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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nov 30, 2016

i will be playing a solo guitar set as part of a show at resistor chicago (5053 n lincoln) at 9 pm on dec 10 – http://www.resistorchicago.com/events.html.
also playing that night – TCB, bear pit, leopard print.
see you there!


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nov 8, 2016

creating this e-cd was my music therapy for the day. these improvised keyboard tracks (alternating electric keys and piano) were recorded throughout the day, morning through evening, between job hunting, grocery shopping, and watching the endless political nuttiness on the internet.

nov 7, 2016


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sep 15, 2016

new on zelwel bandcamp for sept – ‘3 bits’ – please feel free to download & pay what you like.




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sep 14, 2016

‘sad sad songs’ (gtr & efx improv ~11:11)

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sep 11, 2016

‘simple’ (balaphon and cowbell)
zelwel bandcamp –

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aug 29, 2016

‘sd3’ acoustic piano. this piece is part of a new series of pieces i’m working on which is meant to be independent of instrument used – that is the actual composition is a framework – and the expression is independent of what instrument it’s played on. the sd stands for ‘suspension drone’. the template is roscoe mitchell’s composition ‘tnoona’ (in some sense).

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jul 31, 2016

‘keyboard action’ this is improv done on the electric (yamaha cp-33) which i realized has a different action (harder to play) than the acoustic that’s in the living room.

‘dead or alive?’ acoustic electric guitar w/ efx. soundscape.

3 new tracks from mi yodea recorded here last week. acoustic piano and the natural reverb of our living room. 82, atzeret, and slide. music i wrote with arrangements (and vocals on 82) by the band (ann, sue & me).


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