ALTO! Arrington de Dionyso Amy Reed


I’m drawn to artists that stretch boundaries and inspire me to hopefully do the same.  Over the last few years I’ve played shows and/or recorded with Northwesters ALTO! and Arrington de Dionyso.  When they told me they were coming through around Sacramento at the same time and wanted to play together, it was a no-brainer.  Along with local experimental guitarist Amy Reed, they will be playing at Gold Lion Arts on March 3, starting at 8pm sharp.  I will be sitting in with Arrington and drummer Ted Byrnes.  Read about my collaboration recording, Tired Minds Improvised, with him here.  More details about this show at Facebook.

Arrington is calling his tour This Saxophone Kills Fascists and is playing all over the country for the next two months.  Last year, ALTO! put our their excellent third album on Trouble in Mind Records.  Amy Reed will bring her deconstructed guitar treatment to the show.  Twisted times!






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deDionyso/Kazakgascar Solo – Tired Minds Improvised


This last summer I did some free-form recording with Arrington de Dionyso when I was visiting the Northwest.  The result is Tired Minds Improvsed.  I brought my gourd guitar and he switched between bass clarinet, saxophone, homemade bromiophones, and wooden flutes.  I was operating on limited sleep, but maybe that helped me get into a zone.  I locked into some minimal/droney guitar bits and Arrington played some inspired wailing.  His playing is as influenced by his tours in Indonesia as free jazz and punk – and probably plenty of other sources I’m unaware of.

The album is book-ended by two long drone pieces, with some skronky mischief in between.  Other than some reverb and snipping, there isn’t really any studio magic added to the session.  In editing it down, I never really got tired of it at any point, which is always a good sign.  My favorite piece is “Exit Drone.”  The album is available on CD on download at the link below.




Arrington DeDionyso is getting ready to set out on his “This Saxophone Kills Fascists”  tour.  For my local friends, he will be playing Sacramento on March 3 and I will be joining him on guitar.


Arrington warming up.

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Bafus/Brewer w/Ava Mendoza

bafusbrewer-jan31I’m playing a duo set with Jon Bafus on Tue, Jan 31, at a house show.  We are opening up for Brooklyn-based Ava Mendoza, who is touring her old stomping grounds on the West Coast.  She will be solo for this show, playing stuff that will be on her next album.  Check out her last album on John Zorn’s label, Tzadik.  Her playing can take many directions.  I remember seeing her with Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista years ago.



This is only the 2nd Bafus/Brewer tussle.  There is a good recording of our July performance below.  Jon is a gifted and passionate player and I look forward to playing with him again.  Admission includes a homemade personal pizza!  More details at Facebook.




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Bengal by the Bay


Hello Bay Area friends.  Swimming in Bengal will be playing the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco on Sept. 26 with Key West.  This is an Outsound Presents show and will be starting at 8pm sharp.  Mr. Timothy Orr will be sitting in with us.  More details at Facebook.

We will be bringing the LP and cassette versions of our new album, Garden of Idle Hands.  If you can’t make it to the show, you can order it through Baggage Claim Records, Lather Records, Revolver, or SS Mailorder.  Here is a recent review of the album from Raven Sings the Blues.

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Harvester Climbs Portland


It’s been a long time since Harvester played a proper Portland show.  Safe harbor has passed however, and we’re back to jangle the shit out of you.  It is an early show on Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Landmark Saloon.  More details on Mr. Facebook. Last year, we released our first album in a decade, Mt. Tallac.  We’ll be playing some of that, along with the usual assortment of golden oldies.  Opening the show will be our buddy, and one-time drummer, Kelly Bauman.  Our current drummer, Ario Lynch, will be sneaking in a few jokes between music sets.  He’s been doing stand up comedy the last four years.  I know almost nothing about this scene, so I asked him a few questions.

1. What about drumming also applies to stand up comedy?
A -Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I mean timing is supes important, obviously. There’s a dynamic to a joke or a story, tension building. Comics develop their own rhythmic style. It’s basically the same thing. Except drummers aren’t desperate for the focused attention of everyone in the room. They understand the innate value of what they’re doing, and experience joy just in doing it. A drummer doesn’t look out, see one person not engaged and think “fuck, I have to throw my whole act away and start over”. 
Also, you do have to own that you’re basically in charge of the room when you’re on stage.
2. How come bassists aren’t that funny?
A – I don’t know, have you heard Geddy Lee’s onstage banter? Guy’s a cut up. But seriously, being funny requires quick thinking and intelligence, and that’s what hangs up most bass players. It’s not their fault. They’re lucky someone decided to take two strings off a guitar and invite them to “play” in the band. You can’t just let your friend sit around drooling in the corner all day. 
3. I’ve always thought of drummers as the baseball catchers of bands.  That is, the team/band’s success depends on them, but catchers/drummers are always… nuts.  Why is this? 
A – Hmm, I hear that about drummers. I’m not sure I conform to the type. Certainly there is a deeply primitive aspect to it. So are drummers just more connected to that part of being human? Is that crazy? Are you calling me crazy?? Oh I’m sorry, is my ratamacue bothering you? Or is it my double ratamacue? Well, here’s a triple and a flam. I’m outta here. 


4. Sometimes I fall under the spell of delusion where I think, “I should be an actor.  I could probably do that.” I never think that with stand up comedy.  It seems like it would be really hard to be funny enough to make people laugh.  Thoughts?
A – To me acting seems hard. Like, there’s a lot of prep work and rehearsal, on top of the talent. But I’m glad that you correctly perceive that comedy is difficult. Many don’t. It’s been said that when standup is done well it looks like anyone can do it, unlike ballet or sculpting or tossing pizza dough. So a lot of people who make their friends or coworkers laugh will try it at a local open mic. And often do “well” that first time. It’s all the crickets that you hear over the next few months/years that separates the regular people from the dedicated masochists.
The hard part isn’t being funny, either. It’s making your ideas presentable in a performance. Stepping up to a mic and being funny, on purpose.
5. Is there a typical shitty thing that some people say when they find out you are a budding comic?  Like the next time you hear it you’re going to punch them in the throat. 
A – Whoa! That’s a bit extreme. Is there something you need to get off your chest?
Not shitty. Mostly people are in awe that you can even get up there.  Most people would rather rescue there iPhone from a pit of vipers than get on stage in front of an audience, let alone try to be funny. It’s annoying is when someone wants to know what kind of comedy you do. It’s the same with musicians. I don’t think we like having to describe our sound or humor to people. I usually just ask if they’ve heard of Louis CK.
Order Harvester’s Mt Tallac here.  Read a feature about the album here.  All of the old albums can be had at Lather Records.
Listen to a Kelly Bauman song!




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Swimming in Bengal – Garden of Idle Hands

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Swimming in Bengal’s new album, Garden of Idle Hands, is finally out!  In July 2015 we spent a couple nights recording open ended pieces while the Berryessa fire turned the sky orange.  It took us awhile to settle on the parts we liked and trim off the fatty bits.  This is also when Rusi Gustafson joined Bengal as the regular percussionist.  One of the songs, “Locusts”, features drummer Dax Compise.

The album requires patience.  It’s a slow-burner that starts out lean and narrow and eventually gets thick and juicy in the middle.  Garden of Idle Hands is not on Lather Records.  The vinyl LP is being released on Mike Trouchon’s new label, Baggage Claim.  Please “claim your baggage” by emailing here:   There is also a short-run of cassettes of the album being released by UK label Lugubious Audio.  Order your tape here.  Both versions are beautifully packaged, with letter press assistance on the LP from Michael Geminder at Delta Press.



You can also pick up a copy of the new album in person at our show on Nov. 14 at Luna’s Cafe.  Joining Bengal on the bill is Ross Hammond.  More details at ze Facebook.

Previous recordings, Vol. 1 and Ashes For Gwynn, can still be had at Lather Records.  Copies of Insomnia Village are all gone, but you can download it at J&C Tapes’ site.

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Swimming Bengal/Smoke on the River


Swimming in Bengal is playing the Smoke on the River fundraiser for the Sacramento Arts Council this Saturday, October 15 at 1pm at Miller Park.  Please check out the link for information on tickets.  Local breweries, food, and a corn-holing tournament!    Bengal’s new album, Garden of Idle Hands, will be released very soon – the vinyl LP on Baggage Claim and the cassette on UK label, Lugubrious Audio.  Until then, check out this free download of a non-album piece called “The Twisted Manzanita.”



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