Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

September 19, 2015

new poetry chapbook from BILL SHUTE, “MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY” (KSE #306)

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poetry chapbook, KSE #306

composed in February 2015, issued in September 2015

edition of 41 copies


($6 US ppd   /   $7 elsewhere ppd)

payment via paypal to    django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

Please include a note with your paypal order including the items ordered AND your mailing address (which Paypal often fails to provide me)….thanks!


MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY is the third and final chapbook in a series composed in Jan-Feb 2015 during and immediately after my weeks spent in Southwest Louisiana. LINES AND FINES and SATORI IN LAKE CHARLES (the first and second works in that series) have been getting an enthusiastic response from readers (thanks!), so this seemed like a good time to complete the sequence.

As I continue to produce new works year after year, I sometimes think back to my teens and twenties, when I read voraciously the avant-garde works of the then-past, and I sometimes wonder how those works inform and find their way into the pieces I write today. As I was proofing this MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY text for publication, I was reminded of the novelist John Hawkes, especially his second novel, THE BEETLE LEG, which I read a number of times. Hawkes’s writing in that book consisted of rich poetic passages written in a post-Melville flow, passages that contained extreme close-ups which seemed on the surface to be divorced from an understandable context or continuity, but which had a kind of continuity of tone and which worked on the level of a montage sequence in a film. Hawkes later evolved into novels with a strong erotic element and which tended to be more accessible, but the early works such as THE BEETLE LEG and THE CANNIBAL still are lodged just out of reach in my long-term memory, but planted deep enough to provide me with some kind of faded set of directions which I half-remember and which I use as the base for my own literary gumbo. I’ve never been the world’s biggest Harold Bloom fan, but he was onto something with THE ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE, and the above explanation is how the process works with me. Of course, we’re talking about in many cases there being 30+ years between the reading and the influence. When I was in my 20’s and closer to the source, I tended to write LIKE the writers I admired, whether it be Kerouac or Hawkes or Stein or Richard Wright or Paul Blackburn or whatever. In a sense, the distance has made all the difference. I’ve always felt that the poetic quality in any form of writing comes out of life experience, not out of books, although literary study  can help one to interpret and spin the life experience in a more artful and precise manner. Of course, I should point out that MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY will probably not remind ANYONE of John Hawkes’s work….it’s just that something in my memory of Hawkes’s work has been mixed with my own poetic strategy, and that mixture alchemically mutates into MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY. And my poetry, like the BEETLE LEG, is concerned with the question of the title….MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY. As a poet, that’s what I do for a living. That’s the wheel which I constantly re-invent.

beetle leg

So….after that long digression, what do you get in this new poetry chapbook MANIPULATING AMBIGUITY?

Peanut butter flakes from the invisible empire fall from a fluffy sky, while we wear ridiculous uniforms to degrading jobs which we are happy to get, the Austin police quickly (and without calling attention to themselves) quell any potential cracks in the uniformity, the lady next door is saving up for a portion of Renewed Hope In A Jar, British clergymen are solving fictional murders in romanticized small towns, and we’re enjoying truckstop coffee and buttermilk pie on the highway to Debtor’s Prison…but hey, SLOW DOWN and DROP IT TO A LOWER KEY…

Edition of 41 copies, so get your copy now. Only $6 in the US and $7 elsewhere, postpaid. Remember, while these poems may appear in some future collection, this limited KSE hand-made chapbook is the ONLY place you are going to get the works in their original context, with the intended art and formatting and epigraph and font, etc. These works are, literally, from me to you, whoever you are, wherever you may be. Each chapbook is an artifact, something NOT available online and not formatted for your e-reader or tablet or Kindle. When technology crumbles and the powergrid goes down, you can still find a comfortable rock to lean against and read my three-dimensional poetry chapbooks on a lazy afternoon…and discover how some people lived and thought and experienced BACK THEN….  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

While you are picking up a copy of MANIIPULATING AMBIGUITY, while not pick up a few others of our recent KSE poetry releases. My last few chapbooks are almost sold out, so grab them while you can. They are…

satori in lake charles

KSE #302 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Satori In Lake Charles”

KSE #297 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Lines and Fines,” Sound Library Series, Volume 77 

KSE #311 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Liars in a Strange Rainy World: Cassette Poems One”

KSE #313 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Flags No Longer at Half-Mast: Cassette Poems Two,”

Also, don’t hesitate to score a copy of the final installment of Pittsburgh poet Jim D. Deuchars Three Rivers trilogy, truly a major and gravity-defying work!

KSE #301 (poetry chapbook), JIM D. DEUCHARS, “Ohio Connecting Railroad Bridge”

As always, thank you for your support of KSE (both the music and poetry sides of this operation) and of all independent low-fi/DIY artists and arts organizations, proud to be part of the so-called “no-audience underground.”

September 12, 2015

new duo album from ALFRED 23 HARTH & JOHN BELL, “Camellia” (KSE #318)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:26 pm




KSE #318 (CDR album)

$8  US  postpaid / $19.00 elsewhere postpaid

payment via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

please provide a note with your order listing the items you’ve ordered and your mailing address….thanks!


Harth: soprano saxophone, taepyeongso, piri, trombone, percussion

Bell: extended vibraphone, tenorhorn, buk

Recorded at LaubhuetteStudio Moonsun, Korea, 2015


KSE’s long-term relationship with experimental music pioneer ALFRED 23 HARTH has resulted in more than a half-dozen albums, some documenting his working groups such as the duo GIFT FIG (with Carl Stone) and the quartet  THE EXPATS, along with others which have allowed Mr. Harth to create bold and complex conceptual works, such as the MICRO-SAXO-PHONE series and the CHINA COLLECTION. Harth’s KSE albums are a major body of work, and we’re proud to continue our fruitful relationship with Mr. Harth with this new album….CAMELLIA (KSE #318), a beautiful series of duets with vibraphonist JOHN TREVOR BELL, who is from New Zealand and presently works out of Seoul, Korea. The “Camellia” concept came out of a tour Harth and Bell did in early 2015 in the South coast area of Korea, where A23H included his art installations including the Camellia flower.

And the Camellia flower somehow captures the understated beauty and elegance of this (primarily) soprano saxophone and vibes duo. Harth and Bell are tapping into a long chamber-jazz  tradition–from the 1920’s duo and trio recordings of Bix and Tram (Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer) such as Singing the Blues or For No Reason At All In “C” to the small recordings of the 30s with Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, and Lionel Hampton….to the wonderful reeds and vibes recordings of Gunter Hampel and Marion Brown and the small Chico Hamilton groups . Of course, Harth and Bell come from the post-modern side of the street, but the lyricism, the attention to small detail, the darting back-and-forth, the intuitive thursting and parrying of the duo (the music provides the same kind of joyous strategy one finds in first-rate fencing or tennis….the difference being Harth and Bell are on the same side, working TOGETHER) provide a playful but profound series of pieces rooted in DUO UNITY.

There are 19 pieces, some composed by Harth, some composed by Bell, and the Harth pieces include ones dating back to circa 1980 and, in the case of “Waves Of Being,” the seminal THIS EARTH album where Harth worked with Paul Bley, Barre Phillips, Trilok Gurtu, and Maggie Nicols. The compositions are extended and developed in what Harth and Bell call a “time-lapse” method of “playing clouds.” Bell explains that  “Thanks mostly to Alfred’s guidance, but perhaps also due to the ironic peace and quiet of the Laubhuette studio (situated right next to the Demilitarized Zone) we stretched the tempos of those pieces to a cloud like slow motion.” However, there is a wide variety of tempos and rhythms here….from the languid dream-like haze one would associate with a late-period Chet Baker session to playful, spiralling quick-paced pieces reminiscent of Ornette Coleman. I’m also reminded of the live performances of Wayne Shorter (on soprano) and Herbie Hancock on the tour in support of their 1 & 1  duo album, where they would take pieces that ran 6 or 7 minutes on the album and extend them to 15 or 20 in concert, developing and deepening the pieces in ways that seemed so natural….and so inevitable!

Yes, there are other instruments in use here—-Korean instruments, trombone, etc (and the ways in which Bell “extends” his vibes open the instrument up in surprising and lovely ways)—-but it’s essentially a Soprano Saxophone and Vibraphone album, which is why I’m making so many references to the tradition here, as I feel that people who enjoy that tradition, whether it be Bix and Tram, Brown and Hampel, or Shorter and Hancock, will LOVE this album. If they are not too familiar with Alfred 23 Harth’s body of work, this album may just be the perfect door of entry to it! It’s also great to welcome John Trevor Bell to the KSE family. He is performing with forward-thinking groups all the time in Asia, but of course, we don’t hear a lot about the Asian scene here in Texas!

Harth and Bell will be doing another duo performance later in September in Seoul….see the gig poster at the top of this post. CAMELLIA is an album of rare beauty and fierce creativity….you need a copy. By the way, the Chinese characters on the cover represent the concepts which in English we’d call luck, bliss, or blessing….a perfect symbol for this album! Ordering info is at the top of this post…

Mr. Harth will also be appearing on our KSE 10th Anniversary compilation, which will come out early in 2016.

Bell & Harth


Alfred Harth: Bell & Harth started working as a duo at the Paju Festival in 2013 where Harth also brought in some of his poetry. In spring 2015 the duo had a so called „Camellia Tour“ along the South coast of Korea, Namhae, where Harth partly implemented his art installations including the camellia flower that is very common in that beautiful area along the islands of the South Sea. The CD Camellia is mainly about beauty and transitoriness and contains Harth’s compositions that date back to 1980. The duo developed a time-lapsed way of stretching the themes, what they call „playing clouds“. Bell & Harth both admire Korean traditional music, Gugak, and they refer to it in their improvisations by also playing traditional Korean instruments, Bell the Buk and Harth the Piri and Taepyeongseo.

John Bell: I first met A23H in 2007 during my first music tour to South Korea. Previously I was not familiar with the vast and varied artistic output of Alfred Harth. I kept in touch with Alfred after returning to New Zealand, and was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to perform an improvised duo with me at ‘Yogiga Gallery’ in Seoul shortly after I moved to Korea with my wife in 2013. We performed again as a duo in the Paju Free Music festival also in 2013. I spent much of 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere, but upon my return we resumed the duo project. In 2015 Alfred suggested we record some improvisations, but also some compositions of his (mostly from the 1980s and 90s). I was somewhat apprehensive about interpreting these compositions which had already been recorded by luminaries such as Maggie Nicols, Paul Bley, Sunbae Choi and Soojung Kae. Thanks mostly to Alfred’s guidance, but perhaps also due to the ironic peace and quiet of the Laubhuette studio (situated right next to the Demilitarized Zone) we stretched the tempos of those pieces to a cloud like slow motion. There are other moods in the duo sound, but I mostly think this cloud, even thick syrupy stratocumulus reflects some aspect of living in South Korea.

A23H Camellia poster 1

Over the years, Mr. Bell has performed with a wide variety of heavy-hitters including Steve Lacy, Han Bennink, William Parker, Marilyn Crispell, and Trevor Watts…..and now Alfred 23 Harth. You can follow his activities and learn more at his website,, and you can hear more of his music at his Bandcamp page,

Alfred 23 Harth, of course, is well-known internationally….and especially to readers of these pages. You can connect with Mr. Harth at his website:

A23H ChinaCollection

As always, thank you for your support of KSE and of all independent, non-aligned arts collectives…

September 7, 2015

The Garment District/Jennifer Baron/KSE featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:01 am

Garment District leaks a ‘Toxin’

With its second proper album, The Garment District already takes a departure, spinning off into an ambient world that would work as the soundtrack for a suspense film.

The Garment District is the Pittsburgh-based project of Jennifer Baron, a former member of Brooklyn indie band Ladybug Transistor. In Pittsburgh she is also known as a coordinator of Handmade Arcade and co-editor and contributing photographer for the book “Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania.”

Last year’s full-length Garment District debut was a dreamy synth-pop record topped with the airy vocals of her cousin Lucy Evans Blehar. She returns with “Luminous Toxin,” an all-instrumental piece commissioned by Kendra Steiner Editions, a San Antonio, Texas-based company specializing in poetry and experimental music. Poet/founder Bill Shute introduces the record with an essay saying the Garment District’s soundscapes “evoke a world … where I’d like to live,” comparing it to the work of Brian Eno.

That’s “a massive honor,” Ms. Baron says, calling the electronic pioneer “a lifelong artistic inspiration and cultural hero” and an artist who is “forward-thinking and progressive.”

She met Mr. Shute several years ago in Pittsburgh, passing along to him a copy of the Garment District’s debut cassette “Melody Elder” and full-length “If You Take Your Magic Slow.” He admired her work, and she loved his.

“Bill’s aesthetic and approach is all about supporting the artist’s vision for a release, so there are absolutely no imposed, preconceived or projected notions of what KSE is looking for. I felt encouraged to explore new — or further develop — music that’s a bit more adventurous, ambient, longform and experimental.”

“Luminous Toxin” took shape in part when Ms. Baron was asked to compose and perform music as part of the SYNC’D series at The New Bohemian gallery on the North Side, pairing local musicians with filmmakers and videographers. She was asked to write music for five short films, then perform the pieces at the former North Side church.

When she was invited to make music for Kendra Steiner, she says, “Concepts for the album had been swirling around in my head for quite some time, allowing me to revisit some of the music I had composed for SYNC’D, begin brand new compositions, finalize demos I already had in progress, dive into using my newly acquired Roland JX-3P synthesizer, and pick up my bass guitar again.”

She recorded at home over the harsh winter while binge-watching episodes of Rod Serling’s TV series “Night Gallery.”

“A lot of thought and care goes into my process,” she says, “even if the end result is more free form or experimental. Each individual bit is how it’s communicating itself to me. I’m very interested in an intersection of orchestrated pristine pop music, and the vibe and feel of more ambient experimental stuff.”

The record release show will feature songs from all of Garment District’s works, with a lineup that also features guitarist Dan Koshute (Dazzletine), drummer Shivika Asthana (Papas Fritas) and singer Ashlee Green (Butterbirds).

The Garment District release show is at 9 p.m. Friday at Howlers, Bloomfield, with Herbcraft (from Maine), Sagas with guitarist Matt McDowell and DJ KMFD (Keith DeVries). Admission is $6;

(originally published in the PIttsburgh Post-Gazette, 3 September 2015)

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