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.
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.
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).