104. Amo or Oxus (Cello Works #2- Breath Study)


Good morning, 365.  It’s 2 am.  Looks like we might be back on schedule…

I had to show you this picture. Pearl and the Beard did a show in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, and I'm finally up loading it today. Next door to the venue was a mediterranean restaurant with this huge poster presenting all the food they offer inside. Luckily, they sell BLUBBERY Muffins. Unfortunately, they frightened Jocelyn a bit while I just wanted to bit right into one.

This is another part of the Cello Works installments related to yesterday’s posting.  I’m experimenting with looping of my voice through mic today instead of the pick up as I tried yesterday.  I have acquired a new-to-me mic from a friend, so I’m putting it to use.


  • Breath recorded into a mic, moving it back and forth then reversed
  • Cello pizz, improvised
  • Vocals, improvised

A personal note on loop pedals: I have such a love/hate relationship with my pedal.  I’ve formed very opinionated views on the use of loop pedals specifically.  Man, they can be so lame but so awesome!  I get super bored seeing a show of all loop songs.  After about the fourth piece I’m thinking, “Okay, I get it… it repeats…”.  It’s hard.  I love the possibility of its sound and direction, but it’s also hard to create enough variation that it’s exciting each time without tiring of the idea of things repeating over and over.  Andrew Bird, primarily known as a violinist, but is also a multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and whistler, is a good example of someone who uses the loop pedal successfully (in my humble opinion…).  Part of his success, however, is that he is a multi-instrumentalist throughout each song… it’s not just a loop of a violin or guitar. His website.

Today’s post was recorded live with a room mic, like yesterday’s set up, with the loop pedal going straight to the computer.   It was the first of the day, and I didn’t revisit it after wards or try to do it over.  The breath beat ends up much too loud, which I find is one of the main limiting aspects of my loop pedal (the Boss RX-20): You can’t control volumes of each single track.  I know a live performance computer program would make this possible, but don’t try to convert me to Live or Performer or any of the other programs.  Though a loop pedal is an electronic device, a computer on stage with me creates an invisible wall for the audience to me.  Maybe I’m the only one that feels it, but it’s there for me as a performer.  It’s important for me that the sounds on stage come out organically and, if I was watching myself perform as an audience member, I could see and experience the origin of the sounds that were being created, even if I didn’t understand them completely.  Now, if I was playing and someone else was doing the computer aspects of it, I would feel totally different.  Maybe it sounds strange to avoid one but not the other, but I really feel like there’s a difference if I was up there alone messing around with buttons staring at as screen.


  • As mentioned above, volumes of each track can’t be controlled individually (breath is too loud).
  • Get quicker with the turnover.  I spent a lot of time listening and getting from one place to another physically and technically: this comes with practice.
  • I’m not sure I totally like the breath.  It gets monotonous for me.
  • Work on some damn lyrics already, Lazy Bones!
  • I’ve felt melodically stuck in one world lately: using the same kind of melodic patterns and phrases.  In talking with a friend, she suggested I listen to some Fado which is a super intense and an incredibly interesting style of singing.  It’s fascinating to listen to, and I would recommend taking a listen yourself.

Stephen Bailey Illustration

What’s been going on with you?  You busy?  I hope things have been going well for you the past few weeks.  I treated myself to a Creamsicle the other day.  It was good. Real Good.

Amo or Oxus

2 thoughts on “104. Amo or Oxus (Cello Works #2- Breath Study)

  1. I agree about the computer onstage. The main performer fiddling with it = lame and off-putting. Someone else fiddling with it = totally fine.

    I like the idea of the breath, but perhaps having it underneath the surface in the background would be more pleasing.

    As usual, your voice melts my bones into a blubbery pool of bliss.


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