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

The Linear Canvas

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. A hint is the picture included with the widget player. Good luck.

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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.

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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 – Real

February 7th, 2013 . by Alexander Fisher

I wrote Real in the early 1990’s. I am not sure if I wrote this song about anyone in particular, but I know I had several friends whose marriages were in dire straits at the time.

I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster. 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 – The Sunniest Day

December 9th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

DCP_2070I had recently been recording songs that were very much heavier than I had been creating. Many of the people I have been hanging around for the past year can be at the very least described as hard rockers. Their influence is evident in those last few tracks.

So I was a little surprised at how The Sunniest Day turned out. My wife was describing the music tracks as happy and cheerful. (!!!?) I probably knew I wasn’t going to record an electric song by then, but when she said that I was a taken aback. But once the music was finished, I wasn’t really inspired to write any lyrics. So the music just sat for about a month.

Recently I forced myself to finish one of the four songs I was sitting on, all without lyrics. I had some ideas but nothing that I got very far with. This song was just titled “UNTITLED”. So I had more to do to it than any of the others. After a long listening session and a page full of lyrics,  I finished it. Now more info

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I only need to write lyrics for the three other songs I have.

Just like many times in the past, I used my wife and best friend, Jill,  as a subject for the song. I told my cousin that I probably could release a rock opera soon based on my wife considering how many times she has been a subject in a song.

I wrote the music and lyrics for The Sunniest Day. I also sang all the vocal parts and created the music tracks. I played my Takamine acoustic guitar, Rickenbacker 4001 bass, and a tambourine. The keyboards are all from my Roland MIDI slave keyboard played through the Dimension Pro synthesizer. The sounds are Hammond organ , piano, and strings. I used a Shure SM-27 condenser microphone for most of the vocals. I also used a Shure SM-58 for some of the background vocals. I programmed the drums with Session Drummer 3 using a Roland Octapad MIDI drum pad. I recorded the tracks using Cakewalk Sonar X2 Producer Expanded on my Tascam FW-1804 PC interface. The PC is an AMD 2.7GHz 6 core running on an Asus motherboard with 16 GB of Corsair DDR3 memory and an nVidia video card with 1.5 GB of on board memory.

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.

Maximizing PC Computing Resources While Operating High Usage Applications and Processes’

September 2nd, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

Commodore_128There has always been a struggle for system resources while using some applications on my PC’s. I run Cakewalk Sonar X1 and Sony Vegas multimedia applications currently. These programs are big users of CPU and memory resources. At times these applications are just hobbled by low resource availability. But others times they do as little as use an identical communications channel or allocated resource that some other program demands to take over. The result is often a crash by the whole computer or just the applications involved.

The biggest resource offenders can be categorized in two groups: 1) Anti-Virus programs and 2) Everything Else. Anti-Virus (A/V) programs tend to be very system heavy and do a lot of probing that takes resources best used by the programs you may be trying to run. Unfortunately, ending the probing and listening by the A/V program sometimes takes some investigation.

Anti-Virus Programs

Most A/V programs have two modes; Real Time Monitoring and Media Scanning. The Media Scanning mode is usually initiated by the user or a timer. It may also be set to do the scan on startup or even shutdown. In any case it depends on the user making choices to even have it operate. Opening the A/V program’s schedule and deactivating it, then only starting the media scanning when needed, is recommended. If you must use the scheduler to run an A/V scan, set it up for a time when you won’t be using the computer. Like at 3 o’clock AM or something. Disabling the A/V scheduler requires the user to manually scan the computer on occasion to prevent virus’ and malware. You should get more involved in your computer’s health maintenance anyway.

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