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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.