joe Linus aka One-Legged Heart

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Greetings Worthy One and Happy 2016!

Old school writers like myself tend to sit with pen and paper, filling up the pages for a few hours a day. This tradition goes back thousands of years and breeds a different sensibility.  Revisions, keeper phrases,  sudden insights, cross-outs, doodles, refinements over time reveal a core emotion. There is no hurry in the moment  to reach a “final draft” when  the process itself is the draw.  

Now I combine that process with the relatively recent invention of recording electronics, which offers the opportunity to share the sounds of words performed as lyrics in song  for a listener to experience.   While this, too, is an art form in a sense, the science of sound is  founded on precise realities of frequencies, volumes and tones which themselves compete for attention. Further compounding this fundamental  is the inherent matter of “taste”  that obscures the concept  with a myriad of informed choices based on the maxim  “There are no rules!”

When I first started out as a painter years ago I came across Picasso’s application of that maxim. His training and background led him to know and understand all the rules of painting, and then to break them as he saw fit.  This I took to be the meaning of best practices for an artist, i.e, knowing what the rules are so one is capable of “breaking” them properly. 

At this juncture I am becoming the “mixer” of my recently recorded sounds. To me, it seems a natural extension of the art itself.  However, in the recording industry, great mix engineers have made solid careers  packing the  sounds of  our artists to present to the listeners.  Their names, and contributions to the records we listen to, are typically unknown to the audiences they impress.  Their work, while essential, can be quite tedious and time consuming, and of no interest to the average  consumer of music.  Yet without this phase of processing, our ears could not  begin to appreciate the mélange of competing  sounds presented as the artist’s song. Without this work done, and done well, the work of the artist would be a sonic mess.

Traditionally, this work has been done by the studio engineer, usually working for a music label. The significant sums associated with the daily routine  of skilled labour were borne by the label as production costs, recouped or not upon the commercial release of the work by the label under the artist’s name.

But we have entered a new era, as by now we all have heard. The digital age of information  with its full force both bad and good is upon us.  Kids now make recordings in their bedroom using sophisticated software and computers and freely share the results on the internet.  While the master engineer is still available for hire, few indie artists can look to cover the expense of such essentials  done  exceptionally well.  On my first album of original songs  I was fortunate to have the help of an industry legend as a final mix engineer. This time  I’ve decided to  proceed alone into these shark-infested waters. Consequently, new rules have arisen to be learned and broken.

Ultimately I expect to bring forth an album that  will withstand the withering criticisms that come with the territory of new music. Even with knowledge and experience, the mixing process is a steep foray into the minute detail of recording science with the raw emotion of performance as its guide. 

I learn by diving in, I could not learn by sitting in class.  If I find something chasing me round  I swim out, google the remedy and dive back in.  While this mixing process takes me out of my comfort zone, I have come to regard it as an intrinsic part of the art of songwriting, and as such, something at which every indie artist ought to become proficient with in these times. 

That being said, I’ve made much progress! My new album of ten songs is in the mix.  I am in the mix too, of course. That makes sense!  So this will truly be a “joe Linus” album upon release.  Time passes slowly, and needless to say, I am kept incredibly busy by all of that. I am  now required to replace my old computer to support the minimum processing power needed for this mix. (I’ve been using an old Intel i3 so far, but it’s now  looking at me in disbelief, and prone to crashing when I open my sessions.)  My funding campaign  of 2015 has ended, but you may still help support the timely  release of these songs by  contributing through Pay Pal to the cause,  here’s  a link for Pay Pal—its easy  with no account set up, sending funds to a friend! Amazingly, I am still on schedule to bring this in within my two-year time frame, though tackling the mix process myself will add another 4-6 weeks of intense labours, assuming I am able to access the necessities that arise.  I would like to get back to my pen and paper and my paints as well, but all in good time, all part of the creative endeavor.  I look forward to seeing at least some of you later this year to share these new works with you ! Much gratitude for your support of the art.

Peace/Sincerely, Joe Linus aka One-Legged Heart  song Without End January 2016.