Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller: Endless Pie (PFMCD072)


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



SKU: PFMCD072 Category:

1 review for Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller: Endless Pie (PFMCD072)

  1. 0 out of 5

    “Wicked trumpet meets prepared piano in this intense and hilarious pairing of twisted minds.” –Robert Bush, San Diego Reader

    Trumpet + piano duos are a relatively rare commodity in jazz — and this collaboration between Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller is not going to remind anyone of Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Roberts. For that matter Endless Pie is a disc so severe that it makes Raphe Malik and Cecil Taylor sound like Ruby Braff and Dick Hyman.

    Endless Pie is a double CD: each disc leading off with an appropriately monstrous tour-de-force. “Unchangeable Fundament,” kicks off Disc 1, Kaiser’s fat smears layering over tinkling piano before morphing into hilarious vocalizations that have a schizophrenic quality. All the while, Skaller invents a backdrop of grueling, muted repetitions and instrumental disguises from his prepared piano–which can imitate alien textures, forces-of-nature and cartoon-ish gibberish. As the pianist narrows in on stuttering repetitions that reminded me of a stenographer with OCD, Kaiser unleashes an obscene series of overdriven squeaks like a balloon being molested by a seriously unbalanced child.

    Kaiser uses trumpet, flugelhorn and his voice in tandem with live electronics (a lap-top running Max MSP), so despite what you think you are hearing, there are no overdubs and just these two musicians.

    On “Image of a Punctiform,” Skaller’s prepared piano rumbles, plinks and breaks into passages of basso-profondo while Kaiser’s acoustic horn races along like a drunken “Flight of the Bumblebee,” before loping into leviathan foghorns followed by tortured split-tones.

    The pianist obtains a strange brew of koto-meets music box aesthetic on “Alongside A Moving Tower,” and weird percussive inside the piano effects on “Two Unknowns, the One Being,” over which Kaiser applies wide swaths of rubbery vibrato.

    Disc 2 opens with “The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul,” Skaller’s manic fingerings recalling Cecil Taylor at a toy-piano. Each musician contributes to an exhaustive exchange of energetic discourse–tossing ideas like poison daggers, building swells of caterwaul and dropping into moments of near silence. Kaiser sputters, screeches and blows columns of smog into his mouthpiece before the piece transitions into an intense and disturbing squeal-athon that sounds like a wolverine raiding a ferret nest.

    “Occurred without Noticeable,” by contrast, features tiny, micro-gestures where Skaller’s piano imitates a can being kicked, or crickets in the night while Kaiser burbles and bubbles like soup on a low boil.

    For those with an ear tuned toward adventure– Endless Pie is indispensable. Where else are you going to find titles like “Galileo Uses Propaganda,” or “Anticipated by Bacon” ? Endless Fun could easily have been the name for this highly entertaining disc.

    “Precisely the sort of improvisational carnage you’d expect from these guys. What you might not expect is that I found a couple of songs to throw in the radio rotation–and they shouldn’t scare off all my listeners. It’s not so much about coherence as the simple brilliance of the ideas present. Long, strange and totally engrossing. One word of caution: The second disc is much scratchier than the first. Which is quite wonderful for me.”

    Jon Worley,

    Jeff is a restless explorer on trumpet and flugelhorn, always searching for other like-minded musicians to work with. Kaiser has done a number of duo discs before this, each one unique depending on his partner. Mr. Skaller seems to work mostly inside the piano, banging on the strings with assorted objects. Kaiser continually alters his sound with mutes or electronic devices, as well as playing some strange synth sounds. This is a particularly intense and focused duo, always working tightly together, complimenting and pushing each other. Although this music is completely (?) improvised, the duo often create patterns which sounds closer to modern chamber music. Reminding me at times of recent discs from Ernesto Martinez and David Rosenboom. This is an extraordinary duo and one of this year’s most challenging efforts on a variety of levels.

    – Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

    Far out stuff. Totally far out stuff. Double CD set featuring mind-boggling improvisational musician from California’s Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller. The tracks on these discs were recorded live in San Diego back in November of 2010…but they’re only now being made available to the public. These eighteen tracks feature Kaiser on trumpet, flugelhorn, voice, and electronics and Skaller on prepared piano. These guys are obviously in the same head space here, using instruments as a sort of diving board for their creative energies. Our guess is that there was little advance preparation done here before recording these ultimately spontaneous recordings. The titles of the songs pretty much say it all: “Image of a Punciform,” “Anticipated by Bacon,” “The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul,” “The Problem of Telescopic Vision,” “This Paratactic”…killer song titles (!). This music wasn’t recorded for money or to please a mass audience. These compositions are forms of pure artistic expression in which these musicians let their minds and fingers take them just about anywhere. Probably too bizarre for the casual listener. But for those wanting something more challenging and unusual well…you get your full 109 minutes’ worth here. An exceptional release from two of California’s finest experimental musicians…. Top pick.

    Un album double, 109 minutes en tout, documentant deux jours d’improvisations en studio entre Jeff Kaiser (trompette, électroniques) et Phil Skaller (piano préparé). La palette sonore est étonamment large – autant les préparations de Skaller que les électroniques de Kaiser font varier la donne d’une pièce à l’autre. Les deux disques sont conçus de la même façon: une première impro de 15 minutes, puis une succession de pièces plus courtes. Et ce sont les plus longues qui sont les meilleures d’ailleurs, et tout particulièrement “The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul”, un délire sonore.
    A double CD set, 109 minutes in all, documenting two days of studio improvisations between Jeff Kaiser (trumpet, electronics) and Phil Skaller (prepared piano). The sound palette is surprisingly large – Skaller’s preparations and Kaiser’s electronics pave the way for sharp stylistical shifts between tracks. Both CDs are built similarly: one 15-minute improvisation, followed by a handful of shorter tracks. And the longest pieces are also the best ones, with the audio delirium of “The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul” ranking as the highlight. –François Couture

    Another one today that bridges the border between avant improvisational and new music classical: the 2-CD set Endless Pie (pfMentum CD072) by Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller. Jeff plays trumpet and flugelhorn as well as contributes his voice and electronics; Phil Skaller is on prepared piano. The whole performance is processed through a laptop to at various times create altered sonics.
    The two create a great deal of kinetic energy and a variety of sonic environments that straddle the space between the composed and the improvised, seemingly placing their performance in either and/or both camps at any point in time. The electronics and the entire sound are created live.

    What is interesting about the whole affair is the sheer sensuous variety of sound universes created with these more-or-less straightforward means. Kaiser’s horn work is loaded with both unconventional and conventional sound producing techniques; Phil complements, extends and resituates what Jeff is doing with a “hands-on” manipulation of the prepared keys, again both conventional and less so.

    The resulting 109 minutes give the listener a common ground between improvisation and composed sounds which is neither predictable, monadic or in any way random. There is intent and gesture in every sound-sculpting episode. These are gifted creative artists producing instant sound environments that nevertheless show that a good deal of thought and forethought went into them.

    Recommended listening.

    –Grego Applegate Edwards,

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