Readers here will be familiar with my brother Mark, who was my teenage songwriting partner and band-mate in Claudia Doesn’t Like It. I am excited to announce that Mark has joined this site and will be posting his music here. To celebrate we are sharing Chronocide in California, the first collaboration album by Mark and Tom.
Back in the heyday of our songwriting partnership in the mid-1990’s, I wrote most of the music and Mark wrote most of the words. That started to change when I graduated from high school and left on my mission. During the first year I was gone Mark wrote a lot of nice guitar riffs, and Tom helped him flesh them out into fuller arrangements during spring break of 1999. We also added some bonus tracks of Tom’s covers of a few of the songs.
Here is a little flavor of the album, a short piece called “Out West,” which is the opening track. I listened to this song a lot a few years ago when I moved back out west:
I didn’t get to hear these recordings until a year later when I came home from England, and I was really impressed with how they turned out. This is one of my favorite Sanderson albums of all time, and I hope you will enjoy it too.
I am currently working on a musical collaboration with my cousin Tom, but I have gotten some requests to share a couple of these tracks more widely while we still work on the others. The project is a collection of songs about the pandemic.
Last month I submitted lyrics for four songs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for consideration for the new hymn book and children’s songbook which are currently being compiled. This is a once-a-generation effort, as the last time this happened was when I was a little kid. My submissions were all additional verses to existing songs, and all written about 15 years ago.
After my recent post about authoring guitar tablature on Linux, my son asked me for the tablature for a few other songs because he is taking a guitar class this semester in school. Here are the scores, all authored with MuseScore:
In 2012 I found a keyboard midi controller at a yard sale for $10, and I couldn’t pass it up even though I’m not much of a keyboardist. Once I brought it home I had to find a way to use it, and that search led me to LMMS. There are many good tutorials and other documentation which cover every aspect of installing, configuring, and using LMMS, and I’m not trying to duplicate any of those efforts. This article is meant more as a review and a memoir than as a how-to guide.
LMMS is an obsolete acronym for “Linux Multimedia Studio,” which made for an awkward name when it became a cross-platform application. The website currently says “Let’s Make Music” in the top banner, which would work for the acronym if we could think of a word that starts with “S” to add to it. (Any suggestions? How about: “Let’s Make Music, Sonny?” Yeah, nevermind.)
Last year in late November my family sang Away in a Manger together, and my wife commented on how good we sounded with the kids making up their own harmonies. She suggested that we should record it for our Christmas card and email it out to our friends and family.
I said, “Then we need a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface!” She was taken aback at my sudden and specific declaration. So I showed her the website on my phone, which I happened to have open. “See? It’s The Best Selling USB Audio Interface in the World!”
“It sounds like you’ve been looking at this for a while,” she deduced, correctly.
“But clearly we really need one,” I insisted.
So it was settled, and I ordered it within the next week. It cost $151.19 from the Focusrite website, which I thought was a reasonable price. When it arrived we recorded our song and sent it out to our family and friends. The Scarlett 2i2 performed like a champ, and I was pleased with the sound quality of its input. Here is our recording:
A bit of back story: Through the early 2000’s I used my computer’s sound card as my audio input, with variable results. “Lint in my Pocket” and “Aurelia Aurita” were probably the worst results, as the dying old sound card produced a lot of crackling and popping on the recording. The other New Folder recordings were better because I had a new computer with a healthier sound card, and the early tracks from Lost and Found were better still because I started paying attention to the noise level and applying a graphic equalizer to filter out the worst of it. But right when I felt like my recording technique was starting to mature, three things happened to derail me for a decade: 1) Medical education took over my life like a cancer, sucking up all of my free time and strangling all of my hobbies, 2) my wife and I had a bunch of kids, and 3) I migrated to Linux.