Electromagnetic energy pumped out by a neutron star. (click to read entire article)
Hello, Rainy Day .
This is a song with lyrics written by Guy Capecelatro, vocals by Anna Vogelzang (sung into a mini-bull horn kind of thing) with harmonies by Guy and me!
Guy wrote these lyrics, handed them to me and I devised a kind of chord pattern and ideas for some of the melody and picked “Hand of God” to be the chorus . I handed that to Anna who added her own main melody and sang the main vocal parts AND the crazy opera vocals at the end. Cool! We didn’t have time to finish this in Portsmouth, so we left it in Guy’s hands to finesse it into being – I’m always pleased with the miracles he can form with something I might consider a bit of a challenge. I was left to my own devices after we did all the vocals, and I saw fit to add cello arco lines, a quartet and MUSICAL SAW! I can’t play it to save my life, but I’d like to learn: what a fantastic instrument… and someone has already mentioned putting saw on something on the Paper Moon posting (I have not forgotten!). After adding all that stuff without any organization, I got a bit frustrated, which is why I liked leaving it to Guy to suss out. Hooray!
In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Anna Vogelzang and I drove to the coast and sat in her car on a rainy afternoon to write a nd record this song. I came up with a quick chord progression on the uke, and I gave us a 30 minute writing time limit. I also gave Anna a list of words that she fashioned into lyrics. The list of words was:
In Anna’s words:
Things I think are important: the mermaid took on a crazy/manic character to me while I was making words to fit the melody (why do we only write about crazy ladies?!) obsessed with the love/partner/fella or lady who left her, who presumably is on land. It’s kind of like a really twisted little mermaid. I see her as creating as much destruction as possible, but not in malice, in hope. She would rather die than be without this person, and she will do whatever it takes (destroy whatever she must, maybe) to get above. I also came up with the churning-waves-machine from what you said about believing in mermaids, and that it looked like someone was hand-making the waves sometimes.
The Mermaid Song
i’ve been (OR silent? would have to listen to the take) down here digging tunnels now for weeksslowly excavate your heart
EHP, Jerusha Robinson (South China), Anna Vogelzang, Guy Capecelatro, Jeremy Robinson (South China)
I am now confused. This is what happened:
Emily was dumb and decided to “pack light” and totally spaced and left her computer in Portsmouth, New Hampshire while she traveled to Keene, New Hampshire and Brattleboro, Vermont for two different shows. Dumb! This means there has been no postings for TWO DAYS. What’s up? Jonathan was so good as to post something for me that I have been working on that is quite unfinished.
In any case, the only way of capturing the songs I was writing was with Guy’s iPhone. Guy and I wrote a bunch of stuff this morning while Anna was sleeping (we are both early risers), and on the evening of the 4th (the day this post was to be put up), I meant to post this group collaboration. Again, I apologize for the rough state of the recording, but when it’s all you got, it’s all you got, you know?
On May 4th, South China (Jeremy and Jerusha Robinson), Laina (our lovely Keene hostess of the venue The Starving Artist and musical giantess), Guy Capecelatro, Anna Vogelzang and I all had a show. That night, we all stayed with Laina and did two different songs. One of which I still have to get from Guy which ended up a bit more linear and planned than this one here, which is a bit chaotic. I will get it from him in the morning and post it along with this one.
It’s a fascinating thing when you fill a room with songwriters, for that is what it was: every person in the room was a songwriter. I did an interview of sorts before we played together. I asked the group about getting stuck on lyrics, how they get out of it or get inspiration. The answers were: free writing, poetry, and film observations. It was a strange energy, though, looking back, I wonder if it was all in my mind. I felt like some journalist interviewing for a book or a television program for PBS. I felt like an outsider, and I didn’t feel like one of them, but I liked it that way. I became objective and open instead of shy and introspective.
There were a ton of instruments around us. We all picked something up and played it for the first of two group improvisations we did. Included in the fray was a clarinet, several music boxes, guitar and slide whistle.
After this initial improvisation, we talked about the use of space. South China is a wonderful example of the use of space within songwriting. Jerusha plays the cello and Jeremy the guitar. In live shows, they use a collection of pedals and effects to create a spacious sound platform with which to sing over. May I call your attention to the song Painting and Terryhead on their myspace. The space I’m talking about can be heard clearly in this song. Though there is other instrumentation, Jerusha’s vocals, as in the live version, are heavily spaced and open. It’s all a very interesting sound landscape they create in general: particularly in a live setting. The second group song we did was a bit more planned. Jeremy and Jerusha began it, then Guy, then Anna, then Laina, then me. I will put it up for you to hear tomorrow morning!
Might I encourage us to be brave today. Be brave.
See you tomorrow morning!
Keene Left Us With and Without
(You can hear someone ask, “Should we have a plan” and I answer, “No plan”. Anna repeats, “No plan”. We got a plan on the second go around… it went a bit smoother… I was going to edit it, but thought, “Now, why would I do that?”
I am on tour with Anna Vogelzang and Guy Capecelatro. We drove from New York to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where Guy lives. I am late in posting today, so Anna sat down with me to help me to do a song.
I met Anna during my time at Carnegie Mellon University while finishing my master’s degree. She was studying opera but was yearning for a less traditional track in music… she was ambitious and headstrong and determined: she is even more so now. I have learned a lot from her by way of writing and encouragement. She has recently been signed to a small record label out of Madison, Wisconsin where she recently relocated. She has also just recently released a new and fantastic album: Toy Boats. I actually was able to record cello and vocals on a few of the tracks on this new CD. Check it out, yo!
I’ve toured with Anna a few times, and it’s always fun and always an adventure. While at CMU, we started writing songs together and wrote and recorded two songs for her very first album. Today, we wrote another for you to peruse.
Writing: We wrote this in Guy’s back yard: Anna on banjo and me on cello. Guy has a cat named Ida, so we decided to personify this cat into a crazy old lady who dyes her wedding dress pink and decides that she wants to perform a miracle to become sainted by releasing the fish from the aquarium. I can’t tell you how much of a learning experience it is writing with different people. Anna has been writing songs quite a bit longer than me, so her style is quick and solidified, though she’s always learning and experimenting. This is a narrative song, which she and I both tend to avoid for some reason. She started playing this first banjo riff and chord changes with a different rhythm… I came along and changed the rhythm a bit and added a melody. Anna, in her genius, suggested we end with a Piccardy third (a nerdy musical term for a minor piece ending with a major chord). Hilarious. I love it. It’s always interesting how people deal with lyrics or deal with getting stuck on a line. It’s very enlightening and informative and helpful to know I’m not the only one that gets stuck. We would skip the line we were having trouble with and revisit it later. We probably wrote this in its entirety in about 2 hours.
Recording: We decided after a few unsuccessful tries at a good, clean live sound, to track the instruments first, then do the vocal. If only we hadn’t been so giggly. (Totally my fault at first.) We didn’t have a headphone splitter so we ended up having to gather both our ears around one side of the headphones. It became slightly hilarious. After quite a few tries, but laughing each time, we finally got one down. The main vocal was recorded with Anna’s voice in the left mic and mine in the right. We then did a second pass of vocals with both of us just on one mic. I like that it added a really cool chorus sound to it. She also added the toy piano last minute with a harmony which I really like.
The Canonization of Ida Elliott
Ida in her wedding dress that she dyed pink inside her bath
To match her hair and tiny legs
Ties her toe shoes to her feet and grabs her Derby hat that has been sitting on the shelf since ’43
IdaThree small miracles. You’ll be canonized!IdaThey will all pack their bags, your apostles!
Ida, on her holy quest, directs noon traffic in her dress
Aquarium mere blocks away, Mother Mary calls her name
Dynamite against the glass, all the prisoners free at last
Dances out into the sea, with the fishes she does sleep
IdaThree small miracles. You’ll be canonized!IdaThey will all pack their bags, your apostles!