Monday, December 14, 2009


Almost a year ago I very quietly released a split LP on the vinyl-only Kazemat label. As an anniversary present to myself I wanted to re-release it digitally via some sort of conceptually relevant and ambitious analog remix: tiny speakers in seashells; surveillance microphone recordings, etc.

None of that stuff happened. I originally constructed this track as a sort of imagined beachtown noir; this simply "distressed" version aims for the kind of lo-fi audio experience a viewer might have on a late and lonely night in a run-down oceanfront motel via YouTube.

MEM: all instruments, editing, recording, etc. Except for a couple of tiny non-musical samples that I stole from a movie or two or three or four. Free copy of the LP to anyone who can name two of the movies.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

high lonesome.

Sleep Gunner is working working day and night on rehearsals/music for The High Lonesome, a piece by choreographer Hillary Blake Firestone for Conny Janssen Danst. The High Lonesome opens in Rotterdam on 10 December.


The High Lonesome

Square Dancing: an American folkdance based on constantly shifting group patterns, whose beauty is refined spatial virtuosity. Sleep Gunner: two Amsterdam-based guitar players devoted to the complex harmonies of 1950s Alabama heartbreak duo The Louvin Brothers. The High Lonesome: a performance that takes its inspiration, forms, physicality and pleasure from Square Dance; its four songs -with lyrics of longing for home and memories of familiar things- from the Louvins' catalog; and its structure from a country jamboree. Or, The High Lonesome: a band of six whose numbers are all about one thing: space and place, presence and absence, longing and belonging.

title: the high lonesome
choreography: hillary blake firestone i.s.m. the performers
performers: winston arnon, yanaika holle, jeroen kimman, lola mino, mark morse, christiana ruggieri
music/arrangements: sleep gunner (jeroen kimman & mark morse)
original songs: Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar, Kentucky, Alabama & Southern Moon, recorded by The Louvin Brothers
length: 20 minutes
thanks to maurits van geel

Saturday, October 10, 2009

lysn in gonzo.

This month's Gonzo Circus has a nice little feature on Hilary, and there's a LYSN track on the included Mind the Gap CD as well. This is what we looked like hungover in Berlin last month (foto: Siegmar Zacharias).


Friday, September 18, 2009

i am sitting in a NastyReverb contraption.

Just got back from a long week in Berlin, long in a good way. One of the week's successes was the glitch-free debut of my new tiny laptop/guitar rig running AudioMulch. So I thought I'd post a Mulch MP3 or two, recorded last week.

I'm normally quite the anti-loopist these days, probably because I spent many years looping and just eventually became a bit fatigued by the sound of it and the playing strategies that it traps one into. But nonetheless these are a few loopy guitar improvisations through one of the example patches that comes with Mulch version 2.

It's a patch written by Christian Haines called lucier.amh, and it's supposed to kind of coarsely emulate the resonant frequencies techniques used in I Am Sitting in A Room, though here there are no real rooms involved: these are the resonant frequencies of one NastyReverb contraption and five two-second SDelays (along with a bit of "nice" reverb at the end of the chain, added by me, which I realize completely smooths over and destroys any remaining vestiges of Lucier's intended soundworld, but...I don't think I was ever aiming for that anyway).

This is a simple patch, but an interesting and useful way to degrade or erode a shortish loop. In each of these recordings I stop playing after about 3 minutes, which is a little too soon musically: if I'd had a bit more patience I could've paced the first five minutes better, but the sooner I stop adding new material, the sooner the loop can start to degrade, and that degradation is what these studies were about. So that means that in each study there's an absence of development from the 3:00 mark to 5:00 minutes while I wait for the resonance to kick in.

#15 and #14 below are super-friendly and modal, and the other two are a little less so. #11 and #12 are so similar it's worth asking why you'd include both, but I guess maybe it's educational to see what happens when you forget to include any lower pitches as I did with #11.

The other idea was to see what if any interesting wobbles happened with different levels of intentional dissonance. I also imagine that soon I'll try using more sophisticated "rooms" to see how we can end up in less predictable or more controllable places.


MEM: electric guitar, e-bow.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

summer breeze.

It's a conundrum, summertime in Amsterdam: it's the only time where everyone's schedule is completely free and you can consider actually getting some work done on all those late-night beer-fueled conceptual projects that you all talk about all year long.

The equal and opposing reactive force to these empty schedules is the summertime weather. Hot and sunny for 18 hours a day. A huge deterrent to staying inside and practicing anything. The beach is 45 minutes away.

Nonetheless, Sleep Gunner is trying to do some studio recording this week. I'll post any interesting results here.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Above: Brainiac. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard that Timmy Taylor was dead. Bonsai Superstar was easily my favorite record of 1994 (and 1995), and I'd been eagerly awaiting a live show. I still use the Timmy Taylor Defense whenever it doesn't make financial or geographical sense for me to go see a live show that I will one day regret not seeing.


So, Family Tapes gig 2 was better than the first one, but still mostly helped us realize what we don't want to do.

But OK, also what we do want to do, some of which I think is to play compositions. This is part of a new piece that we tried for the first time on the day of the gig (like, with at least one person seeing their written parts for the first time that day), where two notes in a row are rarely played by the same guitarist (in this section we each play every 5th note). In its original context, this bit (loop 4) lasts for about 10 seconds, this is an experiment to see what happens if it lasts a little longer.

The Family Tapes: The Happy Days (4/13).

And this excerpt is not actually composed, but we knew we were going to do it: this is us blowing on the strings with amps turned up very loud.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

extract of invitation.

This is a seven minute edit of our hour-long piece this is hardly an invitation. The edit (not done by us) does an amazing job of not giving you any context for anything that happens onstage, but luckily includes a full minute of us taking bows afterwards. I imagine that we'll have our own comparatively useful edit up here in the next couple of weeks.

And here's the first bit of unfinished music I'm posting from the piece, this would be The End:

Monday, May 25, 2009

arrangements in public.

This is Kenzo Kusuda at the Jewish Historical Museum last week performing to a (now rather old) DJ mix of mine called Arrangements, all of which is also part of the My Name is Spinoza festival. For some of the clip you can hear the audio as the headphoned audience could, and for some of the clip you're in the position of non-audio participant, at least I think that's what's happening...I wasn't there for the performance myself unfortunately.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

this is hardly an invitation.

this is a perishing party...
this is a festivity lab...
this is hardly an invitation


a performance by/with Hillary Blake Firestone & Morsanek
i.k.v. My Name is Spinoza Festival

Grand Theater Groningen May 19 @ 20.30h
Frascati Amsterdam May 22, 23 @ 21h

Light design: Floriaan Ganzevoort
Thanks: Keren Levi, Mara Tomanek, Jeroen Kimman, Jordis Jabuzichek

Made possible with the support of SKOR, Grand Theater Groningen, DWA and the Violet Bureau


We need maracas
We need mutton
We need garish
We need gaudy
We need a reason to get drunk on a Tuesday
We need a reason to be childishly guileless
We need a reason to get in a fight
We need a reason for ABBA
We need a reason for orange
We need to practice being a corpse
We need a reason for marzipan teeth
We need fringe
We need food fights
We need a reason to think about decay
We need a reason for love letters
We need a reason for lapdance
We need a reason for limbo
We need a reason to get in over our heads
We need seduction
We need surrender
We need a reason for human target practice
We need a reason to spike the punch

this is hardly an invitation is a collaboration between sound artist Morsanek (aka Mark Morse) and choreographer Hillary Blake Firestone. Commissioned to create a performance inspired by Deleuze & Guattari’s concept of the Body without Organs, the two distilled from the text the unlikely combination of festivity as theme and laboratory as location. Joined by light designer Floriaan Ganzevoort, the group inaugurated a Festivity Lab, a liminal space devoted to testing the mechanisms of celebration.

The performance itself takes place within this oddly clinical disco. Exploring the imaginative flow and reconstructive energy that define festivity, the performers propose dry-humoured experiments where various hypotheses are tested…some of which are bound to fail.

The result is equally visual, musical and physical: a solo parade; a funny-sad spectacle; a lonely party for two people and their public, tinged with the recognition that within every celebration, along with the eternal, there is an inevitable suggestion of the perishing. Hoera.


Hillary Blake Firestone (USA, 1974) is a choreographer, performer, and teacher, based in Amsterdam since 1999. After studying Dance Performance/Composition and Literature in New York, she began making her own work, first with the dance/theatre collective Unexpected Company. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has worked in collaboration with choreographers, composers, musicians, and visual artists. The relationship between movement and sound is one of the primary focuses of her work. To this end, she often makes use of simple objects and complex music.

Mark Morse aka Morsanek (USA, 1969) is an improvising guitarist, DJ, and sound editor who builds his own source material through a variety of prepared guitars, customized software, and feedback generators, and then painstakingly assembles dense narratives that draw on techniques from film editing, field recordings, and DJ mixing. His new LP on the Dutch label Kazemat has been called "a fascinating puzzle" (Gonzo Circus).


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A couple of people have asked about other Kebab recordings, this is the last one I have I think. The first sound you hear is the last tune of my DJ set, Gilbert Altman's great "Urban Sax Part 3", which we then fade in over. This recording is from 13 December 2006.

Hilary Jeffery: trombone, tromboscillator, voice
Mark Morse: feedback, samplers, electric guitar, analog synths, voice
Alan Purves: drums, bells, mallets, whistles, tubes, etc.


Friday, March 20, 2009

minister kebab: tone pig.

Minister Kebab live at Zaal 100, Amsterdam. 18 March 2009.

Hilary Jeffery: trombone, tromboscillator, voice
Mark Morse: feedback, samplers, electric guitar, analog synths, voice
Alan Purves: drums, bells, mallets, whistles, tubes, inflatable animals, seven thousand other things


Thursday, March 12, 2009

six more weeks of winter.

Minister Kebab is ducking their collective head out of its collective hole next week, our first gig since 2006. To commemorate this auspicious moment, here are 3 truly uninformative videos, plus audio from a 2006 performance. That cheap-ass guitar sound in the first clip is not me, it's Gunga playing something through a guitar amp, which makes it almost OK.

Here's an MP3 of the whole show @ Zaal 100, Amsterdam (06 December 2006).

Minister Kebab: Please Please David Put Out The Lights (50:04).

Mark Morse: guitar, samplers, feedback, voice
Alan Purves: drums, percussion, brim bram, wee bells, squeakology
Hilary Jeffery: trombone, tromboscillator, voice.


Friday, March 6, 2009

turn your speakers down.

Catching up on YouTube's collection of Japanese noise. This is from 1993, which was a year after Hijokaidan and K.K. Null and everyone else on the Dry Lungs V compilation erased whatever personal musical boundaries I'd drawn up to that point.  I embed this video b/c I couldn't embed this one


Thursday, February 19, 2009


My rider very specifically states that all performance photos of me must be taken from the same POV.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

the family that plays together.

The Family Tapes
had their first gig in early January. Was Yes.

Was it....good? I think it was probably OK. I mean I have the recording, but it doesn't sound like music yet: instead I'm just trying to figure out what I'm doing to see if I should congratulate myself or set myself aflame.

Actually figuring out what I'm doing is pretty easy on bits like this next one, because I'm playing the role of disruptor. But I think in general it became clear that we can't continue to Just Let Things Happen, we're just not getting diverse enough results: we need some structure. Here's the first 4 minutes of the show, wherein I demonstrate me some handheld amplifier technique.

The Family Tapes: The Shyboy Opening (10MB).

So you see what I mean. We're taking some steps to try and force ourselves into new territory: we're doing some writing and we're working on getting some external composers interested in writing for Family Tapes...which will either fix us or break us for good. The latter would be untimely, yo: we just made's Best of 2008 list.