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

The Linear Canvas

My Newest Recording – Playground Days (remix)

June 24th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

Alex1When I wrote Playground Days I was thinking about being in third grade in London, Ohio. Playing on the big old slide with the hump in the middle of it. Throughout the years afterwards, I have found myself coming back to that playground. Discovering a few more of the memories I had in those care free times. Other than my third grade teacher Miss Littler, (see my post  I Survived…Miss Littler) I didn’t have a worry in the world.



I can’t remember when I wrote this. I can’t tell you if any of the tracks were originally analog or not. If there were any, the analog tracks were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction. I know some were recorded on my Fostex VF-16 digital multi-track. I’d suspect they are all digital.

I think the acoustic guitar I played was a Takamine. I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster and maybe an Ibanez Les Paul (?). The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. The drums were created using the transients from the original analog recordings. I used Sonar AudioSnap to convert the transients into MIDI events. The drum sounds are from Session Drummer 3 software.

My Newest Recordings – Mean and Cruel (remix)

June 15th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

Alex FisherMean and Cruel is not a new song or a new recording. I really didn’t even redo the drum tracks on the one version. I can’t even tell you for sure when I wrote it, recorded it, or what my real motivation was. I also copied and pasted some text from the last blog entry when I first posted it. Lazy?

I haven’t ever written too many “story” songs. In addition, this is the only one I can think of that I’ve ever written that is about a fictional character. This song is about a man from a different time, maybe the American southwest around 1900, that was just always out of control. That no one wanted to try to control. That no one could control. A really bully kind of a guy.

Go back east young man…

I had also recorded a hard rock version of Mean and Cruel at about the same time as the previous version. I completely redid the drum track and had to fix the bass tracks. I was afraid I’d have to redo the whole bass line, but luckily I didn’t have to. I know why I recorded it. I was uncomfortable with the country folk feel of the previous version. I have learned to live with it in my old age.

I also posted an extended cut of the hard rock version. The difference is I let the guitars play on and I end the song about a minute later.

Mean and Cruel (electric) – extended jam

[audio: and Cruel (electric) 20120618_0957mcd.mp3]

Like I said, I had posted this song previously. I can’t remember what I did to it before, but I know I was a little under whelmed by the drum sounds. My intention was to re-time the song and insert a drum loop with me playing accents and fills on a Roland Octapad. I did manage to get it re-timed and was battling with inserting drum loops. My friend Sam McKinney came over and heard the mix as is, and said “What’s wrong with that?”. I thought, nothing really. So I tuned that up a little and here it is.

I got into this situation with the metronome trying to impress another person, who really doesn’t pay any attention to my music. Way back then I thought a real musician would record these songs without a click track or metronome. Who needs that? The short answer is everyone. I get pretty close to the beat and stay on it, but now I wish I’d used a metronome when I recorded the first version. It would have made editing it much easier.

The analog tracks were originally recorded in the 1990’s on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction.

I think the acoustic guitar I played was a Yamaha on the first version. I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster and the bass was a Rickenbacker 4001 on both. The drums originally were played on Yamaha MIDI controller pads connected to a Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine. On the hard rock version, I replaced the drums with Session Drummer 3 and using the Octapad. I must have used a metronome on this version as editing the time/beat was much easier. I also added a Yamaha church organ and a Casio CX-101 synthesizer on that track.

I played the analog tracks into my Tascam FW-1804 connected to my computer. I processed the audio with Cakewalk Sonar X1 Producer and Sony Sound Forge v9.

My Newest Recording – Does It Matter (remix)

June 3rd, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher


timlar1Does It Matter was at one time, my favorite of all my originals. It was early in my recording history and I thought it was well written and recorded. With each new recording though, it became just another of the many projects I had completed. Somewhere along the way I had let it fade off into my distant memories.

The song is about a lot of things. Apathy mainly, but also religion, fear, politics, societal pressures, corporate lies, repression, and propaganda. It’s about the slow motion coup d’état that the corporatists have engaged in, in earnest, since the early 1980’s. Subverting our society so slowly no one notices their rights, jobs, and lives being drained away. Kind of a giant sucking sound, but not just from down Mexico way. From all directions.

Recently I realized that I hear an echo of a quotation by Martin Niemöller, a German pastor and theologian of the early 20th century in this song, I wrote the song long after Mr. Niemöller wrote his piece, but years before I actually read it. I just seem to be stating the same thing, only with more lead guitar.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The analog tracks on Does It Matter were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction. It was recorded some time around 1995. I tried to capture the analog audio digitally as 24 bit at 48 kHz. I ended up with 32 bit and 44.1 kHz. When I realized that, I was half way done with the project. The reasons are, I had a cold and I started to do this on my new Cakewalk Sonar X1 installation. I have only had it a week and only got a book for it today. I soon figured out that the time stretching property sheet was hidden somewhere or not a part of the audio workstation software in the way it was before. I had been having trouble with the X1 envelope tool as it had changed as well. But the main reason I finished the mix on Sonar v8.5 was that the project wouldn’t open in X1 anymore. Because of the time base issues I was going to have to do it on v8.5 anyway.

I re-mixed this song once before back in 2010. But I wanted to change the drums to something a little more current sounding, though they really didn’t sound that bad. The original drums tracks were played on a cheap Yamaha MIDI drum pad using my Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine. I used a click track to establish the beat and came back over and played the cymbal and drums sounds separately.  No sequencer was used. The tempo ended up at 127.84 beats per minute. I would guess the original drum track was probably 128 bpm. I would also guess the variance is mostly mechanical issues with the tape recorder. But the drum machine clock could have been off some too.

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