NEWS: Kelly is composing new works and recording, in efforts to finish his second album (or song cycle). Most recently, 'Cities' Metamorphosis' arrived during the summer of 2012. It is a fifteen-minute long guitar concerto, with a well-developed percussive bass style, rather than drums, on this one. Track three, 'Empire', is intended as a prelude to this work. Let it roar...nothing will prepare you!! The first album, 'You're Lost', is still in release and ready for your purchase in the leading online CD stores, after much was done to assure the high quality of the product. The quality is even better than typical commercial releases, with a mixture of analog and digital recording techniques specially suited to each song used during production. The 'hifi' stream on this site is second to the 320 Kb/s MP3 downloads available here, third to the 1,411.2 Kb/s CD. The music sounds best through full-size HiFi stereo loudspeakers. But using a Koss Porta-Pro level or above headset can be equally rewarding. Special recommendations that go with Bluetooth-enabled personal computers and newly available tablets: The Koss BT-540i has awesome low-bass definition all the way to smooth mids and highs, excellent imaging and noise cancellation, and is not overpriced. The new iPad Pro 9.7in has the first built-in speakers that have low enough phase as well as amplitude distortion across all frequencies that the sound is good enough for the music on this page, to date from a minicomputer/laptop. Lastly, in the realm of affordable monitor speakers, the Mackie CR series are very good. To preview and read more about the inspiration behind each work, on the ‘Songs’ page click on the button marked “...” that is next to each song. Welcome, heavy metal fans and fans of classical and medieval metal! This web site features the music of neoclassical guitarist Kelly McKee. The songs available here you can download and listen to; however they are copyrighted. Look for musical notation from the music to be made available from my website in the near future. I'm entrusting my fans not to resell or claim my compositions, as their own. (BMI). It is my hope that you enjoy this music!
I have been playing guitar for over 20 years. In fact, my first band was called 'Empire', my second band was called 'Castle', and when everyone deserted I just started going by my first and last name. Actually, I am joking about that last part! My bandmates went on and had their families. I was much more serious about music, had a lot of ideas, and kept going with it.
Have you performed in front of an audience?
I love playing live, and it opens up the possibility of performing with dramatic tactics. I have played live before, with my earliest bands, which was primarily for parties and friends. I worked out the parts for over 50 heavy metal cover songs for my friends who were in those bands. A special moment was when we were all hooked up to start playing, out in the middle of the desert one night, and we turned up our amps too loud for the falling temperature, and blew soldering points in our amps and lost our sound. What a 'Spinal Tap' moment that was! We did give several memorable performances while we were together. At some point, in the next year or two, I would like to get Windows To Eternity together for the first time, to do some live performing of material from the first and second albums. But the emphasis right now is on recording projects, and I will be continuing to publish those to the web. I myself composed and performed every instrument category in the songs on this page. The music is located on the most fabulous internet radio websites in the industry, and you can now 'turn it up' on your home theater system directly using Roku or AppleTV-iTunes App (i.e. Search Kelly McKee You’re Lost in iTunes library): More Information:
Your musical influences
My musical influences include JS Bach, Beethoven, D. Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky, and many other classical and film score composers, medieval, and renaissance music. In guitar; Blackmore, Page, Iommi, May, M. Schenker, Rhoads, Iron Maiden, Malmsteen, V. Moore, and other classical guitarists such as Segovia. I actually started out as a Hi-Fi enthusiast, listening closely to classical music, as a child and still do today. In fact, studying music today partly by listening to recordings is considered an important part of the Suzuki method. My parents and others introduced me to great music as a child; and my family attended ballets like the Nutcracker and Swan Lake in Chicago. I had some early lessons on recorder, piano, and violin, but I started taking music seriously only when I found the guitar at age 18; and started to compose soon thereafter. I have a friend who is from Finland, and she is a trained classical pianist with whom I may do some collaborating on the second album. My family always had a piano in our home, and my older sister went through piano as well. When I was about 19, I began studying textbooks about things like orchestration and form; later in college I attended an opera master class where singers were critiqued by an expert opera teacher and had a music class taught by a fairly well known senior classical pianist. By sheer coincidence, I was mentored in optical physics by a professor who is a grandson of classical composer Max Bruch; something I found inspiration in. I have picked up musical education here and there and wherever I could. For example, I once encountered a violin maker through a music dealer, and bought a classic violin for myself, which turned into an educative experience. My family had never really approved of music for me when I was very young, so I went through college in engineering and science first and had struggled through a lot for a very long time to get to where I was ready to release my own first CD-album of some of my work. Unlike some of this genre's most famous exponents, I have never borrowed (or plagiarized) melodies from any classical composers, without giving the composer credit.
What equipment do you use?
Carvin DC127 electrics with a fixed bridge; and a Gibson Songbird acoustic. For acoustic sounds live, I also use a Gibson DC Les Paul Studio that has sound chambers in the body, and a simple wraparound tailpiece bridge, through my regular guitar amp. My amps are Carvin X100B's. I use Pro Co Excalibur instrument cables. I run guitar->Excalibur cable->Dunlop 535Q wah->pro co music mover (matching 120sx) cable->Banzai New Rising Sun II preamp->Excalibur cable->X100B input->effect send->Boss LS2 line selector switch <-> frequency response corrected Digitech RP12 floor effects. For recording, I simply use the above setup; either miked with a high quality mike, or I run the speaker output -> through a Hughes&Kettner Red Box Pro -> Groove Tubes Speaker Emulator for a dummy amplifier load. Then I use the Red Box cabinet simulated output, and run this direct to the mixer for recording. On Statue Courtyard and Tiger Tiger, I used a Fender amp, miked closely, and one of my Carvin guitars, but no longer use the Fender amps. For the most part, I employ an E-standard tuning (this is also called concert pitch). The guitar itself was originally made to be sung over, and this standard works excellently for vocals. E-standard also provides the most powerful, clearest sound. Exotic tunings can transform the timbre of the instrument, and I occasionally do this. Simply detuning the Standard tuning from E down to Eb or D, also transforms the timbre, making it 'darker' and more supple. However, some feel that this should be done sparingly, since the rhythm and chord properties of the guitar are weakened by doing this (unless one compensates by putting on heavier strings, as SRV did).
Far from being an anachronism, classical music is the Mt. Everest of all music on earth; and it is not 'closed-minded' to say this. This is because classical music is mainly based upon triadic chord and diatonic scale theory, and these in turn are based upon physics. Physics mathematically describes the laws of nature of sound in air. Sounds in the natural world around us, it turns out, actually contain different proportions of triadic timbral properties for example. Sounds with a higher proportion of triadic timbre sound clear, while sounds with a higher proportion of dissonant timbre sound closer to noise. Diatonic scales were similarly based on the natural triadic overtones found in a plucked string. (The natural minor and related major scales are constructed from superimposed triads.) Physics is the same on every continent, but the only music that takes these basic observations about nature into account fully is classical music, which originated in Europe and paralleled the the advent of the science of physics during the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. This is literally the reason why many other forms of music sound primitive by comparison. Any music that goes along the path of a fixed set of rhythms and scale use, is more limitedly defined. The music on this website, is largely performed with an instrument many people do not associate with classical music-the electric guitar. I tend to agree that the electric guitar does NOT sound good with an orchestra of acoustical instruments, and do not plan to compose for electric guitar and orchestra together as some others have now done. My approach to guitar first of all does not dispense with the most important traditional role of the guitar-rhythm playing. Nor does it try to emulate the violin too closely. We must get re-adjusted to hearing overdriven rhythm guitar and lead guitar together, this is the classic sound in rock that made the electric famous to begin with. But we need to combine that sound with classical music theory. My first album has done this! You might (and several classical critics) have pointed out in the past that heavy metal, and BaroqueandRoll/neoclassical, violate classical 'harmony rules' with their reliance on power chord rhythms. This is incorrect. An overdriven guitar amplifier produces a sound rich with even overtones. When a fifth is played through overdrive, this is the most sonorant interval other than an octave. The fifth cannot be distinguished, and therefore does not violate any rule. Instead, the sound adds together to create a timbre with sonic signature similar to the entire string section of an orchestra- which is a thick sound. When a fourth or third is played, these notes can be distinguished and the sonic signature sounds like half the orchestra strings are playing one note, and the other half play the other. One of the earliest players to employ this 'accidental' discovery, was guitar master Tony Iommi, who used this on the infamous 'Iron Man' riff, to obtain a huge sound with only one overdriven electric guitar. My arrangements for electric guitar attempt to carry this idea even further in my rhythm guitar work. One key to making this musically valid, however, is that the guitar amplifier must produce smooth overdrive! The music you will find here differs in other respects. Most music today is recorded in many layers, which then cannot be performed live the same way. The guitar on my recordings can be performed with only one or two guitars, exactly as it is heard here. Again, a classical approach. The goal of music is not only precision. If it were, we would simply program computers to play music! On some passages, I play a bit more 'loosely' if that is artistic, other passages more precisely. The mean tempered tuning system has its limitations, and so sometimes I employ 'microtonal adjustment' if it is artistic in a given passage. These recordings will never sound 'mechanical'. The recordings herein are finished. They are the ultimate way they are supposed to be, sonically and performance-wise, without mistakes. I suggest playing them on a good hi-fi stereo, with tone controls set at their 'neutral' or center position, and 'loudness' contour off. The louder they are turned up, the better they will actually sound. But, don't damage your ears! I have the rare opportunity to be both the musician, and recording engineer on these projects. The recordings I make are professional standard recordings, however I do not like to gloss them up with processing. They represent the way my guitar sounds, straight through the listeners' speakers. Many recordings today sound overprocessed, and artificial. However mine, will be comparable to recordings of fine classical music, without 'help'.