3. Gloria


Typed in "Day Three Cello". Found friend & SLC street cellist Eli. Fate! Photo by Taylor Barnes

The past few days I have been totally spoiled: rehearsals have been moved and other projects have been postponed at the last-minute, so I’ve had some awesome creating time.  In the back of my mind I’ve been fearing the very busy schedule that will commence in only a few days.

I’m having visitors in from out of town, and I’ve been able to incorporate my guests in recording today’s installment!  I started recording it as a multi-track but was frustrated with how it was progressing.  I opted to try recording a live performance for my friends instead.  I found that, despite a missing a lyric or two or goofed vocals, the performance went smoother than the multi-track version I was slaving over, so I’m just going to post and try not to worry about it too much. (Though, I’m totally worrying about it.  Damn you, insecurity!) Posting this version takes out all the other nice bowed cello lines I had planned, but it’s still alright naked.

Pizzicato (plucking of the string) or Arco (bowing of the string)? I wasn’t going to address this yet, but, why not?  Given the choice, I prefer to sing to a plucked cello rather than a bowed cello.  Ben Sollee has garnered himself a reputation as fantastic singer/cellist and has an arsenal of folky bowed vocal songs that work very well.  But, in general, I find I prefer the sonic conjunction of the pizz and voice (or maybe just my voice, I guess).  On the list of songs to do is a self-convincing vocal-bow piece, so there’s something to watch for…

Gloria.  Okay, my original intention was that this project would consist of songs written in 2010.  But, I’m here to confess that the majority of this song was conceived in November.  However, I just solidified a middle section today.  It’s important for me to just push it out because I have a horrible tendency to wait forever on a song, telling myself that it’s still not done.  I have a bunch of stuff like that, and it never gets out.   Well, here it is, regardless of its idiosyncrasies.  There’s actually a ton of information behind the construction of this song, so I’m going to attempt a brief Michel Gondry explanation without nearly the same amount of quirk and charm.  (Okay, it’s not Gondry at all, just a random excuse to throw in his name because I like him and link you to his video):

Some years ago now, I was living in Salt Lake City.  They have a large farmer’s market every Saturday that takes place in a tree-filled park.  I was there one Saturday morning and saw a woman walking a black pug.  (I don’t favor pugs as a type of dog to own, personally, but that knowledge is superfluous…)  Looking back, I remember very clearly the moment when I saw her but don’t recall what she wore or exactly what she looked like (though I do remember she had a clutch covered in multi-colored buttons and a primo hair-cut).  I think for a while this Stranger-Woman became a weird alter-version of myself.  Her presence struck me specifically as being something I needed to remember for a later time, and it’s a bit weird to try to explain the experience to you now.  Has something like this ever happened to you?  Without a specific reason, I decided at some point that she looked like a person who might be named Gloria.  Since I didn’t actually know her real name, I started calling her Gloria, The Girl with No Name.  I also forgot to mention the inspiration of Martin Sexton’s amazing song Glory Bound.  Man, this guy kicks so much ass live.

He Dreams in Actualities. There is a really fantastic documentary about New York City put out by PBS (Netflix!).  In it I learned about actuality film and the first line of this song was born.  I really love this line and have become really attached to it.  I eventually start wondering who the He’s and She’s are in songs I like.  I’ve heard Carly Simon’s You’re so vain is rumored to be about Mic Jagger (nope! Rumor: David Bowie!); didn’t some guy pay millions just to find out if that was true?  Anyhow, there’s a He in this song and, though I didn’t write it about him, my mind has begun to attach it to a kind friend back home who loves music.  He just might dream in actualities.

I won’t go anymore into intention or specific meanings here, but I’ll talk more about lyrics and how awesome and totally evil they can be at a later date.  Again, this song has become very visual for me since its birth, and I hope it is for you, too.  For now, here is a live performance of this song including my response to a the comment “The Cosby Show was taped before a live studio audience” right before I started playing.  (Sigh)

Gloria (Live Version No. 1)

February 4, 2010: I was in need of a better quality recording of this song, so yesterday I sat down and did about 5 takes.  I’m not even sure what number this is.  Though there were better moments in other takes, and I like the original version, I opted for this one because I felt like the overall delivery was better, though it’s still left me wanting.  Regardless, happy listening!

Gloria (Version No. 2: Re-recording)

Pretty face with swollen eyes
He dreams in actualities
He dreams in actualities
Drawn with visions shown in black and white
Eyes weighed down in reverence show
Eyes weighed down in reverence show
He mocks and laughs at solemn passers by
Relieved to find he’s one of them
Relieved to find her at his side
Gloria, Gloria, Gloria
Homeward bound and not a nickel saved
Capsized by the raging sea
Far greater than the sea was she
Mother waiting, blessed corona
Arms softer than the covered sky
Arms softer than the covered sky
To her breast she will fold him in
Safer than when lover stood
Safer than when once he called her
Gloria, Gloria
Tie up my mind, Gloria
In the middle of the night
You were here and so without
And all these things, we will let go
Gloria, Gloria
Tie up my mind
Gloria, you were mine
(Though I love sharing songs and posting lyrics for you to read, please, please, please don’t steal them for your own devices.  This whole writing thing is hard stuff!  If you need anything, please ask! -Thanks)

See you tomorrow…


2. Beats and Snogs

DAY TWO: Beats and Snogs

What Google Image Gives You For "Beats and Snogs"

Let’s talk about titles.  I don’t plan a title ahead of time unless something comes down from Heaven and says, “Hark, ye.  See ye this song title!”  Most of the time I just type some word salad into the “New File Name” space when I first start.  Sometimes, that word salad just usually ends up becoming the title in one form or another.  So, let’s not get our panties in a bunch about Beats and Snogs, especially since there’s no beats or snogs in it.  It’s what it wanted to be.

Today I will be addressing Garageband.  Why, you might be asking, when there are so many other awesome programs with which to record, am I using Garageband?

a. It’s “cheap”.  MUCH cheaper than paying millions of Emily dollars to buy protools (and the techie laptop you have to get to sustain the kind of memory you need for it) or other some such hardware.  And to those bootleggers of you: I’m just too lazy to hunt for it and a bit overly aware of the guilt that might come afterwords for not getting the legit copy…

b. It’s easy.  I have a Mac. There it is.

c. It doesn’t really matter, right…?

Now, I don’t LOVE Garageband.  It’s super limiting when it comes to the detailed tools necessary for mixing and mastering, but it works for my purposes most of the time.  My frustrations only grow to larger proportions when I work on projects like I posted yesterday (…and today’s, actually).  I had huge sections of poorly recorded and old material that I wanted to use but couldn’t make it cleaner or louder.  Part of this is my limited experience but some of it is the actual program I’m using.  Regardless, I’m doing a song every single day for 365 days.  I have to accept some of the imperfections that come, no?

I am returning to my “musical roots” of sorts with Beats and Snogs.  After moving from Pittsburgh to Utah, I found myself without a job and home all day with a new Mac computer.  I started experimenting with sound, recording, and sampling.  The instrument samples in Garageband are okay, especially if you tear them apart and put them back together micro-beat by micro-beat.  My main reason for using pre-recorded samples is because I don’t have free access to the real instruments or people that can actually play them (i.e. sweet-ass vibraphone).  I created a bunch of songs back then using this same deconstruction process in Garageband.  I stopped doing it in favor of more acoustic songwriting and real-time looping (which I’ll do later on, I’m sure).

This entry is a perfect example of me needing to let go while in the creative process.  I started this at 7:30 am and finished everything but the vocals at around 12:30 pm (It being the very end of the holiday season, I found I had some extra time).  I did another 2 hours on it just coming up with levels that only annoyed me a little bit.  To an engineer this probably doesn’t sound like much time, but I must remind myself that I’m doing this every single day and have a “day job”.  Perfectionism might become a problem, so I’m setting myself time limits to record and call it quits.  To be honest, I didn’t like this one very much at first, feeling like I copped out a little by using more deconstructed samples again and deliberately choosing not to spend much time on finding a great vocal melody line; but the more I listen, the more I like it.

As time goes on, you, my friend, will discover that Emily Hope Price loves movies.  I love seeing movies, and I love watching my favorite movies over and over.  The best part about a good film is the visual and emotional residue it leaves on you after it’s over.  Some of my favorite movies are ones that most people hated, but I love watching them because the cinematic feel of the piece as a whole is so great.  This song is like that for me; in fact, most of what I write tends to lean the way of color and texture…Headphones are recommended.

In this entry you will hear more of the Rick Gribenas recordings (see Day 1) towards the end.  In this example I had asked him if he had anything with words or people talking.  He pulled out some great moments, and I only wish I could find the whole session.



Beats and Snogs


Admittance of a deeply ingrained guilty pleasure: Record scratches & pops are some of my favorite sounds in all existence.  I’ll try to keep it at a minimum.

1. Rick Gribenas/365


Since announcing this new project, I’ve gotten some mixed responses.  Most have been very supportive, a few have been, “Are you crazy?!  What happens when you go on tour or get sick?!”  To those latter people, I will say to you: I have no idea.  But, I’m heading into this process with an open mind.  Now, I realize that, realistically, I may not be able to post a song every single day (given internet access, recording conditions or a huge monsoon), however, I will make an effort to at least post an update every day.  In any case, I’m incredibly excited with what the project has already done for me: a realization that I can create anything.  With so many days and opportunities to create something new, how can I possibly hesitate or over-edit?  And I suppose that’s what I want to teach myself: there are no limits and sometimes you just have to let things be what they’re going to be.  And those out there listening and reading, thank you for participating in this experience with me.  So, here we go…


Rick Gribenas

In 2004, I completed my master’s degree in cello performance at a private college in Pittsburgh named Carnegie Mellon.  During the winter semester of my first year there, I signed up for a class called something like, The Sink Drips Dry.  It was a sound art class taught by  an adjunct professor and artist named Rick Gribenas.  It was mind-altering for me as I stepped into a totally different kind of thinking and observing.  Learning to listen differently and see differently, I started composing and improvising in a whole new way.  At the end of my two years in the program, a master’s recital was required.  The program I had devised with my teacher was entirely from the standard cello repetoire: Bach, Beethoven, and now, sadly, I don’t recall the 20th century piece.   Debussy?  I really wanted to do something different that expressed the things Rick had taught me.  So I approached Rick, being an active and incredible installation and multi-media artist, about collaborating with me on a piece for my recital.  He agreed enthusiastically, and we met one night to brainstorm ideas.  I recorded the entire evening on my mini-disc player.  As I recall, the evening was a difficult one for me because I felt totally out of my league brought on my insecurity and intimidation.  Rick was warm, friendly and totally open to new thoughts, but, still, I remained petrified!  Oh, how I wish I hadn’t been so reserved!  This guy, even at the ripe-old-age of 27, was totally beyond my artistic experience.  I felt I couldn’t think of anything interesting or remarkable to play or express musically.  He sat at a table of knobs, boxes and tape recorders, blipping and bleeping, quiet and focused.   He was kind and patient as I stumbled around and requested different sounds from him, looking for something that might inspire an idea.  As my recital came closer, I unfortunately concluded that the collaboration wasn’t going to happen in time.  I now think this happening was more driven by my insecurity than fact.  In its place, however, I performed the 4 movement Four Stages, a piece about the four stages of Hodgekins Disease which I wrote and dedicated to Rick.

On March 17th 2009, Rick passed away at the age of 31.  As I start this 365 Project, I really wanted to have Rick there from the beginning.

This first piece for the 365 Project includes sections from the recording I made the night Rick and I brainstormed.  A collaboration!  Tomorrow, I’ll get into how I’m putting things together and my general frustrations about the production process, but for now, I’ll just keep it at this.

At the very end you’ll hear a sound byte of Rick’s voice that might be difficult to hear.  I included it anyway because I felt like it described things perfectly.  At one point in the recording, I requested a sonic change from him, and you can hear him reply, “I get you. I guess I was just trying to listen.”

See you tomorrow


1. Rick Gribenas/365

BRICKS Pittsburgh

Rick’s wife Charissa has started a (soon to be non-profit) organization in Pittsburgh, PA called BRICKS that aims to connect Young Adult cancer patients to people and resources that may be useful to them as they undergo treatment and beyond. They also hope to raise awareness about Young Adult cancers, and impact survival rates through education and activism.  She is a fine, fine lady.  Read her incredibly moving personal accounts and how she is changing lives at http://brickspgh.blogspot.com.

Rick’s website: www.gribenas.com

“We must be lofty and emotional; there must be risk if systems are to be shifted and rearranged.  It is necessary to transmit and receive.” – Rick Gribenas

The 365 Project

365 Days. 365 Songs. Inspired by musician Brian Speaker who has recently completed his own song-a-day-for-a-year project, Spiral Notebook, I will be writing, recording, and posting a song a day until the year 2011.  The only rule is that I must post one song that I have written or arranged every day until 2011.  They can be of any genre or length, and I will attempt to make the songs downloadable as I go.  At the end of the year, I will create a CD of the top 10-15.  Good luck to me!  Start date is Monday, January 4, 2010.