Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller: Endless Pie (PFMCD072)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="528"]
Endless Pie is…
Jeff Kaiser: trumpet, flugelhorn, voice, electronics
Phil Skaller: prepared piano

Two CDs:
Total run time 109 minutes

Recorded live in Studio A
University of California San Diego, November 21-22, 2010
Recording engineers: Joe Kucera and Clint Davis

Mixing, mastering, design: Jeff Kaiser, July 2012

All compositions © 2012:Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP • Phil Skaller, ASCAP

Blueberry (Disc One)

1. Unchangeable Fundament 13:15
2. Image of a Punctiform 3:35
3. People from the Machinations 8:50
4. Two Unknowns, the One Being 6:07
5. Galileo Uses Propaganda 6:39
6. Anticipated by Bacon 4:42
7. No Immediate Theoretical 3:36
8. Alongside a Moving Tower 3:42

Cherry (Disc Two)

1. The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul 14:54
2. Backward Intersection 5:29
3. Occured without Noticeable 2:37
4. Absence of any Proper Notion 5:29
5. Behave Very Much Like After-Images 7:44
6. We Must Retain 6:34
7. The Problem of Telescopic Vision 2:27
8. As Some Relics 6:04
9. Well-Determined Exceptions 1:31
10. This Paratactic 5:19

pfMENTUM CD072

PFMCD072

The Empty Cage Quartet: Hello the Damage! (PFMCD040)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="446"]
Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet, wood flutes
Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion
Ivan Johnson: contrabass

Disc 1: First Set (24:20 / 21:17)
1. Attack of the Eye People (Mears)
Who Are They If We Are Them? (Mears)
The Mactavish Rag (Tiner)
2. And Who Is Not Small (Tiner)
Function-3 (Tiner)

Disc 2: Second Set (42:57)
1. Swan-Neck Deformity (Kikuchi)
The Empty Cage (Mears)
Swim Swim Swim, Eat Eat Eat (Mears)

Recorded live at Café Metropol in Los Angeles, California on Friday, December 30, 2005
Recorded live to two track by Paul Kikuchi
Mastered by David Christensen and Paul Kikuchi
Cover photo and album design: Kio Griffith
Band photos: Allen D. Glass II
Thank you to Kio Griffith, Misato Nagare, Dottie Grossman, David Christensen, Rocco Somazzi, Allen D. Glass II, Jeff Kaiser and Vinny Golia
© 2006 Jason Mears Music, ASCAP and Kris Tiner Music, ASCAP
For more information: www.mtkjquartet.com

Finale
When the camera pulls back
on people you care about
because you have followed
their story all season
and you know
what makes them happy
and what hurts them
and you love them
and want to protect them,
that’s your cue to sit back,
let the music take care of them now.

When I wrote that, I wasn’t thinking about The Empty Cage Quartet, but I see a connection. They share a common view, something about expansiveness or maybe a sense of what I can only call “mission.” These guys actually care about us, and want to make us better through their musical example, God help them. It’s a tall order, admittedly, but saxophonist Jason Mears and trumpeter Kris Tiner talk seriously about the band as a positive model for social change, incorporating and expanding upon what they learned under the tutelage of people like Wadada Leo Smith and Vinny Golia.

Mears, Tiner, Kikuchi and Johnson (“The MTKJ;” now “The Empty Cage Quartet”) came together at The California Institute of the Arts, in Southern California, circa 2002. They began playing music that was admittedly “horrible” (Kris Tiner’s word), at first, but which has evolved to a very telepathic kind of communication that transcends historical models of creative new music and almost doesn’t require language in its usual sense. They’re bent on transcending the clichés of “free jazz,” with its historically associated bias toward self-expression at the expense of everything else. They all contribute tunes and are dedicated to finding ways of getting around traditional improvisation and composition, to create music that is “continuous” and spontaneous. At the same time, in their musical explorations, they incorporate and honor the earlier forms they want to transcend. There is, for example, homage to without imitation of the Anthony Braxton and Ornette Coleman quartets.

So they use a system which in effect means that, in performance, any player can cue a composition at any time. For that to work on a level that approaches art requires the ability to almost literally read each other’s minds. Forget about not paying attention. Forget about playing on chord changes. It’s very akin to linking arms and jumping off the proverbial edge-of-the-cliff. It takes enormous mutual trust, acquired through the time-honored method of playing and touring. It is a truism that there’s no substitute for playing together a lot over a period of time in different settings and circumstances. The bonding that emerges from this kind of intensity has created, for these four, a unity that is probably more rock-solid than that of most “real” families.

And that makes them happy. They like it when audiences are touched and even inspired by the music they make together. Drummer Kikuchi tells about a gig in Olympia, WA, when the audience behaved as if they were at a rock show, yelling and “getting into” the show, letting the music take them to new places.

A word about the title of this CD: “Hello the Damage” was the all-too-literal English translation of part of a French review damning the group’s last CD. Anyone familiar with the often hilarious nonsense masquerading as “translation” on the Babelfish web site will sympathize.

This is a band whose musical growth rate has been amazing. They’re dedicated to doing something new, and the strength of their musicianship and vision are collectively and individually impressive enough to make that happen.

I’m going to leave the last word (well, almost) here to Kris Tiner, who, talking about how much he appreciates the work of Thelonious Monk, Charles Ives and Morton Feldman, says, “You can tell they love music.” Amen.

Dottie Grossman
Los Angeles, CA
April, 2006

[Ed. from a reviewer friend: This expression (in french “bonjour les dégâts…”, “damage” is a plural in french, it makes it more spectacular) became famous after is was used in an advertisement against alcohol when driving : “Un verre ça va, trois verres bonjour les dégâts” “One drink is alright, three drinks, hello the damage” : nobody speaks about 2 drinks, the case becomes a hole where reason gets drowned).]

pfMENTUM CD040

PFMCD040

Jeff Kaiser / Tom McNalley: ZUGZWANG (PFMCD038)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="441"]
Jeff Kaiser: quarter tone trumpet, electronics
Tom McNalley: electric guitar, electronics

1. carbon fianchetto 12:44
2. opening demand 7:28
3. systematic imbalance 7:30
4. both varied situations 7:54
5. organic symmetry 4:16
6. abbreviated structure 4:08
7. luft swapping 4:50
8. zwischenzug 1:36
9. aristotelian blockade 11:14
10. liquid compensation 11:00

Total Playing Time: 72:40
All compositions ©2006 Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP, and Tom McNalley Music, ASCAP
Recorded live (no overdubs) 7.15.05 and 8.7.05 at pfMENTUM World Headquarters, Ventura, CA
Recorded, mixed, mastered and designed by Jeff Kaiser

pfMENTUM CD038

PFM038

Steuart Liebig / MINIM: Quicksilver (PFMCD023)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="405,407"]
Steuart Liebig / MINIM

Quicksilver

Ellen Burr: Flute, Piccolo and Alto Flute

Jeff Gauthier: Electric 4 and 5-String Violins

Jeanette Kangas: Drumset, Percussion and Vibraphone

Steuart Liebig: C, Eb and Prepared Contrabass guitars

1-23: Mosaic – (51:38)
24: Chrysanthemum – (15:37)
25: A Single Rosehip Bursts in Praise – (12:21

Copyright 2004 Steuart Liebig/Sisong Music (ASCAP)

Recorded April 2002, by Wayne Peet
Mixed June and October 2003, and March and July 2004
by Wayne Peet and Steuart Liebig; all at Newzone Studios, Mar Vista, California

Jeff Gauthier plays 4- and 5-string electric violins made by Rich Barbera, and a bow made by some dead French guy.

Jeanette Kangas (formerly known as Jeanette Wrate) plays
Paiste cymbals exclusively.

Steuart Liebig plays Fodera Basses, uses the Raven Labs PMB-1,
and uses Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats strings (C basses) and Fodera roundwound strings (Eb and C basses).

Live Band and dancer (Belinda Cheng and John Dowell) photos by Anthony Cheng. Band rehearsal photos by Belinda Cheng.

Cover photos/montages by Steuart Liebig.
Thanks to David Poelman for digital assistance
Layout by Steuart Liebig and Jeff Kaiser.

Thanks Leslie, Anya and Aron.

“Mosaic” is a piece made up of 23 miniatures based on haiku. “Chrysanthemum” is a single movement of 14 parts. “A Single Rosehip Bursts in Praise” was written for a collaboration with choreographer Belinda Cheng for the Auricle Dance Company and premiered on 17 November 2002.

NOTES:

Mosaic: 23 Miniatures After Haiku

The idea for a piece comprised of a group of 23 miniatures for small improvising ensemble has been one that I had kept in the back of my mind and in small sketchbooks for some four years. I envisioned an ensemble in which I would be able to utilize some of the “prepared bass” and less “bass-like” techniques that I had been using for a number of years. Additionally, I wanted to write for some less-usual (for me) techniques for both tuned and untuned percussion and a standard melody instrument. Finally, after many years of languishing as only sketches, these miniatures were written in a fairly short time.

There were a few catalysts for this seemingly sudden turnaround. One was that I had just finished a long-term writing and recording project that consisted of four long-form pieces (now released as Pomegranate, on Cryptogramaphone Records) and, still feeling the creative ferment from that experience, needed the opportunity to do much shorter pieces that were formally less involved (though, as whole group, the overall structure does have some formal complexities and is pretty long!). The second was the decision to move from a trio setting to a quartet setting, thereby opening up more orchestrational possibilities. Third, I decided to base the pieces on haiku; rather than choosing specific poems, however, I chose to base the pieces on some of the syllabic rules of haiku—while hopefully achieving some of the brevity, feeling and wonder that one experiences from reading this sort of poem.

As such, these 23 pieces are all based on the number 17—a piece may have 17 measures, thematic material made up of 17 notes, etc. The overall piece is structured to have a solo piece (four) for each member of the quartet; a duet and trio for the different possible groupings in the quartet (six and four, respectively); and nine pieces for the full quartet. I tried to have contrasting sections and parts that referred back to other parts of the overall piece and to evoke differing moods and emotions throughout.

A Single Rosehip Bursts in Praise

This piece was written as part of a collaboration with choreographer/dancer Belinda Cheng. The title comes from a passage in the novel, Art & Lies, by Jeanette Winterson. The piece itself is broken into two major sections. The first is a sort of unfolding that the phrase suggested to me. The second is a more pictorial setting of the action in the book: three people (the characters Handel, Sappho and Picasso) on a subway, each with his/her own thoughts.

Chrysanthemum

This piece is based on the structure of a sonnet: 14 lines of 10 syllables each. In this case, I have “cells” of 10 notes (stated at the beginning and end as two 5-notes chords) that I have treated in a more or less serial fashion in 14 discrete sections. That is, each written section of the piece uses only those 10 original notes, though they are reordered or split between the various players. Again, I have split the quartet that performs the piece into some of its component parts: each player gets a solo and there are four trios, the remaining six sections are for the full quartet. Again, I attempted to have contrasting sections. Whereas Mosaic is played in 23 sections with breaks, this piece is performed as one continuous whole.

pfMENTUM CD023

PFMCD023

Steuart Liebig / The Mentones: Locustland (PFMCD017)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="389"]
Steuart Liebig/The Mentones
LOCUSTLAND

The Mentones
Tony Atherton: alto saxophone
Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Bill Barrett: chromatic harmonica
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitar

broom – – 3:27
graveyard – – 4:41
mojave boxcar – – 4:46
drifter – – 7:47
honky tonk burn – – 6:48
westpoint, mississipi – – 8:19
small fry – – 0:45
burnt umber – – 2:50
nighthawk – – 5:43
howl & tumble – – 4:01
gasoline jelly – – 6:33
lightning bug – – 3:47
nowhere calling – – 5:57

©2004, steuart liebig/sisong music (ascap)
recorded at newzone studios, by wayne peet;
mixed at newzone studios, by wayne peet and steuart liebig
mar vista, california, 2000

photos/montages by steuart liebig
layout by steuart liebig and jeff kaiser
gear thanks to fodera basses, thomastik-infeld strings and raven labs

“First let’s talk about Steuart Liebig, the multi-faceted miscreant who squeezed the hybrid beast known as the Mentones out of his juicy mind. Steuart is well known in L.A. as one of the most significant improvising electric bass torturers and electronic manipulators in recent memory and, I’m grateful to say, a major contributor to most of the music I’ve done in the last decade and a half. The metaphor of a diamond with its many facets comes to mind, but that doesn’t quite get it. Imagine the diamond periodically reverting to its primal molten state and shooting out semi-controlled bursts of radioactive plasma melting everything in its reach. I could say that for Steuart the Mentones is an anomaly, but in a way every project he constructs is an anomaly. I will say this—there is nothing like the Mentones on this earth that I’ve ever heard of and even though you may recognize some of its disparate original elements, you will be whacked by how cohesively they come together in Liebig’s compositions. An adult dose of Little Walter crashing his Coupe de Ville into Ornette Coleman’s harmolodien. Howling Wolf gnawing on John Coltrane’s left ear like Mike Tyson. As for the other men in the Mentones: Bill Barrett takes the chromatic harp well beyond its limits like a rubber band stretched into a Mobius strip. Tony Atherton is soulful, relentless and driving. Joe Berardi grooves these odd time signatures like his mother nursed him on non-Euclidean geometry. It’s all that and it’s definitely enough.”

– G.E. Stinson

pfMENTUM CD017

PFMCD017

Jeff Kaiser and Brad Dutz: The Order of Her Bones (PFMCD008)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="372"]
Jeff Kaiser: trumpet, flugelhorn, and voices.
Brad Dutz: marimba, glass marimba, vibes, xylophone, bass slit drum, gongs, nipple gongs, wind gong, bell plate, heavy bell, Indian bells, bell chimes, sea urchin chimes, obsidian chimes, cup chime, crotales, rotosound, bird whistles, Brazilian birdcalls, clay jay call, Rawcliffe clay bowls and tuba flute, rainstick, hadjira, concertina, ratchet, shakers, caxixi, bones, pods, balloon whistle, pandiero, riq, bougarabou, spinner, finger cymbals, cymbals, bongos, cajon, string cajon, frame drum, snare drum, bass drum, and voices.

1. The White Haired Gentleman Approaches 6:41

2. Magnification Embrace 5:50

3. The Scrupulous Hand of Childhood 6:18

4. Wounds and Contusions 3:18

5. The Vigilant Conspiracy 5:28

6. The Order of Her Bones 1:48

7. Stories, RumorsÉ 6:58

8. Finches and Wrens 5:42

9. It Becomes Translucent 5:32

10. Bring Me Some Eggs 3:16

11. No Coffee? Nothing? 4:56

12. Faintly Appearing 5:02

Total Playing Time: 60:50

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 by Jeff Kaiser and Brad Dutz
© 2002 Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP and Leaky Spleen Music, BMI 4, 8, 12 by Brad Dutz
© 2002 Leaky Spleen Music, BMI Recorded by Brad Dutz at Apperson Street Studios in Tujunga, CA on 3.19.01, 6.4.01, and 9.15.01 Mastered by Jeff Kaiser
Design and layout by Jeff Kaiser
Brad Dutz endorses Paiste, VIC FIRTH, REMO, Yamaha, and Mountain Rythym

pfMENTUM CD008

PFMCD008

Ted Killian: Flux Aeterna (PFMCD007)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

BACK IN PRINT! We have 10 copies left…

[playlist ids="668,670,671"]
Ted Killian: Electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loops, sound design

Loop-based guitar improvisations/excursions recorded “live” in the studio in a single take. Ted's music is frequently compared to that of David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, Terje Rypdal, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Sonny Sharrock, Nels Cline, or Bill Frisell, sometimes even David Gilmour, Jeff Beck or Uli Jon Roth. But Ted cites influences that come from all over the map: Leo Kottke, Eliott Sharp, Paul Dresher, Scott Johnson, Vernon Reid, John Abercrombie, Michael Brook, Daniel Lanois, Gary Lucas, Jim Thomas, John Fahey, Jimi Hendrix, John Mclaughlin, Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Buckethead, Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Yet, despite this, there is still something uniquely “Killianesque” in his approach. Ted is a guitarist who isn't afraid to paint with the instrument's full color “palette.” He's not afraid to make wild, adventurous, passionate “in-you-face” music or sonorous, languid, peaceful harmonic/melodic explorations.

Ted Killian: A Biography

Born and raised in sunny Southern California, Ted Killian has been a guitarist for over 4 decades now and he still hasn't managed to learn to play the thing correctly. But, as it turns out, this may have turned out to be a pretty good thing. Without necessarily having set out to do so, Killian has found his own unique “voice” on an instrument that is nearly ubiquitous in modern popular music. His sound is a peculiar amalgam of odd, sometimes familiar, influences: folk, pop, blues, rock, metal, jazz, electronica, electro-acoustic “art music,” and just plain noise (“!”) that begs one to think the word “fusion” but is much more primal, gut-level and organic than any connotation that word may conjure.

Killian's music is full of contradictions. It is primitive and sophisticated, visceral and sensitive, abstract and accessible, complex and blood simple all at once. It is given birth by heavy doses of technology (MIDI guitar, a plethora of electronic effects, digital echo devices, samplers, and all manner of assorted “gadgets”) but the result is amazingly human sounding. There is blood and sweat mixed in with all of the diodes and cables — and more than a small measure of passion. This intensity is not something that can be seen in the usual form of typical guitarist “histrionics” but can be heard in every note of the music itself.

Killian began playing and experimenting early on, but (in terms of public performance) bloomed late. Beginning in the late 1980s, he began performing his original music in conjunction with the Ventura New Music Concert Series (Southern California)– aided by close friend and colleague, avant-jazz trumpeter, Jeff Kaiser. So began a long series of ever-changing concerts and presentations all around Southern California. Some of these were in connection to SEAMUS, an acronym for the national “new music” organization: the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States (Killian was introduced to the organization by Kaiser in 1990 and became President of the Los Angeles chapter in 1992). Ted's has been interviewed as a featured composer on “Music of the Americas” on KPFK radio in Los Angeles. Since the debut of “Flux Aeterna” his music has been played on literally dozens of radio stations around the globe and has garnered critical praise in as many publications internationally. In recent years, he has composed music for ballet, “fixed” gallery installations, multi-discipinary art performances, large ensembles and small groups. And, after all of this, Killian has still somehow managed to avoid having ever been in anything resembling a “band.”

Ted Killian is a 1982 graduate of UCSB with a Bachelors degree in visual arts. Since then he has exhibited paintings, sculpture and computer art in a number of galleries, museums and other venues across the country. He was a 1992 appointee to the “Task Force for Visual Arts” in Ventura, CA. He supports his musical/artistic activities with his “day job” as a freelance graphic designer for various musical instrument and high-tech manufacturers. He currently resides in Southern Oregon with his wife, 3 sons, 3 guinea pigs, and 2 goldfish.

pfMENTUM CD007

PFMCD007