"Wicked trumpet meets prepared piano in this intense and hilarious pairing of twisted minds." --Robert Bush, San Diego Reader

"An exceptional release from two of California's finest experimental musicians..." babysue.com

"This is an extraordinary duo and one of this year's most challenging efforts on a variety of levels." -Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

"Precisely the sort of improvisational carnage you'd expect from these guys." -Jon Worley, A&A

Endless Pie: Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller

Endless Pie

An improvising duo for prepared piano and trumpet/flugelhorn,
all run though a laptop using custom software.

The music is created entirely live during the performance with
no pre-recording and no post-processing:
All sampling and manipulation is done live.

Performed Jeff Kaiser (trumpet, laptop) and Phil Skaller (prepared piano)

CD and digital download available at pfMENTUM.com

The Artists' Statement and Manifesto

Audio Sample

Excerpt, The Puppet Does Not Have A Soul


The duo Pi began when Phil Skaller and Jeff Kaiser met at the beginning of their PhD studies at UCSD in the Fall of 2007. Since then, their work together has taken them to performing concerts from Berlin to New York City. They were privileged to play at the Vision Festival in New York where they improvised a sound track to a film by the legendary experimental film maker Bill Brand. Their collaboration with Mr. Brand is working towards the creation of new works for film and improvisers.


*Jeff Kaiser (jeffkaiser.com) is a trumpet player, composer, conductor, music technologist and scholar currently living in Alpine, California. While considering his art mainly audio-centric, he also works more and more with live video, tracking and interactive technologies, developing his own custom software and hardware interfaces.

Embracing the idea of being an artist/scholar, Jeff is an associate instructor and full-time Ph.D. student in Integrative Studies (music), at the University of California San Diego. His areas of study are ethnomusicology and critical studies with a focus on technology and culture, media technology and improvisation.

*Philip Skaller (philskaller.com) is an improviser, pianist, critical theorist, and composer currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of California San Diego. He has studied, performed and recorded with notable personalities in both the jazz and classical tradition, including Yusef Lateef, Michael Dessen, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Dresser, Jeff Kaiser, Ignaz Schick, Hannes Zerbe and Danny Holt.

Philip has also pursued formal classical piano studies with Katharina Stromharg at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. As a composer, Skaller was awarded a Hampshire College Presidential grant in 2003 for advanced composition studies with Sidney Corbett in Berlin, and has studied opera and vocal composition intensively with Anthony Davis. In 2006, Skaller was awarded a grant from the Berlin senate to curate a concert series at Stalau68, an artist run performance venue for improvised music in Berlin, Germany. From 2004-present, Philip has collaborated with the avant-garde film legend Bill Brand, most recently performing to his films with Jeff Kaiser at the 2009 Vision Festival in New York.

Recent projects include a piano duo album featuring the music of Mark Dresser, continued performances of his operetta Teenchat featuring live transcripts generated from internet teen chat sites, collaborations with turntablist Ignaz Schick in Berlin and San Diego, a series of installation pieces developed with Matt McGarvey (import/export) and an ongoing, wide ranging partnership with Jeff Kaiser.


"Wicked trumpet meets prepared piano in this intense and hilarious pairing of twisted minds." --Robert Bush, San Diego Reader

Trumpet + piano duos are a relatively rare commodity in jazz — and this collaboration between Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller is not going to remind anyone of Wynton Marsalis and Marcus Roberts. For that matter Endless Pie is a disc so severe that it makes Raphe Malik and Cecil Taylor sound like Ruby Braff and Dick Hyman.

Endless Pie is a double CD: each disc leading off with an appropriately monstrous tour-de-force. "Unchangeable Fundament," kicks off Disc 1, Kaiser's fat smears layering over tinkling piano before morphing into hilarious vocalizations that have a schizophrenic quality. All the while, Skaller invents a backdrop of grueling, muted repetitions and instrumental disguises from his prepared piano--which can imitate alien textures, forces-of-nature and cartoon-ish gibberish. As the pianist narrows in on stuttering repetitions that reminded me of a stenographer with OCD, Kaiser unleashes an obscene series of overdriven squeaks like a balloon being molested by a seriously unbalanced child.

Kaiser uses trumpet, flugelhorn and his voice in tandem with live electronics (a lap-top running Max MSP), so despite what you think you are hearing, there are no overdubs and just these two musicians.

On "Image of a Punctiform," Skaller's prepared piano rumbles, plinks and breaks into passages of basso-profondo while Kaiser's acoustic horn races along like a drunken "Flight of the Bumblebee," before loping into leviathan foghorns followed by tortured split-tones.

The pianist obtains a strange brew of koto-meets music box aesthetic on "Alongside A Moving Tower," and weird percussive inside the piano effects on "Two Unknowns, the One Being," over which Kaiser applies wide swaths of rubbery vibrato.

Disc 2 opens with "The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul," Skaller's manic fingerings recalling Cecil Taylor at a toy-piano. Each musician contributes to an exhaustive exchange of energetic discourse--tossing ideas like poison daggers, building swells of caterwaul and dropping into moments of near silence. Kaiser sputters, screeches and blows columns of smog into his mouthpiece before the piece transitions into an intense and disturbing squeal-athon that sounds like a wolverine raiding a ferret nest.

"Occurred without Noticeable," by contrast, features tiny, micro-gestures where Skaller's piano imitates a can being kicked, or crickets in the night while Kaiser burbles and bubbles like soup on a low boil.

For those with an ear tuned toward adventure-- Endless Pie is indispensable. Where else are you going to find titles like "Galileo Uses Propaganda," or "Anticipated by Bacon" ? Endless Fun could easily have been the name for this highly entertaining disc.


"Precisely the sort of improvisational carnage you'd expect from these guys. What you might not expect is that I found a couple of songs to throw in the radio rotation--and they shouldn't scare off all my listeners. It's not so much about coherence as the simple brilliance of the ideas present. Long, strange and totally engrossing. One word of caution: The second disc is much scratchier than the first. Which is quite wonderful for me."

Jon Worley, http://www.aidabet.com/issues/344/344reviews.html#KAISER

Jeff is a restless explorer on trumpet and flugelhorn, always searching for other like-minded musicians to work with. Kaiser has done a number of duo discs before this, each one unique depending on his partner. Mr. Skaller seems to work mostly inside the piano, banging on the strings with assorted objects. Kaiser continually alters his sound with mutes or electronic devices, as well as playing some strange synth sounds. This is a particularly intense and focused duo, always working tightly together, complimenting and pushing each other. Although this music is completely (?) improvised, the duo often create patterns which sounds closer to modern chamber music. Reminding me at times of recent discs from Ernesto Martinez and David Rosenboom. This is an extraordinary duo and one of this year's most challenging efforts on a variety of levels.

- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

Far out stuff. Totally far out stuff. Double CD set featuring mind-boggling improvisational musician from California's Jeff Kaiser and Phil Skaller. The tracks on these discs were recorded live in San Diego back in November of 2010...but they're only now being made available to the public. These eighteen tracks feature Kaiser on trumpet, flugelhorn, voice, and electronics and Skaller on prepared piano. These guys are obviously in the same head space here, using instruments as a sort of diving board for their creative energies. Our guess is that there was little advance preparation done here before recording these ultimately spontaneous recordings. The titles of the songs pretty much say it all: "Image of a Punciform," "Anticipated by Bacon," "The Puppet Does Not Have a Soul," "The Problem of Telescopic Vision," "This Paratactic"...killer song titles (!). This music wasn't recorded for money or to please a mass audience. These compositions are forms of pure artistic expression in which these musicians let their minds and fingers take them just about anywhere. Probably too bizarre for the casual listener. But for those wanting something more challenging and unusual well...you get your full 109 minutes' worth here. An exceptional release from two of California's finest experimental musicians.... Top pick.