In a new place with noisy, noisy streets, I decided to break myself in by just plugging my loop pedal into my computer to avoid any frustrations attempting to quiet my room or dragging my stuff out into the kitchen. I really don’t like this method strictly because the sound quality of the stringed instrument is so nasally and whiney. I’m feeling that way: maybe it’s appropriate.
What you are hearing: This is an F major scale played standing up (not my preferred method playing the cello at all as you can hear) into a loop pedal many, many times. Scales are incredible. I don’t play them nearly as much as I should. As far as rhythm goes, you can hear it change from one thing to another by the end of it. It changes for you (intentionally) like an illusion. I love stuff like that.
You can either use a loop pedal or abuse a loop pedal (sonically). They are delicate machines: you can really, really overuse them and they have a potential to bore (or at least bore me…). I decided to over use it and not get bored. And you?
Finding myself tired and busy, and have been sick for the past 4 days but feeling better. All these things can be dealt without much trouble but not while all holding hands within the same person. Hope you have found a delicious treat for yourself today. Me? I will try to track down some delicious something whilst on the road…
I am here. In my new apartment. I find that every location has its own sounds and character. This place is full of rushing cars, big loud mufflers, buses and taxis that honk for passengers. Even if the passenger is just a pedestrian, they honk anyway – just in case. And today? I can smell, and even feel the exhaust from the cars coming into my window. They idle down there, and, even from the sixth floor, it can get in. But only for a minute, and then it is gone, though the sounds remain.
This new environment has its own set of recording problems. My room faces a busy street in Manhattan. The only time it gets really quiet is at night, but now I have 2 other roommates, so finding a new pattern of living will be challenging.
What you are hearing: This is a soundscape for a full room, not an empty one as we heard earlier. The room is full of things, some of it still in boxes, all over the floor, all over the bed. I had to fit a one bedroom apartment into one single bedroom. Challenging, yes. Impossible? No. Jonathan has put a lot of work into it, and I am grateful. This is the first time I have had roommates since 2004 when I lived in Pittsburgh. It is a whole new set of rule, and one must now be more conscious that one was before… well, if you’re me you do. I am living for four: an unwashed dish doesn’t just affect me or Jonathan, but two others. It is a good thing to experience.
I set the mic closer to the fire escape instead of in the middle of the room. I like that you can hear someone running and even a little in the distance maybe… music? Is that it? Like the last one, I pushed record and closed the door to my room. I walked into the kitchen looking for breakfast. Lacey heard me and followed. She thinks she will get something, too. No. I look into the fridge, and, finding it disappointing, I grab the peanut butter, open my rice cakes and make myself something. Anything. I walk back into the room, ask Lacey to sit as she is now begging me to have some, too. She loves peanut butter. And though I am right next to the mic, I am drowned out by the bus outside the window.
My bedroom is now cavernous. I put a mic in the middle of the room and did some heavy improvisation to play with the sound. I stacked 2 cello tracks, both being in different places in the room. I also gave myself a time limit. I liked trying this even if it’s a bit haphazard.
I like the bells sound I got out of today, and I might use it later for something else. Instead of lifting off the mallet after the strike, I left it on the bell, stopping the vibration. There is no effects on these tracks… all virgin!
I am sick as a dog, but hoping to be better by Saturday. Hie-ho! Hope you are doing splendidly.
Lost In The Trees - Ari Picker, Drew Anagnost, Mark Daumen, Leah Gibson, Emma Nadeau and Jenavieve Varga. Photo by D.L. Anderson, April 9, 2010.
Saw them live on Monday at Mercury Lounge here in New York (for the second time and yet again: AMAZING.) Also, read about what they are doing with orchestra kids in this awesome program: Project Symphony
Testing the mic. Lacey was very polite. Not a peep or a sigh or a bark. I think she's a bit to leave, too.
What does a room sound like when a person leaves it? When one has moved from a room, whether it be temporarily or permanently, what happens to the sound? I haven’t really thought about it in this exact way before and felt it appropriate to capture this idea. I’m very often, though not always, a person who thinks about where I’m about to go, not where I have just left. (Unless it was an anxiety ridden or traumatic event and then I have to analyze the crap out of where I just was).
I am moving. So, this is a song of my room. A room in which I have gotten so angry that I threw my headphones on the floor and stomped them into the ground (yes, there’s a song about that) and one in which I have fallen asleep on the floor and/or futon after recording at 3 am. Yes. I am sentimental. I can own up to it.
In this now mostly empty space, I opened all the windows up in my apartment and set the microphone in the middle of the room. One might argue that this is more of a personal archival moment than an actual song… but let us consult John Cage, and we’ll see what he would say about it, my friends! This is a composition of life continuing to move even when we’re gone. It is, for me, at the same time relieving and humbling.
I will be recording the rest of the week at this old location as I have the apartment until the end of the week (I had some dreaded overlap, and you never want that in New York, but, alas, so it is), and then I have to leave for good.
I’m not sure if I will get this opportunity again this… as I have moved out most of my things, only my recording equipment remains…No one in the building is bustling or playing music or slamming or singing as they usually do. My harpist friend, Bridget Kibbey, lives right above me. I will miss her practicing music I have come to know very well because she plays it and plays it, and all the vocal exercises I can hear through the walls from my next door neighbor who does musical theater (that’s been entertaining), and the quiet humming of an elevator (when it finally gets going, that is) originating from sometime in the 1920s.
Sentimental: YES. A bit melancholy: SURE. But I have spent the morning moving the last few things out and have spent the afternoon in my new room creating a corner just for my shells and ocean pictures on new walls that will be happy to take more holes to hold them.
What is happening in this song: I cut it to start when I shut the door to leave the room. I walked down the hall, got into the elevator. I munched on a piece of rice cake and peanut butter. I wandered downstairs, looked at my name on the mailbox, walked past my super’s door, and rode back up the elevator. When I entered the room again, I was careful to make noises just as I would as if it were any other day; as if I was just coming in from taking my dog out for a walk. I walked to the kitchen, asked her to sit, and gave her a treat for doing so.
When I listen I can hear car horns, which is pretty average, but I can also hear the wind through the “forest” of trees on the rock outside my windows. I can hear the airplane engines overhead ready to land at or leave La Guardia Airport. (I’m far from it, but you can still hear them.)
Poor photographic evidence of the view from my front room.
I wrote and recorded this at 7:30 this morning (bet my neighbors are so happy that I’m leaving.) Cello track is the first take reworked from a quick improvisation. Bells took quite a bit longer, trying not to over play them and trying to find out the best compromise. Then lyrics! (Taking a page from Yeah Yeah Yeahs a little in the repeated “chorus”. Karen O!)
We fight, we fight again
Machines have holes within
Repair the outerskin
Like me, like me, like me
All white from black again
All white and new again
All white and white and new again
All white and white and new again
We fight machines, machines, machines
Thanks to Anna Vogelzang for her polaroid shot of the Maine coast!
Holy crap. Day 200 is almost upon us. The INTENSITY.
The idea behind this one is the following:
This is based on the idea of being constantly one step behind. And even though thoughts might resemble each other, they reside on a different plane or live in a different time: just one moment too late.
I wanted a more dry sound for this Part III but wanted each voice to have more energy which is what took me so long to finish this even though it’s very short. I experimented with different bow strokes and lengths, as well as different speeds of vibrato for the main motif.
Continuing to move today. It is necessary melancholy for me that won’t last very long… I will go eat some gluten-free pancakes now, I think. Yes. That is what I will do. Happy Friday to you!