The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

Hebeloma's Clockwise Cadenza
Hebeloma Crustuliniforme
with illustrations by Julia K. Keffer
(link to main page of score)


January 1, 2023
The greatest achievement of Melanippe's life was, of necessity, an inviolate secret, never to be shared. Her triumph defined her and, consequently, its concealment prevented others from truly understanding her. However, from you, Gentle Reader, we keep no secrets. Melanippe was one of fourteen youths of noble birth, selected by lottery and surrendered to King Minos as tribute to spare the city of Athens from sacking. Taken to Knossos, the seven maidens and seven young men were fated to sate the violent appetite of the Minotaur. By her own hand had Melanippe escaped the labyrinth.

written while listening to:  Alexandra Grimal & Giovanni di Domenico - Down the Hill (no label, no catalog #, 2020, France, cd,

January 2, 2023
She emerged through a vertical fissure in the rock, from an unblemished, subterranean darkness into a nocturnal scene, burgeoning with an excess of starlight. To Melanippe's eyes, accustomed over the past year to wandering through the shadows of the labyrinth, it seemed as if the noon-time sun itself illuminated the rocky hillside, so brilliantly did the constellations shed their light upon her. She breathed deeply of the cool night air. Free of the odor of dank earth, she was overwhelmed by the fragrance of grass and the sea not far distant. She wept quietly in disbelief.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - New Sights Old Sounds, disc 2 (Incus Records, CD 48/49, 2002 (orig. 1979), United Kingdom, cdx2,

January 3, 2023
In her rebirth upon the surface world, Melanippe brought little with her. She wore the white, virginal gown in which, between two rows of Cretan soldiers, she had been ushered into the labyrinth with the other sacrificial victims. Of fine craftmanship, the garment had survived a year underground, though the fabric had thinned and the edges frayed. The sandals upon her feet, and her feet no less, had assumed the color of dirt. In her hands, she held a fold of ragged parchment and a stick of charcoal. These last two items were her lone mementos of the mine.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Keeping On Breathing (Tokuma Japan Communications/J-Factory, TKCF-77016, 1997, Japan, cd,

January 4, 2023
Melanippe followed the faint scent of smoke on the breeze until she came upon the isolated hut of a goatherd. Despite her soft tread, the small flock of goats stirred at her arrival. Their bleats served to convey that they detected her presence rather than to raise an alarm. No light could be seen through the cracks in the shutters, so whatever fire she had smelled was now embers. Had there been clothes, conveniently left on a line, she would have stolen them. Her urgent need to adopt a disguise as anyone but a fugitive from the labyrinth overrode her sense of propriety.

written while listening to:  The Art Ensemble of Chicago - The Spiritual (Freedom, 278.125, 1972, France, lp,

January 5, 2023
Fearful of the greeting that she would receive were she to disturb those sleeping inside the hut, Melanippe lay down among the goats. They huddled about her, deflecting the wind, as she clutched her fragile treasure to her chest. She had scavenged the parchment from an abandoned miner's camp, where it had been discarded by a surveyor as too damaged to be of use. Upon its surface, she had meticulously recorded her path through the labyrinth. Those who insisted that it was impossible to map the maze of the Minotaur had never been confined for a year within its walls.

written while listening to:  Michael Foster - The Industrious Tongue of Michael Foster (Relative Pitch Records, RPRSS006, 2022, United States, cd,

January 6, 2023
Come morning, an elderly man emerged from the hut. He called the goats to follow him up the hillside to graze. They dispersed from the cluster, revealing a young woman curled up, asleep on the ground. He examined her for a moment, largely to confirm that she was not a hallucination. He called his wife out. "Where did you get her?" she asked, annoyed. He sensed an accusation. "I just found her there. The goats were hiding her." The animals responded with baleful gazes, indignant at being blamed for their hospitality, or perhaps just impatient to depart.

written while listening to:  Urs Leimgruber, Marilyn Crispell, Joëlle Léandre & Fritz Hauser - Quartet Noir (Les Disques Victo, VICTO CD 067, 1999, Canada, cd,

January 7, 2023
While the goatherd was out tending their flock, Melanippe sat with his wife in the hut. Parsimonious with words, the woman held to a silent routine, spinning thread from wool, handling the distaff and whorl with practiced grace. She eventually conceded to her guest's persistent requests for a change of clothes. "I have nothing of my own to lend," said the old woman. "Our son was conscripted to soldier for the king. I can offer what he left." Thus did it come to be that Melanippe dressed for the first time in the peplos of a man, a transvestite of necessity.

written while listening to:  Amir ElSaffar - Two Rivers (Pi Recordings, PI24, 2007, United States, cd,

January 8, 2023
When the goatherd returned home, he found Melanippe in the clothes of his son. By way of explanation, his wife declared, "If I had known this handsome lad when I was young, you'd've never gotten me to agree to marry you!" The goatherd smiled fondly. He surveyed their visitor, a belt cinching the over-sized garment about her slender waist. "If I'd had to choose between the two of you," he replied to his wife, "I would court you all over again, for no one but you, my love, could have put up with me all these long years."

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy - In Berlin, Solo & Quintet (Free Music Production, FMP CD 138, 2011 (rec. 1975 & 1977), Germany, cd,

January 9, 2023
Melanippe made to leave but they bade her wait until morning. She supped with them then slept on their son's cot inside the hut. Rising at dawn, she requested a final favor of the goatherd—to cut her long hair in the close-cropped style of boys. He used the same knife with which he sheared wool and made quick work of the task. Pointing her toward Knossos, he left her with these words, "You seek to hide your identity and your sex, but to elude whoever pursues you, you must also hide the trauma you wear too openly."

written while listening to:  Wadada Leo Smith & Jack DeJohnette - The Emerald Duets, disc 5 (TUM Records, TUM BOX 006, 2022, Finland, cdx5,

January 10, 2023
They had not exchanged names nor had the old couple asked how she had come to be alone in the world or why she was so desperate for a change of clothes. After her departure, they examined the gown. It was difficult to connect Melanippe to the mine for it had not been worked for decades, the veins of copper and silver long since exhausted. They did not speak of the gnawing suspicion regarding the origin of the once fine gown but the husband said nothing when the wife tossed the garment in the cooking fire that night.

written while listening to:  Naked City - Absinthe (Avant, AVAN004, 1993, Japan, cd,

January 11, 2023
Desirous of leaving Crete, Melanippe made for Knossos. As she followed the winding path along the contours of the hills, she practiced acting like a man. She kept her voice low and intentionally dull. She strode as if she did not care where her feet fell. Rehearsing a boorish manner in both voice and gesture, she fancied her thespian performance worthy of the grandest amphitheater in Athens. However, truth be told, her act was imperfect, for when a bushy-tailed marten leading two kits bounded into view, she emitted a spontaneous cry of girlish glee.

written while listening to:  Julius Hemphill Quartet - Flat-Out Jump Suite (Black Saint, BSR 0040, 1980, Italy, lp,

January 12, 2023
As she walked, it seemed to her that one secret led inevitably to another. If it was discovered that a sacrificial offering to the Minotaur had escaped, she would surely be returned to the maze. Aside from her unique history, any lone girl from Athens would have to justify her presence in Crete. Here, as at home, women were not accorded the rights of citizens; even independent travel was not permitted. Thus she was now forced to become a man. Melanippe wondered with no small apprehension what other defining trait she would next be asked to forsake.

written while listening to:  Ákos Rózmann - Tolv Stationer / Twelve Stations (1978-2001), disc 1 (Ideologic Organ, SOMA021, 2014 (rec. 1978 & 1979), Austria, cdx7,

January 13, 2023
Settlements grew in number as she approached the city proper. She did not pause to engage the inhabitants, who barely looked up from their various labors. Skirting the palace by a wide berth, Melanippe glanced only briefly at the monumental staircase that led up the hill to the grand entry hall. Idle soldiers paid the newcomer and the parchment in her hand little mind. Once past the palace, she espied the port two miles distant and made out ships, lined along the wharf and anchored off the coast. Her plans extended no further than getting off the island.

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - Trio (Knoxville) 2016 (Braxton Bootleg, BL041, 2016, United States, digital files,

January 14, 2023
With the sun nearing noon, she surveyed the ships in harbor. Masts rose like a forest of trees stripped of their leaves and swaying gently in response to the tide. Hanging from the deck of Cretan warships, round shields bore stylized depictions of a maze, now synonymous with Crete under the rule of Minos. Merchant galleys, including biremes and triremes, carried markings that identified their origin. She noted the owl of Athens on two vessels. Other symbols she did not recognize. Upon the bow of several were painted women's eyes, which guided ships along familiar trade routes and through foreign waters.

written while listening to:  Mat Maneri, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Tomo Jacobson & Kresten Osgood - Variations on No Particular Theme Part 2 (Gotta Let It Out, GLIO50LP, 2022, Denmark, lp,

January 15, 2023
Melanippe approached the first Athenian ship. She was drawn to it by its sense of familiarity though she knew well that she could not return home. Her selection in the lottery had spared Athens from ruin. If she were to revoke her sacrifice, it would put the entire city at risk. Nevertheless she stepped to the edge of the pier and stood at the gangplank, observing the men on deck as they made preparations to depart. Even as the Athenian dialect soothed her, the coarseness of their words and the gruffness of their manner set her on edge.

written while listening to:  Evan Parker & Augustí Fernández - Tempranillo (Música Secreta, NCM4, 1996, Spain, cd,

January 16, 2023
Gathering her courage, she strode boldly across the plank. In a low voice, Melanippe presented herself to a man cataloging supplies as they were brought aboard. The tanned face eyed her quizzically. "I should like to gain passage on this ship," she said, adding after a pause, "I can earn my keep." The deck officer declared to his fellow crewmen, "Look here, men! This pup has yet to shave and wants to pull an oar!" His announcement was met with a chorus of guffaws and jeers from the assembled oarsmen. He dismissed her saying, "Go home to your mother, boy. I've work to do."

written while listening to:  Jim O'Rourke, Zeena Parkins, Toshinori Kondo, David Shea, DJ Low & Dirk Wachtelaer - Fear No Fall (Lowlands, LOW011, 1998, Belgium, cd,

January 17, 2023
Retreating down the plank, Melanippe felt no shame at the laughter receding behind her. To be sure, she experienced some frustration but her thoughts quickly turned to resolving the practical obstacles that she faced. Securing passage upon a merchant vessel was a trivial hurdle compared to surviving a year in the labyrinth with the threat of the Minotaur lurking around every corner. In fact, she was secretly buoyed by the encounter. Running her hand over her short hair, she suppressed the urge to jump for joy at having been addressed as "boy"!

written while listening to:  Ayuo - Izutsu (Tzadik, TZ 7227, 2000, United States, cd,

January 18, 2023
A lone sailor eyed the rejected applicant, standing at a loss beside a fishmonger's stand. Pity moved his heart. Perhaps he had suffered a similar hurt in his youth or perhaps he thought of a son at home. He approached the young man and said in rough whisper. "Our voyage is not for you." He gestured at the parchment. "If you know writing, you may find a better reception with Theodoros aboard the Aetos." He nodded toward the other, larger Athenian galley. He was already returning to his ship by the time Melanippe thanked him for his advice.

written while listening to:  Jacob Wick & Brad Henkel - lovely bag you have (Relative Pitch Records, RPR1108, 2020, United States, cd,

January 19, 2023
Melanippe walked along the wharf, making her way toward the ship. She rehearsed in her mind fragments of dialogue that she thought might arise. She reminded herself that she was a man, resourceful by nature, who had much to offer a seafaring party, though she was at a loss to name specific tasks beyond writing. To a shirtless sailor standing on the pier beside the gangplank, she said, "I am looking for Theodoros, who sails upon this vessel." The man gave her a peculiar look that she could not decipher, but brusquely pointed her toward a tavern beside the dock.

written while listening to:  Andrew Cyrille - Special People (Soul Note, SN 1012, 1981, Italy, lp,

January 20, 2023
The establishment served meals to travelers who arrived by ship throughout the day. The air was laden with the smells of roasted goat, onions and cabbage soup. To the man tending bar, she asked again for Theodoros. He gestured to a patron, seated at the end of a bench placed beside a long, common table. He appeared to be alone. Melanippe scrutinized him from afar, trying to judge what manner of man he was and thus prepare her words accordingly. She dared not squander the kindness of the sailor who had guided her here by spoiling this chance to flee Crete.

written while listening to:  John Coltrane - Olé Coltrane (Atlantic, SD 1373, 1961, United States, lp,

January 21, 2023
A heavy-set figure with a round, flabby face, Theodoros lacked the musculature of the seamen whom Melanippe had thus far met. She wondered what function he performed aboard ship, certainly not one of manual labor. A pale chiton covered one shoulder and reached midway down his thick thighs. A rumpled mass of brown curls framed an expression of boredom as he toyed with the bones, picked clean on his plate. With a cup of wine in hand, he made a distinctly dissolute impression. Raising his gaze, he found himself the subject of Melanippe's scrutiny. Coiling his stubby fingers, he bade her join him.

written while listening to:  Christoph Erb, Magda Mayas & Gerry Hemingway - Dinner Music (Veto Records, 018, 2021, Switzerland, cassette,

January 22, 2023
Seated at the table, the man examined Melanippe, standing before him, in an overtly lascivious manner that would have been most discomfiting had she been a woman. His gaze began with her face, which seemed to please him with its soft features, for he smiled appreciatively. His eyes slowly descended, following the neck and shoulders. The peplos of the shepherd's son hid the contours of her small breasts and the curve of her waist and hips, but she felt his gaze caress her all the same. His eyes lingered on her exposed legs and settled at her sandaled feet. "I am Theodoros," he said.

written while listening to:  Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie & Sonny Stitt - For Musicians Only (Verve Records, MG V-8198, 1957, United States, lp,

January 23, 2023
"I am Mikkos," Melanippe replied, having chosen the name ahead of time. Flustered by his attention, she forgot her preparations and leapt hurriedly to business. "I seek passage aboard the Aetos. I can be very useful." She added in a rush, "I can read and write. And I have been taught mathematics, should you have need of an accountant." The eyes of Theodoros never strayed from her body. He seemed especially delighted by the feminine qualities of the young man's appearance. Absent only were rubbing his hands together and slavering like a wolf.

written while listening to:  Yves Charuest, Michel Ratté, Peter Kowald - Montréal, 1985 (Tour De Bras/Ramble Records, TDB0004HIST/RAM-0068, 2022 (rec. 1985), Canada/Australia, lp,

January 24, 2023
"I could use an apprentice," he said encouraging her for the moment. His voice possessed a mellifluous flow, utterly at odds with the terse words she had encountered thus far on the dock. Theodoros took a pleasure in hearing the music of his thoughts spoken aloud. "However, mine is a position of influence and my assistant a highly sought after post. What have you to offer me in exchange?" Given that she remained under his licentious gaze, there was no ambiguity regarding the nature of his suggestion. Despite her great reservations, she promised him, "You will find me amazingly useful."

written while listening to:   Albert Ayler - Holy Ghost, disc 1 (Revenant, RVN 213, 2004 (rec. 1962 & 1964), United States, cdx10,

January 25, 2023
"What tasks are set before you, I shall complete in the blink of an eye. No fault shall the captain find with your work. I shall claim no credit but remain your silent, loyal servant." She suppressed a shudder as she spoke. As if reading her mind, Theodoros leaned forward and whispered, "How desperate are you to get off this wretched island? Do you think you can do better than me?" She must have allowed some measure of disgust to slip across her face for he next shook his head. "No, I think you and I are not meant to be traveling companions."

written while listening to:  Oren Ambarchi, Jim O'Rourke & Keiji Haino - Tima Formosa (Black Truffle/Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu, BT04, 2010, Australia, cd,

January 26, 2023
Melanippe sat down on the bench across from him. She too leaned forward and whispered, "I have in my possession a priceless treasure that I am willing to barter for my safe passage." His face registered doubt but also curiosity. "Go on," he urged. Melanippe then knowingly made a terrible bargain. Slowly, she unfolded the parchment upon the table between them. She allowed Theodoros to glimpse it briefly before folding it again. "How much would the lords of Athens pay for the only map in existence of the labyrinth of Knossos?"

written while listening to:  Nicolas Masson, Roberto Pianca & Emanuele Maniscalco - Third Reel (ECM Records, ECM 2314, 2013, Germany, cd,

January 27, 2023
Theodoros gasped and his eyes widened. "It cannot be!" He nervously glanced around, checking that no one overheard them. To be found in the company of one who possessed such a state secret put him in grave danger. "No matter how precious the goods your company loads into the hold of the Aetos," whispered Melanippe, "this map is of far greater value." "How came you upon it?" he asked. Sensing that she had a deal in hand, Melanippe smiled wryly. "In the same manner that you come upon it—a barter with a person more desperate than you."

written while listening to:  Nicole Mitchell - Duo with Deer Isle (no label, no catalog #, 2023 (rec. 2005), United States, digital files,

January 28, 2023
We must be clear, Gentle Reader, that Melanippe made this exchange willingly though under duress. Her greatest triumph was not her escape from the labyrinth but the map, drawn by her own hand, which enabled her flight. That she should trade her prize for what certainly appeared to be a miserable apprenticeship to a man of dubious character emphasized only the direness of her circumstances. All the same she preserved the secret by which she hoped to maintain the safety of Athens. No one should ever know of her time spent in the labyrinth.

written while listening to:  Phill Niblock - A Young Person's Guide To Phill Niblock, disc 1 (Blast First, BFFP102CD, 1995, United Kingdom, cdx2,

January 29, 2023
Reconsidering his options, Theodoros asked, "Do you know the nature of the expedition, which the crew of the Aetos is charged to carry out?" Melanippe shook her head. The destination mattered not to her so long as it lay far from the grasp of King Minos. "I didn't think so," Theodoros mumbled. Having judged her ignorance and recklessness satisfactory, he concluded with an optimistic note. "In that case, you will do fine." Together they exited the tavern. Few eyes paid the two travelers—a fat scholar and his scrawny assistant—any mind.

written while listening to:  Sidney Bechet - The Essential Vol. 1 1923-1937: Wild Cat Blues (Music Memoria, 30229, 1989 (rec. 1923-1937), France, cd,

January 30, 2023
Standing in the afternoon sun, beneath clear, blue skies, Theodoros said to Melanippe, "We depart tomorrow at dawn." Dock traffic bustled around them. He accepted that she refused to yield the map to him until the following morning. In a demonstration that he was not entirely without scruples, he gave her a few coins from his purse. He perceived that his new assistant was penniless and would, without this retainer, go hungry until able to partake of the ship's provisions. He left her on the dock, awash in a storm of hope and misgivings.

written while listening to:  Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow & Bobby Previte with Iggy Pop - Loneliness Road, sides A & B (RareNoise Records, RNR077LP, 2017, United Kingdom, lpx2,

January 31, 2023
Melanippe spent the night hidden at the back of a dark alley, seeking only to remain undetected. It seemed an untenable stretch of time save the promise of her pending escape. Just before sunrise, she found Theodoros waiting beside the Aetos. Without so much as a greeting, he held out his hand into which she surrendered the map. He then led her onto the ship. At the appearance of an additional member of the crew, the deck officer barked, "We've no space for him." When Theodoros ignored the comment, he shouted, "He'll bunk in your quarters," which at least elicited a response. "Of course."

written while listening to:  Harry Bertoia - Sonambient Complete Collection, disc 6: Energyzing / Mellow Tops (Important Records, IMPREC419, 2016 (orig. 1978), United States, cdx11,

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