Disaster Sessions (2023)by Richard Ellis, Louis Carrillo, Kendal CrewsLong-form improvisation.

New Orleans, Louisiana

September 17th, 2003

Guitarist Richard Ellis, percussionist Louis Carrillo, and bassist Kendal Crews decide to record their rehearsal.

After working on one cover song, they begin freely improvising. Rock, funk, jazz, and noise pour out. Decades of collective music making are distilled into creating a singular ecstatic moment.

These moments continue for hours.

These are the tapes.


  • Guitar: Richard Ellis
  • Percussion: Louis Carrillo
  • Bass: Kendal Crews


  • Recorded direct to 2-track cassette by Richard Ellis in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 17th, 2003.
  • Mastering: audiosalvage
  • Producers: Richard Ellis and Vic Dillahay


  • Cover and Disc Photo: "RMS Titanic lifeboat no.6 approaches rescue ship Carpathia" from the National Archives (UK)
  • Interior and Traycard Photo: "Duck Reach Power Station" from the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (LPIC84/1/57)
  • Package Design: Curious Automata


  1. Disaster Sessions: Code One (47:15)
    © 2023 Richard Ellis US‑DHM‑23‑01576
  2. Disaster Sessions: Code Two (47:24
    © 2023 Richard Ellis US‑DHM‑23‑01570
  3. Disaster Sessions: Code Four (17:14
    © 2023 Richard Ellis US‑DHM‑23‑01599
  4. Disaster Sessions: Code Seven (47:15
    © 2023 Richard Ellis US‑DHM‑23‑01532


I believe music is good. Good when it’s grandpa’s fiddle on the porch, when it’s jazz with cocktails, when it’s pop blasted to the earbuds of a few million teenagers, and when it’s a local orchestra sawing away on tunes by 19th century composers whose names start with B. Music to distract, accompany a meal, or draw attention to oneself is better than silence.

But I think music is best when it is not made for the listeners pleasure or bent to the makers’ ideals, when it stands by itself, when it is made by those in service to the sound who make music because the music must be. I’ve seen a few great players who live in that space but it seems exceedingly rare in my own music making. Occasionally, I’ve had moments at gigs or recording sessions where we truly served the song but more often those come in rehearsals. We spark fire when least expected, then play its memory at the show.

So the music on this collection is special. Guitarist Richard Ellis, percussionist Louis Carrillo, and bassist Kendal Crews didn’t set out to make anything special on September 19th, 2003. They were just jamming on tune at their rehearsal space in New Orleans when they found a trancendent groove. They stayed there for hours-even Kendal leaving for an appointment then returning didn’t break the spell. It’s the kind of one-in-a-million collective improvisation that is almost always lost to the moment. But Richard happened to be taping it, just for future reference.

These are a few of those tapes. You should listen to them. They’re up on all streaming services, too.

The CDs for this release are also the 39th, 40th, 41st, and 42nd released by Curious Automata. 42: the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide. I can think of no better way to hit that milestone than with this project.

Vic Dillahay

Technical Data

  • Label: Curious Automata
  • Catalog Number: 230320E
  • Released: March 20th, 2023
  • Format: CD and Digital
  • Total Tracks: 4
  • Duration: 2:39:10
  • UPC (Code One): 756839548427
  • UPC (Code Two): 756839548410
  • UPC (Code Four): 756839548434
  • UPC (Code Seven): 756839548403
  • UPC (Disaster Sessions): 756839548441


Album Copyright

©: 2023 Richard Ellis
: 2023 Richard Ellis