Tag Archives: cello

The Well

The above recordings were composed by Adam Conrad, performed by Zachary Scanlan (violin), David Sutton (violin), Erica Burton (viola) and me (cello), and we had our usual all-star team of recording engineers Dane Hoppe and Graham Wakeman, and rehearsal/production assistant Ben Kelly.  Adam has organized, conducted and composed music for 5 or 6 of these projects now, and each one runs a little bit smoother and produces a better product.

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Nightmare Man: living the dream.

I am in the thick of a Fringe Fest musical drama production called ‘Nightmare Man, A Musical.’  Here’s the information I pinched from the facebook page:

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Lulu’s: will you marry me?

Lulu’s Playground just had a rehearsal last night after a seven-months-long hiatus and, as they say, absence [most certainly] makes the heart grow fonder.  Trumpeter Adam Meckler literally proposed marriage to the band and brought up recording an album.  Those were actually two separate events, that literally occurred.  But the point is that I am incredibly excited to be playing with these fellas once again!  Here’s a little video we made of our first time through a new tune I was just showing them – it’s only the very very end of Positive Rays, which I’ve already posted an audio file of.

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OFI Sketch 8/4/11

This is going for more of a hardcore, “I’m dangerous” kinda’ vibe.  To me the cello almost sounds like a bari sax, which is hilarious, while at the same time terrifyingly awesome.  There’s a lot more I wanted to add to this, but I’d rather see what the dudes come up with, rather than ruin it myself.  haha

Working title = 2hundred

 

And here’s the hilarious version that I did for fun

OFI Sketch 8/1/11

Here’s a really simple loopy thing that might make a good tune – it’s just a bunch of Ma7 chords planing around but I think the complementary rhythms sell it.  One problem is that it’s really difficult to solo over, another is that it’s horribly repetitive – but it’s going to be a hip hop beat so nbd.

Working title = Familiar Mistakes

OFI Sketch 7/27/11

Just successfully diagnosed and fixed a bad solder joint in my loop pedal in an attempt to solve the intermittent power-loss problem that was dumping the flash memory.  To celebrate I recorded this rough track of loopdie-looped cello, which I plan on bringing to the hip hop band – got kind of a Steve Reich hemiola feel to it…?  Anyway, can’t wait to hear what the band does with this track!

Working title = Off Balance
 

And here’s a recording I made of myself building the track, mistakes and all.

OFI Sketch 6/18/11

I’m working up a new track for the live hip hop band I’m playing with called Out From Inside.

Track title = Positive Rays (looped cello):

 
looped cellos + overdubbed frame drum:

ATQ: Making a Score

It’s a remarkable sensation, performing a musical score scribbled on the backs of pages in a script; there are so many translations/relations/references going on simultaneously, it boggles the mind.  Many of the aesthetics associated with ‘beautiful music’ also apply to ‘beautiful speech’ in a very big way such as phrasing, articulation, dynamics, idioms of rhythmical and intervalic motives, tone quality, and emotional content.  Take Orson Welles, for example: watch the first 5 minutes of this clip of “F for Fake” if you don’t believe me.  or if you do.  It’s cool.  So what I’m saying is that it would be counterproductive for me to think of myself as a solo musician since in this setting the actors are filling such a similar role; I try to think of it more like they’re soloists and I’m providing accompaniment, as I’m definitely playing a supporting role in this production.

Currently I’m working on creating a combined music/dialogue score to read off of, mostly to cut down on the 87 page-turns I’ve been going through every run of the show.  And if you’ve ever written a score you know that it’s damn time-consuming, especially the time spent tidying it up for ease of reading during performances.  To give a better idea of what kind of bullshit one goes through, here’s a page without any time spent formatting (about 3 pages worth of content):

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Experiencing After the Quake

My inaugural post was about my preparations for After the Quake with the Walking Shadow Theatre Company, a play for which I am writing and performing a solo cello score (opening May 6th).  I’ve come a long way in about 2 weeks and naturally, some of my original plans have been left by the wayside, like so many boom boxes and buckets.  I was working on developing a rather bizarre fusion of guitar/cello/koto by modifying a cello and strumming it with a guitar pick, but it was like hiking up a mountain with a backpack full of unnecessary anvils.  It wasn’t long before I got my priorities straight and ditched the metaphorical ballast, and now I’m doing my best to think simple, although in this case ‘simple’ still has its distinct difficulties (the lesser of two anvils).

(if you’ve ever worked with a looper, you know that they’re infernal machines designed specifically to torture musicians by only playing back their mistakes)

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Cello hip hop. Goodbye bass guitar?

For my last two rehearsals with hip hop band Out from Inside, my beautiful fretless elec. bass has sat in her case, unplayed.  I feel especially guilty since she miraculously survived being run over by a large SUV last month without so much as a scratch.

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