Note: This video was produced with binaural sound. Please listen with headphones to experience the binaural effect.

In these duets, rather than imitating or alluding to the ambience of urban spaces in a composition, I am attempting to join in with it as if it was a conscious participant in an improvisational ensemble. Using a simple analog synthesizer I am either providing accompaniment for the location, or the ambience accompanies me. Urban environments produce oscillations that cause sound waves forming drones or rhythmic patterns. I respond to these oscillations with basic waveforms like pulse, saw, or triangle waves. The synthesized tones are filtered using envelopes and low frequency oscillators to create more complex textures that alternately blend and contrast with the ambient sound.

To emphasize this process the recordings were made using binaural microphones. When wearing stereo headphones the playback of a binaural recording accurately positions the direction of each sound for the listener, immersing them in the spatial soundscape. In contrast the synthesis is performed in monophonic sound, with no additional processing. This simulates the artist’s phonomnesis, or imagined sound, by placing it in the center of the listeners sound-space.

Concept, Music, Sound: John Keston
Camera, Binaural Head Model: Web Baker

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