7. Untitled No. 1


Due to the nature of this installment, I will limit my posting to how it came about being, not how I interpret it.  If you don’t want to know about the innards of the process, just push play.  Really.  I don’t mind.  It’s okay.  Everybody knows the wizard behind the curtain was just an old guy with a pension for yelling when speaking to someone he didn’t know.  And who would want that?

This was a tough night because I’m feeling behind even though I’m not at all behind.  It is 1:02 am, and I have finally finished this piece.  I’m exhausted, on tour, but happy with the outcome of this work.  I can’t even begin to describe to you how I started today’s installment.  It started as a writing exercise: write a song in 5 minutes by timing each verse at one minute increments.  It was fairly successful, but it didn’t go far enough for me.  It was a disorganized exercise anyway.  I started something else instead.  I picked up Johnny, my totally-awesome-ebay-score accordion, and began improvising, trying new progressions and old.  I found a new progression I liked and attempted lyrics, a melody line.  Nothing stuck.  Nothing stood out.  For some stupid reason I thought I had the luxury of being picky.  Why would I ever think that in a 365 day project?!

Johnny! Courtesy of http://www.katrinabaldwin.com

I recorded the accordion, basically improvising a slow chord progression.  Note: I do not know how to play the accordion other than the basic idea that you fill it with air and push the buttons.  I am teaching myself little by little and absolutely love it.  I have almost typed the words “failed attempts” in two different entries, but I have decided I don’t like that term.  I don’t think any experiments are failures, just pathways to preferred successes.  I even experimented with beats and bowed guitar over the accordion at first.  I slowed the tempo down on the accordion track to 40 BPM.  Huzaah! It created an awesome, creepy, organ-like color.  Not sure where to go with it, I picked up my cello and just started listening, experimenting (lowering my C string VERY low) and improvising.  This might sound fruity, but if I have a foundation of something interesting, I can often hear what might need to go next.  For example, in hearing the vibrating nature of the accordion track and G flat drone, I heard trills, so I tried it and there you go.  Basically, everything “fell” into place from there.  Important: there were many happy accidents.  I fear I’m making this sound like it took an hour, when, in reality, I did just the accordion track from 6:00-7:00, then restarted at 10:30.  The final product, at a lengthy time of one minute and fifty-one seconds, was completed at 12:45 am.

It’s been really frustrating installment today.  I had really intended this to take less than an hour total.  It’s a good goal to stick to, especially since I’m on tour and needing to learn how to be quicker and less of a perfectionist.  There’s a time and a place for being slow and detailed.

There was a lot of unnecessary judgment before it was even finished.  EHP: Stop that.  I didn’t come to a personal interpretation until about mid-way through.  Give it a listen.  I’d be interested to hear your interpretations.

*Headphones are recommended for a more robust experience.

Untitled No. 1

Instrumentation: accordion, 7 cello tracks including one track of dropped C string to a G flat (scordatura)

Stay well.  Hope your weekend is a happy time.


6 thoughts on “7. Untitled No. 1

  1. You are an evil genius! I think this 365 project is going to end in world domination. Or one really fucking awesome record. Either/or.

  2. Ems, you are a bad mamba jamba… I went through the blog piecemeal today and it all sounds so great. I’m really impressed by the quality of tracks you are laying down here… the stuff you’re putting together doesn’t feel like a “package and ship” sorta deal, despite you putting it together so quickly. In short: it’s awesome!

    This particular one is my favorite. I really like the haunting drone you’re getting out of Snr. Johnny on this track… there’s also the subtle, almost frenzied cello undertones that create the tension in this piece that I just loved. You’re a genius. I’m sorry it was frustrating, but glad you took some extra time with this track; it’s really great the way it turned out. I understand that you want to get faster, but take it easy on yourself too… you will. Picasso supposedly created over 10,000 pieces in his lifetime. I’m sure the first couple thousand required some extra time, right? So I’d say give yourself at least 20 before you put the pressure on. 😉

    See you Tuesday!

    • Samuel… thank you for going through the piecemeal. And Yes, I have your shoes! Your advice is so appreciated… and needed…I’ll wait until day 20, and send you a special introductory email to frustration city… 🙂

  3. That you are even attempting to do this blows my mind. The dozen or so juvenile songs that I have dared record took so much time that this to me seems a task so insurmountable, I can’t even imagine. So far it is amazing! Keep it up, and find a way for us to help you. I look forward to the phoenix stop on the tour. Looking forward to what’s comming.


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