sometimes i think it comes easy
take it for granted
the way it’s supposed to be
for me
and then
or always
there’s a bit more
to be done
to take easy and go
pick up the litter
polish the edges
give up the glitter
stop pretending
not mind race

and remember at the same time
it’s not for you
it’s not for you
or you
it’s for
me

not left behind
the last desire

i don’t know where i’m going
and i
end up in this room
where i make music
fairly often
and it’s just a
passageway
or maybe
passageway is the
space between
thought and
thought
thought and
hope
and fear
or maybe
passageway
is the place you dissolve into
where you are loved entirely
desired even
your place here
passageway
the lost useless
passageway
the cost of
no rhyme
passageway
passenger

a catastrophe
broke the sky open
no more watching
watch it

went to the women’s march in downtown LA yesterday
it was good to be there, not knowing what or why
i was by myself as i am not good at organizing intentions
and also it was total chaos

but the brain just can’t comprehend how many human beings were there
alive and
united
i’ve been to big protests
against the iraq war in portland
but this was just, beyond comprehension
and endless stream of
hope, honestly

A while ago I made my girlfriend Katy an album. She has a certain playlist she’s created for painting and has talked about the perfect music for that kinda thing… meditative and non-disruptive, but interesting enough maybe to be listenable over and over. So obviously I created a  polka/deep-house mashup. And that didn’t fit the bill. So I tried this.

Just a live cello performance using some looping, and a very brutish beat to pull it all along.

It’s long, and it’s a pretty good quality mp3 if you are into that sort of thing.

This is the first of three parts to that album.

Today I hope I can inspire myself to put on a few sweaters and brave my little studio. I actually really need to, I’ve got a show tomorrow and two the following weekend. And in the midst of that I’ve got some other “real world” responsibilities that are pretty pressing, needing my every bit of extra attention.

I will be working on this ambient set that I’ve been performing for a long while now. Beats + Cello + Effects.

The Process?

I write the beats first thing. I’ve always been a fan of big beats and while I can’t say I am any kind of expert, I enjoy the act of creating beats. I don’t use canned beats (Canned beats are free-to-use beats that somebody already wrote and recorded a sample of, for anyone to use).

Most of the “songs”are quite free-form, and I enjoy that freedom. It’s like electronica/jazz, that openness. But a lot of times I will, no wait, I always decide on a key initially, whether it be b minor or C Major or what-have-you. Sometimes if I can think that far in advance I’ll go modal, though really if anything I play in Dorian and tend, sadly, to not explore the other modes too much. Some of these “songs” over the years have in fact developed their own melodies or themes, and so, in that sense they are not completely improvised. But after those things are out of the way (beats + key + theme) I just see what happens.

The most difficult thing about that in a live context is self editing. It doesn’t take much at all for one of these songs to turn into 30 minute self-aggrandizing tombs. It’s extremely important to try and think quickly and move forward quickly, in my opinion. I’ve seen far too many musicians wanking over how awesome they are for too long and I don’t want to be that guy. A helpful thing for me to keep in mind is that less IS indeed more. In fact that is sort of a mantra I repeat over and over as I perform (less is more… less is more…). I think Miles Davis is the master of that and everything else, and I can’t count how many times his face has popped into my head while playing as a way to remind me to let things breathe. It’s a startling vision that snaps me back sometimes.

That’s the process. As technology has changed the process has changed, the performance has changed. My first attempts at doing things this way was in Portland playing some random loft parties. I had my trusty Korg Electribe ER-1 and a delay pedal. I played loud and feedback was rampant. It was great!

Music device fiends: My favorite favorite thing about the Electribe is its “audio in” feature, which is hard to describe in words, but allows you to create a rhythmic pattern for your external input to actually be outputted… So that the notes I play on my cello beep through with the beats in a set pattern. It is a nice sci-fi sound that makes it sound like more than one instrument is playing. I am bummed that so far the electribe is the only device I’ve found that does this. Even software like Ableton doesn’t have this feature. You can hear that effect in “Everybody Is Dreaming“, it’s the synth sounding rhythmic noise going on throughout, especially audible for the verses.

The Electribe is still with me, even though I don’t really need it. I’ve found a way to integrate it via midi into my current setup. My setup is not all that different now, I just use my laptop with Ableton Live + Electribe + Effects Pedal + Keyboard Synth + Launchpad.

Using a laptop live does have its drawbacks… 1. software glitches and computer malfunctions (they happen, I can attest) 2. It’s your laptop, which, in my case, is the most valuable thing I own second to my cello, so that’s not ideal to have on a stage at a club, but in the end it takes a solo act to levels probably impossible otherwise.

So yeah, time to stop writing and go practice! Maybe I’ll record some snippets and post. Maybe!

I’m thinking of remixing all the tracks off of JUNEAUREVOIR, my all cello instrumental album, or having other electronic musicians give it a go. This song is my first foray into it.

For any purists out there, this track is not pure anymore!

Which leads me to a quick note about what I do. Currently I am making music across a broad range of genres, here is my quick summary:

1. Garage Rock With Cello, Punk-Folk Action (ala REDWOOD SUMMER)

2. Highly orchestrated dark electronic influenced with vocals, cello, beats and lots of other sounds (ala Midnight Door).

3. Cello instrumentals, kind of classically influenced, kind of not, it depends (ala JUNEAUREVOIR)

4. Dark dance electronic beats with cello, instrumental and mainly live at parties and whatnot. (Album on its way)

OK, so that’s out of the way, below is the track, enjoy, and thank you.

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PS – Click here to listent to a sample of the original on iTunes

Just took down the full album preview of REDWOOD SUMMER on MySpace… now it is time to get the whole album. It’s available at several outlets, digital and physical versions, and it wants you to get it today…

Things are on the move, I’m planning a massive change in scenery, heading from the Nevada County mountains to the Los Angeles hills. Yeah, big change. It will be a fun adventure. More on that later.

As promised, two more albums are in the works, to complete my initial vision of 4 total, all different in theme and tone. The 3rd and 4th are more electronic, one instrumental dance music like I’ve been playing at parties and gatherings, and one full on singing and beatboxes like I’d been doing live previous to REDWOOD SUMMER.

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What you hear/see in this practice session is two beatboxes, one cello, effects on the cello, and the vocals. This song was writ about two months ago… part of the new batch. This is all live, just the mic on the camcorder (not the most perfect performance but you know… honest 😉

I’ve been trying to keep a fresh supply of new material up here on the site but wow it has been a busy time!

Also I’m in a period of transition, where I’m really figuring out my new sound right now: By putting this restriction that everything that goes onto the new album must be able to be done live, it has raised the bar. I now have multiple beatboxes as part of the cello/beat sound on top of that, so it’s tricky.

And it is fun to work this stuff out, I’m really excited!

Thanks for watching/listening!

Life moves on. Last weekend I watched Tchaikovsky being played wonderfully by the S.F. Symphony, and it was really inspiring. Sat up in the front row while the conductor grimaced and ohhhed.

February is the longest shortest month. The narcissus are blooming in my kitchen now. Reading Jung. Currently listening to Refused. Cinco the dog lies on the floor patiently. Kate works on paintings.

Here is a rework of the demo song still in demo form, All Right Now.

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This is a track from way back. This is one of my first shows where I used the cello for half my set. I had my beatbox, and was playing at the Medicine Hat, this beautiful underground type spot on NE Alberta St., in Portland. It was a quiet night, like a Wednesday or so, but I remember that several of my friends were there. We probably ate at the Vita Cafe. I know that I had left my cello pickup back at my apartment on SE Hawthorne, and was frantic to make it all happen for this show.

So it was the beginnings of making the cello and beats thing work. This recording was done nicely by the sound engineer. Its an old song too, one off of “Still Dream” I believe.

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Last night’s show at Hot Rod Ink in Newcastle, CA, was amazing.

So many good people turned out to check out the newly hung art, and Alice Ann welcomed all to her tattoo shop warmly. The atmosphere was excited, and everyone was into the music as well.

Here is an excerpt from my live performance that night, playing cello and beats.

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Interesting show tonight, another art opening, this one though, not in a salon but a tattoo parlor.

It actually sounds really awesome to me, and I’m looking forward to it a lot. Cody Coyote will be playing, and I’ll be doing my cello beat mashup madness.

It starts at 6pm in Newcastle, and I’ll do some recording for those who can’t be there…