ambient

Definitive Proof That Size Does In Fact Matter… Musically.

While I have been chastised in the past for the sometimes cringe-inducing size of the gauge of picks and strings that I use. However, the following video seems to do justice to the fact that a heavier picks in particular give a more even sound, hitting the string with more mass and therefore causing a more even, balanced, and more importantly compressed sound.

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6 Month Update. December 2014 – May 2015. This, is a big one.

As some of you may know, life has been extremely busy the past 6 months. I have moved to Asheville NC to study Music Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. I have recorded an EP. I have joined a band, which have played successfully live numerous times, and write their own work. With this band I have been back in the studio to record a single, done field recordings, have a documentary out about us and our beginnings, and are scheduling a 2-week summer tour of the eastern seaboard. I am writing and recording prolifically for my own personal music projects, and have taken up the pseudonym MONK. The EP tracks are uploaded on YouTube, where you can hear the demos. The official EP will be released in July.

Whew. Now you see why I haven’t released a post in a long while. Let’s start with the EP.

The EP – MONK – Seperation (EP)

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In mid December, with the move date for Asheville fast-approaching, I began writing a short album of ambient and acoustic sketches as a surprise going away present to my life partner. There was no clear idea about what the album should be about, no clear directive musically. I expanded short sketches I had recorded over the previous few months, reshaping them to fit together more harmoniously as I didn’t have time to completely start from scratch. I had to do everything quickly. Write, rewrite, record, edit. Even miking the guitars and amplifiers was done quickly, using a single ribbon mic to record everything, running directly into the computer. No overdubs, no splicing or duplicating. Tracks were recorded in a matter of minutes, whenever I had the chance, yet somehow these basic sketches took on a beautifully rough nature. Not that the product was poorly executed, but in not having weeks or months to prepare the execution of such a project I was forced to create and create quickly. Not all parts have been recorded for the EP, only the bare bones guitar tracks. The rest will be completed in early May, and a release date should be set soon thereafter.

I used the idea of separation from me and her as a way to shape the sound of the album, giving it a lonely, haunting feel. This is why I have taken up the name MONK. The name represents my separation of not just loved ones, but from society in many ways, from the ideology of where I grew up, from the things that hold me back. Just as a monk or a nun separates themselves from the world in order to find a type of inner peace and self-realization, I have done this to myself in a way to fully tune in on who I am musically.

The Shameful Nameless

Vocals – Izzy Daniels

Synth – Caveh Davari-Nejad

Guitar – Jonathan Price

Bass – Jack Burton

Drums – Hurley (Drum machine) / Jack Burton

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The Shameful Nameless, March 2015

Within seriously hours of moving to Asheville, I had found a band. Unreal as it may seem, I had asked the now bassist, Jack, if he knew any bands at the time who were looking for a guitarist. Coincidentally, he was in a band, which was in need of a guitar player. They had only written one song, had never played live before, yet had somehow been around for a year, kicking musical ideas around without any luck of songwriting prolificacy. But there was potential. Within days of practicing together, there was a sound, a feeling developing. A feeling of pent up energy and raw potential which we are still trying to fully tap in to.

We held our first show only two weeks after our first practice, opening up for an indie-prog band called Mellowfield, at The Grotto; a venue on the bottom floor of the Highsmith Union building of UNC Asheville. Our setlist, which included three originals went over surprisingly well, being broadcast over the college radio live. Soon thereafter, we performed once again on campus opening the EchoFest music festival; a twelve hour college radio sponsored music festival on three stages simultaneously, held in the Highsmith Student Union. The culmination of what sounds like if the Pixies and the Foo Fighters had a punk offspring, our sound is full of classic, listenable aggression, with prog-like melodies and time signatures.

EchoFest 2015 Lineup

EchoFest 2015 Lineup

Talk soon emerged about touring. While we were at EchoFest, we were scouting for a potential band to travel with us for a short summer tour over the course of about two weeks, from Raleigh/Durham, up through Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence, Hartford, and finally Boston. Although there were a few possible contenders, none thusfare have been able to commit to such a difficult stretch of time. We have now been contacting venues and bands local to the previous areas to book ourselves as opening acts, spreading notoriety somewhere other than the Asheville area. Around this time, a documentary was put together to demonstrate what the beginnings of a band look like, and how each member brings their own set of skills to the table.

All the while we have been writing, and recording in order to keep growing as a band; fast approaching our goal of an EP. We entered University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Lipinsky’s recording studio two weeks ago to record our first single, “I’ve Been Looking for a Corpse“. A dance-y, hook-filled indie pop track, tastefully pieced together.

Recording "I'm Looking for a Corpse", March 2015

Recording “I’m Looking for a Corpse”, March 2015


Guitar setup for The Shameful Nameless, March 2015

Guitar setup for The Shameful Nameless, March 2015


Preparing for the vocals on "I'm Looking for a Corpse", March 2015

Preparing for the vocals on “I’m Looking for a Corpse”, March 2015


The entire Shameful Nameless crew; including both Mitchell Connor (Press), and Kari Barrows (Press). March 2015

The entire Shameful Nameless crew; including both Mitchell Connor (Press), and Kari Barrows (Press). March 2015

This past Thursday we cut a fast, lo-fi recording of “An Evening Out with Your Significant Other” live in a small conference room we commandeered yet again in the Highsmith Union. Although poorly mixed (We used a iPhone in the middle of the room) we’re using it as a rough demo and a way to analyze and critique ourselves into performing as well as writing better.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/THESHAMEFULNAMELESS?fref=ts

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@NamelessMusic

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The Shameful Nameless

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Soundcloud

TBA

MONK Music

March, 2015

March, 2015

Writing and recording continues to expand upon the Separation EP, into the eventual album, entitled “Anamnesis.” The music has taken a bit more of a middle-eastern flavor acoustically, yet retains the big, ambient sound of electric guitar soundscapes and looping, with dramatic drums, and pulsating bass tracks.

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgG-D2QX9kxLwLug9e7gvlQ

More to come soon!

– Jonathan

An Intro, Explanation, and Coda.

It is absolutely obvious, and painfully clear that the September debut of the freshmen album, Acadia did not happen. As with any project, circumstances over the course of 8 months change drastically; drastically altering the progress of such an already slow burning project. Before I delve any further into the complexities of why the album has yet to be released, let us reflect on the past events which critically crippled its progress.

In the winter of 2011, I was struggling. I was at what has so far been the top of my personal musical expertise, and more than able to understand by that point in time, that a personal album project would be eminent. This idea was sparked by the moving of my absolute closest friend and only confidant in the world at the time: A musician, who like myself was at the top of his game at a very young age. We learned how to play together, and most of all, we learned how to play virtuosically together. Once I understood that this move would undoubtably tear us apart (which it among other things did), I felt my internal clock of creation begin to tick. I only had months left with him truly, and therefore began to write the beginnings of the Acadia album. Of course at the time it was named The Bitter Cold, and our musical project The Northern Arcade, yet the musical principle of what we were doing then, and what I still do today were all the same. I put me and him out in front musically of the album, making it instrumental in order to accent his virtuosic bass skills, as well as my own personal abilities on guitar.

Recording sessions went well all through the summer of 2011, ending in August of that year. We parted ways, and I was left with a mass of material, none of which was finished to continue working on until he would be able to continue another session at his small home studio at another time. Except this never happened. Due to complex legal issues between me and an affiliation with which he is a large part of, we never were able to continue our friendship, much less an entire musical project like Acadia. Crushed and depraved of the only musical inspiration I personally had at the time, I left the project. I let it collect dust in the corner of both closets and computers for nearly a year, no longer caring what became of my only sonic legacy. It was with the introduction of another great musician that I truly began to musically explore again. Christopher Scott was a man I knew much and yet at the same time nothing about. I knew he was from Durham, North Carolina, and was well known in the local music community, but my knowledgeability at the time extended no further. It was not until I was invited to play under his instruction that I began to understand his genius. Christopher is not a virtuoso, nor is he a musical maverick, however he is an incredible leader both musically and spiritually, subconsciously making me play to the best of my abilities at the time of our first show together.

While our friendship began to blossom, I was beginning to write music for the first time in nearly two years. After failed attempts to revitalize my old album now dubbed Acadia, I realized I could not do this alone. Christopher had somehow ignited in me the ideas that I had buried and forgotten, giving me a fresh and new canvas in order to paint my only sonic masterpiece onto. The theme of the album became dark, yet revealing; The Libretto about a man finding himself through the dreariness of his meaningless life. Perhaps this was me. Me reawakening my soul after the crushing blow of losing not only my closest friend, but the death of several others, the front row view of my parents’ sicknesses, and the crawling away of almost everyone who had anything to do with me. However, this blog is meant to remain in the frame of musical ideas, not personal to an extent.

The demos were recorded late at night, by myself. Every guitar track, every bass and drum track, everything was all of my own doing. After nearly a year of careful writing, I came to Christopher, as my musical partner to help record the new project. Old ideas were scrapped, and the Acadia album has come alive again. Being that I want this piece of music to be as masterful as personally possible, it will take quite some time to record it in full. Once a week, me and Christopher sit down together and rework parts of each song, one song a session, in order to make it a beautiful, lush, and seamless as possible. Once all ten tracks are covered, we will then begin to record in the same way that we edited the album together.

Perhaps this is self-induced therapy, or perhaps this is the manic ravings of a mad musician, but at whatever rate you view this particular blog post at, you the reader will now know why it is imperative to me to finish what I started going on 3 years ago now, and that this mere hour long piece of music was intended to be the swan song of my old beloved life as a young man. Take care, and have a blessed Christmas season.

• Jonathan Morgan Price

Into the Light

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Setting the Mood

The remoteness and rugged beauty of Acadia was the inspiration for the sound of the album. Rugged; beautiful; melancholy. The complexity of transposing a physical space for a sonic one is quiet difficult, yet with enough meditation and attention to detail of each track, it can be done.

I wanted the album to flow from track to track, not like that of new albums formatted to fit single after single until a ten to twelve song “album” is complete. Acadia has been written to flow. The tracks themselves tell a story of the search for personal understanding in an empty and desolate landscape such as the Acadian wilderness without the utterance of a single word. Each track produces the emotional processes of thought of the unknown man (Who can be interjected as yourself) as he treks through the wilderness. In some ways, it is a story not unlike that of the Exodus led by Moses, or the frostbitten musher leading the pack of Alaska’s Iditarod Sled Dog Race. By the time Acadia crescendos to a powerful final act and soon thereafter end, the mental journey as well as the sonic pleasure of those hearing it emerge as a well-rounded and beautifully sculpted idea which quietly exits the audible stage that your mind has developed in the hour the album is played.

The Tracklist

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Saltwater

– The introductory track gently pulls you into the world that our unknown man resides. Perhaps arriving by boat, or even by foot, the misty hidden world he chooses to isolate himself on slowly steps into view. The song of the track itself deep and somewhat muffled; giving your ear the air of something tucked away by the fog. This world is completely alien to anything you know, almost as if blanketed in a cloak of monochromatic greyness.

Out of Acadia

– Out of Acadia establishes the insoluble security of dry land. The jagged rocky shore acting as a barrier between where our man with no identity has come from, and where he wants to be. The track is much more clear, almost sharp sounding like that of the craggy mystic shore of which you just arrived. 

Lost Pt.1

– Out of determination to understand yourself, our character begins to wander into the vast wilderness, unable to prevent any type of harm that may come to our man who walks into the bleak abyss empty handed, only to find himself abandoned to the mercy of the island, and lost beyond hope. His personal journey has now began, as he has nowhere to be; nowhere to go. The feel and sound of this track in particular is meant to feel heavy and dark, giving the listener the feeling of a burden like that of Mr. Unknown.

Dirty

– Locked into this small world of nothing and everything, you begin to rely on the things you cannot trust; yourself and the strange new land you now lay on. Being more scared than reflective, he falls to the ground, tired, hopeless, dirty. This song in particular is written in a minor key, to put pressure on the emotional psyche of you the listener, and delve into the depression of our man who is looking for any possible way out of this darkness.

The Storm and the Sea

– The ground you lay upon is no longer ground. You are in a dream, upon the tilting desk of a thrashed sailing ship, far out at sea. The waves overwhelm the boat, plummeting you into the dark cold sea at the dusk of a stormy day. Just as Mr. Unknown breathes his last, there is an incredibly powerful drum of thunder, which lays the sea flat in its wake. Starting as a whisper, the man becomes quickly overwhelmed with the infinite knowledge of a greater entity. The man does not know if it is in fact God, or deep self discovery that is fueling this wave of awareness which is feeding him now, but nevertheless understands what he has to do. The man now realizes that in order to regain self-purpose, he needs to remove anything in his own life that distracts him from personal growth. All the people, the jobs, the media, the stress of day to day monotonous life must be eliminated for him to truly become his own person. This will make him happy; this will make him whole. The track is a mini story set within the tale to add drama and depth to the storyline of the dream, as well as the entire album.

Lights

– You have awoken. From your dream. From your old life, on a grassy desolate plateau on an overcast morning. In the hazy distance, you, our man sees two single lights on either side of the horizon. The one behind you represents the old life you can still return to: The one even farther away in front of you represents where you want to be. You begin walking one step at a time in the direction of your future, shedding off the problems of your past as you go. This is still a struggle, yet you have seen what life would and will be like if you could only keep walking. The sound of Lights is almost that of a distress call from either light on the horizon to follow them. This creates the idea of choice between the two distinct calls, and which to follow in the end.

Lost Pt.2

– Our man is running now, working harder than ever towards the light on the distant horizon, miles and miles away. He becomes Lost once again, frantic to find his way out of the wilderness that is Acadia. Stumbling and weak-kneed, he is walking with everything in him towards what in his mind he knows to be true. With the same feel as Lost Pt.1, this second addition to these pair of songs but with a slightly more uplifting feel, showing the overcoming power of Mr. Unknown’s determination.

Palisades

– There is a cliff. A cliff towering infinitely taller than the beach below of which the sea crashes over, stretching out to the distant white light. Unsure of what to do, he sits. He takes in the beauty of the island which has caused him so much pain, and so much hurt. The ground, the towering rocks that were once his weakness would now become his strength. He must begin to climb. Palisades takes in the full spectrum of beauty that our man observes during his meditation on the cliff. In building intensity towards the end signifies the building up of nerve and initiative to climb down the infinite cliff; the final test.

Electric

– Spurred on by the insatiable drive for a better life, he begins to climb down, the energy electric flowing through his body. This climb is long, and tiring, but the listener cannot give up now. The Unknown Man cannot give up now. If he lets go, everything he worked for would be for nothing, everything he wants will never come to pass, and Acadia will win as easily as it had invited him in. He does not waver. He does not stop. Absolutely drained of every last ounce of energy, his feet touch the rocky sand of the beach. This track sounds desperate, at nerve’s end and tired.

Remnant

– You have nothing left in you but the weakness left behind from the most tiring journey you have ever endured, but you are proud. You, the unknown man stand at the foot of the vast expanse of ocean, looking towards the light that glows not so far off through the haze. You are happy and have made peace with yourself, perfectly content with whatever type of confrontation whether physically, mentally, or spiritually possible. With the comfort of a new soul and the remnant of your old self left far behind in the wilderness of the island, the man with a smile begins to swim. The sound of the final song is comforting, soft, warm, and theatrical, a sweet and somewhat untold ending to the story of the Unknown Man.