Last night I had the pleasure of practicing with the great Molly Allis and Jenica Anderson of Bear Club. We’ve been playing electric lately, but in preparation for a more intimate show we were armed with marimba, cello and acoustic guitar. And of course their voices. Sorry, the cello is a bit loud on this recording of us practicing a song since the recorder was close to me.

This one is all yours now. Just an impromptu recording I decided to do as I was working on mixing for my upcoming albums.

This one is a little rare for me in that the bittersweet-ness (not new) is mixed with a little mean-ness (new!)…

Backstory? Hmmm. Well I just wrote it quickly after going through an old box of memories and realizing that some states of mind are better left behind as far as possible… It’s good to forgive and to move forward but sometimes too it’s good to expunge and exonerate yr own feelings.

Wrote this song a few days ago. Been playing cello again a lot, and wanted to create something using this arpeggiating technique across the strings (string players… what is the technical term for this? Can’t remember!)

Lyrically it carries the same theme as the rest of “The Faraway”. Journeys, changes, destinations.

Funny how I thought that the lyrics for this were just absolutely impossible. I banged my head against my lyric book for a couple days, recorded several scratch tracks of improvised lyrics and then walked away. When I came back it wasn’t garbage anymore, at least not when stitched together.

The real reason I made this was because I wanted to test out my GoPro Jaws Flex Clamp. It’s so simple, yet super brilliant for capturing live music. It worked! Now I just need to get like five more and clamp them everywhere.

Here’s an early version of a song I’m working on.

Last week, for Christmas I got both a new guitar and a ukelele. I was ecstatic. And immediately tried recording with them. It was nice, I was out in a little ‘casita’ a two room adobe house in the middle of some beautiful Northern California (where I’m from) vineyards. The inside was mostly tile so the sound in there was very bright and reverby.

This is what I’d call a ‘scratch’ version… The guitars are pretty good for now, though I might have to fix some issues. The vocals will be replaced. And I’d like to hear it with cello, which I’ll add soon, and maybe, just maybe some Nashville sounding drums. Good thing I know a drummer from Nashville I could call!

Lastly I may tweak the lyrics, especially the chorus, a little bit… I’m still trying to sort exactly what I’m trying to say there…

I suppose this is the first song of 2013 (kinda). Cheers to many more.

Thanks for listening…

[display_podcast]

And obviously. This one, hard to believe, was very close to making it onto REDWOOD SUMMER. I like it. I was playing around polyrhythms, where you have different rhythmic times all stacked up on top of eachother. A lot of African music gets crazy with polyrhythms.

I used weird instruments on this one, one in particular called a ukelin. It’s this very odd looking beast, which mysteriously was given to me by my physics teacher in high school. I can’t even really explain why h would just give me such a gem, and why it was given to me by my physics teacher and not my music teacher, but I’m not complaining. It has like 300 strings. Ok, it has like 60 strings. I haven’t ever figured out how one is supposed to tune it, let alone play it.

The other instrument you hear is a mandolin. And frame drums. And weird lyrics (per usual).

It didn’t make it to REDWOOD SUMMER because it didn’t fit. The album is kind of all over the map emotionally as it is, I didn’t feel like “super whimsical” was what was needed to be added.

So yes, enjoy. Thank you for stopping by. And happy holidays. Oh yes, I forgot, that is the reason I went ahead and published this now. It could, in some parallel universe, or exotic country, or in your stereo perhaps be some type of holiday song somehow. It has the timber, I suppose.

Stardust Is Stardust

[display_podcast]

[display_podcast]

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!

So I’ve begun work on one of my next albums, which is to be all cello, all the time. No vocals, no beats. And I shall try to resist the temptation to add piano and guitar or… whatever. Point is, a sparse album.

I usually have a motive in mind with my albums to some degree, and with this one I think that the appropriate listening experience would be something like: quietly in the summer evening. Warmly by the woodstove in the winter.

Oh yeah, I was going to post a song. So here is one approaching completion, Would Dent Sky. I cannot call this finished, but it is an encouraging beginning.

I don’t think I will be posting all the songs here as I go in this case, but keep your eye on the site, or subscribe to the podcast, I will certainly not be able to resist sharing them as they come along.

Be sure to stick around for a minute or two, as the development begins to get more layered then… Thanks for listening!

I found out, naively, that I can record with, hold the phones, TWO microphones at once. I didn’t have to buy a mixer or anything. Well, I already had what I needed.

And so, the blueprint for the cello & voice only album is laid out: two mics, live recordings.

This song was recorded as a test of my setup, the room, the mics, positions, et cetera, and I am quite happy with how it turned out. The mic on my cello is big and right, and the vocals (hint of sick still in my voice, I hate recording when I’m sick but I can’t stop myself) are the ever faithful SM57 at work.

So, preface this song with: a test. Lyrics… not quite worked out, but I will keep some of them and rework the whole thing. I wanted to give you a little something, as I have been far from the external world lately in the land of illness. But I’m back again!

I finally found myself a decent mic, actually two, to begin work on my new albums.

This one I got in the mail yesterday I am very happy with. Simple to set up, a Blue USB mic (Snowball) and no hum, which is the bane of my digital recording existence.

I kind of love this mic. I sat down to test the sound out last night and just sort of spewed and man, without any special setup, and without a whole lot of adjustments, recording vocals and guitar at the same time it produced an exceptionally clean and full sound.

So that plus another mic and I am good to go beginning recording.

This is a song that I improvised last night. I like to just let words roll and try and not repeat myself and sound cliche. I know that all of it makes 100% sense… but some lines surprise me and I’ll save them, re-write them. Its so much more honest, these lyrics are, for me than sitting down and straining over what clever lines to put.

I said I didn’t have to tweak the sound at all, but of course I did, I added reverb. I am addicted to reverb and I know.

[display_podcast]

I’m “writing” songs so much lately… well, not the craft of writing right now, but sketching them out and jotting down ideas at a rapid clip. Its a good way to clear out your mind and influences before recording, which I will start in earnest soon.

My ideas for the next (not kidding) 4 albums, to be released in 2008 are:

Solo cello and voice
Solo guitar or piano and voice
Instrumental Electronica with Cello/other sounds
Fully orchestrated cello, beats, guitar, voices, synths et cetera

All could be started now. And if I had more time, all could be finished in 2 months. But you know, must get money, endless quest, et cetera.

Anyways, here is a sketch: