Overview: "Axiology" was recorded on
a Tascam 38 8 track analog reel to reel tape recorder and mixed down to stereo on
DAT(digital audio tape). I played all the instruments. Ideally I would have preferred to
use a band, but was unable partly due to budget constraints - I cant afford to pay other
musicians. Also, I couldn't find players with the skills to play some of this material - a
number of the the songs have multiple key changes - very few musicians in the rock genre
are capable of playing competently through key changes.
The recording of each song began with recording a sync track for
the sequencer, this uses up one track, leaving seven for audio. The sync track enables the
sequencer to play in time with the audio tracks recorded on tape. Only the drum and keyboard parts are sequenced. The drum
parts were never actually recorded onto multitrack tape. The drum program for each song
was in the sequencer, the Emax sampler produced the sampled drum(and keyboard) sounds and
was driven through its MIDI interface by the sequencer. This makes it easy to make
modifications to the drum program and use different sounds at any time in the recording
process, prior to, or during the mixdown to stereo.
The first instrument recorded was a rhythm guitar, played along
with a simple drum beat, then all the other parts were layered on separate tracks. At this
point I wasn't concerned if there were minor mistakes or flaws in any of the parts because
each part was redone later - to enhance the feeling or illusion that a band was
playing. i.e.: the original rhythm guitar track was recorded with only a simple drum
track to listen to(in headphones), the final rhythm guitar was done while listening to the
complete song - vocals, lead guitar, bass,drums - everything. The recordings were done
over a period of about 4 years, and I spent almost a year of evenings and weekends doing
mixdowns. The mixdown shouldn't have taken this long but there were a couple of false
starts, first I had to start over about half way when I discovered that a phase problem
was causing cancellation of the vocals when listening in mono. Secondly I finished, then
completely scrapped the next mixdowns, when I decided I didn't like the way it sounded -
to much high freq. not enough bass.
Equipment: Tascam 38 8 trk with DX4D noise reduction, Studiomaster Stellarmix 16x8x2
mixer, JBL M644 noise gates, DBX 166 comp., Ibanez SDR1000+ reverb, Deltalab Effectron
delay, Yamaha REX50 multi-effector, Aphex Aural Exciter, DOD R830B EQ, EMAX Sampler,
Roland Octapad, Yamaha QX5 Sequencer, JLCooper PPS-1 sync-to-tape unit, Shure SM-57,AKG
D3800, Yamaha DX7, Peavey Bandit 65 Guitar amp, Mixdown onto Tascam DA-20 DAT using JBL
L19 and TOA 280ME Monitors.
Guitars: Fender 1986 Stratocaster Standard, Flying
V(used for electric slide) played through a Peavey Bandit 65 amplifier. The Peavey
amplifier is a transistor amp, many guitarists are of the opinion that only a tube amp is
good enough, but I disagree with that. The Bandit amp to my ear is just as good as a tube
one. It has a nice singing tone when used with the built in overdrive, and the clean tone
is as sweet as you can ask for. My acoustic guitar is an Alvarez-Yairi DY77. The bass used
is mainly a customized Fender Mustang bass with a Dimarzio P-bass pickup and Badass
bridge. On some tunes I used a borrowed Peavey bass, I forget the model number. All bass
was recorded direct using a DI box.
Keyboards: Keyboard parts are minimal, mainly backup chords on intro's,
choruses etc, using mainly the Hammond B3 sound from the emax sampler. These were played
into the sequencer then copied, pasted and edited before being recorded onto one track on
the Tascam 38.
Drums: Sampled and Sequenced, samples played on an Emax sampler, from
all different sources : Mcgill University Sample CD, from records - one snare came from
Led Zeppelins "Physical Graffiti" album. I think I got another from the Beatles
"Abbey Road". Some were obtained directly, whenever I had the opportunity(A drum
set in my basement). The drum tracks were created using a mixture of methods. Generally a
basic beat was created by playing it on the octapad, then using just one bar, copying and
modifying it to create subtle variations and changes in the different sections of the
songs - a tedious process. Then fills and other nuances were added using the octapad
played with drumsticks. I went to a lot of trouble to create the illusion that a real
drummer was playing.