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Nothing could be further from the heady drama of his opera “Faust” than Gounod‘s cheerful, melodious “Little Symphony for Wind”. Its infectious nonchalance and easy gracefulness has made it a favorite with amateur as well as professional wind players. Though it was written when the composer was 70 years old and has the formal structure of a classical symphony, ever one of its four movements breathes youthful gaiety and Gallic charm. The second movement, Adagio, is a lyrical, finely sustained melody, mainly for flute. The final Scherzo, with its bright, staccato, syncopated theme, is remarkably “modern” for its time, and shows that Gounod was keeping a weather eye on his younger contemporaries*.
This recording was made the 23rd of November 2013 with members of Iceland Amateur Symphony Orchestra in Seltjarnarnes church. Keep in mind that the orchestra comprises mostly those who earn their living in occupations other than music so this is a perfect performance.
This is a binaural recording with Sennheiser MKH8020 mounted into foam dummy head. The sound is rather harsh in some mid range frequencies and the reverb may have been better and lasted longer. This might be repaired in post, but I am not interested in such thing. Good recording is more important. I think this poor sound is mainly because the design of the hall (church). Also is the microphone placement difficult to change during the concert. But anyway this stereo recording is a nice example of binaural recording. Normally, headphone is required while listening, but in this recording the instruments in the performance are dancing nicely between the channels so it is nice to listen in both headphones and speakers.

Charles Gounod – Petite Symphonie

Hér er upptaka frá tónleikum Sinfóníusveitar áhugamanna í Seltjarnarneskirkju frá því 23. nóvember 2013. Er þetta lítil sinfónía eftir Charles Gounod sem hann samdi sjötugur að aldri árið 1885 fyrir níu blásturshljóðfæri.. Var það félagi hans og flautuleikarinn Poul Taffanel sem pantaði verkið sem sver sig í ætt við blásaraserenöður Mozarts.
Upptakan er gerð með svoköllaðu “binaural tækni” sem gengur út á að staðsetja hljóðnema í kúlu eða bolta sem líkist mannshöfði. Þannig má oft ná mjög skemmtilegum umhverfishljóðritunum sem oftar en ekki er best að hlusta á í góðum heyrnartólum.
Flutingur blásara á tónverkinu er afbragðs góður, en upptakan hefði alveg mátt vera betri. Miðjan er yfirmótuð á einhverjum tíðnum sem gerir hljóminn svolítið harðan á köflum. Gera má ráð fyrir að það reiknist að stærstum hluta til á eigin tíðni salarins. Þá hefði mátt vera meira eftirhljómur frá salnum. Þarna skiptir bæði salurinn og staðsetning hljóðnemanna miklu máli. En því miður er ekki hægt að finna bestu staðsetninguna á meðan á tónleikum stendur. Það getur því oftar en ekki varið hrein heppni að ná góðum upptökum með einfaldri steriotækni.
Hljóðfæraleikarar gáfu leyfi fyrir vefvæðingu hljóðritsins.


  Download mp3 file  (256kbps / 37Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020 (Binaural)

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I have still lots of unpublished recordings from this midsummer nights in Flói 2012.
With a quick audition all this recordings sounds similar. But with closer attention it sounds all as a beautiful symphony. There is so much happening that it can blow your attention, at the same time it can easily be your lullaby. I think these recordings are too nice to be lost in some of my hard drives.
This recording was made 26th of June, around 2am and is a straight forward of part 5.
It contains many bird species. Red throat Loon and two snivel Loon eyes. Red- necked Phalarope, Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, White Wagtail, Winter Wren, Northern Wheatear, Common Redpoll, Snow Bunting and maybe other birds I can not mention.
In distance there are some traffic noises, horses, sheeps and Whooper Swan.
Background noise is mostly surf along the south coast and “white noise” is mic´s internal noise .
As usual for nature recordings as this one, don’t play it loud. Play it as you will hear nature sound trough open window.

Friðland í Flóa 2012. 6. hluti

Hér er á ferðinni beint framhald af 5. hluta, upptöku frá 26. júní. Klukkan er um tvö eftir miðnætti og fuglalífið á fullu á þessari björtu sumarnótt. Þeir fuglar sem heyrist mest í eru lómur og tveir ungar hans. Óðinshanar, stelkur og spói. Ýmsar aðrar tegundir eru svo í bakgrunni. Í bakgrunni má heyra í briminu meðfram suðurströndinni, einhverri umferð, hestum og kindum.
Það er vert að minna á að best er að hlusta á þessar náttúruupptökur á lágum styrk, svipað því að hlusta á fuglasöng um opin glugga.


Download mp3 file (192kbps / 39,6Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pics: EOS 30D (see more pictures) (Where is nature reserve Flói)

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In Önundarfjörður (fjord) northwest of Iceland is a small village, Flateyri. During the winter, avalanches are falling in the mountains all around the fjord.
In Oktober 1995 a huge avalanche hit Flateyri. Many houses were wiped away and 20 died. Several other avalanches and the crazy weather closed the road to the village so the only way for rescue team was from sea.
The first rescue unit pass a molded 45 years old dock in the bottom of the fjord at Holtstangi. This dock was made in 1950 for security reason if avalanches close the road and other communication to Flateyri
This terrible avalanche in the October night 1995, shows how important this dock was for the community, so it was rebuilt in the spring 1996.
This recording was made in the beach close to this dock 19th of June 2012

Bryggjan við Holtstanga 1. hluti

Ferjubryggja hefur lengið verið að Holti í Önundarfirði. Bryggjan var og er fyrst og fremst öryggisaðstaða fyrir Flateyringa, vegna þess hvað vegasamband um Hvilftarhlíð er ótryggt vegna snjóflóðahættu. Kom notagildi hennar berlega í ljós þegar snjóflóðið féll á Flateyri í október 1995.
Bryggjan var þá orðin 45 ára gömul og mikið fúin. Var því gripið til þess ráðs um vorið 1996 að endurbyggja bryggjuna og þá úr fúavörðum viði.
Hljóðritið sem hér má heyra ver tekið upp um miðnætti í fjörunni við hliðina á bryggjuni 19. júní 2012.


Download mp3 file (192kbps / 29,4Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics. Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pix. Canon EOS30D

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Reykjavík Culture Night was held for the nineteenth time on 23rd of August 2014. As usual it normally ends with a big concert and a fireworks in Reykjavík downtown.
This year the weather was wet but warm.
I was soaked when the fireworks started, and I was probably not in the best place to record fireworks. But it was as interesting to listen to the joyful crowd during the show.
In just 9 minutes they blew up three tons of fireworks from several places around the concert stage.  More information about this dance project and Reykjavik culture nights.

Eldar, dansverk fyrir þrjú tonn af flugeldum

Upptaka frá flugedasýningu menningarnætur 24. ágúst 2013 í blautu en hlýju veðri. Því miður má heyra það á upptökunni að vindhlífin var, þegar þarna kom við sögu, orðin  gegnblaut. En engu að síður, stemmningi skilar sér bærilega.


Download mp3 file (192kbps / 23,2Mb)

Recorder. Sound Devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8040 (ORTF)
Pix: Nokia N82. (see video of this fireworks)

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In Iceland it is possible to find many hot springs all over the country. Many of them have optimal temperature for bath and to relax. For centurys people have piled stones and turf around some of this known natural hot springs.
In the beginning of last centuries many of this natural hot springs were used to teach people to swim. Soon, many communities all over the country built real swimming pools of concrete near these springs.
One of these places can be found at Krossholt at Barðastönd, Southwest Iceland. There is Krosslaug, a 12 meters long swiming pool, built in 1948. There is also newly built natural hot tub, build on a hot spring in traditional style. It was the Youth Association of Barðaströnd County who piled this tub with stones, gravel and turf.
From the bottom through the ground of the tub comes the warm water with bobbles that gives relaxing sound while laying there with the ear below the surface. You can hear the bobbles moving upwards trough the gravel deep from the ground under the tub.
This recording was made with hydrophones at 15th of June 2012.
Another interesting recording from Krossholt, nearby place is: Opus for power line, bass, wind and birds.

Krosslaug í Mórudal við Barðastönd.

Á Birkimel við mynni Mórudals, hefur myndast þjónustukjarni Barðastrandar.
Það hefur reynst mér ótrúlega erfitt að afla sögulegra heimilda um þennan stað á vefnum. Því segi ég aðeins það litla sem ég tel mig muna.
Á sjöunda til níunda ártaugar síðustu aldar var þar skóli, félagsheimili, kaupfélagsútibúð og litilsháttar iðnaður. Þar var einnig reynt að koma upp fiskeldi. Það fór á hausinn.
Í dag er staðurinn líklega betur þekktur fyrir ferðaþjónustu. Stéttarfélög eru þar með orlofshús sem og ferðaþjóunsta sem rekin er frá nærliggjandi bæ.
Víða í Mórudal er að finna volgar uppsprettur. Sundlaug var reist við eina slíka í fjörunni neðan við Krossholt 1948. Hefur hún átt það til að fara nokkuð illa í vondum veðrum. Vorið 2011 var laugin tekin í gegn og var þá hlaðinn heitur pottur að ég held yfir volgri uppsprettu fremur en borholu..
Það er ákaflega notalegt liggja í þessum potti í makindum með eyrun undir yfirborðinu og hlusta á volgt vatnið og loftbólur streyma upp úr jarðlögum pottsins. Meðfylgjandi upptaka var gerð í pottaferð 15. júní 2012.
Önnur áhugaverð upptaka sem gerð var við Krossholt er: Tónverk fyrir háspennustrengi, bassa, vind og fugla.


Download mp3 file (192kbps / 28,8Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Aquarian H2a-XLR
Pics. Sony CyberShot DSC-P120 & Olympus 4040 & EOS 30D (see more pictures)

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In 27th July I decided to cycle with recording gear out of Reykjavik. It was late in the evening when I left my house. Just after I left the street lights, I cycled into dark, wet fog.
I was both whet and cold when I passed the fog on the highest peak of the road in the mountain Hengill.
I waited there almost for two hours in a very calm weather, just to enjoy the prospect. Noise from nearby hydroelectric plant filled the air with a powerful rumbling noise. Below, all around me, was this thick fog and a clear sky above.
I was getting tired when I saw the sun rice above the horizon around 4 am.  After several photo shots I decided to find a place to sleep and feed my recorder with “early morning summer sound”.
On my way, was a place named Hagavik, a very nice cove in the southwest of Þingvallavatn lake. When I arrived, the fog was still very thick. I spread out my bivi sack on a place I remembered I put up my tent for about 35 years ago, when this place was not so popular. It was now a filthy motorist parking and fish hunting place. But, just as in the past, the soundscape was glorious.
Two MKH20 was placed close to the lake and I went to sleep 10 meters away.
The time was about 5:40 in the morning and the atmosphere was very quiet in the fog when the recording start.

Hagavík við Þingvallavatn. 1. hluti

Þann 27. júlí nýtti ég síðustu daga sumarfrísins til að hjóla með upptökutækin austur fyrir fjall. Við Hagavík fann ég mér náttstað snemma morguns. Hljóðnemana setti ég við fjöruborðið en lagðust sjálfur í Bivi poka á grasbala sem var illa troðin eftir marga bíla. Veiðisóðar höfðu greinilega verið þarna á ferð því úldin beita, sígarettustubbar og annað rusl lá þar um allt. En hljóðmyndin og kyrrðin var dásamleg eins og vanalega, alveg þangað til bílaumferðin fór að aukast síðar um morguninn.


  Download mp3 file (192kbps / 35,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20. AB40 setup
Pics: EOS M (see picture from this bicycle trip)

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In last week of August the first “real winter storm” arrived to Iceland, with strong cold wind and snow down to 300 m o.s. Luckily it was not as bad as weather forecast expected.
But for sure more and stronger storms will arrive in coming months. Sometimes it happens during high tide and with extremely low air pressure so the whole harbor is floating in deep seawater.
Last autumn 2012, we got at last two times a “real storm”, and both this storms arrived while I was at work. It was really dangerous to be outside so we spent most of the day inside. Regularly we heard loud “drumming sound” and got a taste of an earthquake when containers and reefers flew of the stacks to the ground.
Following recording was recorded in one of those bad weather situations 2nd of November 2012. It is mostly audible wind noises with flying garbage around when suddenly somewhere in the harbor one container take off from a stack and fells to the ground.

Fljgúandi gámar

Upptaka frá Sundahafnarsvæðinu í Reykavik frá því 2. november 2012, þegar gekk á með miklu norðan hvassviðri. Þá fór mikið af Sundahafnarsvæðinu á flot og nokkrir gámar tókust á loft með miklum látum. Í upptökunni sem hér fylgir má heyra í gám þegar hann fellur úr stæðu einhvers staðar á svæðinu.


Download mp3 file (192kbps / 29,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Sennheier MKH30/40. MS setup in Recote windshield
Pics: Nokia N82

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