Why Fischerspooner compresses badly

From Remix:

Sitting next to his beloved Mac G3 iBook in the cool confines of his Manhattan apartment, Fischerspooner programmer, tuxedo aficionado and one-time classical violinist Warren Fischer has a theory about why electro has staged such a surprising comeback with an audience once enamored of hot house and techno turbulence. “There is a new element of DIY in the electronic-music world,” he explains. “The development of software synths made it easy to reproduce the sounds of expensive equipment. [Propellerhead] ReBirth physically models Roland 303s, 808s and 909s, making these sounds accessible to anyone, so anybody can make a pop song. You don’t have to be Steely Dan to make a decent-sounding record anymore. There is an impulse now to make music that sounds a little raw, and electro happens to have that element. Punk rock developed in a similar way. It is the right time and place for electro.”


Fischer composes and records the instrumental sounds almost entirely on his laptop iBook, taking the tracks into the studio when he’s ready to record vocals and work on the mix. “I am really into stereo,” says Fischer. “Every element but the bass drum is stereo. I don’t like mono. I like to fill up the stereo picture. In the studio, I work with our good friend Nicholas Farren. We put a knuckle into the specifics of the mix and the signal processing, most of which is done with [Emagic] Logic software, although we use a lot of outboard gear for vocal processing. There may be a little bit of analog creeping in there, but I don’t think it makes a substantial impact on the character of the sound. It retains a digital quality.”

Unlike most electro musicians, Fischer prefers the hard digital edge of his software synths to the warmth of classic analog machines such as Moogs and ARPs. “I like the coldness of digital sounds,” he says. “It has a painful edge that makes electro a little brutal. Analog makes things warmer, but digital makes things more realistic. People love the way analog distorts things, but I like how flat digital sounds. I use analog sounds only occasionally. On Emerge, I sent a couple of bass parts out through a simple EQ filter sweep and an analog amp just to see what the warmth would do. But that is the only time I did something like that.”

Fischer started composing music on the computer in the mid-’90s. “The first song I ever did with samples was with a program called [BIAS] Deck,” recalls Fischer. “It was such a pain; I made the loops manually. Then my nephew gave me ReBirth, and I eventually graduated to [Steinberg] Cubase and software synths, but the computer kept crashing. Now I use [Propellerhead] Reason, but I’ve got my eye on Logic. I use all Mac gear; I have a 600MHz G3 iBook. I use only software synths—no analog anything. The silences are absolute zero. I love how vacuum-sealed the sounds are. When you listen on headphones, it is weird. You are not used to silences being so dead. I also like how flexible working on a computer is. You can recall all your patches and automate your setting manipulations. With analog gear, you are always setting a knob, and it never sounds the same.”