oct 30, 2017

love and respect for everyone that’s doing it balanced by the sorrow of not doing it. there’s so much to say and i am saying very little of it here.
guitar – a tune.

my e-cds are too soft. i apologize for that. if you want to get a good listen you need to turn it up. this one is 5 improvised keyboard pieces that poured out one after the other last night.


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sep 12, 2017

this here is a recording experiment – it’s the guitar piece ‘e and p’ (what used to be called ’emptiness and pageantry’) – an older piece that i’ve already recorded a few times using my zoom – it’s on 2 of my bandcamp cds – ‘lonely guitar’ and ‘ax likes max’ (see https://zelwel.bandcamp.com/). what’s different about this is that it was done using daw / computer – which is the first time i’ve actually done that. now this is far from what i want – i’m using an old roland octa-capture with a relatively new windows 10 computer. only one mic seems to be working and there is a sound gate of some sort which is unintended. but unlike the previous recordings you can hear some of the detail in this really simple piece – the buzz and overtones on open strings etc. so i’m working on it – the sound, that is.

this really has been the summer of zero. two aborted attempts to do a show with gHOST project (which i now believe will never happen). would not have played out at all other than one drum circle and one jam. i did get to some shows. here are a few photos of some heros seen playing at chicago jazz fest this year – louis moholo-moholo (4 blokes) and roscoe mitchell (septet).

and i am running out of funds right now. i would love some sort of finance directed collaboration or sponsorship (as well as any booking or decent odd job i can find). i’m not sure how to go about getting these things, or even how to go about asking, so i’m just throwing it out here to the universe, for what it’s worth. if you’d like to help please e-mail me – zelwel at hotmail.com.

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jul 4, 2017

‘tira’ a short version of a new framework piece for keys. i’m using acoustic piano here.
so i do one post and it’s like … we’ve gotten our wings. bla bla bla. and then the next one says … wtfu – what’s the f*cking use? one might ask how i reconcile that. the answer is … i don’t have to answer. i’m not here for your amusement. i’m here to try to create some form of personal art and get it out into the world – before the world goes away for me. if you want to be on the same page, fine. if not then get out of here & i won’t waste my time on you. i hope i can produce something that makes all the politics, the obscurity, the people who’ve rubbed me the wrong way (and in the past if some were rubbed back i’m sorry for that too), the loss of a deep form of personal faith, the self doubt, the bearing of loshon hora & bullying, etc, etc, etc, all worth it. if you’re here to judge then you came to the wrong place.
happy independence day.

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jun 27, 2017

new e-cd – wtfu which stands for ‘what’s the f*cking use’ – a phrase which lately i find myself saying several times a day. i’m actually quite proud of this one & i think it’s the best one on the zelwel bandcamp since ‘brucolac’. the idea here was to build each piece (all renditions of the ‘wtfu’ framework) from loops made by …. well ….. a 12 note balaphon and a bird whistle which i got many years ago when i had a little bit of credit at ‘lark in the morning’. in the making of this i had the idea of also playing these instruments through a voice box which resulted in many of the strange sounds you hear on wtfu2. i’m not having a great time with mastering these days (old software died with old computer and i’m using audacity now) so you may want to really turn it up in order to hear it. i thought chopsticks and balaphon would go together well – so i started with that before diving into the denser material.
wtfu is a framework written for balaphon, bird whistle, looper, and either electric guitar or electric bass. there are 3 versions of the piece here with a little bit of added material.
1) chopsticks / wtfu1
2) wtfu2
3) intro / wtfu3 / coda
chopsticks – balaphon
wtfu1 – balaphon, looper, whistle, fender bass
wtfu2 – balaphon, voice box, looper, whistle, telecaster
intro – balaphon
wtfu3 – balaphon, looper, whistle, telecaster, voice
coda – telecaster

june 25-26, 2017


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jun 20, 2017

some acoustic piano music
improv (movie 1)/ rag/ improv (movie 2)/ frog song/ frog sunset (movie 3)
the strangest feeling lately – as if zelwel dot com has finally gotten its wings. as if.

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jun 8, 2017

so the other night i did this track – i like to call it ‘dance music’ but the only thing it has in common with ‘real’ edm is there is an electric drum beat. of course the whole track is a live improv but it gets weird (by being very non-weird) towards the end when the guitar comes in and the groove becomes almost george benson – ish. instrumentation is boss looper (which is also the drum machine), pen synth (made by tim kaiser), and guitar.


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jun 6, 2017

evenin’ (guitar improv w/ efx)
a couple newer tracks on soundcloud.
nayem sher was the first klezmer tune i figured out. i was so happy at the time! with much water under the bridge & maybe it’s now a symbol of a new form of personal surrender … like … i give up on trying to impress anyone. acoustic piano here.

ahimsa means do no harm. this is a generally calm piece of guitar improv.


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apr 2, 2017

lately i’m into djembe, keys, and guitar.
for djembe –
it’s mostly a drum circle thing. my favorite drum circle to play at for many many years has been the shiviti drum circle which is still meeting once a month. i’m not there every time but i’m there a lot. here’s their page (which also has some great mi yodea and colorboration photos!)-
often you’ll find us (‘the kaplan family drummers’) other places where there is drumming around the north side of chicago.
for keyboards –
mi yodea is on hiatus. if and when it comes back it will be in a different form. the changes with the project mirror some of the changes i’ve made in life. have lost most of my interest in formal organized religion. when the project started it was partially an expression of that – something to play a saturday night melaveh malkah at the shul. but that is gone from my life now.
be that as it may i’m still working on that music. some pieces (frog song, heyser bulgar) i’m just sick of playing. others (mi yodea, 82, antiyoub) seem to be evolving. i could see developing the material further and then finding the right musicians to play it – but if and when it goes forward it will be a book of material, my benevolent dictatorship, and a paycheck.
so i’m practicing that stuff – and also working on drone piano, noise piano, and standing up piano and maybe some lounge piano versions of some kid creole tunes.
for guitar –
an unexpected thing – for me to become guitarist. it was an instrument that always scared me. also there are some earth shakingly tremendous players out there (jeff parker, mary halvorson, etc) that i’m never going to touch. but there’s something about playing guitar that resonates with me. can bend notes, do microtones, efx, etc – can hardly do any of that on keys. anyways i’m practicing every day and hope to keep improving – even if just in my own simple limited one finger typist style.
i’d love to be gigging more on all three instruments.
i haven’t been so happy lately with my home recordings – not with content so much as with recording quality (my old zoom h2). but in the tradition of putting at least one sound file (and at least one new photo) into each blog post here are some recent improvised pieces –
a day without prayers or magic boxes (keys)

sad and nightbirds song (guitar / looper)


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feb 19, 2017

2 new tracks – rec 2/18/2017.


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dec 31, 2016

sd5 (suspension drone x sonic furniture, guitar & looper)


resistor. weeks ago, now.

i went in with a setlist and threw it out the window in the middle of the first piece. so the set i ended up playing was not neccessarily the set i intended to play.

on the other hand what i ended up doing was in the moment – yet based on the earlier intents.

so there are 2 versions of this – what was ‘supposed’ to happen and what actually happened. the 2’nd of these has some comments about the pieces that were played on the bandcamp page.

the live set is raw and unedited other than the removal of banter. the intent set is a mastered home recording.

what actually happened (live set recorded 12/10/2016)

what was ‘supposed’ to happen (intent set recorded 12/17/2016)

politics. the world. everything. rough patch.


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