The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Video – “Swan Creek” Live (in my kitchen)

April 15th, 2013 . by Alexander Fisher

I recorded myself recently, performing the song  “Swan Creek” off my upcoming CD,  in my kitchen. I used my Sony Digital camcorder and recorded it with a Shure SM-27 condenser microphone.

Live in my kitchen

My Newest Recording–A Lonesome Breeze

February 12th, 2013 . by Alexander Fisher

I was listening to an old audio tape and a voice out of the past (a much younger me) told “me” to record this music. I even gave “myself” the chords and I even played them a few times for “me”.

When I started recording A Lonesome Breeze, I only needed one more good song to have enough to be able to release my best CD yet. The other songs are all good, but I just felt I needed another really good one to finish up the project. I had already put together seventeen other songs and I was only going to pick about ten songs for the album. I just wanted plenty to choose from.

I wasn’t real sure what the song was about at first, but I watched a recent PBS Frontline episode about the thieves on Wall Street and right there and then I knew I had my subject.

On the recording I used my Fender Stratocaster guitar though my Line 6 POD, Rickenbacker 4001 bass, Roland Octapad and Session Drummer 3. I also sang both lead and background vocal parts. I was having trouble with my Sonar X1 DAW installation and the Tascam FW1804 on my main recording computer. So, much of this was recorded using Sonar v8.5 and my PreSonus Firebox on my old computer. I was able to do the final mix and mastering in X1 though. I also used Sony Sound Forge v9 in the edit process.

My Newest Recording–Gone for Good

February 7th, 2013 . by Alexander Fisher

I wrote Gone for Good about a friend whose marriage had just ended. Many of the things he said to me about what happened are included in the song. I won’t tell you who it was. If you guess I’ll lie.

I had never done much to this song in the “digital age” because its analog recording had been done on some poor behaving tape decks. Once I figured out how to fix it in Cakewalk Sonar, I was able to get the tempo to stay in one place. I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster and an Ibanez LP. The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. The drum sounds are from Session Drummer 3 software using Roland Octapad MIDI pads.


My Newest Recording – Who Gets Hurt

February 7th, 2013 . by Alexander Fisher

I wrote Who Gets Hurt in the early 1990’s after I had an incident at work.

I played acoustic guitar on a Yamaha (?). I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster and an Ibanez LP. The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. The drum sounds are from Session Drummer 3 software using Roland Octapad MIDI pads.

My Newest Recording – The Papers

January 8th, 2013 . by Alexander Fisher

P1010928I just started writing a song and this just came out. It’s a story about a woman that fell on hard times and breaks the monotony by imbibing in the spirits a little too much. It’s more from point of view of those that can’t appreciate the plight of others. Especially when the tales don’t seem to fit the teller. When I think about the story, it has occurred to be that nearly anything could be in the papers. I just let my imagination run wild with it. I’ve known people like her.

I wrote the song and recorded it with my Takamine G Series acoustic guitar, Rickenbacker 4001 bass, tambourine, and Roland slave keyboard. I used Cakewalk Sonar X1 Producer Edition and Sony Sound Forge v9 software.

My Newest Recording – And On And On

November 23rd, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

267x267-7EBB4902-E5F1-487A-B3698690B9FE6678I wrote And On And On several years ago. I think I took the title from a poem my wife Jill wrote. It was just collecting digital dust among the other files on my computer. I recorded most of the tracks when I lived in Swanton, Ohio, I think. I am not sure I knew what it really was about. After some soul searching and a bit of a re-write, the song has some meaning to me now. It is about people that kid themselves and others about their objective in life. I also think I wrote it about me too.

I originally recorded And On And On on my Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track tape recorder. I really can’t remember when. I think this was recorded using a dbx encoded 2 track cassette as a mix down device. I had one that had severe speed accuracy issues. But that conflicts with my other thought that I recorded it late in my analog recording days.

In any case, the tempo fluctuated all over the place. I had recorded it using my Boss drum machine, so it had to be a mechanical failure in the recording. Most likely a rubber belt slipping. I had tried to rescue this song before, but its problems were too great a task to accomplish at that time. I probably just didn’t know where to start. That and I had other, easier, music files to process.

I knew I had some options when I finally decided to take this project on. One was that I just play a new drum track live and forget about any real tempo fix. It would have sounded OK, but I would still have a tempo that was all over the place. The real fix was to go throughout the song and identify the beginnings of each measure to my Sonar software. One method allows you to pick a point and then set that as the now position to a specific measure and beat. That then creates a tempo map. Usually a live performance or one created with equipment that is not defective will change in tempo somewhat smoothly over the song, or hardly at all. Analog equipment has a natural amount of speed inaccuracy as a rule. But if everything is operational, most times that is imperceptible.

After viewing the extremely erratic tempo map, I decided the best way to accomplish the re-timing was to use the Audiosnap function in Sonar. I went though the tracks only enabling Audiosnap transient markers wherever I determined the beginning of a measure was.  Then I set the whole project to exactly 129 bpm, the original beat timing. Using a combination of quantizing the transients to the measure and dragging the uncooperative ones into place, I succeeded in creating a constant beat in the song. I considered the timing in between the measures, but I believe that the speed changes were over several measures and any tempo issues are corrected every measure. I don’t hear any problems the way it is. The work involved in accurately tracking quarter note or greater changes in tempo would have been unnecessary and time consuming. So I didn’t

I played my Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, Rickenbacker 4001 bass and Session Drummer 3 software using a Roland Octapad MIDI drum pad. The vocals were recorded using a Shure SM-27 studio condenser microphone.

My Newest Recording – After The Thunder

October 25th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

IMG_0002I first began writing After The Thunder as a collaboration with an acquaintance. He had brought me a song that he wanted my help with that I turned into “Blind Not Just Yet”. He gave that song to me to me on a Sunday and I had a finished song by the following Wednesday. In turn I put together the music presented here and gave it him so he could help finish the song. We had discussed him writing the lyrics and helping with the arrangement. I suppose him singing lead on it was on the table as well. 
But after several weeks, I decided to abandon the project as my “partner” had made no effort to write the lyrics or anything else. Besides, after my wife Jill heard the music she told me to take it back and write the lyrics myself.

This song which I wrote in 3 parts or "Perils" is about fear being used as a weapon.

I wrote After The Thunder and played all the instruments including  a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and a Rickenbacker bass guitar. I sang all the vocals. I also programmed the MIDI drums using Session Drummer 3.

My Newest Recording – Blind Not Just Yet

October 24th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

IMGSam McKinney brought me this song made up of samples and loops. At first he just wanted me to add a couple of guitars and that would be the end of my involvement. But after about three days I had a complete song including original lyrics.

The song is about not allowing oneself to be fooled, intentionally. And recognizing when it is happening.

Sam arranged the samples and loops using his Roland GrooveBox. He also sang the background vocals in the chorus’. I played all the guitars on my Fender Stratocaster and wrote the lyrics. I also sang lead vocals and added some percussion.

My Newest Recording – (By the Banks of Old) Swan Creek

August 31st, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

MVC-186SI never meant to watch the AMC series “Breaking Bad”. But my wife Jill kept telling me that I would like it. When I did start watching it, I would sit and view the episodes, playing my guitar. While watching it, I began playing the main chords that later became (By the Banks of Old) Swan Creek. I began hearing the lyrics in my head and started writing the song watching Walter and Jesse cook meth.

I am not sure I knew what the song would be initially. But sometime around then I also contacted Tammy Parshall Daily (now Balas) on Facebook. She was previously married to my friend Ernie Daily, who I had known since childhood. Ernie had passed away about ten years ago and Tammy and I somehow have lived in several areas at the same or different times. Even the same house once in my hometown of London, Ohio (at different times). Tammy is in Swanton now. A place where I lived for six years.

After talking to Tammy online, I got to thinking about Swanton, and Ada. Ada, east of Lima, Ohio in Hardin County, is a place I lived for ten years, and was Tammy’s hometown. I moved to Swanton from there. Swanton was close enough to Toledo that it felt like a suburb. There was only the airport separating the two areas. Jill worked in Toledo and I did too. I have a lot of good memories from living there. I know that there are some things about moving back to central Ohio that made it worth it. But in some ways, still I regret moving from Swanton. Or even moving away from Ada to begin with. The flow of my life just took me away from those places. Sometimes due to events beyond my control. But sometimes I had full control of it, for better or worse.

When I hear this song, I think of Ada, Swanton, Ernie and Tammy, ATI, Sprint, Loma Linda’s, Tony Packo’s, etc. I am also waiting for that e-mail from Tammy telling me she lives in Galloway some day. Or maybe I’ll move back to Swanton, by the banks of the old Swan Creek.

I played my Takamine acoustic guitar. One track is finger picked and the other I used a Fender medium pick. I used D’Addario EJ-15 ultra light strings on the Takamine. I played my Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and my Rickenbacker 4001 bass. The drums are patches from Session Drummer 3. I did MIDI programming and editing of the patches. I played Tambourine and added clips from my Ludwig drums. The piano is my Roland MIDI slave and True Piano. I used my Shure SM-58 microphone for most vocals. But I did use my Shure SM-27 for some.

My Newest Recording – Like Something Out Of A Movie

July 13th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

Image_00027Like Something Out Of A Movie was inspired by a trip to the movies. Specifically the coming attractions. I just thought the action vs. chick flick assault was a bit alarming. I had the guitar riff for several years and had only saved it because my wife Jill liked it.

My sudden hard rock turn is from hanging around with Steve DeMatteo and Sam McKinney lately. While visiting Sam one day, I watched him work on a few of his recordings. Sam has fronted several metal/hard rock bands in the Columbus area and produces music and does beats for hip-hop. He uses a Roland GrooveBox to produce his beats and songs. I knew my Sonar software which is actually owned by Roland, has synthesizers and loop players that certainly rivaled the GrooveBox.  How many more songs I will produce like this is an unknown. I just build what I feel sometimes.

I played all the instruments and sang all the vocals. I played my Stratocaster and Rick bass on this track. I used Sonar plugins Session drummer 3 and Beatscape for the drums and beats. I played and triggered the MIDI devices with a Roland Octapad. I used a Roland slave keyboard and TruePianos for the piano sounds. This was recorded with the 64 bit version of Sonar X1 Production Suite. I also added a woman’s voice saying French words/phrases: No, I Love You, Leave Me Alone.

I was hating X1 about a week ago, but I am over it now. It worked very well. Using the Pro Channel Concrete Limiter allowed me to skip using Sony Sound Forge 9 for anything but a few minor tasks.

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