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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Megapolis - Audio Art and Documentary Festival

The Megapolis Festival promises to be a unique and fascinating event for anyone who loves sound. Here is a more comprehensive description from their website:

The Megapolis Festival is a weekend-long celebration of the craft of DIY audio creation. Artists, documentarians, musicians, and fans come together to share secrets on producing and presenting challenging audio works online, on-air, and on the stage.

A few of the happenings for our inaugural festival include: a featured presentation by audio legend Gregory Whitehead, a circuit-bending workshop for building your own weird instruments, an audio-based slumber party that may or may not include “Seven Minutes in Heaven with a Microphone,” a bicycle-powered 8-track player, a performance by a typewriter orchestra, a Max Neuhaus-inspired radio station created by you, and lots more. Read the schedule for the most up-to-date listing of events.

When: Apr 24-26, 2009
Where: Cambridge, Somerville & Boston, MA, USA
How much: $45 (regular), $30 (students)

I'll see you there.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Audio and Video Description of 3 Binaural Techniques

This is a really great side by side comparison of 3 variations of binaural recording techniques. The first method with the manikin is similar to my ultra hi-fi setup while the other 2 mimic the biology of humans less and less. Listening to the short video allows you to quickly understand what binaural is by hearing the moving ringing phone sound source while seeing its location in reference to the microphones. Great thanks for this video go to Bird vs. Alligator and Rafael Sentoma. I put it permanently in my "What is Binaural?" section. Check it out:


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rökkurró @ Iðnó, Saturday 8pm (On-Venue)

Rökkurró @ Iðnó - Iceland Airwaves 2008 by BinauralAirwaves
Over my time in Reykjavik the frostline on the Reykjanes Mountains had dropped day after day and Saturday was the coldest day. It was crisp and clear as the temperature ducked below freezing and puddles became solid. Inside the airy and reverberant acoustics of the venue Iðnó, Rökkurró took the stage. 
Iðnó during sound check:
Rökkurró is currently headed on tour across Europe and will be featuring a choice selection of my ultra hi-fi binaural recordings of their Iceland Airwaves 2008 performances on a limited release special edition EP that will also include brand new songs. Check their site for info If you have a chance to see them: do not miss it!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Israel: Sea of Galilee

Israel - Sea of Galilee by BinauralAirwaves
Sea of Galilee:
I'm standing where the waterline has historically been. You can see that it is now hundreds of meters out due to 7 years of drought.
I stayed on the Sea of Galilee which is really more of a lake. It is a primary source of water for Israel. Though Israel is in the midst of a 7 year drought so the shores are vastly receded. Boats in Tiberias' harbor, which sits on the Sea of Galilee, sat on rock because the water level was so low.

However, this general area is in the more green part of the country compared to large desert expanses in the south. This means that there is abundant wildlife and plant life. Staying here for a few days I was able to take in the sounds at a few different times of day. It is amazing how different a place sounds throughout the course of the day.
Standing on shore, looking away from Sea of Galilee toward the sunset:

Sunrise, looking through tree grove toward nearby Sea of Galilee:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Israel: The Holy City of Tsfat

Israel - Tsfat by BinauralAirwaves
View from Tsfat:

My first full day in Israel was spent touring the northern region between the Sea of Galilee and the Lebanese border. One of the first stops was in Tsfat (spelling is open for interpretation). Tsfat, which translates to "lookout", is a prominent place for Kabballah study. "Kabballah" literally means "receiving" in Hebrew and it represents the school of thought that deals with the mystical aspects of Judaism. This is the thing that Madonna is fascinated with. Rumor has it that Madonna wanted to buy a place in Tsfat, so as to get her Kabballah study on, but was denied due to fear of excessive commotion due to her prescience there.

The Old City of Tsfat, Israel:

View Larger Map

At anyrate, Tsfat is a pretty small town (~32,000 people) built on steep terrain and inhabited by many religious people.

Track 1:
Walking up stairs past school yard
I made the first recording while walking up very steep stairs and through a largish landing that doubles as a school yard and there were many little kids out running around on recess.

From whence the Hoopdie cometh Na Na Na:

Track 2:
Hoopdie blasting Akon's "Right Now (Na Na Na)"

At the top of the stairs there is a narrow road and a beautiful view down over the town and across the valley. Of course, this picturesque moment was quickly shattered as Akon's "Right Now (Na Na Na)" enters the picture bumping from some dude's hoopdie. I guess it's impossible to escape Top 40 hit's...

Track 3:
Chatter around tourist stalls + Hava Nagila in background

From the top of the city we walked down through the narrow and windy streets of the old city until we were squarely caught in the maw of a tourist trap. Though, it was actually a pretty cool little tourist stop--not too garish or over the top. You can hear the din of Hava Nagila in the background and so on.

One of the many narrow alleys of the Old City:

Track 4:
The sound of fresh orange juice

Then the answer to the parched tourist appeared: free squeezed orange juice. You can hear the oranges being squeezed in a hand press.

Track 5:
Street musician playing the Panton (steel-drum-like instrument)

The musical highlight of Tsfat was this street musician playing this cool circular metallic instrument that is very similar to a steel drum in many ways except played with the bare hands instead of mallets and convex instead of concave on top. If anyone has pictures of this or a reference to the type of instrument online, I'd be most appreciative if you would send it. The guy said it is called the "Panton" or "Pantong" or something like that. Wish I could have stuck around a bit longer...

Binaural Recording Info:
Microphone Setup: In-Ear Microphones
Master Recording Format: 44.1kHz/24bit

There are tons more recordings coming from my time in Israel. Stay tuned...


Israel Recordings Coming Soon!

I just returned from 10 days in Israel where I made ~14 hours of binaural audio recordings. My recordings span the gamut of everything from morning birds, religious towns, street musicians, bus rides, camels, sandstorms, flash floods in the Negev Desert, the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, open air markets, and many more. I'm currently going through this huge amount of audio and pulling out the most interesting sounds and will be posting these in chunks in the coming days.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Klive @ Hressó (On-Venue)

Klive's Hressó performance was really great. The guy behind Klive is the same guy who did the Lighthouse Sound Installation that I posted previously. His style as Klive is this nice mixture of electronic sorcery melded with soothing acoustic samples which works particularly well with Klive at the helm. Playing live, Klive had a stellar female vocalist and 4 fantastic brass players who had previously played with Björk.

On-venue: Hressó
Reykjavik, Iceland
2008, October 15, Wednesday, 20:00

Hressó with stage against the far back wall and the bar directly to the left (out of view):

The Scene:
Hressó has a small concert area which you can't even really see in the above picture but it's basically against the farthest wall which you can see. This is connected to the larger dining area, in the opposite direction of the photo, by a narrow barway (kind of like a hall but with a bar in it-Ok, I just made that up). I was near the end of the barway relatively far back from the stage. So, you'll likely hear people walking around, making weird comments about the binaural manikin, and eating/drinking in close proximity. Take a gander.

(Use Headphones for All Recordings) 
***There is a slight cut out near the beginning of the 1st song-it's not loud and going to make you go deaf, it simply cuts out and then back in. I think I was readjusting a cable after moving the setup.
Klive @ Hressó - Iceland Airwaves 2008 by BinauralAirwaves
Binaural Recording Info:
Microphone Setup: Ultra Hi-Fi Binaural Manikin Head
Master Recording Format: 5.6MHz/1bit Direct Stream Digital

If you're a fan of this, you should check out Klive's CD here.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rökkurró @ Mál og Menning (Off-Venue)

Rökkurró @ Mál og Menning (Off-Venue) - Iceland Airwaves 2008 by BinauralAirwaves
The manikin taking in the scene from across the bookstore before the performance started:

Off-venue: Mál og Menning (Language and Culture) Bookstore
Reykjavik, Iceland
2008, October 15, 17:00

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

This was Rökkurró's first performance of Airwaves and the first official show I heard of the Iceland Airwaves festival. It was an "off-venue" show that was free to anyone, as opposed to the "on-venue" shows which required the Iceland Airwaves Pass.

Off-Venue Shows=Short and Sweet:
The off-venue shows were all around Reykjavik in nice little spaces like record shops, cafes, and bookstores. There were so many concerts happening at the same time in different places that there was naturally a ton of running around to catch all the shows that you wanted to hear. It was impossible to not miss good music since there was so much. It kind of felt like a real world incarnation of hitting "Scan" on your radio and getting all of these little glimpses of different bands in a short amount of time.

I'm used to 1 hour sets minimum in the US with a pretty big chunk of setup time in between bands. However, the off-venue shows were typically only about 25-30 minutes which is really short in my mind. It worked amazingly well though. Many bands had an at least one off-venue show and then an on-venue show. So, sometimes you might have only been able to catch an act off-venue because their on-venue performance overlapped with another group you wanted to see only but had that one on-venue performance. It seemed a daunting task at first but it worked out quite well.

A close up of the band obscured by a cool looking light fixture and tons of other stuff:

The Scene:
Rökkurró had a great turn out and played quite well. This concert was in Mál og Menning, a bookstore who's name translates to "Language and Culture". It's located on the main drag of Reykjavik: Laugervegur. It should be interesting to compare the acoustics/ambiance of this performance to Rökkurró's 12 Tónar off-venue performance (and soon to their Iðno on-venue performance after I post it).

As you can see from the photos, I'm way across the room at the top of the stairs. I wanted to capture the acoustics of the large room by being away from the group and give the sensation of standing in the crowd, like you would have been doing if you had been there.

Some things to listen for:
  • The women speaking in Icelandic directly to the left (literally right next to the manikin)
  • Espresso machine ~8m to the left.
  • People chating and drinking coffee in the cafe seating area in back and to the left.
  • Something I thought was kind of funny happened near the end of Ferðalangurinn where this older woman walked up the stairs and we had this exchange:
She seemed to ask this same question in Icelandic to me and I gave a confused look back and she switched to English...
Woman: How long is this going, do you know that? How long is this going, do you know that?
Aaron: I think about another 20 minutes.
Woman: Ok [snicker], then I'm leaving.

What a hater haha. Though, I guess if you're into browsing books you wouldn't be so keen on tons of people blocking all of the books while they check out a cool concert.

Anyhow, it was indeed a great concert.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Photos Are Now Geotagged

I just took advantage of the sleek integration of Picasa and Google Maps to geotag my photos. So, if you're wondering where a photo was taken or you want to take a geographically choreographed tour of my recordings you can. Simply click on the photo you're interested in and you'll be magically transported to the album it is in. Plus there are some additional photos that I didn't post on the blog.


PS I would recommend viewing in satellite mode (namely for Iceland)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Finn @ Organ (On-Venue)

Finn was dressed like some type of of medieval troubadour or something. He played a great stripped down set however, consisting of guitar + voice through 3 microphones, for various effects. This song in particular reminds me very much, in chordal progression and vocal melodic/rhythmic/relation to the guitar, of Radiohead's "True Love Waits". I don't think I'm crazy. Judge for yourself.

Finn @ Organ (Iceland Airwaves 2008):
(Use Headphones for All Recordings)
Finn @ Organ - Icelands Airwaves 2008 by BinauralAirwaves
Song/Piece: Unknown (Think Radiohead's "True Love Waits" for the 21st century)
Microphone Setup: In-Ear Microphones
Master Recording Format: 44.1kHz/24bit


Correction for The Heir Electric (is really The Airelectric)

This is extremely overdue:

I was very happy to get an email from Karl who is the guy behind what I thought/hoped was "The Heir Electric" and it was great to reconnect. Though, in this email I learned that Karl is in fact "The Airelectric"... a name that came to him in a dream. I can not argue with that. A cool name and even more cool music--it makes me feel kind of bad for proposing "The Heir Electric". At any rate, here are Karl's links so you can check out his great music. Enjoy:


New Years Resolution... More binaural, less blather.

As simple as that.