mosaic for shadows

The guitar I am using is a Cordoba 55FCE. It’s a thin body nylon string acoustic/electric. It has an under the saddle pick up in combination with a small mic built into the body. The built-in mic gives the guitar a more full-bodied sound. Actually, before I purchase this guitar, I was surprised by how full it sounded. Usually thin bodies and under-the-saddle pick-ups sound way to nasal for my tastes.

Next, You might notice that my guitar is plugged into an electronic device on the floor in front of me. This is called the Boss RC-50 Loop Station and is what makes this song possible. It allows my to record and playback different guitar parts in a real time performance. There are no prerecorded backing tracks in this video. All the sound you hear were created on the fly during the performance. You may have noticed my feet pressing the pedals of the RC-50 throughout the performance. These pedals control the real-time recording, looping, and playback functions.

I start out with just one layer and then add more as the song progresses. If you listen and pay attention to when the different guitar parts come in you should be able to count up to 6 different layers in addition to the live layer by the end of the song.

Another neat feature of the RC-50 that is that it has three different channels on which I can record the layers of loops. I pre-programed two of the channels to be panned left and right to take advantage of stereo sound. This enable me to create rich ensemble effect with just one guitar.

I recorded the video with a mac book pro laptop. I used the built in isight camera. The audio comes straight out of the RC-50 and into the mac book. I had to manually configure the mac to record “line in” instead of the built in mic. I used apple’s video software “imovie hd” to record and edit the video. I added imovie’s “club” reverb at the lowest setting to add some ambiance to the guitar sound.

Then I exported the video as mov. file and used the built-in sepia effect for the aged b&w look.

Ok now on to the more creative stuff. This song is one I have been working on for a number of for a number of years. It is inspired by music of the far east especially Gamelan music of Java and Bali. It uses only two chords: A major, and C# minor. The scale is pentatonic meaning that it has only five notes: A C# D# E G#. Of course there are other influences in this song as well. The arpeggios I played for very first layer are a typical picking pattern of Latin America in 3/4 6/8 meter. Who knows maybe even the heavy strumming at the end comes from all the hard rock and metal I listened to as a teenager.

The song is titled “mosaic for shadows.” It will be released on my next studio album.