Alt-Classical (2011)

Alt-Classical (2011)

What is Alt-Classical?
DIY, open instrumentation, alternative venues, mix of amateur and professional performers, music lies somewhere between art music (music meant to be contemplated) and pop music (music meant for mass consumption).
Alt Classical EP (2011) by pbailey


Fearless Leader, (2006, revised 2007)
was partially inspired by a quote from the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti: “ Now there is no taboo; everything is allowed. But one cannot simply go back to tonality, its just not the way. We must find a way of neither going back nor continuing the avant-garde. I am in a prison: one wall is the avant-garde, the other wall is the past, and I cannot escape.”

An Eye for Optical Theory (Michael Nyman Cover)
It is interesting to note that the although all of Nyman’s music from the Peter Greenaway film The Draughtsman’s Contract was derived from a Purcell chaconne, the ground bass (on which this piece is built) was subsequently discovered to have been written by a lesser-known contemporary of Purcell.  This arrangement uses most of the melodic materials from the original piece, freely combining them to create a bizzaro world second cousin of the original.

Life’s Too Short (2006)
is a lighthearted meditation of life, death, and nihilism based on the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche (iconic German philosopher) and John Sinclair (Los Angeles based writer).

Cheap Admiration (2005)
Is loosely based on a harmonic deconstruction of Sonata Ciacona by Johann Pezel (1639-1694) who worked as a musician in Germany and was promoted to town stadtpfeifer (band director) in Leipzig in 1670. Later in his career he applied for and was turned down for the job of Cantor of St. Thomaskirche, a job that J.S. Bach would hold 50 years later.

myinnersatan (2005, revised 2006)
started as a cross between counterpoint exercise and a contemplation of the soul crushing emptiness of desk work.

Principal of Sufficient Irritation (originally titled 11/25/05)
is three sections of five melodic/ostinato gestures that can be performed in endless variety. in rehearsals a unique roadmap and orchestration is decided upon and explored during the performance. The title is based on an interesting concept in P.K. Dick’s “Ubik”.

Undone (The Sweater Song)
Weezer cover FTW!

Paul Bailey Ensemble (PBE)

is an alt-classical garage band that plays the music of a variety of living and dead composers. The group was created in 2002 as DIY forum outside the usual and limited channels of art music presentation.


released 16 February 2011
Paul Bailey, Trombone
Bruce Gallego, Electric Guitar
Eric Hendrickson, Keyboards
Scott McIntosh, Clarinet
Ryan Nunes, Vibraphone
Carl Stronach, Bass Guitar
With Special Guest Piano
John Marr on “Undone (The Sweater Song)”

Life’s Too Short Vocals

Nicole Baker, Mezzo Soprano, Spoken Word
Sean McDermott, Tenor
Paul Cummings, Bass

Life’s Too Short Graphic LIbretto

Recorded, Edited, and Mixed by Paul Bailey and Marlon Luna
Mixing and Mastering Consultant/Coach/Head Cheerleader Jon Brenner
Recorded at California State University Fullerton, Swing House Studios Hollywood, and Because They Are Dead Studios, Highland Park

Music for Controllers (2009)

Music for Controllers (2009)

are improvisations performed live using ableton live, korg/nanokey, buddha machine and srutibox (iphone), and korg kaossilator

Music for Controllers I
created using ableton live, buddha machine (iphone), korg kaossillator and nano-key

Music for Controllers II (coming soon)

Music for Controllers III and Music for Controllers IV

were improvised live using ableton live/ korg/nanokey, buddha machine (iphone), and the korg kaossilator

Music for Controllers V
improvisation post-whatever ableton, buddha machine (iphone), srutibox just-intonation drone

Music for Controllers VI (A Stable Job is an Oxymoron)
this track was based on a field recording i made of my last day of work before my “fall break” at CSUF (a one-week non paid work furlough). a few days later i improvised over the recording of my commute (from highland park to union station) with some materials of an earlier piece i made last spring (not getting fired is the new promotion). when it was finished i felt it was a little too minimal and forgot about it until about a week ago and when i listened to it again i realized it pretty accurately captured my dread of what this financial disaster has become in my life.
interestingly enough on that was the same day on my commute home the conductor on my amtrak route told me that she had lost about 75 daily commuters between san diego and los angeles from a year ago and it was pretty sad how so few of us were left. i know for me there aren’t many part time faculty left in the music department at CSUF and at this point it’s can get pretty depressing whenever i think about all of my friends who are out of work.
probably a little TMI, but yeah… i guess it is a bit dark.

Music for Controllers VI (A Stable Job is an Oxymoron) is spoken word piece based on twitter RSS feeds on the keywords “fired” and “job”. parts of this piece were originally contained in the piece  “not getting fired is the new promotion” (2009) and was improvised/performed/composed using ableton live, novation launchpad, korg kaossilator, iphone (buddha machine, srutibox), text-2-speech, and a field recording (zoom H2) of my morning commute (metro goldline from heritage square to union station; los angeles, ca 10/15/2009 (10 min)
Music for Controllers by paul bailey

Retrace Our Steps (2008)

Retrace Our Steps (2008)


Retrace Our Steps is a secular oratorio in 4 acts (2004) based on texts by Gertrude Stein, Guy Debord and Jenny Bitner. the work explores the relationships between idealism, alienation, and consumerism.


(download graphic libretto)

Retrace Our Steps, Graphic Libretto



recorded, edited and mixed by marlon luna and paul bailey (released jan, 2008)

mastered by johnathan marcus (opharion recordings)


nicole baker, mezzo-soprano soloist and speaking parts, karen hogel, soprano, nike st. clair, alto,

sean mcdermott, tenor and paul cummings bass

sam formicola and sam fischer violins, victor lawrence, cello, sean ferguson, electric guitar, matt menaged, electric bass, kyoko kamei and carl stronach vibraphone, eric hendrickson, keyboard, scott mcintosh, bass clarinet.

(commissioned by the cerritos center for the performing arts)


John Schaefer, WNYC/EMusic Review

WNYC CD Pick of the Week (May 08 2008)

WNYC CD Picks of the Year (2008)

Creative Commons License

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Creative Commons License

This music free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.

Music From Summerland (2002)

Music From Summerland (2002)


Music from Summerland explores the juxtaposition of pop song forms and harmonies through post-modern and minimalist gestures. summerland refers to a mythical-emotional place where we escape daily routine by making music; composing, rehearsing and performing. this music lies somewhere between art music (music meant to be contemplated) and pop music (music meant for mass consumption).


  • Overcoming Tourism
  • The Palimpsest
  • Boundary Violations
  • Tong Aesthetics
  • Obsessive Love
  • The Obelisk
  • Summerland

    sam formicola, violin
    andy greybill, violin
    fernando vela, viola
    sean ferguson, electic guitar
    bruno cilloniz, vibraphone
    nelson ojeda, keyboard
    matt menaged, bass guitar
    chris searight, baritone sax
    paul bailey, trombone

    recorded summer 2002 @the bakery in north hollywood, ca
    engineered, glen fujiwara
    mixed, paul bailey
    mastered, j. marcus (orpharion recordings)


    WNYC Soundcheck “The Pulse of Minimalism” June 09, 2009

    Ensemble’s Mix Is A Classic Alternative: Josef Woodard/LAtimes (2005)

    Creative Commons License

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

    Creative Commons License

    This music free to share under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License.