Archive for the ‘Music & release’ Category


It was very nice weather this evening. The downtown was almost overcrowded with people which was shopping or just walking around to feel and smell the atmosphere of Christmas.
It was calm so the town smelled strongly of cloves, toasted knead, spirit, red vine, beer, all kinds of perfume, tobacco and even weed…and what is never missing in Reykjavik, a smell of exhaust from traffic.This was perfect weather to catch the sound of the Christmas rush hour.
Just 30 second after I start the recording, I heard beautiful singing voices. There were six singers of female song group „Jólabjöllurnar“.
I placed my self around 4 meters from the singers. Behind me was the audience on their walk who stopped for a moment to listen. The heavy background noise is mostly from car traffic, as usual.
This recording is captured with DIY binaural microphone rig which I just finished to prepare several hours before the recording. It contains two matched pair of parallel Primo EM172 capsules, connected to LOM phantom power adapter (see pictures).
I spent two hours walking around recording this evening. I noticed some audible time error between left and right channel in 30-40° around the rig which means the rig needs some changes in the future. But the funny thing is this time error sounds like a perfect „sound effect“ in combination with this well trained singers.
This was recorded on Lækjatorg square in Reykjavik town center between 9 – 10 pm.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid level.

Lækjartorg á Þorláksmessu 2017

Það var ótrúlega gott veður þessa Þorláksmessu. Miðbærinn var líka troðfullur af fólki, sem liklega skiptist jafn milli Íslendinga og útlendinga sem voru að versla, sýna sig og sjá aðra.
Þar sem ég gekk austur Austurstræti og var var nýbúinn að ræsa upptökutækið þá mátti heyra fagran söng frá Lækjartorgi. Ég gekk á hljóðið og þar var þá sextett fagurra kvenna að syngja jölalög.
Ég mátti til með að ná þessum söng á upptökutækið og gerði það þar til yfir lauk.

(mp3 256kbps / 44Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Primo EM172
Pix: Samsung Galaxy6

Location: 64.147388, -21.936692
Weather: Calm. Cloudy, 1°C


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Pablo Sarasate was born 10 March 1844 in Pamplona, Navarre, the son of an artillery bandmaster. He began studying the violin with his father at the age of five and later took lessons from a local teacher. His musical talent became evident early on and he appeared in his first public concert in A Coruña at the age of eight.
His performance was well-received, and caught the attention of a wealthy patron who provided the funding for Sarasate to study under Manuel Rodríguez Saez in Madrid, where he gained the favor of Queen Isabella II. Later, as his abilities developed, he was sent to study under Jean-Delphin Alard at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of twelve.
There, at seventeen, Sarasate entered a competition for the Premier Prix and won his first prize, the Conservatoire’s highest honour. (There was not another Spanish violinist to achieve this until Manuel Quiroga did so in 1911; Quiroga was frequently compared to Sarasate throughout his career.)
Sarasate, who had been publicly performing since childhood, made his Paris debut as a concert violinist in 1860, and played in London the following year. Over the course of his career, he toured many parts of the world, performing in Europe, North America, and South America. His artistic pre-eminence was due principally to the purity of his tone, which was free from any tendency towards the sentimental or rhapsodic, and to that impressive facility of execution that made him a virtuoso. In his early career, Sarasate performed mainly opera fantasies, most notably the Carmen Fantasy, and various other pieces that he had composed. The popularity of Sarasate’s Spanish flavour in his compositions is reflected in the work of his contemporaries. For example, the influences of Spanish music can be heard in such notable works as Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole which was dedicated to Sarasate; Georges Bizet’s Carmen; and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, written expressly for Sarasate and dedicated to him.
Of Sarasate’s idiomatic writing for his instrument, the playwright and music critic George Bernard Shaw once declared that though there were many composers of music for the violin, there were but few composers of violin music. Of Sarasate’s talents as performer and composer, Shaw said that he „left criticism gasping miles behind him“. Sarasate’s own compositions are mainly show-pieces designed to demonstrate his exemplary technique. Perhaps the best known of his works is Zigeunerweisen (1878), a work for violin and orchestra. Another piece, the Carmen Fantasy (1883), also for violin and orchestra, makes use of themes from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen. Probably his most performed encores are his two books of Spanish dances, brief pieces designed to please the listener’s ear and show off the performer’s talent. He also made arrangements of a number of other composers’ work for violin, and composed sets of variations on „potpourris“ drawn from operas familiar to his audiences, such as his Fantasia on La forza del destino (his Opus 1), his „Souvenirs of Faust“, or his variations on themes from Die Zauberflöte. In 1904 he made a small number of recordings. In all his travels Sarasate returned to Pamplona each year for the San Fermín festival.
Sarasate died in Biarritz, France, on 20 September 1908, from chronic bronchitis. He bequeathed his violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1724, to the Musée de la Musique. The violin now bears his name as the Sarasate Stradivarius in his memory. His second Stradivari violin, the Boissier of 1713, is now owned by Real Conservatorio Superior de Música, Madrid. Among his violin pupils was Alfred De Sève. The Pablo Sarasate International Violin Competition is held in Pamplona. (Wikipedia)
Following recording Zigeunerweisen is performed by Chrissie Telma Guðmundsdóttir (violin) and The Iceland Amateur Symphony Orchestra directed by Oliver Kentish.
This was recorded at Seltjarnarnes Church 16th of October 2016.
Thanks to Oliver and Chrissie who gave me a permission to publish this recording on the web.

(320Mbps / 24,4Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Neumann KM184 (NOS) & Line Audio OM1 (AB40) in 3m above orchestra. Sennheiser MKH20 for bass and Line Audio CM3 on soloist (Chrissie).
Location: 64.1485379,-22.0052351

More information:
Chrissie Telma Guðmundsdóttir
Oliver Kentish
The Iceland Amateur Symphony Orchestra

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The 10th of July 2015 I visited Ásbyrgi national park, in the north east Iceland.
I arrived around 9 pm. The weather was rather cold, with light drizzle rain. However there was a sport game on the old camp side held by the local community. Calls, yell and sheers from audience sounded fantastic in the echo from the surrounding cliffs. Mixed with the birdsong from the forest and the cliffs above it sounded like I was in another world.
I found a good place to record this amazing soundscape.
Soon I noticed a boring noise in the background from petrol power generator so the recording was shorter than I hoped .
When I came back to the car park the sport game was finished and the people were leaving the place. I heard someone in the crowd playing on Mbira thump piano. It came from female in traditional dress. Her instrument sounded nice in this place, so I enjoyed listening while I was packing my gear in the car.
Some Icelandic male in the crowd called after her: ‘Where are you from?“
„I am from everywhere“ she repleted.
Funny answer, I thought and started to listen to the conversations. Why not record her while she was playing?
She gave me a permission, so we took a walk to Botnstjörn pound in the bottom of Ásbyrgi.
Her name is Jessica Rose, with nickname Fairy.
I did not dare to ask her about her nationality, but her English was from the west, maybe from Canada, or north east USA. She was traveling in Iceland with her sister and two friends.

Fairy in Ásbyrgi

Um miðjan júlí 2015 kom ég við í Ásbyrgi. Ég hafði gefið mér nægan tíma þar árið áður svo ég ætlaði ekki að að eyða þar miklum tíma heldur fara á aðra staði í þjóðgarðinum sem ég hafði „hljóðstað“ á.
Ég kom á bílastæðið í botni Ásbyrgis um kl. 21. Á gamla tjaldsvæðinu stóð yfir íþróttamót. Það var því óvenju mikið af bílum og fólki á svæðinu. Hvattningarköll áhorfenda bergmáluðu sérkennilega milli klettanna í bland við fuglasöng úr skóginum og fýlahjal ofan úr klettunum. Ég rauk því til og fann mér upptökkustað. En það leið ekki á löngu að suð frá bensínrafstöð á keppnissvæðinu fór að pirra mig. Upptakan var því styttri en til stóð.
Þegar á bílastæðið var komið var fólk að streyma af mótssvæðinu. Heyri ég þá að einhver spilar á þumalpiano sem hljómaði skemmtilega á þessum stað. Var þar á ferð dama að nafni Jessica Rose sem vildi láta kalla sig Fairy. Var hún þarna í félagsskap með systur sinni og tveimur öðrum vinum á ferð um landið.
Ég stóst ekki mátið. Ég fékk leyfi hjá henni til að taka tónlist hennar upp og var það gert á pallinum við Botnstjörn.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 48Mb)

Recorder Sound devices 788
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS) & Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (ORTF)
Pic: Canon EOS M
Recording location: 65.998557, -16.513076
Weather: Drizzle rain, calm and about 9°C

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At Culture nights in Reykjavik the 23rd of august 2014 I was walking downtown with my recording gear. Reykjavik downtown was packed with people walking between events everywhere, in the streets, in galleries, restaurants, pubs and shops. I spent most of the day with AudioTechnica BP4025 on boom until I noticed that the sound was probably not as good as expected for music events. So I cycled home and changed to recently made „MKH20 binaural array„, hoping that it would give a better result.
What interested me most was the six hour event in Hallgrímskirkja church. It was a music event with choirs, organ, sing along and many other kind of music. I spent almost two hours there recording to the end of the event. The last one was the choir Schola cantorum. This choir have beautiful voices and that evening they mostly sang hymn songs and prayers, some very old.
Even though I am completely nonreligious, their prayers and songs touched me deeply . It somehow reminded my all in one, of my childhood, the beautiful nature and the wonders of life .
As in a field recording this recording has its own character with average quality. But honestly, it is the most beautiful music I have ever recorded.
I was probably 15 meters from the choir. People walked trough the church siting down and listening for a while, then walking away all the time so you will hear lot of cloth rustling. Outside there was a huge downtown street party which can be heard during the last minutes of the last song when the side doors of the church was opened.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening.

Einlægur bænasöngur

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka sem tekin var upp á Menningarnótt 23. ágúst 2014 í Hallgrimskirkju. Þennan dag stóð þar yfir 6 tíma dagskrá sem kölluð var Sálmafoss, þar sem ýmsir flytendur komu fram. Í lokin kom fram kórinn Schola cantorum undir stjórn Harðar Áskelssonar með sálmalög og bænir.
Upptakan er lítilega samansett þar sem skarkali og drukknir menn trufluðu upptökuna nokkrum sinnum og tóku stemninguna alveg úr sambandi í þessum frábæra söng. Eftir stóðu þó fjórir sálmar sem eru þessir:

1. „Heyr himna smiður„. Sálmur eftir Kolbein Tumason (1173-1208) . Lag eftir Þorkel Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013).

2. „Til þín, Drottinn hnatta og heima“. Sálmur eftir Pál V. G. Kolka (1895-1971). Lag eftir Þorkel Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013).

3. „Vertu guð faðir faðir minn„. Sálmur eftir Hallgrím Pétursson (1614-1674). Lag eftir Jakob Tryggvason (1907-1999).

4. „Nú hverfur sól í haf„. Sálmur eftir Sigurbjörn Einarsson (1911-2008). Lag eftir Þorkel Sigurbjörsson (1938-2013).

„Nú hverfur sól í haf“ er svo endurtekið eftir að Sr. Jón Dalbú Hróbjartsson sóknarprestur fer með bænina „Faðir vor“, en þá gengur kórinn einn hring um kirkjuna og endar sönginn frammi í andyri. Á meðan á því stendur eru dyr kikjuskipsins opnaðar, en þá má heyra í því villta partýi sem fyrir utan var.
Upptakan er birt með leyfi kórsins.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum.

Download mp3 file (265kbps/35,5Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (Binaural)
Pics. Canon EOS-M
Rec. Location. 64.141801, -21.926812

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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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Every 1st of May is a Labour day parade in Reykjavik, where people walk together to the city center, listening to speeches and music.
For one year ago I walked this parade and listening to the day’s program with binaural microphones. Following recording contains the end of the day’s program and suddenly song and speech income of Iceland’s well known socialist Þorvaldur Þorvaldsson.
Another recording from the parade this day can be found at Audioboo

Verkaliðsdagurinn 1. maí 2012

Verkaliðsdaginn 1. maí, nákvæmlega fyrir ári síðan, mætti ég niður í bæ með Binaural hljóðnema. Ég bjóst ekki við neinu spennandi en lét upptökutækið þó ganga allan tíman. Þegar opinberum ræðuhöldum á Hallærisplaninu lauk tók við söngur Karlakór Reykjavíkur og Léttsveitarinnar. Þar á eftir tók við samsöngur á Internationalinum.
En óvænt í lokin þegar öllu átti að vera lokið kom Þorvaldur Þorvaldsson (Þorvaldur kommi) inn með hressilegan söng og hélt beztu ræðu dagsins.
Önnur upptaka, frá gönguni sjálfri þennan dag er að finna á Audioboo.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 21,4Mb)

Recorder: Olympus LS10
Mics: Primo EM172 (See microphone setup)
Pics: Olympus 4040

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In 10th of February 2013 I recorded a concert with Amateur symphony orchestra.
The program contained a wonderful melody “Senur” composed in four chapters by Sigurður Sævarsson. It was composed for string orchestra and obo. Both the orchestra and the soloist, Guðrún Másdóttir, played it flawless. Hereby is the first chapter of Senur without any post work.
I was pretty happy with the recording result, even though the concert hall (a church) sounded terrible for recording. It has a very harsh sound and difficult peaks in some resonance frequencies.
Over the orchestra I used a Jeclin disk with a double pair of mics, parallel MKH8020 and MKH20 in 45°+45° (as shown on the picture).
Close to the soloist there was a pair of MKH8040 and far behind in the hall was a pair of SE4400 with spaced Omni (70cm).
Past months I have got a few emails where people ask me for a sound sample with my Jecklin disk. So here are two samples, both almost the same, but one is recorded with MKH20 in 45°+45° and the other one with parallel MKH8020.

“Senur” fyrsti kafli

Sigurður Sævarsson hóf söngnám við tónlistarskólann í Keflavík undir handleiðslu Árna Sighvatssonar. Þaðan lá leiðinn í Nýja tónlistarskólann, þar sem hann nam hjá Sigurði Demetz Franzyni og Alinu Dubik. Hann lauk þaðan prófi vorið 1994. Sama ár hóf Sigurður söng- og tónlistarnám við Boston University í Bandaríkjunum, þar sem kennarar hans voru William Sharp, Charles Fussel, Sam Hendrick og Martin Amin. Hann lauk þaðan meistaraprófi í báðum greinum vorið 1997.
Helstu viðfangsefni Sigurðar hafa verið óperur og kórverk. Tveir geisladiskar haf verið gefnir út með verkum hans. Hallgrímspassía kom út árið 2010 og Missa Pacis kom út 2011. Nýjasta verk Sigurðar er Jólaóratórían sem var frumflutt 2. desember 2012.
Sigurður samdi “Senur” upphaflega fyrir óbó og strengjakvartett, að tilhlutan Eydísar Franzdóttur óbóleikara. Verkið var frumflutt á Myrkum músíkdögum 2012 og hefur verið flutt nokkrum sinnum síðan í Tékklandi og Þýskalandi. Sigurður umritaði verkið fyrir skömmu fyrir óbó og strengjasveit og er sú gerð verksins frumflutt hér.
Guðrún Másdóttir hóf að læra á óbó í Tónskóla Sigursveins D. Kristinssonar 14 ára að aldri. Hún lauk þaðan fullnaðarprófi árið 1992 undir handleiðslu Daða Kolbeinssonar. Hún sótti nær öll námskeið Sinfóníuhljómsveitar æskunnar undir stjórn Paul Zukovsky á árunum 1985-1991 og hefur nokkrum sinnum leikið með Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands. Guðrún hefur leikið með Sinfóníuhljómsveit áhugamanna óslitið frá byrjun árs 1991. Hún er í stjórn hljómsveitarinnar og hefur umsjón með vefsíðu hennar, en aðalstarf Guðrúnar er staða tölvunarfræðings hjá fyrirtækinu Mentor.


Recording with Sennheiser MKH20
Download mp3 file. (256kbps / 9Mb)

Recording with Sennheiser MKH8020
Download mp3 file. (256kbps / 9Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20, MKH8020, MKH8040 and SE4400
Picture of the Jecklin disk

Recording with MKH20(+8dB) and MKH8040.
MKH8020 and SE4400a are turned off.

If you do not see the Sound Cloud link above, please press on this link: https://soundcloud.com/fieldrecording-net/senur-chapter-one

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