TOTEM> is a noise rock free improvisation trio that ventures from walls of sound to exploring microscopic sound worlds. With guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil, bassist Tom Blancarte and drummer Andrew Drury this trio makes music that is fresh, energetic and at the frontiers of understanding. TOTEM> has been influenced by paradoxes and extremes, adverse circumstances and technology – both primitive and futuristic. TOTEM> has been likened to a combination of the Jimi Hendrix trio, Evan Parker, and phonographic hisses and pops.

YOUTUBE clips from New Languages Festival (6.17.08)


voices of grain written and composed by bruce eisenbeil TOTEM> Voices Of Grain (New Atlantis)
(November 2013)
Bruce Eisenbeil – guitar
Tom Blancarte – upright bass
Andrew Drury – drums

1. Genosong
2. Written In The Body
3. Counter Memory
4. Towards Jouissance
5. Message Without A Code
6. Post-Repeating
7. Silence On Its Road

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Critical Acclaim for TOTEM> Voices of Grain

TOTEM> live in New York City

TOTEM> live in New York City

2013 Top 10 Best Of The Best (all categories) – all writers; Something

2013 Top 10 Jazz List – Steve Holtje;

2013 Top 10 Jazz List – Mark Saleski; Something

2013 Top 10 Avant Garde & Experimental Music – S. Victor Aaron; Something

“This TOTEM> disc is astonishing!” – Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

“A true masterpiece” – Eyal Hareuveni; AllAbout

“A masterpiece”, “Champions of the highest level”, “A great record, the kind that is not easily forgotten.” – Vittorio LoConte;

“Wondrous, multifaceted and adventurous” – Barry Cleveland; Guitar Player Magazine

“An extreme sense of artistic adventurism (that is) hugely entertaining” – Glenn Astarita; All About

TOTEM being performed live in NYC“A constant breaking and reconnecting of bare life”, “The sounds produced are stark naked” – Tyran Grillo; Between Sound and Space

“Extraordinary interaction”, “Guitar wizardry”, “Original and very captivating” – Grego Applegate Edwards;

“Serious stuff, not to be missed” – Massimo Ricci; Touching

“Will not leave you indifferent, and that’s a good quality.” – Stef Gijssels; Free Jazz Blog

“Exciting” – Niels Overgård; Jazz NYT Blogspot

“Dazzling and at the forefront of the Downtown creative jazz community”, “one of the most jaw-dropping sets of guitar trio improv yet committed to record … the band has expanded the lexicon of creative trio improvisation to include a bevy of mind-bending extended techniques for electric guitar, percussion, and upright bass.” – Alan Welding; Pittsburgh Music Magazine


TOTEM jazz collaboration cd cover image TOTEM> Solar Forge (ESP4046)
(June 2008)
Bruce Eisenbeil – guitar
Tom Blancarte – upright bass
Andrew Drury – drum set

  1. Blooming Ore
  2. Austenized
  3. Hephaestus’ Wrath
  4. Annealed

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Critical Acclaim for TOTEM>’s Solar Forge (ESP 4046)

2008 Top Ten Lists – – – – – Many thanks to:
Trevor Hunter (New Music Box, American Music Center) for voting Solar Forge one of the Top 10 Releases for 2008 in ALL styles of music. He’s got us in company with Elliott Carter, Punch Brothers, Elliot Sharpe and Keeril Makan!

Mark Saleski ( for voting Solar Forge in his Top CD’s of 2008 along with BB King, Ry Cooder, Marc Ribot, Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Tony Malaby and Vampire Weekend

Pico ( for voting Solar Forge the BEST Whack Jazz CD of 2008!

Stuart Broomer (All About Jazz—New York, and Phil Freeman (The Wire, Village Voice) for voting Solar Forge one of the Top 10 new Jazz Releases for 2008.

Throughout 2008 our CD was welcomed with great reviews such as:

“Aesthetically restless trio” ~ Nate Chinen, NY Times

“Very good” • “A unique nexus” • “Enjoyable” ~ Phil Freeman, The Wire

“Ruthlessly gritty” ~ Time Out NY

“TOTEM> plays with fire at the edge of musical comprehension and cohesion.”~ Howard Mandel

“Restored my faith in contemporary jazz.” ~ Brian Morton, Point Of Departure

“Solar Forge is a warning to be minded pronto, a ray of optimism for bloodthirsty hoodlums lamenting the deficiency of veritable thrills in today’s free music’s state of affairs. Definitely compulsory listening.” ~ Massimo Ricci

“A new sonic language” • “A clear and well articulated vision” • “The sonic envelope of this trio is actually infinite, as it moves in a vertical manner and surges inside its loose contours, horizontally.” • “Very impressive in its boldness, conviction and execution” ~ Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

“Burns” • “A completely different way of perceiving music” • “Otherworldly listening experience” • “TOTEM> combines extended technique with advanced listening prowess to create textured sheets of sound. With moods ranging from thoughtful and pensive to blasphemous angst, Solar Forge can at times give the impression that the guys are dismantling their instruments with a set of needle-nose pliers and a ball peen hammer. If, however, you can focus on the musical interactions, there’s a lot of beauty to be found right there in the middle of the molten chaos.” ~ Mark Saleski,

“Frenetic free-metal race” ~ Franz A. Matzner, All About

“TOTEM>’s modern partnership is perfect.” • “I guarantee you’ve never heard anything like the dense condensations Eisenbeil scrapes out of his strings — not just creative, but exciting and musical.” ~ Greg Burke, Metal

“Beautiful sequences of shifting intersections. TOTEM> is one of the most musically integrated improvising units playing today and Solar Forge is an essential release.” ~ Stuart Broomer, Music Works #102; winter 2008

“Solar Forge is an impressively intense guitar trio statement for the first decade of the 21st century.” ~ Robert Iannapollo, Signal To Noise

“Great art” • “An incredible listening experience” • “Solar Forge scalds and sears with a white hot intensity.” ~ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

“A soundscape which conjures images of post-industrial decay.” • “A powerful reimagining of the guitar trio.” ~ John Sharpe, All About Jazz

“Something new” • “Modern” • “It’s not pleasant to hear, but then again it’s fun to listen to. The music is deeply emotional, but not always the emotions you would like. That’s a strong achievement.” ~ Stefan Gijssels,

“Inhuman” • “Interesting contemporary artists” ~ David Grundy, Eartrip magazine

“Always intense, hectic and never resting, their interplay merges the taste for elegant, microscopic details with a current of sheer power pervading all of their performance. • “Inventive cubist music with a cutting edge.” ~ Eugenio Maggi, ChainD.L.K

“Wildly entertaining New York City based trio” • “Fast, furious and spiraling” • “A continual sense of evolvement” • “Vivid imagery” ~ Glenn Astarita, EJAZZNEWS

“An intense, minutely detailed patchwork of non-idiomatic virtuosity.” ~ Daniel Spicer

“Improvisation that rides the very edge of human perception.” “Thoughts form, explode and vaporize.” ~

“A force of nature” ~ Vittorio LoConte, Music Boom(Italy)

“Chaos with a strong sense of purpose” ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide

“Audacious” • “Bold” • “The cutting edge of today’s free improv avant garde” ~ Russ Musto

“Vivid studio recording that kicks abstract ass” ~ Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

“Gut punching whack jazz” ~ Pico,

“Special and exciting” • “A rare and wonderful achievement” • “New Timbralism” • “Ecstatic skittering grooves, accents shooting sparks into flammable phrases, Braxtonian parallelism, and all manner of original recipe joy juice spurting from the spigot.” ~ Michael Anton Parker, From the liner notes to SOLAR FORGE

TOM BLANCARTE–Tom Blancarte is a bassist, improvisor and composer living and working in New York City. He has performed his music across North America, Europe and Japan. His primary focus is on improvisational music and finding new roles for the bass in a variety of musical contexts. He is an active performer in a variety of ensembles in the New York area, his most active groups being the hyperactive duo Sparks with trumpeter Peter Evans, Dave Smith’s Who Put The Bad Mouth On Me, and the Peter Evans Quartet. Originally from Austin, Texas, he began playing electric bass as a teenager, falling in love with rock and metal music. He quickly found himself performing in many rock and blues bands in Austin, and soon after heard jazz and the upright bass, which is his primary instrument today. He received a Jazz Studies degree from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Jeff Bradetich and Lynn Seaton.

ANDREW DRURY–drummer/composer, mostly in free improvisation and jazz, sometimes in and around pop, klezmer, new music, performance art, street performance. He has toured in homeless shelters throughout Indiana, jammed with inmates in maximum security prisons in Connecticut, made a giant pachinko-like instrument with circular sawblades and marbles and played it with 10,000 people at the Seattle Children’s Museum, performed and led workshops on Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua, and for six months in 2000 was artist-in-residence with the Oneida Nation on their reservation in Wisconsin. He has drummed on plastic buckets, screamed, and made faces with kids of all ages in over 700 workshops across the U.S., including five year olds with autism, ‘at risk’ teens throughout New York City, twenty something graduate students at the Columbia University School of Social Work, as well as 30 something to 70 something public school music teachers. A former student of Ed Blackwell, he can be heard on about 20 CDs and has worked in Europe and North America with artists such as Laura Andel, Dean Bowman, Taylor Ho Bynum, Sebastien Cirotteau, Michel Doneda, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Peter Evans, Ken Filiano, Jason Kao Hwang, Jihae, Mazen Kerbaj, Eyvind Kang, Briggan Krauss, Adam Lane, Jessica Lurie, Wade Matthews, Myra Melford, Reuben Radding, Jane Rigler, Christine and Sharif Sehnaoui, Chris Speed, Nate Wooley, Jack Wright, Danijel Zezelj, and others.