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.┬áBut 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

Was listening to this instrumental electronic album I had made a few years back while driving through the redwoods in Northern California this weekend. I still like it. It is good to be moving along to. I can’t wait to start another album of the same “genre”.

Here is the first track, check it dude:

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Nevada City is to be lively tonight, with film fest participants milling about.

And more fun is the show we are putting on downtown, at a new art place called Dragonfly.

Its below Sushi In The Raw and down the street from the Miner’s Foundry and tonight features:

Luke Janela – Instrumentals: Cello, Beats

The Mechanical Kid – Turntables

VJ Bendji – Live Video Production

Dice/Rapaparatus – Beats, Lyrics, Hip Hop

Mariko Amekodommo – Mixed Media

Katherine Unger – Paintings

Twill be a wild and crazy night.