I Know Superman

A project dedicated to my Dad!

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I Call Him Dad (click arrow for detail) Electric Guitar, Bass, Hydrogen Drum Machine (Ubuntu Studio) and Vocals Lyrics
What can I say about my father? He is my Hero! Like many men of his age he struggled with shifting social norms. Perhaps not always coming to the right conclusion but always acting with love, concern and integrity. Most men my age have come to embrace feminism as a force for good and empowering for both women and men (I would argue those that don't are scared little boys). I had the privilege to learn this from my father, not explicitly but by the way he was an equal partner to my mother, whereas most men of his generation believed they were king of their castle. In a world where homemakers were considered not to work my father never missed an opportunity to tell me "mother works hard and raising us 10 kids was harder than, took more skill, than managing a staff of 50". This made a great impression on me and I believe my brothers and sisters as well. While it may have been Donna (my sister) who taught me how to verbalize my feminism, it was my father who instilled the core values that made it come naturally to me. One of the experiences with my father that exemplifies the man he is was at a protest against the Free Trade of the Americas Treaty in Quebec City. I was surprised that he did not try to dissuade me to go but actually wanted to come with me; this due to a violent reaction by the police in Seattle to a similar protest not long before. Even though we had no intention of leaving the sanctioned march and going to the area of town that had been fenced off to protect our leaders from the people who elected them (this says something about who's interest they were acting in) being a nervous individual and knowing I would have my father with me I was well prepared with painting masks and vinegar to protect us from tear gas. Despite the march consisting of a mixed crowd including children, being peaceful, legal and kilometres away from the meeting of our betters the police (supposedly accidentally) tear gassed us. When the gas hit I followed the instructions I had given everyone in our party on our way to Quebec City. Put your mask on first then look around to see if anyone needs help (I had brought extra masks). When I did this and looked around I could not find Dad. My heart in my mouth I looked down. On his knees in the middle of the street my father was holding his mask over the mouth of a toddler in a stroller. He acted without thought, I guess being Dad to a hoard he always knew where the young ones were. This is an image I will never forget: the tear gas wafting around him the look of gratitude in the young parents eyes (OK perhaps their tears were from the gas). When the smoke cleared and we were safely at the march's end rally point my father bid goodbye to his three new friends (parents and toddler) turned to me and said "too the fence!". Perhaps some of you have seen the photo of him standing in front of the riot police with his "Fence this Placard". I promise you a gas was had by all. I could go on for too long with stories of him, such as the time he tied a rope around his waist and jumped into the ocean to rescue some young swimmers from a killer post hurricane undertow but those of you who know him, know he is the measure of what a man should be and those of you who don't might not believe that I know Superman and I call him Dad!
mp3 (listen to song online)

Exercise in C Major Slammer (click arrow for detail) Solo Electric Guitar
One of the things that has frustrated me since starting to play electric guitar has been what I perceived as a limitation on the number of discreet voices one can create (without using overdubs) compared to the acoustic guitar. Slammer is a combination of a number of techniques (slur, slap. slide & mostly hammer) I'm working on to address this. The piece is an exercise I composed to help me practice this technique. The video is shot in our living room as my studio is not big enough. Chantal not only made the artistic decisions regarding the video but also did the camera work. The second voice in this piece is on the low end of the register so can be somewhat lost when listening on PC speakers. An easy solution if your PC does not have external speakers is use headphones. I biased the bass to the left and the treble to the right using Audacity, this when listening under headphones gives a closer experience to hearing the sound live. This as the different wavelengths of sound bounce off the walls of an active room at different rates naturally separating the voices.
Video on Youtube

mp3(listen to song online)

Ghosts On Cellulose (click arrow for detail) Electric Guitar, Bass, Hydrogen Drum Machine (Ubuntu Studio) and Vocals Lyrics
Dedicated to the wild hearts that shared my childhood and the soft hearts that made it wonderful. A special thanks to Teprine for recovering theis old film and letting me peer back in time.
Video on Youtube

mp3 (listen to music players mix)

Four Twenties Seven (click arrow for detail) Solo Electric Guitar & Ambient Sound
An ambient piece inspired by the 1981 movie Diva (Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix). In the movie there is a scene were the camera lingers on a desktop wave toy while the music of Erik Satie plays (well at least there is in my memory). This is the 87th song on my Tascam and once again as a nod to the influence of France on modern music I named the song "Four Twenties Seven" the literal translation of eighty seven from French to English. Eighty seven is also the age of the parents and this song to me represents the peace and tranquillity I feel when I think of them. I Imagine my self in Nova Scotia walking on the beach in Pictoe, just knowing they have walked there before and listened to the same ocean makes me content.
Thanks to klankbeeld and freesound.org for calm waves sandy coast sound
mp3(listen to song online)

Monday Jam (click arrow for detail) Electric Guitar, Korg MS-20, Rolland MT-32 Midi Tone generator, Korg SQ-1 sequencer.
I build my own friends! When you are too shy to play around people it can be hard just to jam. This song is the result of jamming with my new band mates Rolly (Rolland MT-32) and Kory (Korg SQ-1) along with an old friend Ms. Kory (Korg MS-20). It is a long song 8 minutes but not nearly as long as it could be on a night when there is nothing on T.V. I want to watch. You might notice in the video it is hard for me to keep my eyes open while I'm playing this. I just drift off into the sound. This is not a good thing for a player as sloppy as me but if I try and pay attention it is just no fun. This is an invitation to peek into my studio and see what I get up to when Chantal and Macleod are watching the hockey game(go Habs go!).
Video on Youtube

mp3(listen to song online)

Thank You! (click arrow for detail) Electric Guitar, Korg MS-20, Rolland MT-32 Midi Tone generator, Korg SQ-1 sequencer, GNU/Linux Ubuntu studio(Hydrogen, Qsynth, Phasex, Synthv1).
I end "I Know Superman" with another "live" performance. In this song I try and express my gratitude to my father. His wisdom and strength are always with me. In my life I have always had a conversation with him before any big decision(even if many took place in my head). I love this man more than my poor abilities allow me to express. His wisdom and good grace, even now, are truly inspirational. Perhaps it was that I was in a place of gratitude that I realized that even though I play alone, for this song especially I have many collaborators. I speak of those members of the "Free and Open-source Software" movement that work without reward to facilitate the creative instincts of people like me. Not only the people that write the software I use to create sound to back up my feeble guitar playing but those who write the underlying systems such as the GNU/Linux utilities the Jack and ALSA sound interfaces, little utilities such as a2jmidi that allow me to do some pretty cool things like control my studio computer's sound generating software with my Korg sequencer. In the open-source tradition of recycling code, in the video I try and give a nod to all those who work to bequest the gift of Freedom (freedom to create) to all of humanity. This is the type of thing that makes Superman proud of humanity!
Video on Youtube

mp3(listen to song online)




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