Have you SEEN some of the pictures google brings up under "Succubus"?! I opted for this version...
So, this was NOT a reject! (WHAT?!) YES! Not a reject from the movie… however, this isn’t exactly how it sounds in the film, either. James Frazee is a magician when it comes to making things sound INCREDIBLE. So, what you’ll actually hear in the film is cleaner, bigger and tougher. This is a cue for the entrance of a succubus (the PG version of a succubus). Do you really need any more lead-in than that?! I didn’t think so.
In getting ideas for a PG-rated succubus, I played around in garageband with some of the midi samples and loops. This is what came out of my experimentation. James Frazee worked his magic, made me a basic percussion line from his fancy-shmancy pro-tools to which I added, cello, violin, chopsticks on banjo (true! try it some time), some midi percussion and vocals.
Good morning: this is Tuesday’s song… TUESDAY! (Even though it’s Thursday)
Yet another reject from the pile from Unicorn City. This was a hard scene. It kind of goes like this: A cast of characters who dress up as other characters (see: LARPING) are in the woods. Everyone has shown up except one. This is the entrance of one of the most elaborate and impressive character costumes. He’s badass, tough, and has some serious machismo. A bunch of ideas were submitted for this scene. What we ended up using was a totally sweet composition from a good friend and composer G. Scott Newbold. The movie people loved it, it kicks ass, and totally rocks the scene.
(I’m showing you my skivvies here, friends…) This was a demo of a totally different direction we went in at one point. After a few submissions were first approved and then pulled out, we tried a more punk/celtic direction. The intention was a kind of Dropkick Murphy’s vibe: badass but more punk, less rock. (True artistic confessions: We “borrowed” the opening of their song I’m Shipping Up To Boston as a jumping off point, but, in its entirety, the piece was a little less than successful.) Jeff Young, a violinist and roommate of mine, and I recorded this after trying a bunch of other ideas. He came up with the main melody. This was a demo submitted to be re-recorded. It was mainly a submission of a basic idea, but, in the end, it was way too weak. Not badass enough.
You will hear a great violin and mandolin played by Jeffrey Young (it pays to live with musicians sometimes) and electric guitar by G. Scott Newbold. There’s some accordion and cello in there too.
It was a sincere effort, but I’m so grateful G. Scott Newbold showed up and blew us all away. I’m really happy with what we ended up using in the film. RIP – Celtic Punk Demo. RIP.
This is a collaboration! Jim Altieri is a good friend of mine, a fantastic composer, violinist, accordionist, guitarist, and all around hilarious conversationalist (of additional note: this guy is probably the most dependable guy I know outside of my own house.) You can hear is compositions here – http://tweeg.net
Jim can do a million different kinds of musics: silly songs, sad songs, serious songs, atonal pieces, tonal pieces…the sky is the limit with Jim, and he’s a very selfless musician, which can be hard to find nowadays.
I went to his house and found that Jim had just obtained some very nice, new mics, so I was lucky enough to get to break these in with a collaboration for the 365! The first thing we did was do some free-improvisation. (It’s very freeing and I would suggest it to anyone.) After some walnuts, Jim decided we should:
1. Lay down an accordion drone
2. Stack cello and violin on top, a few tracks of each
3. Put vocals on top.
The only rules: we could only do one take of each. I like the danger behind knowing you can’t take things back once you’ve done them. Mistakes don’t really exist in this realm for me because everything is just a part of the music and you use those things for good, not bad!
The lyrics: Next to Jim’s bed is his dream journal (which he doesn’t write in anymore). We opened it up and found a dream he had written about and used what he had written as our lyrics! The words we used are almost word-for-word from this book though we cut and changed a few lines and moved things around to keep the flow.
My one observation: In improvisational mode, I’m noticing that I use a particular interval in my vocals. I think I could go back to other songs I’ve done improvised vocals for and pick it out. What’s that from, I wonder?
In any case, we finished up and Jim did a really quick mix and sent it my way. He has such a great musical imagination: I hope you enjoy!
By myself at night
Remote control cars on the sidewalk
Bare feet keep me from food I want to eat
Karen left me gifts and surprises
Band-aid folded up in bed
Note on inside of my blanket
“By honey, have fun.”
Tapes a book to the ceiling
I would never find
It occurred to me today that I am almost half through. Sometime around the 182nd day I will be at the mid-point.
I did a violin pizzicato piece a few days ago. It got me thinking about the violin and how I under use the one I have. It is probably the cheapest (quite literally) violin one could own – my dad got it as a gift for me and says it cost him $15. It is shiny black with green purfling. It is weird and lovely.
Writing: These few seconds took me a few hours. In a huge way, it is improvisational… or at least heavily based from improvisation. I started played the opening line, playing around with motivs and direction, and, because I play the cello, I had to learn how to play this violin, which was made more difficult by its lack of set up (it being so inexpensively made). The second problem came when I had no idea what I was going to do past the opening or where it was going to go. But things came little by little as I went. It was just taking longer than I have available to me today. Funny enough, listening to this as a “sample” section, at :45, I can hear it going on and on to a totally different place and then ending where it actually ends up anyway.
Reference: English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He has been one of my favorite composers since I started playing the cello over twenty years ago. If you have yet to experience his music, I would recommend The Lark Ascending (linking you to Hilary Hahn performance of the piece. Not my favorite of all time, but still very beautiful), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and any of his choral works. Unbelievable. He was a poetic composer, and I highly recommend him. (I might politely suggest you listen to the posting first and then link to Vaughan Williams: he put this posting to shame in nearly every way…)
Being the kind of cello player I am by nature, this automatically makes me a very heavy-handed violin player, as you can hear. But I hope you can hear the intention past the crunch.
Pearl and the Beard is playing the Knitting Factory tonight in Brooklyn. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by! It would be good to see you… also: Pearl and the Beard is going on tour in July to the mid-west. Are we coming your way? Dates are here: www.pearlandthebeard.com
Emily Jane Price grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Emily Hope Price grew up in Logan, Utah.
Emily J. and Emily H. are 3 years apart in age.
Emily J. and Emily H. grew up performing in various orchestras for young string players around the state and Emily H., the violinist, would receive cello music, and Emily H. would receive violin music. One year, Emily J. received an invitation to play with the Utah Symphony at a very young age, and it was announced in the paper that she would be playing. Emily H. received all kinds of calls from friends congratulating her on this very special honor. She was confused and worried: was she supposed to be playing with the Utah Symphony!? Nope. Emily J. Price strikes again! Though they knew each other existed for a long, long time, they didn’t meet until 2006 when Emily H. moved to Salt Lake from Pittsburgh. A mutual friend was putting together a string quartet to play Dvorak’s American String Quartet. It was a momentous occasion. The two Emily’s became very good friends.
This is our story.
I love Emily Jane Price. Upon completing my artist diploma here in New York, I performed the Ravel Duo with Emily on my final recital. Emily now lives in Baltimore and works as a violinist, teaching many students and performing solo recitals. I have a show tonight in DC, and I wanted to come early and stop in Baltimore to visit Emily so we could play together. This was a perfect time to record a piece for the 365, and excuse to play with Emily again.
Emily is performing this piece in about a month on a solo recital. She invited me to play a cello/violin version with her for the 365. Originally written for solo violin, the violinist is given many double, triple, and quadruple stops (chords) to play. The pulsing bass line you hear the cello play in the very beginning is actually supposed to be played by the violinist at the same time she is playing the melody. This is only part of the reason Bach is so challenging.
In our version of this piece, we talked a little about how we should shape phrases or the chords: should Jane play the top note of the chord or should Hope play the top? We would try both. We picked this up at probably 9 pm and worked and recorded until about 11:30, including recording. I am only including the first half for the 365 due to the fact we were getting delirious with a lack of sleep around 12 am.
I’m actually going to include a portion of the Ravel we did for my recital in 2008. It is such a challenging piece. We rehearsed for weeks to get it ready, and I made the 3-4 hour drive to Baltimore to rehearse with Emily quite a few times. It felt great to learn and perform such a difficult piece in a relatively short period of time. It is such an awesome, awesome piece, and I hope you like it, too. There are many amazing versions of the Ravel Duo for Violin and Cello played by incredible musicians. I would highly suggest you get this piece and add it to your listening repertoire as well as the Bach.
(I was up until about 2 am… at around 12:30 Emily put in a workout video called P90X: Have you heard of this thing!? Holy Crap. It’s like 500 different workout DVDs that vary in intensity. Of course, the day I join up with Emily she’s on the hardest one of the collection. Any why not stay up and workout with Emily Jane and then watch an episode of X Files? Why not? HOLY SQUATS, I’m sore this morning.)
Bach Sonata No. 2 for Violin Solo – Andante (arr. for violin and cello)
Ravel Duo for Violin and Cello – Allegro – Emily J. Price, violin and Emily H. Price, cello
This is me. Right now. At one in the ante meridiem.
I just wondered why I always type “DAY [WHATEVER]” at the top. I know it’s day nineteen. You must know it’s day nineteen, because I’m on song nineteen. Dumb. I think I like how announcipitory it is…announcipitory? That is NOT a word, but I’m going to leave it because it is a word right now.
It is 10 am on the 21st of January. I have been working on the song for tomorrow since 9:30 am. I got sleepy because I’ve been up since 3:30 am. (True. I have no idea what I’ve been doing all this time.) Staring at this blasted computer screen and listing, listening, listening to samples is making me so fatigued that I just got up and renewed the red in my hair with bright red hair dye. (Why nap? What a waste!) Whenever I do this I always think of Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. I really like her.
So, now I am sitting here with red dye all over the place, and all over me, I thought I might start this writing part early. Jonathan actually suggested a few days ago that I do a reverse posting: one where I write here first, then create the song. It seemed a bit blechk to me, but since I’m getting a bit stuck on today’s song I thought I’d try it. Why not?
Right now I am using samples and midi from garageband. I’m using a start of a project I did few days ago but gave up on (the “manageable” day). After some space away (Guy Capecelatro totally does this. Stepping away from a song I think has “failed” is a great window into possible opportunity.), I have gone back to a few of those ideas thinking I might be able to work something out. When I start playing around with samples and such, it usually means that the song will take an extra long time. It’s okay, but not preferred. It’s also a bit annoying that my car is parked on the “wrong” side of the street for NYC Alternate Side Parking Thursday. This means I have to move it soon. (True confessions: I have spoiled myself and kept the car with which I moved to New York. I’m telling you when you have a car, a cello, an accordion, metallophone, violin and band practice in Brooklyn: it makes so much sense.)
At the moment I’m playing with the idea of using my cassette player. I have much better equipment for stuff like this, and more tape players, but they are all in a storage unit across the country. Given that, I’m working from the one tape I brought with me purchased at a thrift store (why I chose this out of all the others is a curiosity to me). It’s a 1996 recording of an executive luncheon.
Right now, the theme of this song is stress. It will evolve, I’m sure, or I might change it altogether. Who knows but the Fates. And now, I must wash out this red before it starts that tingling thing. Tingling is never good sign of anything… (okay, that is so not true. I digress…)
DONE. It is 12:30 am. I am a bit late, but I’m done.
Here’s what you’re hearing:
9 tracks of midi with 2 sounds cut up from the library (the rest were played by hand)
6 vocal tracks
1 violin track (this was a last minute choice that I’m regretting a little, but I’m going to leave it in and chalk it up to a risk-taker.)
4 tracks of cassette tape samples
Had some bad news this morning that turned okay by the end of the day. Jon’s dad was admitted for surgery to clear out his lungs today to a successful conclusion with hopes he will now heal quickly and easily from pneumonia. He’s one of the smartest and coolest guys I’ve met ever. Sending thoughts to you of healing and happy days…
These songs are being created so weirdly… (Art totally imitates life, and I didn’t see it coming until about a half hour ago.) I started this at 9:30 am and had no clue about what was going on with Jon’s dad until later, and it just so happens I came about that little blip about an 80 year old guy late tonight. I’m not really familiar with working in this genre (Whatever genre it is, and I think doing this kind of music could be easier with a much different program), so it caused some frustration, but it was fun to consume myself in it for a day. (Time-wise? 9:30 am with random huge breaks in between. I kind of avoided this one until the last minute.)
Really frustrating problems: my head phones kept clipping so I wasn’t sure if it was the track and garageband was being stupid or the levels or what. Volumes took forever. Also, my stupid mic broke tonight! LAME!
Good omens: I started out procrastinating this one, and even while creating it, it changed meaning in my mind over and over. It turned out less of a disaster than I was anticipating, and I’m trying to not send lethal judgment arrows at its heart too soon. Not as clean as I’d like, but, I’ve got the next few months to improve on it, right?
Thank you. Thank you for being here and helping me through these past few days. I’ve gotten a lot of very supportive and kind messages from people saying how much they like what I’m doing. It’s so great, and it helps me keep on keepin’ on. You know?
instrumentation: vocal sounds, tape player, cassette tape, violin, other stuff from the computer that is on my desk
P.S. I have gotten a few questions about when downloads will be available. An answer to your question is currently in the works, so hold on a bit longer. We’re figuring something cool out… sorry it’s taking so long, but I’m super glad you want to have them in your tunes!
Jeremy, EHP, Jim, Jocelyn: Really, we can't see anything without our glasses.
Jocelyn Mackenzie: Glasses-wearing, drumming, lyricist-to-the-stars-improv-ing, rap-geniusing, angelic-voicing, uber-knittering, glock-hitting, shaker-ing, member of Pearl and the Beard.
Jeremy Styles: ALSO glasses-wearing, bartending, ladies-manning, guitar-strumming, sometimes drum-hitting, and sexy-vocal-tantalizing member of Pearl and the Beard
Jim Altieri: ALSO glasses wearing, computer-knowing, violin-sweeping, sweet-composering, Jocelyn-loving, temporary accordion-squeezin’, for Pearl and the Beard’s Mercury Lounge show, January 23. (This Saturday!) *Jocelyn and Jim are also in the band Poo Poo Jim and Pee Pee Girl
Jeremy, Jonathan, EHP, Jim, Jocelyn!
These three lovely people came over tonight for a rehearsal for our show coming up. Yet again, captured artists + EHP needs a song for today = collaboration with Pearl and the Beard, Jim Altieri and Jonathan Clark! YESSS! I told them we were going to write a song in 15 minutes and record it in 10, so they agreed to do it, and I do believe we actually did it in that time. In fact, we may have written it in less than 15 minutes (considering the words are minimal!) I had come up with the words and melody for “I can’t see anything, anything without my glasses,” a few weeks ago and had planned on doing it with someone. I shouted it out, and that’s how the song came to be. I love doing songs like this with lots of minds thinking and lots of care free grabbing of instruments. I even made a shaker out of Tupperware and rice! I am happier because this songs exists… I love you guys so much.
This is Jocelyn Mackenzie. This is Jocelyn Mackenzie’s word salad. Jocelyn is improvising here. (I get so jealous she can do this!) I mean, “Don’t kiss ‘em under a waterfall cause those glasses will get fogged by waterfall droplets”?! This totally kills me. This is nothing, friend. Just wait until you catch her in full-force. She can unleash an improvised rhyme or verse on you at any moment so hard that your face will melt to the ground! (I haven’t even attempted a rap yet. To be sure, I will do it with her.) And, as I mentioned yesterday, today’s song marks the first song within the 365 to contain: A SWEAR WORD! Get ready!
Also of personal note: I am playing the shaker! And one of my favorite parts is hearing Jonathan and Jim come in with their low and grumbly registers starting a chorus…yessss!
Yet again, another hilarious and entertaining evening creating the 365. We did two versions for you: an mp3 and a video version. The “lyrics” below are from the the mp3. See you tomorrow!
I Can’t See Anything
instrumentation: Jocelyn Mackenzie: glockenspiel; Jim Altieri: violin; Jeremy Styles: guitar; Jonathan Clark, omnichord beats. EHP: shaker
I can’t see anything, anything without my glasses
Yo, girl, you know sometimes when you’re walking down the street or whateva
And your glasses fall offa your face and you can’t see nothin’, girl
Well, that don’t mean I don’t love you cause I can’t see you
Even when I can’t see your face you’re beautiful.
I want to kiss you on your face
But especially I want to kiss you when I put my glasses on cause I can see you better
The visually impaired have one problem and one problem only
and that is that they can’t see shit without their glasses
So, get your lover, get your glasses, get your lover’s glasses
Find the person nearest you wearing a pair of glasses
Kiss ‘em right on the mouth
Don’t kiss ‘em under a waterfall
Cause those glasses will get fogged by waterfall droplets.
Okay, everybody, so I’m just sayin’ I love you girl, you’re beautiful
I can’t see you without my glasses, girl, but that don’t mean I don’t love you.
I can’t see anything, anything without my glasses.
I’ve hit the two-week mark. It’s the little victories, you know?
After Friday night’s show in Maine at Hog Farm, I stayed on at Guy Capecelatro‘s house in Portsmouth to do another song with him because he’s so freaking awesome. This song has a history- the first thing you hear is a loop I created months and months ago. Sometimes I’ll take my loop pedal out and just improvise, saving it on the machine if I like it, dumping it if I don’t. In this case, I had just received my black violin from my dad, changed the tuning and was totally just messing around. I liked it, saved it, and played it for Guy today. It ended up the starting point for this song. (Before we worked on this song, I pulled out some improv on the pedal for a few loops he will hopefully use later, so I’m excited to hear what he does with them.)
(Guy can remember everything.) I'm dumb and didn't get a picture of Guy today. Lame. Here's Google's offering of G. Capecelatro.
As I listened to the loop, I had a general melody run through my mind. The cool idea Guy had was to each record vocals independently, neither one being privy to the other’s melodic idea. After we both recorded the vocals by ourselves in his little studio, we came together and listened to them fall into one another, I think, quite nicely. I improvised the second voice under my main vocal, experimenting with my higher, (more falsetto) register, which I don’t get the opportunity to do very often. I like the effect. I always listen to the song of the day on repeat as I write about it here. And the more I listen to this song, the more I love it. Guy’s influence is so good for me; freeing and lovely.
The reason I love Guy so much is his total willingness to try anything. I think this is what makes him such a great artist and musician. He is literally not afraid to try something (or at least, that’s my take on it…), and it was infectious. I was able to begin teaching myself how to let go, which is why when I hear the character of my vocal, though I wish would have allowed for a little space for silence (as Guy did), I hear some things I really like and wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Examples of Guy’s awesomeness for this song: beautiful lyrics, two tracks of electric guitar, thumb piano, and “Hey“s at the end (with Jonathan, too!) that I love. (I will later address my secret wish that as many songs as possible contain “Hey!”, “Yeah!” or “Woo!”. We’ll talk about it soon…) My contributions? A little cello pizz, the loop, lyrics, a want for hey’s!, and a fast hand with a tiny music box. I wrote some of my lyrics on a bus at 2 am coming back from DC to New York just a few days ago.
I’m quite sad to leave Portsmouth and Hog Farm. The more I collaborate with people on these songs, the more I believe the world really is an amazing place full of stunning, beautiful, and talented people, all with experiences to share. It’s so easy to take people for granted, and it’s sharing these experiences with others that I hope will engrave gratitude upon my mind forever.
Guy and I worked on this from about maybe 12-2:30 pm. Not long after we had finished, Aly Spaltro, or Lady Lamb the Beekeeper as most know her, came down to Guy’s home with dear friend Maisie to collaborate. A full day of writing and recording for the 365! It was awesome! Lady Lamb the Beekeeper played the Hog Farm show with me last Friday night and is an unbelievably captivating performer and wonderful writer with an unbelievable voice (more on that tomorrow). Based out of Portland, Maine, she drove an hour to record a song with me today in a cemetery in the middle of winter in New Hampshire. I love her, love her, love her. That post will show up tomorrow, so please visit to hear it! (We took a video of it, too. Oh! Technology!)
Are you thinking, “Wait. Two songs in one day? That means you’ll be ahead tomorrow. Will you write a song tomorrow?” True, and yes! It will even out at some point, to be sure!
Bird in Girl’s Clothing
instrumentation: pre-prepared loop, electric guitar, thumb piano, music box, cello, Jonathan Clark, Guy Capecelatro III
(Jan. 21: I had Guy remix this because I, frankly, did a crappy job. So up loaded the new version today.)
Are you making a nest up in that treeOr are you spying on me?Are you some bird in girl’s clothing?Can you sing something soothing?I’ve sometimes likened myself to a squirrelFurtive, nervous and furryWill you be there as I come awake?And head into a brand new day
You are five, five miles wide (Going home)
Stay the entire night
Sad boy with wings to come
To this house you brought me home
Clothed you are but nigh forsaking
You, some sweet, worth the taking
Will you be there as I dream?
When I awake to some new day.
All at once, a sweet second and gone
Yet still living
Did you fly away when I wasn’t looking?I thought you were some kind of something.
Good morning. I realize I’m a bit past my 12 am posting time, however, I have a good excuse. I played a totally awesome venue tonight in Biddeford, Maine called the Hog Farm Annex. It is a beautiful venue run by wonderful people. If you are in the area, please stop in and chat with Coco and Gil: the sweet couple who founded and run Hog Farm. Amazing.
Peforming "Little Sunshine" at Hog Farm Annex with Jonathan Clark. Photo courtesy of G. Capecelatro
Today’s installment is brought to you in part by Guy Capecelatro III. Guy is one of the most incredible people I’ve met while on the east coast. I met him whilst touring with dear friend Anna Vogelzang to Portsmouth, New Hampshire two years ago. He is an unbelievably gifted and prolific songwriter, working tirelessly on his craft and constantly searching for new ideas and motivations. He is always collaborating and recording with someone or other and has fascinating insights into the song writing process and how to keep it fresh. He has been a wonderful inspiration to me in starting and continuing on in this project without fear.
We started this pretty much the minute I got into Portsmouth and finished just in time for me to run to my gig in Biddeford. First came choosing what to do: we decided on looking for beats we liked in garageband and slowing them down immensely. On top of those we layers we added other midi instruments (including a sweet-ass Harp! Nice!). As we listened together to the progress of our song, we tried different sounds, deciding where we needed long lines verses shorter ones, etc., and finding other sounds that we could slap in there: somewhat a game of chance, in a way. I like working this way because I’m usually always pleased and surprised by some great happy accident which occurs.
Peforming at Hog Farm Annex. Photo courtesy of G. Capecelatro
Guy suggested a long sonic line was needed over harp sections (which I just improvised on his midi keyboard), so I improvised a vocal melody intending for it to sound as if it were in a different key, from a different place, but somehow functioned with the surrounding material convincingly. This is a difficult exercise for me: hearing one key but singing in another. I’m not sure I was totally successful, but it was good to try. I liked how we worked; we weren’t extremely perfectionist about things we’d put down. (I had to swallow this up because it would have impeded our progress, and that’s dumb to do when things are fun.) We added a cool instrument Guy had called a shruti box (which I actually keep mistaking as cell phone interference in the “second movement” of the song), an organ-sounding instrument you pump with one hand and turn knobs to adjust the drone’s pitches with the other hand. He then added a improvised bass line, and I added an improvised track from my black violin (played in the fashion of a cello, of course.)
Guy and Jonathan and I were walking back from having lunch, and we pass an elementary school with kids playing outside in their winter gear and a large back-hoe operating just outside the fenced yard. Guy pulled out his iPhone and recorded sounds as we passed this scene which he added into this work as well. I’m impressed with the recording quality of the iPhone. Almost makes me want to raise my phone bill just to own one.
Finally, I asked Guy if he would write lyrics or sing a melody over my vocal line. What he came up with so haunting and beautiful. His voice is so unique, and I wanted to capture it on this song for you to hear.
I really enjoy working with Guy. He’s constantly thinking and coming up with new ideas of how to collaborate and write creatively. I’m constantly surprised at the way these collaborations are unfolding. It’s really fascinating. It is now 2:30 am, and I’m exhausted, so it’s bed for me!
Three Knotted Napkin
instrumentation: shruti box, two field recordings, electric bass, violin (altered tuning), midi harp, samples, Guy Capecelatro III
Until tomorrow! I’m still in New Hampshire soaking up the sun from under a heated blanket. Burrrrr.
Stay well, and may I suggest having at least one piece of gummy candy this week for your own well being (okay, maybe just my own well-being then).