Live at Webster Hall (Photo: Isaac Gillespie)

I have been working on several pieces that I can perform entirely live without the addition of several tracks.   I find many of these 365 songs of a particular genre have been over-dubbed in a way that make the more bigger sounding works hard to perform live without a parade of musicians and a computer in front of me.  I have been experimenting with the pick-up on my cello to do live vocal looping using the f-holes in my cello.  I am including one of them as a 365 song.  I have made several attempts at it in the past never being happy with the result at all, however, I really feel it’s getting close.  There are a lot of kinks, but I wanted to show you the idea before it’s even really processed.

Writing: It’s a mix of prepared ideas and literal improvisation actually.  The chord changes are prepared, the number of times it passes is prepared, but everything else is improvisation.

Recording: I have a live mic in the room and my loop pedal is plugged directly into the computer which results in a slightly cleaner sound than recording it live from my little practice amp.

The first vocal with improvised words is sung into the room mic, but all the remaining chorus vocals are looped through lifting my cello up and singing straight into the f-holes of the cello, letting the pick-up get what it wants, not what I want it to get.  I also experimented with different vocal dynamics: how does it react when softer? Louder?  I’ve tried this idea out a few times in the practice room, only in principle, but never really applied it in real time.  I think it has potential.  This is a posted exercise song.  I’d like to break something much more polished very soon at a live show and see how it goes.

A word on lyrics: I’ve had a real block lately.  Some will say that writer’s block is all in your head, that it doesn’t really exist.  I don’t know.  There are a lot of lyric exercises one can do to push through it.  To be frank, I’ve been a bit lazy.  Lyrics take a lot of energy out of me… and I’ve wanted to watch movies (The Saint is on instant play on NetFlix! Yesss! Best acting ever!)

Disclaimer: This song is a posting of a sketch.  My silent ego shudders at the vocal performance of this song, but I have confidence that you will hear what you need to get out of it, as have I!

Live at Webster Hall (Photo credits Isaac Gillepsie)

Mesopotamia (Cello Works #1)