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Matthew Schoening | Elements

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United States - California - SF

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Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic New Age: Yoga Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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by Matthew Schoening

Recorded live in front of an audience, "Elements" captures the art of performance through live looping and layering, while painting a picture of life and beauty in your mind. This album will take you on a journey, and make you come back for more.
Genre: Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Water
10:52 album only
2. Air
9:50 album only
3. Fire
9:37 album only
4. Earth
8:35 album only
5. Spirit
6:52 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.



to write a review


Originalidad y Armonía!
La originalidad es un don que los artistas poseen, algunos músicos llevan al extremo esta facilidad innata en ellos dando vida a ideas únicas y realmente sorprendentes, es el caso del chelista Matthew Schoening, que grabando en directo bucles melódicos con su propio instrumento, va añadiendo más melodías con el mismo chelo y aunque parece imposible, el resultado es fascinante, ofreciendo la impresión de que hay más de un músico interpretando la música, en ocasiones, parece haber hasta un gran conjunto de cuerdas. El tercer lanzamiento de Schoening, Elements, está grabado en directo utilizando este innovador sistema y delante de una gran audiencia, que estoy seguro, disfrutó de lo lindo viendo y escuchando las posibilidades que ofrece un simple violonchelo eléctrico. Elements contiene cinco composiciones muy extensas de carácter suave, perfecto para la meditación o la realización de actividades de relajación y evasión, así como el Yoga. Inspirado en los cinco elementos naturales que nos vinculan a la vida en nuestro planeta (Agua, Aire, Fuego, Tierra y Espíritu), Elements promete calmar y enamorar al oyente.

"Water" es la pieza destacable de Elements. Su comienzo es un punteo de cuerdas en el chelo, como si de una guitarra fingerstyle se tratase. A medida que avanza la melodía, a esta se le unen percusiones de violonchelo y bajos que van originando en una música repetitiva pero interesante, ya que todo los sonidos que van surgiendo brotan del mismo instrumento. El ritmo marcado por los golpes sirve de ayuda a Schoening para ir interpretando la penetrante melodía principal. Fantástico!.

Sin hacer pausa, aparece "Air", la continuación de "Water". Con el mismo punteo de chelo como sonido de acompañamiento, Matthew va introduciendo con una suavidad extrema una melodía casi imperceptible, dando protagonismo al punteo hasta que reaparecen el magistral sonido del chelo que habitualmente conocemos como música principal y los golpes de percusión que van marcando el tempo de la pieza.

"Fire" es la composición más dinámica de Elements, repitiendo hasta la saciedad un rápido toque de chelo que junto a otras melodías y percusiones, crean una inquietante música que llega a animar al oyente. Minutos antes de la conclusión, la música realiza algunas variaciones bastante acertadas.

Otra de la piezas que destacan en este álbum es "Earth". Mostrando la grandiosidad de la Tierra con una música profunda interpretada por diferentes melodías de violonchelo. En el minuto cuatro, surge la percusión que le ofrece más fuerza y hermosura al sonido del instrumento de Matthew. Seduce!.

El último de los elementos es "Spirit", cerrando Elements. En esta composición, Schoening nos invita a viajar dentro de nosotros mismos, a relajarnos. Por primera vez, desaparecen las percusiones para ayudar a la concentración de la audiencia, sólo un grupo de chelos acompañan a la dulce melodía que Schoening interpreta. Otra de mis preferidas!. No hay un final mejor.

El don de la originalidad y la armonía se unen en Elements, el último trabajo del violonchelista Matthew Schoening. El artista reúne todos los ingredientes para que este último trabajo vea el éxito, entre estos, mantener a la audiencia expectante en todo momento, disfrutando de un directo increíble y esperando ser sorprendida por un nuevo sonido arrancado desde el chelo de Matthew. Escuchar Elements es un placer que no tiene precio, es excepcional!. Muy recomendable!.


Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Elements" is an amazing 45-minute live solo performance by electric cellist Matthew Schoening. I love acoustic cello, but had to wonder how a solo performance of that length could possibly be interesting from start to finish. Wow! Was I ever in for a surprise! This recording sounds like a full ensemble, a technique Schoening accomplishes by live looping and layering. There are no pre-recorded tracks - everything is captured in the moment by using foot pedals that record segments of what Schoening is playing and then play them back as he continues to perform. Bass and percussion sounds are part of what you hear, and it all comes from Schoening's cello! The bowed parts of the music sound like an acoustic cello, but the rest needs to be heard to be believed! (There are some great videos on YouTube that give an idea of how he does this.)

The music itself is an original suite of five pieces - Water, Air, Fire, Earth, and Spirit - that were composed to remind us of how connected we are to the basic fundamentals of life itself. There are no breaks between the tracks, and the only edits made to the recording were to designate the individual tracks rather than making the recording essentially all one piece. However, Schoening recommends listening to the album from start to finish, as it was performed.

Matthew Schoening has two rules for himself:
All of the music he composes has to be able to be performed live by him, with no pre-recorded tracks.
All of the sounds have to come from his electric cello.

In a way, this seems very limiting, but seeing and hearing the wide array of sounds and rhythms that are possible on the electric cello, it could take a full lifetime to explore the possibilities - a true artistic adventure and a truly original artist! Both seem to be in very short supply in our contemporary world, so it's exciting and inspiring to see someone so focused on his vision at all costs.

In thinking of words to describe the style of Schoening's music, the first one that comes to mind is "unique." There are elements of classical music, jazz, progressive rock, ambient, and new age, but Elements really doesn't fit into any of these categories (a good thing!). I guess that means you'll have to hear it for yourself! Take a little time to get to know this extraordinary musician! Check it out for a very unusual musical experience!

CD Baby Editor Peter

Highly engaging, hypnotic and melodic
Matthew Schoening is a solo cellist, but don’t get the impression that his music is anything like the sound of a single cello, plucking in the corner. No, Schoening uses a variety of looping and effects pedals to create the aural impression of a full band, making one unified sound together. Thanks to the wide range of tones he can summon from his instrument, it often sounds like an upright bass, acoustic guitar, and violin all at once. It’s quite impressive, technically, but what really sets this album apart is the wonderful musicality he achieves in this performance, captured live in front of an audience. Hypnotic percussive chord plucks drive “Air”, while “Fire” contrasts a 4 on the floor beat with long, sustained violin-like tones and an almost funky bass line. Finally, “Spirit” utilizes some eastern melodic scales against a droning backdrop of layered tones, sounding like a synth pad. Highly engaging and melodic – check it out and see for your self.

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
All the elements come together perfectly on Matthew Schoening’s latest CD, which has the composer and musician leading a rich symphony of sound composed of guitars, bass, keyboards, horns, and percussion. Being in charge of such a tight unit comes naturally to Schoening, especially since all of these elements are literally under his direct control – all of the aforementioned instruments (or their sounds, at least) are generated entirely by Schoening on his electric cello live in front of an audience of 75 people, with no prerecorded tracks or postproduction editing or overdubs.

Thanks to the technology of live looping, Schoening functions as a one-man band, and the results are stellar. This kind of showmanship can easily be gimmicky and come at the expense of true, creative musical expression. Not so in this case. While Schoening’s inventive capability is something to marvel at, it is only more impressive because it is simply a tool used toward a greater end – that of making beautiful, compelling music.

And beautiful and compelling the music is. The album is one 45-minute suite composed of five movements: “Water,” “Air,” “Fire,” “Earth,” and “Spirit” – the elements of the title. The movements have numbered program changes strictly for the purpose of identification, but they really function as one complete whole. Stylistically, the music is jazz improvisation embellished with the lush sonic textures of New Age.

This CD is quite the achievement in terms of both Schoening’s ingenuity and artistry. Innovatively and compositionally, Schoening is to the electric cello what Pat Metheny is to the electric guitar. Schoening at times even sounds like the Pat Metheny Group, without the Group. One of the finest recordings available in the marketplace, the album deserves to be an instant classic and warrants the attention of serious music devotees.

John P. Olsen / Review Publicist

Review from NewAgeMusicWorld.Com / NewAgeMusic.nu
Matthew Schoening is a professional cellist who caught my attention recently. I primarily became interested since his current release Elements (Live and Uncut) is presented as a solo concert recorded in front of a live audience. As it turned out the initial reason I became curious was less important to me after I listened to his Avant-Garde electric cello concert in front of a rather enthusiastic audience. During his live concerts Matthew apparently does a touch of magic too since this one man cello concert ended up sounding more like a full orchestra of string instruments. In addition to cello, fine resonances of acoustic guitar, violin, double bass, and a variety of percussion rhythms are expertly produced. I also found his tenacity for perfecting sounds on electric cello are equal to his fine technical skills of live looping and layering in real time. Because no other musicians are present during concerts, and his current release Elements was live and uncut, it greatly increased my admiration for Matthew Schoening. Matthew is from a family of music professionals and enjoys free reign to pursue his musical career, which has led to performance opportunities of several prestigious fundraising events. One significant fundraiser given with Mark Steines of Entertainment Tonight was a charitable benefit designed to raise money for relief work in Sierra Leon, West Africa. Elements by Matthew Schoening is his third Solo Cello release, and the earlier first and second albums; Solo Electric Cello & The Art of Live Looping are like Elements by the Avant-Garde style of cello Instrumentals. In fact, there is also a Cinematic influence in his work I feel shouldn’t be overlooked. Leap of Faith from The Art of Live Looping and then songs Air & Fire from Elements gave me this impression the most. Elements (Live and Uncut) is a stage session before a live audience of 75 people, and it does create interest by an inherent uncut and recorded in one session format. The original electric cello innovations on Elements are 5 songs titled Water, Air, Fire, Earth, and Spirit, with clapping only at the beginning and end of the 45 minute session. Matthew performs live concerts and he tours upon request, so if you have a group function or get-together coming up, find out the details at his website. The warm tonal setting and enhanced rhythms of his solo electric cello music is perfect for a wide variety of festive social occasions. In fact I would be interested to hear your group as the next enthusiastic attendees during a live concert venue with Matthew Schoening.