Thursday, August 7, 2014

Peaceful Contact Proved Elusive (album release!)

Hello to all my friends, family and fans!

I just released a duo album, on the Dazzle recording label, with guitarist Alex Nauman. The album, "Peaceful Contact Proved Elusive," contains all original compositions and arrangements by Alex and myself. It is available on limited edition vinyl or as a digital download through iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp, see links below. To purchase your copy of the vinyl email either myself or Alex at or The album comes with a free digital download that includes additional material'.  There is a description of the music below. 

Thanks for your continued support!

-Matt Smiley

About the music:

1.     Hic Hip – composition by Matt Smiley, May 7th 2012, dedicated to Christian Wolff, made possible by Greg Heimbecker, who brought Chinese gongs and a very large frame drum to the recording session.  The score is a single melodic line with chord changes, dots, thick black lines and long tones, while the second line is rhythmic, with a few graphic explosions.  Matt Smiley plays gongs and bass, while Alex Nauman plays guitar and frame drum.   
2.     Bends – composition by Alex Nauman, July 9th 2011, dedicated to Derek Bailey.  First performed as a solo at Pat’s Place in Billings, MT.  There are two versions of the piece on the album, clean and distorted.  The notation calls for all possible ways and combinations to bend pitch(es).
3.     Gradual Coalescence – composition by Matt Smiley, May 7th 2013, dedicated to Ken Vandermark, originally titled SQHN and composed for a trio with an additional trumpet part.  The piece is made up of 12 cells that the musicians improvise the connection between, and each cell can be played in any order.  On the album the cells are played forwards and backwards in the same ordering on both instruments.
4.     Rotting Watermelons – composition by Alex Nauman, 2013, dedicated to Frank Zappa.  The composition is inspired by two Frank Zappa songs Black Napkins and Watermelons in Easter Hay.  
5.     Take the Bandaid off – composition by Alex Nauman, 2013.  Early in the recording session Alex cut one of his fingers, and had to bandage it up, hence the title.  This is the ballad of the album and one of the only pieces that employs [semi] traditional harmonies.  
6.     Lorraine is a Good Name for a Bat – composition by Matt Smiley, December 17th 2012, dedicated to William Burroughs.  Five very different sections of music that can be played in any ordering with improvisation in between each section.  The title comes from a line from Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road." 
7.     Sketches for Ornette – composition/arrangement by Matt Smiley, August 1st 2013. This is a duo version of Ornette Coleman’s "Free Jazz," and is based on a transcription/arrangement of the piece for double quartet that I performed in 2010.  Includes the same amount of solo sections, including the bass duet, and the two drum solos.  
8.     Ice Trains – chance composition by Matt Smiley, September 8th 2013, dedicated to John Zorn.  Each performer has 7 pages of any notated music, and the modular score involves specific interpretations of the combination of random notated music.  The 7 pages should be different if possible, but any arrangement could be made: 7 pages of a Beethoven string quartet, or one page of Charlie Parker, Brahms, John Cage, REM, Bulgarian music, Moondog, and a church hymn, or 3 pages of AC/DC and 4 pages of Chopin.  Each of the four versions of Ice Trains uses different orderings of the score, and different notated scores.  

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