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Mellow Cello Podcast

by Takenobu

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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
For relaxing times, make it Mellow Cello times!
Let the relaxation continue!


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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