Mellow Cello Podcast

by Takenobu

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frankhuebsch
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frankhuebsch As the first person to subscribe to the Mellow Cello podcasts, I guess it falls on me to explain why I love the podcasts and encourage you to support this uniquely rich musical adventure. The spontaneous creativity which comprises each podcast with unnamed and unedited pieces is inspiring and always surprisingly new with each playback. I especially appreciate the opportunity to download the podcasts which are thus completely portable so I can listen endlessly during my long trail adventures. Favorite track: Episode 13.1 On the Mend Part 2.
kabutonashi
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kabutonashi This fantastic album/podcast is all about live composition and free discovery of new sounds from a master of the cello. What's not to like about that? It's extremely soothing and uplifting background/work/study music and I highly recommend you check it out!
Favorite track: Episode 31.1 Farmhouse Summer Part 2.
1.
Things get off to a vibey start in this episode from the youtube livestream on October 26 2023, incorporating the whistling effect quite early, which I enjoy using because the treble register it provides pops out so much. The second piece develops from a persistent trickle into a big warm wave that ebbs and flows. The third song has a nice walking pace, with some swirly dreamy elements that drift in and out. The fourth piece takes a darker turn built around a weirder percussive effect, with some distinctly amphibian characteristics, which gradually metamorphosizes into something brighter. There’s something inspirational feeling about the final piece, thematically speaking, and with the quicker tempo and brighter sound of things.
2.
Things get off to an eletronically meandering start in this episode from November 2 2023. Sometimes when I try to make something work in a piece I can’t always quite get there, but I’ve learned that it’s best to take whatever frustrations might arise from working on one thing and apply the lessons learned to the next piece, as opposed to trying to fix something that may have been ill formed from the start. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but an important one in terms of the ephemeral nature of art, especially music. Capturing something worth keeping is of course always the goal, but agonizing over it, and especially being bogged down trying to fix something that is so transient can be very counter productive. As such I’m much happier with the second piece than the first. The third piece is a departure, with a much faster tempo, driven by a textured effect that shape shifts through several different forms. The fourth piece enters into a darker and more mysterious realm, descending into some more ethereal space. The final piece is a bit of the kitchen sink, where I tried out a little bit of a number of new effects I don’t often use, just to see what might work, some with more success than others.
3.
This episode comes from the youtube livestream on October 24 2023. Things get off to a nice airy start, built around a repeating arpeggio that has an 80’s movie interlude feel to it. The next piece develops into a broader sweeping journey that has some nice galloping tremolos. The third piece builds harmonies off a dancey kind of bass groove, and then has a nice alternative arpeggiated bridge progression. The fourth piece has some nice thematic elements to it, with a call and response feel to things. The 5th piece builds off of an almost electronic beat into a nice running arpeggio, and the final piece ends on a more contemplative note.
4.
Things start off nice and airy and ambient in this stream from October 12 2023, with some nice motifs throughout. The second piece has a much darker industrial feel to it, right from the get go, growing into a more sweeping cinematic theme when the arco parts get built up. I like a lot of the moments in the third piece, and feel that the beat itself and arpeggio have a lot of potential. Listening back I hear a different theme I could’ve played arco, but then realize upon continued listening that I took a second attempt and eventually arrived at the very theme I was hearing, or I guess remembering, so I’m glad of that! Things get off to a quicker pace in the 4th piece, and it has some nice running qualities with forward movement. The final piece is a nice plodding exploration of new sounds and soundscapes.
5.
Episode 51 Hectic Recharge This episode comes from the livestream on October 10th. Things get off to a nice mellow start. The second piece takes a while to get going, but lands in a nice place that provides the opportunity for some fun arco noodling in an almost western style. The third piece really gets going with the arco as well, and there’s some nice timbres happening here. The fourth piece starts as a bit of a retake or re-adaptation of the third one, and then develops into it’s own darker and broodier piece. The dry note-less brushed arco percussive sound I used has an interesting industrial feel to it. This evolves even more into an industrial electronic beat in the fifth piece, that has a nice drive and a fitting space cowboy whistling solo over top of it. Things end with a short ambient piece, and finally an arco driven epic build.
6.
This episode comes from the Youtube stream on October 5 2023. Things get off to a lively start here, drawing a bit from LCD sound system I think, a band I really enjoy. At first I didn’t realize the similarities, but once I did I decided to just lean into them, and fans of Dance Yrself Clean may recognize the similarities here. The second piece has a nostalgic feel to it, sort of a Chad and Jeremy, or Mr. Sandman type of vibe to the progression. Things become a little more moody and broody in the third piece, with a cool halting bass line and some groovy tremolo. The fourth piece develops into something pretty funky and cool, for some reason reminding me of a 70’s detective movie, or something along those lines. The fifth song is my favorite of the episode, developing into a big sparkling spacey song that achieves outer orbit at times. Things end with a nice mid tempo walking paced piece, with some nice lilting figures.
7.
This episode from October 3 2023 starts off with a nice melancholy driving rhythm. The second piece has a similarly melancholy drive to it. It’s hard to describe what feeling this evokes exactly, something between determination and acceptance, with hope but sadness at the same time. The third piece has a bit of a talking heads start to things, with a driving bass line that develops into something more spacey and comes back to the drive again and again. The fourth piece gets nice and heavy really quickly, with some big arco bass to make things sound epic and forward flowing, which continues to grow into a nice swirling sparkling piece. The fifth piece is a rendition of New Groove from the first volume of the Sushi Tapes. The final piece is a jazzy little number I’ve done renditions of before on previous episodes.
8.
This episode comes from the youtube livestream on September 28 2023. Things start out with a satisfying mid tempo bass driven piece. Things get a bit more contemplative in the second piece, with a back and forth shift to a minor feeling, but with a nice quick plucking bass line to keep things lively, and provide a nice foundation for the more watery arco layers. The third piece takes a little while to get going, but eventually congeals around a ghostly effect with an arpeggiated pizzicato progression that reminds me of old times somehow, perhaps because of the waltzy feel to things. This one develops some nice textures, at once fluid and dry, like a field of long grass blowing in the breeze. The fourth song has a more upbeat punk-y rhythm to it, with a very groovy bass line. I kind of wished I’d developed the pizzicato more before using the bow, because I think the bow doesn’t quite fit the vibe when it first comes in. That’s just my first reaction relistening though, and I think as the piece develops and I get comfortable with the feel of things the bowed parts start to match the lively energy to create an almost classical/rockabilly sound. The fifth piece is an ambient wanderer, without anywhere near the rhythmic drive of the preceding piece. The sixth and final piece has a nice hook melody with some nice weight that develops gradually and becomes a nice big thematic piece.
9.
Episode 47 Autumnal Colors I love the liveliness of how things start out here, with an upbeat fast paced pizzicato ramble through some autumnal colored chords. The second piece gets groovier, keeping up the upbeat pace, but with a slightly darker tone, with some cool recurring motifs. The third songs builds into a much bigger and more aggressive driving song, that really pushes things forward with a big bass line that does a lot of heavy lifting and really develops into nice big thematic piece when the bowed layers build towards the end. The fourth piece builds out of a slightly weird detuned delay effect that creates a sense of anticipation, but then lands with some nice big bass again, keeping up the crisp driving pace of the piece before, with some more weird forays into different new digital effects, that are reminiscent of some of the cool things that Mark Mothersbaugh does with his collection of unusual instruments. The fifth piece doesn’t quite match the fullness and drive of the previous two, and is a simpler piece by comparison. Things become ambient for the sixth piece, with a self-sampled loop endeavor that flows into a nice dark river of a piece. The final piece is a return to the upbeat, with some nice full moments.
10.
Episode 46 Spooky Town Things start off slow and ambient in a really nice way, with some really nice wandering arco layers over a drizzly pizzicato motif. The second piece is much more driving, and has some nice funky syncopation to it and some crystalline effects. The next piece is more mellow, with some really nice bowed chord intervals that make for some unexpected colors, with a cheerful kind of melancholy that gets more determined by the end. The next piece starts out a bit dark, but things really lighten up about halfway through and it gets more uplifting as things progress. The next piece develops into another halfway Western sounding piece, but with a spaciness to it, like the theme for a psychedelic cowboy showdown. This is followed by an ambient self-sampling piece, that is more driving than normal, and really delves into some underwater exploration.
11.
This episode comes from the Youtube stream on September 18 2023. Things get off to a nice medium pace with a bit of a jazzy chord sound, that quickly takes on some nice autumnal colors with the bowed layers. Growing up in Vermont the foliage season has a great deal of nostalgia for me, and I think that this piece captures some of those windswept orange and red fall tones. The next 2 pieces are explorations of the same progression, with a second attempt being made to explore things a bit more, with some nice effects. Things get punched up a bit for a livelier piece with some bounce and a wiggly hook. This is followed by a much darker piece, that has some interesting darker brooding emotional overtones to it. The final piece is a bit of a watery jaunt.
12.
This episode comes from the Twitch stream on September 14 2023. Things got off to a late start because of a crazy thunderstorm that caused power outages. I think as a result I start things off with a sweeping slower song to create some calmer energy. Things get lighter and bouncier in the second piece, with a nice shuffling arco rhythm. The next piece is a big watery thematic piece, with more heavily moving broad strokes. Something cool happens in the fourth piece and things really open up here. It feels a bit like emerging from a storm into some sunshine, where things are brightening up but there’s a sense of some looming darkness behind you and perhaps still on the horizon. The last two pieces also have some very cool parts too with nice flow, where I think the rhythmic aspects really seem to connect.
13.
Things get off to a bit of a rocky start, with the first two pieces not quite locking in. But I finally find something in the third piece (which starts about 13 minutes in). The fourth piece is my favorite, with a nice groove and shimmering chords, built around an initial harmonic figure that I love to reuse. The fifth piece has a cool groove to it, but the format is a bit hard to lock down progression wise, and this is one I’d be tempted to edit at a future date so that the transitions happen sooner and more concisely. The final piece is a fun one, with a nice lively groove and some cool arco parts with a nice bass line. I think things get gradually better over the course of the session, although that’s much easier to do when things get off to a shaky start!
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Episode 42 Running Errands This episode comes from the Twitch stream on September 9 2023. Things start off slowly, with a repetitive bowed lick that eventually morphs into something more complex with more movement. This first piece is another example of not quite being sure if I’ll pull it out but finding something interesting by sticking with it. The second piece has a very cool groove to it, and I really enjoy the rhythm of the chords here. The third piece almost ventures into My Girl territory for a moment, before settling into a nice bass line, that perhaps goes on a bit long. Things start to groove in the fourth piece with some nice swirling bowed layers. The fifth piece is starts as an ambient reset but then congeals into something a bit more cohesive. The final piece evolves into a fun spacey hoedown type of piece.
15.
This episode comes from the Youtube stream on September 5 2023. Things get off to a mellow start, with a thoughtful and meandering pizzicato loop, which allows for some arco expansion and contraction, venturing into the melancholy at times. The second piece grows even more melancholy than the first, thanks to some long arco loops that make a bit of a drowsy bed to things. This is followed by a much more driving piece, with a baseline that moves things forward in a space operatic way. The fourth piece has the halting rhythm i’ve used before but really gets going towards the end with some nice flowing layers. Things continue in a halting fashion for the fifth piece. With the 6th piece I need an ‘ambient reset’ as I’ve come to call it, self sampling and working less about progression and just trying to capture different textures. The last piece takes a bit to get going, but I really like the rhythmic arco layers that build up and drive the piece forward.
16.
This podcast comes from the twitch stream on August 31, 2023. Things get off to a jaunty start, with a bowed loop setting the tone for things. The next piece is a bit spacier and more methodical sounding. The third piece is my favorite from the stream, and one of those that seems to produce different shapes from the ether with some nice twists and turns along the way. The middle sparse self sampling parts of this piece remind me a bit of Air’s Alone in Kyoto. The fourth piece is lighter and more optimistic sounding with its more hopeful bounciness. The fifth piece pays some reference to the M83 song I once covered, but with a bit of a different baseline. The final piece is New Groove from Sushi Tapes Vol 1.
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Episode 39 Playing Catch Up This episode comes from the youtube stream on August 29 2023, things start off pretty mellow, with a meandering exploration. To be honest when I first started listening back to the second piece I wasn’t sure where it was going, or if it would ever get there. The piece isn’t without its missteps, but I find a lot more interesting sounds than I was expecting, once the staccato loops are laid and the middle eastern sounding line is introduced things find something of a form. I decided to spare the listeners the somewhat painful search for the chords in the third piece and begin when I finally find a pattern I like, whilst still stumbling a bit to find what works. One interesting thing about doing these streams and podcasts is how much more clearly I can see the stark difference in my on and off days. Some days things just seem to materialize with ease and others it’s a much more laborious process. At the same time however it’s encouraging to see that I can eventually overcome initial hiccups by sticking with it and allowing the wrong notes to fall away leaving the core of what works. This third piece is one such example, and fittingly it ends up sounding like some sort of witchy concoction of disparate elements. Things get smoother in the 4th piece, with a more uplifting piece as is the 5th, which continues in a very similar pace and tone. The 6th piece stands out as my favorite from the stream, as I find a nice almost reggae like uplifting groove towards the middle.
18.
Episode 38 In the Dark Room This episode comes from he Twitch stream on August 24th 2023. Things start off ambient for a change, with a nice oceanic soundscape, exploring different sonic colors. The next piece grows out of the ether as well, developing slowly but surely into a nice dark and brooding piece. The next piece is also sans percussion, and develops very slowly, and eventually evolves into a chord progression I’ve used before, filled out nicely with bowed layers. The fourth piece is created in an unusual way with a percussion loop using the bow to create a bounced tap. It takes a little while to find the chords, but this piece eventually develops into an interesting exploration of small driving rhythms and figures. I’d begun working on scoring a couple of short films when this stream happened, and I think I drew from some of the darker themes that I was having to write for the films as this piece developed. The fifth piece uses the same tapped bow percussion, and continues in the darker movie music vein of things.
19.
part 2 Things continue in similar vein as part 1, with more exploring of darker spaces and ambient arco sounds. The film I’m scoring explores stories of personal trauma, so these are just explorations trying to familiarize myself with some of this kind of sonic space, to see what might work for the film.
20.
21.
This episode comes from the Twitch stream on August 17 2023. Things really don’t get going until the third piece in this episode, which starts at about 21 minutes in. I started things off by trying to revive an old unfinished piece, which has some nice transitions but I don’t feel I was able completely lock it in. The same was the case for the second piece which I struggled to lock into the key of. The third piece however takes off into a nice groove, built around a more experimental percussive sound, as seems to be the case lately. Throughout the piece I continue to find new layers that lock together, which is the most satisfying feeling as I make these podcasts. I love building the sonic space successfully in a way that feels organic and ordered but with enough unexpected elements and emotional aspects to keep it interesting. The next piece starts out slowly with a strumming rhythm, but then I find something interesting with an unexpected turnaround chord that holds some nice suspense to it. The fifth piece springs into being quite quickly, and I think I’m drawing on shapes I’ve used before as it all flows together fairly seamlessly right away, possibly from Frisson.
22.
This episode comes from the Youtube stream on August 15, 2023. Things get started with a lively piece built around a rapid pull off riff, that gets built on and echoed with the bow, and builds into something that reminds me of a summer rain. The next piece starts off in a familiar way, but takes on a nice driving rhythm, that feels like an extension of the first piece. With the third piece I build things from a glitchier percussion sound, which works well with the sub bass effect to create a sweeping after-the-storm reckoning, with all it’s technological re-integration. Things get a little bit darker and more determined in the next piece, with some nice marching rhythmic sections, which help to build into a more epic and resolute piece, which may have also resulted from catching part of the Magnificent Seven on tv the night before. Things get more contemplative and brooding in the following piece, with smaller thoughtful figures and a back and forth feel, a bit like weighing a decision. The final piece has a hopeful and wandering sound to its arpeggiation which is a nice sentiment to end on.
23.
Episode 34 Oceania This episode comes from he twitch livestream on August 10th 2023. Things get started built around a swirling arco motif around a straightforward pizzicato rhythm, and build up with long arco lines, getting full and rich very quickly. Sometimes all you need is a couple of chords to create a shimmering ocean floor seascape. The next piece incorporates the same electronic rhythmic element as the end of Keeping things Weird, which I like to use to bridge the digital/classical divide. Once again it only takes a couple chords, and I’m happy I’ve embraced the simplicity here, as I was getting caught up with over complicating things in the previous episodes and tripping myself up. I like the sweeping textures here, with the driving forward movement, and especially like some of the rhythmic textural sounds I’m able to get in this piece. Things get ambient next, built around a ringy effect, and the chords from this are then used in the next piece as well which is more brief and has a nice arco theme. This is followed by an upbeat lively pizzicato based rhythmic song, which reminds me of a calypso sound, and is a really fun piece. The next piece is a bit more relaxed in pace and vibe, and has some nice dreamy moments throughout. The final piece is a nice relaxed textural exploration.
24.
Episode 33 Up and Airy This episode comes from the youtube stream on August 8, 2023. Things get off to a nice atmospheric start, with some sweeping pizzicato lines that shift and sway. It’s fun to find an arpeggio that works over the chord changes, and build from there. Things get dreamier and dreamier towards the end. The next piece develops slowly out of a murky ether. Sort of like a ship emerging from a dense fog. The weather changes a couple times through this piece, and the ship eventually emerges to a sea sparkling with sunlight, but there’s a storm on the horizon. The next piece develops into a nice airy piece, thanks to the pulsing reverb effect throughout. This is followed by a bit of a running rhythm, with a bouncing baseline, that stretches and expands.
25.
Episode 32 Triple Stops This episode comes from the twitch live stream on August 3 2023. Things get off to a nice quick pace, with an upbeat feeling, but there’s a nice contemplative bridge mixed in occasionally as well, which then becomes more prominent at the end. Things stay fast paced in the next piece as well, built around a bass groove. This one has a nice lively feel to it, reminding me of a bouncy grateful dead type of jam. The next one has a lively latin feel to it, thanks tot he rhythm. I get a bit more experimental in the fourth song, growing a kind of robotic brooding sound out a dark ether. After the robotic realm it’s time to return to a mellower jazzier sound. The final piece has a nice declarative chord progression, that feels at times like the beginning of some kind of mission or uncertain journey.
26.
This episode comes from the stream on August 1 2023. The summer has been so hot, this piece kind of has a bouncy summer feel to it. The heavy bowed layers kind of add to the headiness of things, but then things open up nicely in the second half with an even bouncier/reflective pizzicato section. After the boisterousness of the first piece, the second one starts out a bit more hesitantly, but then evolves into a more self assured piece, with some nice arco bits towards the end. The third piece gets off to a much weirder start using some fun effects, but then comes together in a much more familiar place once the arpeggiated chords start. I think the effected sound provides a nice contrast, and results in a digital hoe-down canon, or maybe an electric farmhouse jam. The fourth piece has a very nice laid back to feel thanks to the little lick at the end of each chord, and i like the fun simplicity of this one. Something that’s been happening a bit more lately is that I’ve started to second guess the initial chord progression I come up with, feeling like it’s too simple or similar, which when I listen back is a bit of a source of consternation, and moving forward I’m going to try to stick with my first instinct. This really isn’t an exercise in coming up with some mind blowing new chord format, really more of an attempt at just capturing textures and textural feelings. As a result there are a lot of repeated sounds, but it’s more about the subtle variations and the groove.
27.
This episode comes from the stream on August 1 2023. The summer has been so hot, this piece kind of has a bouncy summer feel to it. The heavy bowed layers kind of add to the headiness of things, but then things open up nicely in the second half with an even bouncier/reflective pizzicato section. After the boisterousness of the first piece, the second one starts out a bit more hesitantly, but then evolves into a more self assured piece, with some nice arco bits towards the end. The third piece gets off to a much weirder start using some fun effects, but then comes together in a much more familiar place once the arpeggiated chords start. I think the effected sound provides a nice contrast, and results in a digital hoe-down canon, or maybe an electric farmhouse jam. The fourth piece has a very nice laid back to feel thanks to the little lick at the end of each chord, and i like the fun simplicity of this one. Something that’s been happening a bit more lately is that I’ve started to second guess the initial chord progression I come up with, feeling like it’s too simple or similar, which when I listen back is a bit of a source of consternation, and moving forward I’m going to try to stick with my first instinct. This really isn’t an exercise in coming up with some mind blowing new chord format, really more of an attempt at just capturing textures and textural feelings. As a result there are a lot of repeated sounds, but it’s more about the subtle variations and the groove.
28.
Episode 30 Keepin it Weird This episode comes from the Twitch stream on July 27, 2023. Things get off to a nice brooding start, with a darker driving feel. This first piece to me sounds a bit like driving at night, alone with your thoughts. The next one gets more experimental with some effected sounds that make for a bit of a mystical texture to go off of, and then things get a bit densely layered. The third piece continues into the realms of sonic exploration, with a nice rhythmic pulsing that lays the ground work for some more spacey effects. It’s fun to experiment with different textures like this to just stretch the possibilities more. At first the next one doesn’t venture quite so far into the weird (at least in terms of effects) with more straight forward cello sounding loops. After building up some layers, I like the sort of lonely journey sound when the bowed layers drop away. Things come together around the bass line, which drives things forward, but then almost turns the song into a cello dub/reggae song, thanks to the chopping offbeat bowed stabs, and then a pretty cool melodic theme over top. The fifth song channels some LCD sound system when I find the repetitive synth sounding rhythmic note and build off of that motif. This one is my favorite piece from the stream, because I think it combines a modern take with a more classical sound and bridges the gap in a way that works.
29.
Episode 29 This episode comes from the Youtube stream on July 25th, and follows a string of technical difficulties that I couldn’t seem to shake. What would have been the previous episode clipped to the point where it was unsalvageable, and during this episode everything crashed and I lost the first 20 minutes or so of recording. As a result though i’m a bit more warmed up than normal when the recording starts, so things get off quickly to a nice loop with some little figures that sound like a song from the 80’s to me. Something about the quicker chord changes or the forward moving pace is reminiscent of some of the Arthur Russel/David Byrne stuff I’ve heard, which I’m happy to imitate. The next piece has a happy dreamy quality to it - a very nice person in the chat mentioned that it was his daughter’s 10th birthday the next day and that she’d been born with my music as the soundtrack to her birth! I felt very honored and inspired by this wonderful bit of news. The third piece has a bit more of a grandiose sweeping quality, i think thanks to the weight of the bass, it’s also reminiscent of something I’ve done before. This one is followed by a bit of a sleepy lullaby type of piece. Finally a short rendition of a piece originally composed on the stream called Kickin Rocks, which is still unreleased.
30.
Episode 28 Flirting with Dissonance This stream from July 18 2023 gets off to a nice gentle start, with a nice swaying feel to the rhythm. The next one takes me a minute or two to figure out progression wise, but I eventually get there I think. The third song meanders for a bit as I look for a chord progression I like, which seems to be the theme of the stream. I think things coalesce once i get the second bowed layer down and it starts to groove. The fourth song continues in a similar trend where things take a while to get going, but I think once I get to the more rapid pizzicato half way through some cool stuff starts to happen. The fifth piece comes together much more easily than the previous ones, and I like how this one develops, building off the percussion well right away. This one has a nice flow through a few different textures, and the rhythm is such a critical part of it, I’m happiest with this piece from the stream.
31.
Episode 27 Frisson This episode comes from the twitch stream on July 13, 2023. I was able to sort out most of the technical difficulties this time, although I didn’t start recording until I’d started the first piece already, so we jump in as the loop is already going. Things are nice and hopeful and light right off the bat, with a bouncy yet driving little pizzicato loop. Things get nice and full with some bowed loops, and I think I cut things off at just the right point, when I was out of ideas and before it got too messy. The next piece has a nice contemplative feel to it. Still driving, but darker and more inquisitive sounding. Once the arco parts are played down and the bass comes in it really sounds like some sort of mission that needs to be accomplished. The nice one has a nice linear progression to a swinging fullness. I like throwing the high whistling effect in when things are really full to be able to make the melody stand out. I like the little doubled chord progression that develops, which is very mellow and wandering, and not without an occasional misplaced note. Things get a bit jazzier in the next piece, with a more blue sound. Someone in the chat commented that the piece gave them the sensation of frisson, which I then pursued further in the next piece with some harmonic looping, which I always feel has a more ethereal quality.
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Episode 26 Fixed Up This episode comes from the Youtube stream on July 12, 2023. I had some technical difficulties early in this stream, and through an unfortunate series of clicks managed to stop recording the audio while trying to fix things. I was able to download the video and extract the audio, but the quality is a bit diminished compared to other episodes. After the initial kerfuffle things get off to a pretty nice start, with a flowing piece that has some nice billowing airiness to the arco parts. The next piece is a bit darker sounding, with a more contemplative feel, and more exploration in the lower end of the sound. Then things open up a bit more to a bit more of a hopeful contemplative sound, with some more experimentation in some background harmonics. The fourth piece is built out of more of a bass line groove than a plucked chord progression, and as a result has a more driving feel to it. Having a vamping baseline provides for more experimentation with shorter riffs, as opposed to longer lyrical melodies. Following in the same vamping vein, the next piece has a built more of a stomping and halting rhythm. The next piece is reminiscent of past pieces like heliocentricity that incorporate a similar chord pattern and textural feel. The 7th and second to last piece has is perhaps my favorite and is built out of a nice little harmonic plucked figure.
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Episode 25 Eight Minutos This episode comes from the Twitch stream on July 6 2023. The idea behind this stream was to limit myself to (relatively) shorter jams, with a target length of 8-9 minutes, instead of the more usual 12 minutes. The first piece takes a little while to get going, but I like where it gets to in terms of fullness and the bowed parts. The second piece gets to a nice place texturally pretty quickly, with a very mellow and pulsing echoey flow to things that allows for some fun improvised noodling. Next there’s a bit of a computer-y element to things, like the sound of things processing, which develops into something more contemplative and emotionally explorative. Things get much more lively at about the halfway mark, with a nice uptempo piece that feels very dance-y. I often feel the need to do a little reset with a more ambient sound after a cohesive upbeat piece like this, but I like how this next one evolves through a couple of different parts. Then things get a bit more straight forward and waltzy and contemplative, short and sweet, as is the next piece. I really like the final piece, and think it could be reworked into something more fleshed out and cinematic. The bass works well and I like the longer arco themes.
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Episode 24 Carefree Summertime This stream comes from the Twitch stream on 6/29/23, after having to skip the normal Tuesday stream due to neighborhood industrial noise. Things get off to a slow start, as the loop slowly builds, and then I experiment with a lo-fi effect as a transitional device. This piece has a nice sleepy feel to it, kind of like a hot summer night. The second piece has a nice inquisitive feeling to it, like being on the verge of revealing some kind of mystery. I really like the arco lick that develops in the second half of the song, which feels like we’re diving further into the depths of some sort of mysterious discovery. If I were to change one thing I’d take away the more resolved sounding chords in the middle and end, but I don’t mind them too much. The third piece continues with the mysterious sound in a nice way I think, there’s a darkness to this sound, but with the feeling of searching for the light. For the next piece things lighten up a bit - I really like the feeling of the bass line here. Simple chord progressions like this one can often yield more interesting results than may initially seem possible. Some nice moments in a more ambient piece, that becomes more driving and congealed by the end.
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Episode 23 Running Away This episode comes from the twitch stream on June 22, 2023. I deliberately decided to start things off a bit slower in this stream, trying to get back to the mellow cello namesake. I really like how things start here, with a very laid back vibe. It’s easier to noodle around with the bow when things are more sparse and relaxed like this, as it doesn’t feel like a lot of layers are necessary. When I add in the bass of course a little more laying feels right. I keep things mellow in the second piece as well, with a nice progression that has a call and answer aspect. I think the simple arco layers work to add some depth to things, and provide a nice bed for some soloing. I kind of tried to imagine this as a more vocal song and use the cello how vocals might sound, as this progression reminded me of some kind of ballad. Things pickup a bit in the third piece, with a bit more of a stomping rhythm, and a more blue grassy progression to go along with it. I like the bowed riff that goes along with things, kind of adds a dramatic action feeling to things, pushing things forward. As usually at about the half way point it’s time to try something more ethereal, which involves an airy looped bow part over a spacier rhythm. Things start off a bit dreamy and then coalesce into a more coherent piece that has some nice textural twists and turns. I like when I’m able to build up some initial loop textures, take these away and build new ones, and then build up new ones yet again and take away the previous ones. The next piece is built up with the idea of escaping something or running away from something, which I think the slightly tense sounding initial loop is able to help accomplish. I played the piece after telling the story of when Kathryn and I tried to camp in a very remote site in bear country in Idaho and encountered a mother moose and baby upon entering our site. I end things with a more laid back piece with arco layers that breathe a bit.
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Episode 22 Cosmic Subs This episode comes from the stream on June 20, 2023. Things get off to a nice start, and I really like the way the rhythmic bowed part develops as I continue to try to make the arco parts more central to things. This piece also has a nice ‘bridge’ as it were when the percussion part drops away and things can build in a bit more of a flowy way. It takes a minute to lock into the second piece, but I like the bowed things I start to get into, especially in the lower end with some more grit. The third piece is a progression i’ve done before, and takes a little while to develop. There are parts that work here, but I don’t know that this would make the cut for an EP selection, haha. Things get a little exploratory in the next piece as I see if there are additional chords that will work over the first ones I lay down. Things eventually begin to snowball into a bit of a driving and crunchy slow moving landslide that then dissipates. Things eventually end up in a nice dreamy spot, which I think I would’ve kept going longer had it not taken so long to get there. Starting things with a little moving pizzicato loop I find a nice groove here, with a chord progression that feels like a throwback to a Van morrison song, or something along those lines. I like the bounciness of the bass line, and for whatever reason I really started thinking about the sandwich place Dave’s Cosmis Subs as I was playing this one, which is the name for the episode. I like the feeling of the chord progression that follows, there’s something thoughtful feeling about the back and forth. I would like to develop it more as I feel like I didn’t quite get to where I was trying to go.
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Episode 21 Meta Cello Things get started off with a fun driving beat that develops into a bowed line that feels like it’s racing ahead to me, on its way to somewhere. I’m starting to feel like I’m almost as comfortable rhythmically with the bow as I am pizzicato, which is a goal I’m striving toward. The bow is always going to be slightly less rhythmic just because of the nature of the attack, but I like feeling like it’s close. Things slow down a bit in the second piece, but still keep a driving forward sensibility. I like the melodic theme I find here, there’s a lyrical aspect to the little bowed figures. The third piece keeps up the quicker pace, and I find a chord progression that I’ve done before, but with a new twist, which seems to often be the case, especially at the end with the layered lyrical arco figures. For the fourth piece I was inspired by Mark Summers, who’s piece Julie-O was one of the earliest pieces that really opened my eyes to alternative possibilities with the cello. I think I’d like to develop this piece a bit more and try to have another section, as it’s hard to keep this fast pace throughout without some sort of break in the action as a bit of a respite to the sound, but I think it sounds cool as a short little jaunt. We return to the driving forward feeling of things, with a cool rhythmic piece. It takes me a little while to find an arco line that works, but I eventually get there more or less. Things get a little darker, but I kind of like when I can slightly transform a darker sounding piece with little spots of brightness here and there. I think the final piece actually has some nice finality to it, so to speak.
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This episode comes from the Youtube stream on June 13th. Once again I’m using my bow a bit more in this episode, trying to develop that aspect of things a bit more. The first piece has a nice upbeat vibe which I think the rhythmic bowing enhances a bit. Then things slow down a bit in the second piece, and there’s a bit of melancholy that reminds me of a chad and jeremy song, or something along those lines. Then things pick up a bit, with a more upbeat song again with bowed rhythmic enhancement. The fourth piece has a bit of a darker feel, more searching maybe. Then we go to the ambient zone for a bit, for an underwater feel, and finish things up with a bit of classical jazz.
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This episode comes from the Youtube stream on June 13th. Once again I’m using my bow a bit more in this episode, trying to develop that aspect of things a bit more. The first piece has a nice upbeat vibe which I think the rhythmic bowing enhances a bit. Then things slow down a bit in the second piece, and there’s a bit of melancholy that reminds me of a chad and jeremy song, or something along those lines. Then things pick up a bit, with a more upbeat song again with bowed rhythmic enhancement. The fourth piece has a bit of a darker feel, more searching maybe. Then we go to the ambient zone for a bit, for an underwater feel, and finish things up with a bit of classical jazz.
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This episode comes from the Twitch stream on June 8th after I was away on a break, and I can hear myself getting back into the swing of things when I listen back. Things start off with a piece that develops into a bit of a jaunty theme, built around a bouncy pizzicato loop. The second piece is a bit more contemplative and downtempo. I think things started to come together for the fourth piece where I developed a bit of a darker sounding groove. I used my bow a bit more than usual throughout this stream/episode, mostly to try to practice regaining control of it, as that tends to be the first thing that goes after a break away from playing/practicing. I kept things going with the bow through the end, building up a lot of rhythmic arco layers for the final piece. I think the different staccato textures allow this piece to continue driving forward and provides a nice bed for the faster paced melodic runs.
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This is another throwback episode from a twitch stream on February 15th 2023. Things start off with a pretty cool progression that I think I’ll have to revisit. I like how things have a dark feeling of gravitas that sort of looms over everything. The second piece is sort of an extension of the first. Once again at this point I was still talking during the songs so I had to edit out a few spots where I say random things to viewers that make no sense out of context, hopefully I didn’t miss any random little things I might have said over the music. The third piece is one I composed in an earlier stream, which I call “Onigiri Island” due to its similarity to my piece “Oni Island” from Momotaro. Then I return to a very similar figure as the first and second pieces to explore the ideas even more. I’m not really sure where this bass line came from or where it went to because I was obviously obsessed with it on this day and I don’t think I’ve come back to it since, but that will have to change. Finally I finish things up with Toki Doki.
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This episode comes from the twitch stream on February 24 2023. I start things off all arco, which is rare for me. I usually prefer to do things pizzicato to start with to give things a rhythmic base, but I think I should do more of this type of thing. There’s something a bit more cinematic about a driving bowed rhythm, but it’s more difficult to keep the conviction going I think with an all arco loop. Listening back there are times I wish big drums could come in, but I think there’s still something that works about the starkness. I like the shift that happens about 11 minutes in, where things open up a bit. After this I play The Voyage Home from Momotaro. The third piece takes a little while to get going, but I like the vibe when things start to come together. It’s an upbeat piece with some nice moments. The 4th piece at about 33 minutes in is a bit more frenetic and has some nice opportunities for a more brooding feel. Finally I end things with a Reversing from the album Reversal.
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This throwback episode comes from the twitch stream on March 23, 2023. Things kickoff with one of the first pieces composed during a stream which is called “Regular Sick”. The piece has a kind of funky feel to it, which can be more dramatic based on the tempo, and this rendition is on the more mellow side. The second piece meanders through several different ideas, touching upon a couple of themes that are present in other jams I’ve done. It’s interesting to listen back to something from just a few months ago and see some of the themes I’ve come back to in their earlier forms, and to then realize how much more coalesced some of the ideas have become without my really having been consciously aware of it. It’s like getting an outside view of your own thought process and seeing how you used to think, if that makes any sense. The third piece at about 28 minutes in has some really nice things going on here, built around the droning harmonic loop. Someone in the stream chat at the time remarked that it sounded like the “back of a waterfall,” which I think is apt description of the sort of shimmering quality and the color of the sound. Even the little pizzicato parts sound like droplets of water here. I find that I like to do these more meandering ambient pieces about halfway through the stream because it’s sort of a reset for me creatively, and I can just sort of wander around in a sonic space without feeling the need to produce something particularly coherent. Editing this one I realized that since I wasn’t releasing audio only podcasts yet, I would still talk in the middle of songs, which I tried to eliminate, but as a result had to cut out quite a bit of the next couple of pieces. I ended things with Thursday and then Light the Flame.
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This episode is a throwback episode from the Twitch stream on March 28 2023. Things take a little while to coalesce, but I really like the chord progression that develops, simple as it may be. The percussion plays a big part in the feel of this one, with a nice little shuffling drive to keep things moving forward. The second piece takes on a more brooding tone, with a slightly darker sound to things when the bowed layers get going. I change the chord pattern halfway through keeping the same percussion to brighten things up a bit, which is something I haven’t done in a while, but I like hearing it (at least when I can get it to work). The riff I land on is something that has come up several times in other jams, and is something that I just like to use now and then. Third is a rendition of Kickin Rocks, which devolves into a bit of a deconstruction of the piece. After this is a sort variation of my song Watersong, and finally Toki Doki.
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This episode comes from the twitch stream on May 18, 2023. Things start off with a drone, because I had a bit of a hard time locking in my intonation, which can happen sometimes, and having a note to refer to can be helpful to lock in to the tuning. It also provides a nice backdrop to play against, and in this case I think provided an almost bluegrass feel to things. I had watched a Doc Watson video earlier in the day, and I think that had an effect on my musical mentality, and I was referring to some of that down home kind of vamping. The third piece is reminiscent of Unconditional from the Sushi Tapes, although, not exactly the same, the bass line especially draws from it. The fourth piece felt like it could almost get somewhere, but I feel like it didn’t completely congeal. Whenever I can’t quite bring it together I kind of feel the need to reset a bit and so I played a previously written song - Traveling Light. I decided to try to just build something off of a light little riff, and created a nice little ambient piece, after folks in the chat were talking about anime films. I ended things with a piece I’ve played before but is still untitled.
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This episode comes from the youtube stream on May 16 2023. Things start off kind of contemplative, as I build things around a nice delay effect I found. I like the way the delay effect kind of creates a shape for me to explore, almost like a colorful tunnel I’m moving through and I can explore in different directions and decorate the walls as I move through the space. I always feel like it’s nice to explore the higher end first, which feels like the ceiling, and then to find the foundation in the lower notes. I continued this idea in the second piece, building on a delay effect again. This piece feels more like skating on a river though, less 3 dimensional somehow. Maybe it’s the slight iciness of the delayed repeating effect. When things get going halfway through and more color comes in I like to imagine myself skating down a frozen river under the aurora borealis. The third piece is built around the sort of shimmering drone effect and percussion loop.
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The strumming beat kind of lends itself to an almost reggae sound here to start off the second half. And I think the progression has a light vibe, which I felt suited the high pitched whistling effect. The next piece is more ambient and wandering, eventually filling out. The final piece has some more flow to to it, and I like some of the arco figures here.
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Episode 12 Planet X This episode comes from the stream on May 11th. This was a contemplative episode for me. Still dealing with the shock of tragedy. Healing through music again, was helpful. I felt at times disconnected while playing, but listening back I like the meandering pace and somewhat hopeful sound to things. After some improve compositions I played a few throwback pieces, which was really more of a rehearsal for the memorial service we played for our dear friend the following day. We played Exposition with a small group of dancers, and as they’d rehearsed to the recorded piece I had to try to limit my playing of the piece to be closer to the recorded version, which over the years I’ve strayed away from a bit. After Exposition I played Fishin’, and then Light the Flame as a bit of a reset, and for the final piece built something up around a little delay effect I found. I think this piece has some pretty cool elements to it, and has a sort of epic disco feeling to end things with.
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Episode 11 Space Dojo I wasn’t sure if I’d stream on this day, May 9th, because of a major tragedy that happened very close to us, but I decided to push through and try it out. Music definitely has healing powers, and the first couple of pieces allowed me to explore some of the sad feelings I was experiencing, and to feel a bit of a sense of beauty. So often when I’m doing these it feels a bit like wondering around in the dark and learning about the space by feeling things out. Experiencing feelings of great personal loss through the music allowed me to feel like I could find a bit of momentary peace when things would come together musically, as if I’d found my bearings even if just for a second. Hearing some of the musical stumbles feels very much a part of it too though, stumbling to understand something senseless that has happened, why terrible things can happen to good people. This episode is dedicated to my friend Amy St. Pierre, who lost her life in a senseless act of gun violence. She was an amazing person, and has inspired me to be more involved in social justice causes that she was active in.
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Here it the inaugural subscription premiere podcast! This podcast comes from the Youtube stream from May 2, 2023. Things start off to a nice relaxed pace with a slightly swinging shuffling pace to things, with an almost waltz like feel to things. The second piece expands on some of the themes from the first jam, which I find is often the case with these sessions. I like the bowed figure in the third piece that starts to develop, which I think adds a bit of cinematic drama. Finally I end part one with an instrumental rendition of Traveling Light.
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Part 2. Kicking off the second half with New Groove, from the Sushi Tapes EP, which was first composed on an earlier stream. The next piece has a bit of a nice forward drive to it, and I like the legato layers that give it a kind of meandering river feel. Things get a bit dance-y feeling with the third piece into the second half, with a nice bouncy pizzicato riff with some fun arco harmonies over top. The final piece takes a little while to develop, but I really like the melody that finally develops. It’s funny to listen back to it how I can hear hints of the final melody start to trickle in and I keep wanting it to land, and thankfully I think it finally does.
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This twitch stream from Thursday April 27th 2023 started off with a nice mellow vibe, reminiscent of some of the jammier bands I used to listen to in the 90’s. I’m not sure what it is that gives things a 90’s sound to me, maybe it’s a feeling of optimism I associate with the time, or the lighter sort of dancey sound to the notes, but maybe it could just be the emergence of Spring that’s putting me in that mood. Things get a little more contemplative and moody with the second piece, which takes a little bit longer to coalesce, but I think there were some nice melodic moments here and there. About halfway in I start to develop a simple descending theme that I try to develop over different progressions. I think I almost get there with it, kind of creating a 50’s dreamy bop sound like a Chad and Jeremy song or something along those lines, or hints of it anyway. I ended things with a song that I’ve developed over the course of streaming and will eventually release as a standalone song that’s called “Regular Sick.” Thank you so much for listening!
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Things started off to a quicker pace in this Youtube stream from Tuesday April 25, 2023, with a couple of fun little uptempo pieces. So much of the feeling of a piece is dictated by the percussion loop, and I just like to wing it and see what comes from trying out the first thing that comes to mind. The second piece is much jazzier, partially inspired by what I was listening to earlier in the day - my recent discovery of incredible jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. For the third jam I kind of brought it back to a 90’s kind of feel, ending with more of a roots rock type of all hands riff.
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A couple of meandering pieces to begin with, I think I almost got where I was trying to go, sometimes It’s hard to truly arrive when you’re searching in the dark for a resolution to things. Midnight Bloom from Conclusion, followed by the Voyage Home. I finished things up with a piece that was originally written for a soundtrack, but has evolved over the course of streaming to a newer version that I will eventually release as a standalone song called Bamboo 2.
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This episode comes from the twitch stream on Thursday April 20, 2023. I had just been messing around making some AI art, specifically images of Godzilla playing cello over his most recent destruction of a city in Japan. This imagery, as silly as it may seem was the inspiration for the first couple of pieces, which have a bit of a sad destructive tone to them. Things lighten up quite a bit for the third jam at around 18 minutes in, with a nice little riff that grows out of a strange delay effect I found and ending up with a fun whistle effect I also have, and am always careful to use sparingly.
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Starting things off with a little Toki Doki. After that I kind of hit on an interesting darker and heavier theme, more in the vein of the destruction of a city by a giant monster. I land on some cool ideas I think, not without some occasional wrong notes, but they kind of add to the ambience of doom in a strange way. Then a more mellow meandering piece followed finally by Dreams.
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Lots of older pieces from the Youtube stream on Tuesday April 18, 2023. Sometimes I’m not feeling as creative and so it’s nice to just jam out some of my older pieces. Sometimes I’ll think I’m writing something new, but it’ll just be an iteration of an older piece. That’s kind of what happened at about 10 minutes in when I realized I was just playing Fight to Make it Up. After that is a piece originally conceived in a stream a while ago that I’ve been working on over time called “Kicking Rocks” which is yet to be released. Then some Light the Flame, followed by a little creative burst, and then Nobody Said and to finish things off Reversing.
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This episode comes from the live twitch stream on Thursday, April 13 2023. Things got a bit ambient and turn a bit dark even at about the 30 minute mark.
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About 9 minutes in after some meandering I played Exposition from the album of the same name. This is followed by the piece that the episode get its name from, which viewers commented had a “rainy day tango” kind of feel to it. I finished things up with Toki Doki from the album Conclusion. Thank you to all who have listened and subscribed!
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This episode comes from my Youtube livestream on April 11, 2023. I think things started off pretty nicely here with a lively jam. There’s a nice meandering ambient piece that happens at about 23 minutes in. I achieve some of these sounds by effectively sampling myself, and only recording snippets of the bowed note, which results in an almost synth like sound. This combined with the sort of echoey arrhythmic layered pizzicato and low sub bass creates a cool experimental soundscape. I end things with my piece Fishin’ from my first album Introduction. Please let me know what you think in the comment section below, hopefully these are enjoyable!
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This instrumental jam comes from the Twitch stream on Thursday April 6, 2023. I was feeling in a bit of a funk to start things off, but started to come together eventually, and played Bamboo 2 at 26 minutes in.
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Starting the second half off with Travelling light. I think I found my groove at the harmonic progression. Ended things with the Voyage Home from Momotaro.
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This episode comes from the Twitch stream on Tuesday April 4, 2023. I felt like it took me a little while to get in the groove, but listening back I think there are some nice moments interspersed throughout.
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Things start to get going in the second half. The live audience especially liked the piece composed around 13 minutes in, calling it a “Wistful” one, and it’s an example of a live composed piece that I’ll probably revisit later and trim down to a song format.
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For relaxing times, make it Mellow Cello times!
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Let the relaxation continue!
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released May 5, 2023

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Takenobu Atlanta

Takénobu is the moniker for independent cellist and composer Nick Ogawa's musical projects, encompassing both solo and band recordings.

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