the middle voice in the above is a simple transcription of Amy's original. ("Ghosting", copyright Spoot Music, ASCAP, is used by kind permission of the composer.)

I rather like the bald, frill-less, un-finessed midi sound of this version, though I do plan on learning to play it myself as well.

February 13, 2017
Banned Telepath 54 Seattle 170213 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer

February 15, 2017
Banned Telepath 54 Anchorage 170215 - Aaron Keyt
Banned Rehearsal 929 (170213-15) - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Aaron's bit is a wonderful 19-second long Moog-App twiddle. Neal speaks of cabbages and death. Steve and I find a new way to torture the atomatone. Karen rings bells.

February 17, 2017
Partita - Benjamin Boretz - Keith Eisenbrey

Kingston Bridge, New York, ca 1982
I have been attempting to learn this piece of Ben's, composed in 1955, for decades now, on and off. This version, recorded yesterday morning, is a pretty good picture of how well I'm doing this time around. I think I could still fix some of the more egregious bits of rushing, and clean up a not-quite-together attack or two here and there, but beyond that I'm not sure I'll ever play it much better. It always has been just a bit past the limits of my available technique.

Sunday, February 12, 2017



February 5, 2017
Der Kunst der Fuge Contrapunctus V - J. S. Bach - Zoltan Kocsis

Strenuous clarification: like ripping out brush.

Menuet I & II in C Wq. 116/15 - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi


Symphony in D Hob I:96 - Haydn - Academy of St. Martin-In-The-Fields, Neville Marriner

How very like a concerto this is, playing orchestral configurations off each other, punctuated by big tuttis that wipe the slate clean. Or: as asides, the tuttis act as interlinear translations of what is more politely said in the smaller ensembles. Or: How very like a machine of men Haydn's orchestra is!

February 7, 2017
Grosse Fuge in B-flat Op. 133 - Beethoven - Quartetto Italiano

Cramming the entire universe into a fugal frameworkspace, but the second subjects will have none of it. Dissonance flickers throughout like old movie aperture instability. Has anything ever sounded so busted up?

Brother Low Down - Bert Williams [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Occupying a middle ground between comedy act and musical act. Certainly leaning toward the music, but just as certainly not letting go of the shtick.

The Bible's True - Uncle Dave Macon [from Goodbye Babylon]
Bunny Berigan

Elbow room between voice and guitar. Unhurried whooping.

Wild Man Stomp - State Street Ramblers [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

The tune ascends stepwise just only so far before whumping back in line.

Mama Don't Allow - Bunny Berigan [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Such a soft touch!

The Star Spangled Banner - arr. Stravinsky - CBC Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Fesitival Singers, Stravinsky [from The Original Jacket Collection]

Square shouldered and muscular. Clean lines and sturdy feet.

Something to Remember You By - Benny Carter [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

The figuration is subservient to following the melody whither-so-ever it goes, breathed seamlessly from player to player.

February 9, 2017
Ezz-Thetic - Miles Davis, Lee Konitz [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

Independently tethered to the same anchor. An arbitrary aesthetic completely worked out, the ultimate 'screw you'.

Jesse Belvin
Goodnight My Love- Jesse Belvin [from Original Oldies from the 50's vol. 13]

Fancier than it lets on to be, the voice is as controlled as Billie Stewart, but doesn't whip out the flash. Jesse is on top of the song's every twitch.

What'd I Say - Jerry Lee Lewis [from Sun Records Definitive Hits]

I love the authoritative sound of the piano at the opening. Sitting tightly wadded at torso's end. Nothing gets out.

Ain't Too Proud to Beg - The Temptations [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock & Soul]

Spacious enough to imagine that it goes on much longer than it does, as though it were merely a sample or advertisement for an experience we might have.

Fearless (Interpolating You'll Never Walk Alone) - Pink Floyd [from Meddle]

Sprawling, relaxed, whole.

An Alice Symphony - David Del Tredici - Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Oliver Knussen, Phyllis Bryn-Julson

(the orchestra tunes) (the singer says words) (the orchestra blats scenes) (we hear of cruelties) || the argument duly announced and duly made present. A hint of Peter and the Wolf in its film-cue characterizations. What is salutary: instruments playing their notes never transcend their actualities - until they do - and until they evaporate back into  (the orchestra tunes) (we understand absurdity as a form of cruelty) (we witness integrity violated).

In Session at the Tintinabulary

February 6, 2017
Gradus 306 170206 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Stars blink on as though night appeared as dawn. Some constellations are habitations, distant or near. || the flooding waves ripple closer || dikes and levees permeate the ripples || reflexive co-infusion

Saturday, February 4, 2017



January 28, 2017
Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seattle

La Traviata - Verdi - Stefano Ranzani, conductor

My puzzlement at Verdi, and indeed at Italian opera in general, is of long-standing. Looking back at my attitude now that I am finally finding something interesting going on, I think I was simply misapprehending, or possibly not apprehending at all, the particular point of view of the musical material, as an aspect of the drama, that is in play. Here there is neither Wagner's Romantic embedding of the drama within a symphonic structure, nor Mozart's Enlightenment era arch-ironical puppet master as a musical narrator. Instead the orchestra serves as a kind of scaffolding to support a close first-person that exists almost entirely within the sung melody. Nothing exists for the music except the expression of the line as it unfolds.

There was some discussion bandied about concerning the stripped down production. Apparently the orchestra was reduced from Verdi's scoring, and perhaps there were some cuts made. Any of these can be easily remedied (for my own purposes) by simply finding a reasonable recording for later study. For my part I have no musical complaints at all about what I heard that night. The set consisted of lighting and several layers of curtains. There might have been a chair or two, but I may be confusing that with the chairs and tables at Seattle Shakespeare Company's two-evening, production of the Henry VI plays (with an all female cast), Bring Down the House, which we saw on the Thursday before and the Thursday after. I thought the curtains were attractive, thoughtfully used, and ambiguous enough to evoke all sorts of pertinent things. Mostly they didn't get in the way of or distract from the music, for which I am personally grateful.


January 31, 2017
beneath the ground - Infamous Menagerie

industrial lasers cutting
blocks of mineral
as light
on film

Banned Rehearsal 418 (Speakeasy Set 1) - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Anna K, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer, March 1996

morning after the May 2001 fire

Just shy of 12 years into our shared history we played two sets at the Speakeasy Café in Belltown. This is the first of them. It has never been about playing well, but that if we were invested enough in our listening, then making any sound would speak true.

February 2, 2017
Aku (aged tape) - Keith Eisenbrey

Oh the memories! In 1980/81 at the University of Washington I was studying with John Rahn, who, at that time, had just produced a piece on the Department of Experimental Musicology's new Synclavier. I'm not sure how it was all worked out, but somehow I managed to get quite a bit of time on it during Winter Quarter. I devised an elaborate chart, based on a series of eight digits, and wound up with a 30 minute, 8 part monstrosity of an electronic piece. I remember that it was while I was transferring the charts to notation, pages strewn all over the room, that my brother came upstairs to tell me that John Lennon had been shot and killed.

In order to realize it exactly I had calculated the timing of each "take" so that it could be recorded separately, at a slow tempo, and could be played easily without error. My friend Christopher Mehrens, whom I had met in middle school at various city-wide piano competitions, helped with this process. I don't remember how many hours it took, but I do remember we often had to wait 20 minutes or more for the first note to be played. I also remember going to a computer store, which was quite the novelty back then, in order to purchase a "floppy disk", my very first. At the end of the process I ended up with a reel-to-reel tape which was my clean master.

Pete Comley instructing a camel
I made a cassette copy right away, and then kept the master tape. As the years went by, and digital recording at home began to exist, I became acquainted with Pete Comley, who had both a working reel-to-reel tape deck and a DAT. In May of 2001, with high hopes of once again having a pristine image of the sound, we pushed play and record and waited for vintage synclavier sound to emerge. It is difficult for me to describe the combination of delight and dismay when I heard what time's deterioration had worked on that tape. Apparently tape stock from that era was notoriously unstable. It was partly stuck to itself, causing the 30 minute piece to stretch out to almost 40. The wobble is woozily wonderful. Most of one track didn't make it over the record head, and my intricately designed digital patches were converted to awesome shrieks. Later I overdubbed a version of my text-sound composition Confessions of a Polyphonist, and called the result Ms. Found in a Bottle, after Poe, of course.

Even later I transcribed the whole thing in midi. Not synclavier to be sure, but looking back on it, my particular patches were no great shakes to begin with, at least not compared to what time and neglect could accomplish with a physical medium. Analog takes revenge, and how sweet it is.

Banned Rehearsal 694 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer, January 2006

Early on we invented a word for sessions like this: 'sedatory'. Snorish, trajectorizing away from energy increase. Gentle, domestic - crib play. Time-biding. It takes a long time settling, and settling is all it does. Could be a long preamble to set up the wicked xylophone entrance about 20 minutes in. This requires patience.

in memoriam M. B. - Andrew Mead - Maria Sampen, violin [from Milton Babbitt, a composers' memorial]

Golly. This is truly, truly lovely.

Ivan Arteaga and Keith Eisenbrey 160202 B - Ivan Arteaga, Keith Eisenbrey

Playfully poking, right up to the end, where some quiet place, gracefully turned, is revealed.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

January 30, 2017
Gradus 305 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

Rich Trove struggling to cross Vast Emptiness. Pushing, spreading, expanding, more inexorably than the possibility of measuring. // Delving, pushing down against buoyancy.

Unfortunately the recording device ran out of memory 28 minutes into this 40 minute session. Bother!