LATE-BREAKING BINAURAL NEWS updated 10/2000
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*** SIX RECENT RELEASES!
(Additions to our catalog not yet in the respective category sections, but are on the order form)
Introductory Binaural Article by John Sunier
MOUSSORGSKY: Pictures At An Exhibition (complete)
ChoralConcert (organ/saxophone/flute/guitar) KlangRaume 30430 C-39 $20
Organist Karl Scharnweber, educated in Halle, Germany, joins with two jazz musicians: saxophonist and flutist Thomas Klemm, and guitarist Wolfgang Schmiedt to form the unique trio calling themselves ChoralConcert. THE BINAURAL SOURCE exclusively offers all of their binaural recordings on both the Nabel and KlangRaume labels. Their first recordings some years ago were improvisations on Bach and Lutheran Chorales and the ensemble has been internationally acclaimed ever since. This time they have chosen a concert program staple and audiophile favorite, Moussorgsky's dynamic Pictures At An Exhibition. Their special arrangement of the original for solo piano hues closely to Moussorgsky but with fascinating instrumental colors provided by their four instruments. This is much more fun than the solo organ transcription of the work (though similar to it in some ways) and it provides a welcome change from the over-played symphony orchestra version. You'll promenade thru your own exhibition as the guitar and reed players stand out vividly in front of the massive pipe organ via binaural. Truly an aural treat not to be missed!
GIOACCHINO ROSSINI: Petite messe solennelle (Small Solemn Mass)
Soloists: Ibolya Verebics/Annette Franz/Roberto Sacca/Jorge Escobar/Sabine Eberspacher and Matthias Hermann, Bosendorfer pianos/Thomas Hauschild, harmonium/Stuttgart Chamber Choir/Johannes Moesus, director
Tacet label (2 CDs) $35 C-38
This lovely work is the famous opera composer's most signicant later liturgical work. Written for a mass celebration in a small private chapel, the forces are small but the length and seriousness are not reduced. There are four soloists plus a choir of eight voices, and for accompaniment two pianos and a harmonium. While much of the work shows the operatic leanings of its creator, the Gloria and Credo especially have a strong dramatic character, and at other points an unchurchlike merriment optimistically arises. A complete libretto and notes in English are provided in the booklet of this boxed set. The primary pickup of soloists, choir and instruments in the recording was accomplished with a single Neumann KU-81 dummy head.
THE FOURTH RIVER - The Millennium Revealed - Tapestry
Telarc label $17 C-36
Tapestry consists of director and mezzo Laurie Monahan, soprano Christi Catt, alto DanielaTosk, and on this CD guests Takaaki Masuko on percussion and mezzo Lynn Torgove. It is their fourth CD for Telarc. The Boston-based women's vocal ensemble has designed in this binaural album (recorded with the Neumann KU-100 dummy head) a portrait of both medieval and modern experiences in dealing with the hopes and fears of millennialism - the belief that at the turn of a millennium this world will be radically transformed into a place of peace, fellowship and abundance. Their fascinating program includes a song dedicated to the angel Michael, a plaintive love song, a medieval song expressing terror at a solar eclipse, a modern song descibing the world's end, and two songs by Hildegard von Bingen. There are 17 selections in total. The text of the contemporary title song "The Fourth River" comes from a poem by Rumi, and "Love's Apocalypse" is a complete four-part setting of another Rumi poem. Percussionist Masuko joins in on four of the tracks, including the very rhythmic "Dance of Life."
COME, GENTLE NIGHT - Music of Shakespeare's World - Ensemble Galilei
Telarc label $17 C-37
The six-woman ensemble of instrumentalists play among themselves: fiddle, Scottish small pipes, oboe, recorder, pennywhistle, Celtic harp, viola da gamba and percussion. There is no specific record of what music was played for and around Shakespeare's plays, so they tried out hundreds of jigs, reels and country-dance tunes to find some they liked and felt would show various sides of music of the period. Then some of the ensemble's members composed original works inspired by Shakespeare, such as "The Asp" for Antony and Cleopatra and "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble" for Macbeth. There are 19 tracks in all, with plenty of variety in instrumentation and types of tunes. Some of the highlights: Mister Issac's Maggot, Departe, Departe, Pastime with Good Company (by Henry VIII), Rumble Thy Bellyful, Drive the Cold Winter Away, and the lovely Lilli Burlero. The two-channel CD employs only a single Nemann KU-100 mike system, while for the discreet surround version (to be released later) two other Sennheiser mikes were added to the mix.
CHRIST IS BORN - Christmas Concert at the Benedictine Abbey of Kornelimunster - Stefan Palm, pipe organ
Projekt Freies Kunsthaus Production $25 O-20
Stefan Palm - also heard on our Vox Humana (O-1) and Bach for Pedal Harpsichord CDs (C-16) - presents here a varied program that is appropriate for any time of year - not just the holiday season. There are none of the standard, expected Christmas works. Program: BACH: Concerto in A Minor BVW 593; MENDELSSOHN: Organ Sonata in B Major Op. 65 No. 4; DUPRE: Variations on a old Noel; DAQUIN: Two Noels; BACH: Three Chorale Preludes on ...Nun komm der Heiden Heiland. The large organ was installed in l968 and the cathedral adds a rich and reverberant sonic environment that places the listener in the very best seat - balanced between the direct sounds from the pipes and their sonic reflections above and all around you. The Aachen HEAD Acoustics mike was used (Projekt Freies is based in Aachen, Germany).
FAT CATS - The Latest Binaural Audio Drama from ZBS! - Written & Produced by Tom Lopez, Cast of 12, Music by Tim Clark, 1 1/2 hour full production
ZBS Foundation (2 CDs) $22.50 D-11
Willie is an amateur sleuth who loves reading detective novels. He's hired to paint the living room of a lavish summer home on an island in the Hudson River. The place belongs to wealthy Lucas Trust, who seems to have made it, including a wet T-shirt model girlfriend. Suddenly a car bomb wipes out Lucas and Willie tries to piece together the clues to what happened. A character in the novels Willie reads begins talking to Willie inside his head and instructing him in how to solve who blew up Lucas. Slowly the fictitious gumshoe begins to merge with the real Willie. Witty and imaginative use of binaural for this effect, as well as throughout, and plenty of sound effects and music too. There are six chapters on each of the CDs, to wit: 1) Short Top; Shades; Berkeley Bob; Annie; Christie; A Good Shot; 2) Mickey Spillane; Lucas Trust; On the Bridge; Tweety Bird; A Kayak?; All in One Day.
PLEASE GO TO OUR ORDER FORM TO ENTER ANY OF ABOVE CDs
[RIGHT: Woody Allen taking a break from experiencing our "Moods of Old New Oreleans" binaural CD]
"...Anyone who owns a pair of headphones should have some binaural recordings to listen to. Those are recordings made specifically for headphone listening, and they deliver a sense of realism that no other form of listening can match. But you won't find them in record stores. Just about the only way to get them is to contact THE BINAURAL SOURCE at 1-800-934-0442. Sampler cassettes start at $10 and sampler CDs at $14." - - Tom Kriebel's column in the BUFFALO NEWS, 11/98
HEADPHONE NEWS: Stax Headphones are available again at some dealers via a new U.S. distributor: Yama's Enterprises Inc. at 310-327-3913. They also handle repairs of Stax and Accuphase prodcuts. The SR-001 is a departure from the large electrostatic "earspeakers" for which Stax are famed. It uses tiny transducers that fit into the ear - deeper than inexpensive "ear buds" but not as deeply as the Etymotic in-ear phones. Their flagship Omega model, which had been unavailable for years, is once again offered, at about $6,500.
Sennheiser's HD 600 dynamic phones are receiving praise from many quarters and are the best-sounding phones they have produced, short of their $15,000 electrostatic "Orpheus" model. The deep bass produced by the 600s is now up the level of the Grado SR325 and RS2, making a choice primarily one of taste. At this $300-$600 level, also be sure to audition the Sony MDR-CD3000, AKG500, and Beyer DT931. Those who don't mind stuffing them in their ear canals swear by the Etymotic Research ER-4S, especially those who arrange for the optional custom ear molds.
Several new binaural CDs are in, including the first from Telarc, and a wonderful sampler from Great Britain!. Binaural activity, both in the U.S. and Europe, is on the upswing! More high-end headphone amplifiers have been introduced recently and more are coming soon. Here's one [right] - The Holmes-Powell Class A vacuum tube D.C.T. model - custom built and only $3,500! More computers are including head-phone jacks (the iMac has a pair right on the front) and computer games are turning to headphone binaural because spatial effects are easier to achieve than with speakers and one doesn't need to move around when you're in front of the computer anyway - right?
Dolby Labs and Lake DSP of Australia are marketing "Dolby Headphone," a new technology developed by Lake intended to revolutionize headphone listening. A digital processor chip with the special circuit will be part of the headphone jack on many upcoming components and allow users to experience a surround sound effect on headphones instead of the bizarre highly-separated "at-the-ears" effect heard on headphones when the source material is not true binaural. The effect will be heard whether the source material is 5.1 surround, Pro Logic Surround or plain two channel stereo. For binaural listening, a switch will be provided to turn off the special circuit. For more information on Dolby Headphone visit the Lake DSP site.
A recent survey by the Electronic Industries Association showed the startling figure that something like 70% of computer users with CD ROM drives use them mostly for listening to music CDs while working on their computers! Those in offices use headphones, naturally. The boss may have software to track where you go on the Net, but there's no software yet to eavesdrop on what you listen to on your CD ROM! You can go anywhere in the world of virtual audio while at work, without fear of repercussions! And you won't have to hit a key to put a fake chart up on your monitor when your boss walks in if you're listening to one of our unique binaural Erotic Audio CDs!
For a review of the HeadRoom Air Head and Air Bag portable CD player case and headphone amp, see the December 1999 issue of AUDIOPHILE AUDITION. There is also a review of the Wheatfield HA-2 vacuum tube headphone amp in the February AUDIOPHILE AUDITION and The Max headphone amp from HeadRoom is covered in the January issue of AUDIOPHILE AUDITION. For a review of the Holmes-Powell Headphone Amp mentioned above, see p. 60 of the Winter issue of THE ABSOLUTE SOUND.
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