David Byrne’s Installation with DKO in Binaural Sound

This is another binaural recording featuring David Byrne’s installation “Playing the Building” at Aria in Minneapolis, this time with the ensemble DKO (Jon Davis on bass clarinet, John Keston on the installation, and Graham O’Brien on percussion).

You can read more about the installation at Aria’s website, but it lends itself perfectly to being documented through binaural recording techniques because the sounds literally come from all around you. There are motors, mallets, and pipes installed on walls, girders, and metal stairs in the historic, gutted, warehouse building, all which are activated from the keyboard of a repurposed, antique, pump organ.

The recording was made with a custom built binaural head microphone. I made the device with a styrofoam mannequin head, a set of silicone ears designed for acupuncture practice, and a pair of Shure MX202 microphones embedded into the ear canals. Once again it is critical that you wear headphones to experience the localized binaural effect, although I just listened on my studio monitors and it sounds very clear and wide, maintaining lots of the spatial qualities.