This one turned out a bit hippy, if that’s your thing, you’re welcome, if not, you’re welcome.

also, Music Everyday was / is like, not the creativist title ever and so these are now a part of a thingy called “REVERIES” and yes, that added notch of pretentious *does* make me breathe a little easier.

the end.

started as called broken

I wanted to see if I could make a new age track, and was being ironic and cynical. and then i actually really liked how this turned, might do a few more. here’s for you to do what you can with it, like, close yr eyes and sit awhile. or party hard.

and an 8 minute meditation track gets in on the everyday action.

I just felt like putting this up tonight.

It’s a fine Summer night. Is it the end of Summer? That’s what I hear. Me and Cinco are tending to the empty home while the rest of the pack is off at FYF Fest. Slowdive is playing. Hmm. I wish I was there. It was sold out.

I’ve mostly finished up on a big buffet of music I’m going to serve up in the near future. I’m happy with the work done and mostly the feeling of the songs.

Los Angeles for me: still and ever just past my fingertips somehow. It’s there, I push at it, brush it aside like curtains. But I have yet to pass through.

It’s a good city after all, and there are just so many surfaces you could attach your mirrors to here. Everyone is beautiful and larger than life, even if just in their own minds.

There aren’t country lanes, nature revery is rare, and the general balance leans one way and then the next, undecided. It’s menacing and inviting at once.

Blah blah poetic yada yada. Meaning: I’m here, making music in my dear studio with my dear cellos and my dear thoughts and I’m not on that damn stage at this damn point in this damn city.

That’s my check in.

Hope this version of this song fits with your time and place.

I’m playing a show this Wednesday, May 21 at Malo in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. It’s really been toooooo long since I’ve played a show and I’m super grateful to Surely Lorraine and Kondo Exurbia for including me.

I’ve been working up new songs because what happens when you don’t play is you forget ALL your lyrics and when you get on stage your brain turns off completely its ability to recall such information and since there likely won’t be a teleprompter it’s better to get it memorized!

I decided I wanted to do a cover because covers are fun for everyone especially when in my case all this material is new and I don’t know what works and what doesn’t. Some songs work live and are kinda lame on an album, and vice versa. So I thought about doing “I’m On Fire” which I’ve always played on the cello but I thought perhaps I’d think of something not done so often (Bruce’s popularity has risen yet again and to my relief his street cred is much higher than I think it used to be… I remember people would ask who my favorite musicians were and I’d say Bruce and they’d think I was joking, which is absurd! Because, well, you know, he’s the best songwriter perhaps ever.)

ANYWAYS so I was letting my mind wander and I was walking down Sunset Blvd. and I happen to live really close to where the show is Wednesday and I realized that the “Elliott Smith wall” is right next door to the venue.

Which is weird and for me kind of eerie and moving because:

• Elliott Smith influenced my life and especially my identity as a songwriter probably more than any other musician. Either/Or changed my life in so many ways. If I had to put it into words (poorly) I would say because he made me realize that beauty and melancholia are not necessarily taboo to all people. People love his music rightly so and it’s sad but not sad at all because it is just aching and oozing with so much life, and feeling FOR life. I’ve never written anything as beautiful as his, but it certainly gave me a context for where my music fit in to the world. And I don’t know if my music is especially sad, I don’t think so and I never set out to make it that way or any way, but people have often told me that in one way or another. So it makes sense, the kinship I felt, musically.

• Elliott Smith kinda really, as silly as it sounds, or naive, is the reason I moved to Portland. Again, I just figured “if music like that is being made there, I need to be there.” And so I moved there, and I walked Elliott Ave. in Ladd’s Addition many many times, often on my way to the Red & Black where I played my favorite shows in that city. And I was enveloped in the rain and the comfort Portland is and it was a beautiful, beautiful time.

• Elliott Smith moved to LA and here I am. And I don’t know where “From a Basement on the Hill” was specifically recorded, but I ended up on a hill in Los Angeles and I never, ever ever would have guessed that. And I’m still making the music I do, for what it’s worth.

• I’m still mad at Elliott Smith for dying. Yeah, I know he “killed himself” which makes me more mad at him… but there’s some doubt and I’ve always felt how if it is true that he stabbed himself in the chest with a kitchen knife there’s so much sadness around that act and everything surrounding his death that truly I can barely listen to his music anymore. Which is a shame. To be clear he wasn’t my hero. But he was a beautiful inspiration.

And so, for what it’s worth I’m going to play an Elliott Smith cover on Wednesday, by his wall, and maybe some closure will come about and maybe I’ll blow it and forget the lyrics! Who knows! It’s unknowable.

It would be nice to see you there, if you are in the neighborhood…

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.

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!

Life has been rolling along. All the sudden it’s May. It’s not even May, it’s the middle of May. Wow.

That slip of the tongue of time has happened (for me) because I’ve been buried in music. Culminations occur tomorrow night, Thursday at the downtown art walk in Los Angeles, where I’ll be playing some jams at the Annex Gallery. Basically I’m playing cello, mixing it up with beats, and making rad action happen all the time. It’s cool, playing music in the center of one of the biggest cities in the world. It’s why I’m here.

On the other fronts, I’ve been writing new songs and nostalging about old ones, culminating in at least a couple new albums by the end of this (very busy) Summer.

Life is good, my fingers have callouses, I’m deeply inspired.

Still awaiting, I suppose, the big break, but I’ll just keep making this music, like I always have, and that will do it, I think.

Let me know when I should come to your town and play a gig.

I sincerely hope you are well. Thanks for checking in. You know I’ll post some new music here when I feel it is deserving of your ears…

In all things, do good, be well. Etc.

Luke.

B sides are always around in my boxes. I have a lot of ideas that eventually would lead to a melody, but sometimes, like in the case of this one, will never be duplicated because the performance is so unique.

So here you go, so amazingly uncut or edited:

Here Is Enlightmenent

permalink to this post: http://midnightdoor.com/word/?p=558

I was playing around with vocal range in this one, total Mariah Carey inspired (kidding), it’s pretty rambling for sure. I’ve got a “holidays” ish song coming next week, so stay tuned!

Spent the weekend sorting out dramas in my world and also putting the final touches on the new Cello album JUNEAUREVOIR.

Mixing cello can be pretty rough. It’s so full of bass, obviously, but the more you pull back on that bass, the more tinny the high ends seem.

Also, it’s one of those instruments you just want to cover with the frosting of reverb. But I’ve found that it is very very easy to go overboard on cello reverb. It has its own resonance which gets lost the more stacks of reverb you throw down.

As far as dramas of my life go? Well, let’s just say that plans, even when huge and pivotal, the big boulders of plans, can slip out of place and wreak havoc. More to come on that later.

If your are interested in how I record the cello (ie you are a recording nerd like me), read on!

I’m sure some people have figured this out, and that nicer microphones can make it sound great. I have figured my own “method” out on this last album. It is simple, not profound, and is as follows:

I take my nicer mic, an Audio Technica that is powered, a fairly small condenser mic, it looks sort of like this. It’s not that one. Anyways, it has a full bodied sound and also picks up the “icy” part of the cello, those highs where the bow moves across the string. I put that in front, facing the bridge, about six inches from it, straight on, or as much as possible.

I don’t believe in mic’ing the f-hole. Too many fluctuations in tone and none of that bow sound action. I happen to like the bow sounds, even on “perfect” classical recordings. Or, I should say, especially on “perfect” classical recordings. My favorite recording of the Bach Suites is Pablo Casals’ very early recordings of them. One take, wax cylinder, lots of imperfections, no retakes, lots of real natural beauty. Perfect and authentic sounding to me. You can really hear the bow moving across the string. I like it.

And then, and this is odd, but it works, I decided that it is ok to record with a pickup if the pickup picks up some tones that a mic just can’t. So I used my Shadow Nanoflex Cello Pickup and recorded the two, mic and pickup, together. The blend of the tones allows for a more full tone. I tend to roll off the low end on the Audio Technica, and also to roll off the high end of the pickup. Low end of the mic is full of hum, high end of the pickup is full of hiss. But they compliment each other nicely.

So what you end up with is like, if you had your ear right up against the cello PLUS you have a prime spot seated in front of the cello. I like the blend of the two.

And why should I?

It’s pretty much an inner circle clique gathering once a year to pat themselves on the back. The radio stations are owned by the same people putting out the albums, so where is the competition. We all know there is no innovation there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Coldplay and a couple of other past Grammy nominees, and they are the nicest, coolest, warmest people you’ll ever meet. It’s nothing personal against the inner circle. But I’m just so sick of it.

What I’m sick of is, in a nutshell: you won’t watch the grammies and discover any music you haven’t already heard force fed to you millions of times before. The industry is collapsing under its own weight, and they go on toasting the same tired formulas.

Now that I write this though, I am not afraid to admit that I am terribly out of the loop. I’m also too old for the grammies, and have no expendable income to spend on money anymore. So I guess it’s not up to me! Which is fine.

My point is: let’s have a yearly awards ceremony that actually salutes the innovative music that has come about this year. Let’s take the airwaves back. Let’s push the real music that we care about out beyond the shadows of indie-land. The music industry is seriously in need of a breath of fresh air (which I think we will be seeing in the next couple of years… I can kind of sense it…).

That’s all. Not that it matters what I think. I wish I cared. I love music… I should care about the Grammies… right?

Luke Janela - Live @ Sac State 

I’m probably not going to code a photo gallery in here anytime soon, especially when I have Flickr!

I’ve finally put together a small and ever growing gallery of music related pics here.

Post your photos from my shows here.

Thanks!

Dec 14, 2008 
I’ve been working like mad lately and in my late night hours I’ve been burning through my music list. One of the tracks from my old band “The Key” came up and I decided I’m really proud of this whole album, especially in retrospect. Especially in retrospect because I wrote this song about the approach of the US warplanes at the beginning of the Iraq war from the point of view of an innocent kid. Maybe my age, maybe in Baghdad… I still think it fits. The sounds at the end are from a giant (80,000 plus people) anti-war rally on the eve of the war. Before that scumbag W. pulled the trigger. Listen and enjoy…

In other news, I’m super busy in life and otherwise.

This Thursday I’m playing a show in Sacramento with Aaron Ross & The Heirs Of Mystery at a new club. Go to his myspace page for more details…

After that I’m driving down to Los Angeles to do some cello recording with Huff This! They’re putting together their album and I’m super glad to be able to contribute perhaps.

In the meantime, good progress is made on the solo cello album, the new cello/beats/vocals album. Those two will probably be released at the same time, in early spring.

Yes. That is what is. Hope you’re doing well…

So this song is totally flooding your inbox now if you are subscribed to the podcast. I had a delay in my website being working, so, thanks to Tyler Booth at Stephouse.net, things are back in action!

Now that I’m playing these songs out live a lot, the recording of the new album is coming along… more to come, but for now, Candle:

[display_podcast]