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Perceptually Ergonomic 3-Dimensional Sound for Headphones.
Headphones are required for the effect.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sunday, Reykjavik House Show: My Summer As A Salvation Soldier

Let me open this post with a picture of the really cool looking red house across the street from the show. You'd think that Reykjavik would look drab gray with all of the aluminum sheets covering cement walls but no: it is one of the most colorful cities I have ever seen. Árni was telling me that people paint the aluminum panels and I must say, it has a really nice effect. Look at some pictures of Reykjavik: it's extremely pleasant, not at all gaudy, just extremely pleasant.

Below is set 2 of the house show with:
"My Summer As A Salvation Soldier"
My Summer as a Salvation Soldier - House Concert by BinauralAirwaves

Binaural Tidbit:
Listen for the mewling cats in the first song and their collar bells (mainly to the front right/right side [direction assumes your headphones are on the right way and your desktop computer was wired correctly, unlike my desktop computer {laptops are almost surely OK}]).

Binaural Recording Info:
Microphone Setup: Ultra Hi-Fi Binaural Manikin Head
Master Recording Format: 5.6MHz/1bit Direct Stream Digital


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Balmy North Atlantic Weather in Iceland

And by "balmy", I mean "cycloney". This is completely off topic but I just saw this really cool satellite image of Iceland in the midst of tandem cyclones. For full resolution and a description from NASA (the photographer), check it out here. By the way, in case you are not some sort of geography/country-border-silhouette buff: the island of Iceland is right about in the middle of the top edge of the image--hard to see beneath the cyclone(s) cloud(s). For reference:

Ok, enough of this... why am I making small talk about the weather from Nov. '06??? The real issue here is how much this weather pattern looks like an owl. Allow me to introduce...

Exhibit 1:
Case closed.

Forced Segue:
As I was saying: Binaural Recording!!! Back on topic! Hooray!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday, Reykjavik House Show: The Heir Electric

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday: We'll sell you the whole seat but you'll only need the edge. Sunday was like a monster truck rally of awesome music--sans monster trucks and mullets. I didn't think I would be bombarded with this many music options until Iceland Airwaves was in full swing but Sunday was a most pleasant contradiction. Of course, there was so much interesting music going on that the choices became perplexingly difficult. Though, in the end, I definitely heard a ton of awesome music, even if some other music was missed due to this specific trajectory.

Sunday House Show in Autumn
Reykjavik, Iceland


This is a picture between sets where a lot of people left to get some fresh air, AKA smoke (it was relatively packed during the music). You can see my ultra hi-fi manikin head in the foreground with the Icelandic hipster haircut (not so apparent from the back). He is looking intently at the chandelier and sound stage. I took the picture while bracing the camera on the door sill since I needed a long exposure with as little movement as possible. You can hear this door, that I used as a stabilizer, being opened in back of you at least in Song 1 of My Summer As A Salvation Soldier set.
The Heir Electric
My Summer As A Salvation Soldier
Ólafur Arnalds

This house show was in a small neighborhood next to the Reykjavik Airport
It was a brisk clear autumn night and people gathering indoors in the comfort of someone's home to enjoy music seemed apropos.

It took a while to setup my ultra hi-fi binaural recording manikin--this would be its debut live concert recording. Perhaps, at somepoint I'll post a bit about how I built the binaural manikin head and the technical/artistic decisions that I made to create what is quite probably the highest fidelity binaural recording system in the world (not to brag or anything).

At anyrate, I started capturing the acoustic environment somewhere in the middle of The Heir Electric's set.


(Use Headphones for All Recordings)
2008 10 12 House Concert - The Heir Electric - 2nd from last by BinauralAirwaves
Artist: The Heir Electric
Song/Piece: Unknown
Microphone Setup: Ultra Hi-Fi Binaural Manikin Head
Master Recording Format: 5.6MHz/1bit Direct Stream Digital
Streaming Format: mp3 LAME 3.97 variable bit rate ~240 kbps 44.1kHz

If I remember correctly, The Heir Electric played 3 pieces and this is the 2nd of those.

The Heir Electric:
Basically, The Heir Electric is a solo act that sounds more like a swath of musicians (perhaps a modern string quartet + some electronic musicians) creating interesting textures with loop and effect pedals. Think Steve Reich ("Electric Counterpoint" comes to mind) meets, Jimi Hendrix (shreding the violin [instead of guitar]) meets, Shostakovitch (interesting syncopation and harmonic dissonance), meets Daft Punk ("phat beatz" that are like comfort food). It's really fun to watch this come together because not only is The Heir Electric crafting this large sound in front of you but he is often doing it using his toes to turn knobs and tweak sounds. His toes.

The Heir Electric's 3rd and final piece was interesting not only in that it was a cover but it was a cover of a musician who was playing at this same show: Ólafur Arnalds. It's the last track from Ólafur's album "Eulogy for Evolution" which is now available in North America.

(Use Headphones for All Recordings)
2008 10 12 House Concert - The Heir Electric - last song - Olafur Arnalds Cover by BinauralAirwaves
Artist: The Heir Electric
Song/Piece: Cover of Ólafur Arnalds' last piece on the album "Eulogy for Evolution"
Microphone Setup: Ultra Hi-Fi Binaural Manikin Head
Original Recording Format: 5.6MHz/1bit Direct Stream Digital
Streaming Format: mp3 LAME 3.97 variable bit rate ~240 kbps 44.1kHz

An aside regarding the name "The Heir Electric":
I cannot claim that "The Heir Electric" is indeed the exact written name of this artist. I know his real name is Karl and he is a really interesting guy who seems to be hugely into classical and electronic music and their hybridization. Though, it was unclear to me if he actually went by "The Air Electric", which sounds the same when spoken. I only heard him say it; never saw it written. "Air" could definitely be an allusion to the era of Bach and The Heir Electric's classical ("classical" encapsulating all time periods of classical music, as opposed to meaning the "classical period" within classical music) influences.

However, I must say I very much hope that Karl is indeed "The Heir Electric" as that can be understood in so many various and interesting ways. He's not the heir apparent, he's not the heir presumptive, he's... The Heir Electric.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Does that mean whenever electricity dies (like, for instance, my iPod battery on a long flight) Karl is crowned in a lavish ceremony and, from then on, wears a cape that reads "The Electric"? Is it his bank account that my electric bills go to? It's hilarious, confounding, and, more than anything, vexing.

It's a tragedy but I don't have any contact or website for The Heir Electric.

Karl: drop me a line por favor.

Ok, there is far more to hear from Sunday.

The rest of the house show including:
My Summer As A Salvation Soldier
Ólafur Arnalds

The lighthouse sound installation put on by:
Overview of the Sound Installation

Plus, I heard a Rökkurró rehearsal.

So, stay tuned. More binaural audio + context will soon be posted.


Árni and Hildur, Your Families, and Rökkurró: Þakka þér fyrir!

Firstly, before any binaural recordings from Iceland Airwaves 2008 are heard, it is my pleasure to thank my extraordinarily amazing hosts Árni and Hildur of Rökkurró and their most hospitable families for not only making my trip/binaural recording possible but hugely memorable. Árni was key in convincing me that I had to make a pilgrimage to Iceland Airwaves and, throughout my entire stay in Iceland, Árni and Hildur and their families made me completely forget that I was traveling because I simply felt at home.

Many thanks are also due to the entire Rökkurró band for lots of great music in rehearsal and concert and many good times all week. You are all great musicians and hearing you guys play was a true highlight of the trip. Plus you guys totally made my day by playing Dagur Þrjú (Track 9 on their album Það kólnar í kvöld... english: "There's a chill in the air tonight...").

So, to Árni and Hildur, your families, and Rökkurró...

Þakka þér fyrir!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Back From Iceland Airwaves 2008: Recordings Coming Soon!

I'm freshly back from Iceland Airwaves and am editing the many hi-fi binaural recordings from this amazing week of music. So, stay tuned as there will be many new recordings coming in the next week or two.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ultra Hi-Fi Binaural Recording: Completely New Recording Setup


I have completely rebuilt my binaural recording setup from the ground up. It is now perhaps one of the highest resolution binaural recording systems in the world today. However, please note that none of the posted recordings on this page are made with this setup... yet.

At Iceland Airwaves, I will be recording in 5.6MHz/1bit DSD which is 2x the resolution of Super Audio CD. Then I will mix this down to share it over the internet. In a sentence this means: damn good sound.

Contact me for information if your group is interested.