Birdpen – Lifeline

Potential Summer Dance hit

This song could easily be remixed into a summer classic. It has all the right elements: dreamy washing vocals full of pain and sentiment alongside a pulse that seeks a mechanical beat. And it’s a top video too.

Produced in Argentina by director & editor Pierre-Alexis Morin, you’ll see classic apocalyptic wastelands in which actor Juan Diego Puentes is the mouthpiece for the lyrics, while elements of mystery and grace are conveyed by dancer Micaela Racciatti. The art director Sebastien Plassiard has delivered in intriguing short, whose palette is white to light grey and a little in between.

The track is taken from Birdpen’s Third album ‘In The Company of Imaginary Friends’ will be released on May 8th in Germany and May 11th in the rest of Europe. It is another great album from Birdpen and well worth investing. Until themn you might like to check out some of their back catalogue. Maybe start with their second album Global Lows

Binaural Interview with Archive’s Dave Pen

As someone who enjoys recording binaural sounds I’m always looking for opportunities to experiment and recently recorded a binaural interview with a musician, while walking around a park.

The guest was Dave Pen, one of the best songwriters on the south coast, who has found success and recognition across Europe with Archive, a former UK trip-hop collective that has morphed into a progressive and intellectual feast of melodies and sounds.

Along with guitarist and co-founder Mike Bird, he is also in Birdpen, a dark and electronic rock group from Southampton that have been formed for over ten years, yet are only on their third album.

Climb Every Mountain

In August 2014 Dave is raising funds and awareness for children’s cancer by trekking to Mont Blanc with Trekstock.

They will walk 100km, creating music on the way, and then make an ascent of the mountain that has recently claimed the lives of some experienced climbers.

That accident happened after the interview otherwise I would have questioned some of the safety aspects, however we did get to talk about the trek, climbing mountains and of course the new album ‘In the Company of Imaginary Friends’.

BIRDPEN BACKSTAGEDave also discussed how they are using PledgeMusic to raise funds for the release of this album and if you are quick you can pick up some interesting Birdpen memorabilia, plus put your name down for a vinyl copy of the album.

The whole of the interview is available as part of the pledge process – if you have pledge you receive extra goodies as a thank you and incentive to join.

So if you are interested in hearing the interview and grabbing what is expected to be an excellent thrid album, visit Birdpen on PledgeMusic.

Mastering a Binaural Interview

The interview was recorded on Southampton Common and having the microphones on my ears, instead of my hand, was a real bonus. It was less intrusive, as I didn’t have to keep pointing the mic at the guest, and after a while I think both of us forgot it was an interview.

On listening back I noticed that my voice was louder than expected, so in the mastering I reduced it as much as possible, while boosting Dave’s. There is no other processing involved and I’m hoping it hasn’t interfered with the binaural experience.

For best results listen to it outside, while walking around, and for about 23 minutes, Dave Pen will be your imaginary friend.

There will be more binaural recordings released over the coming months, so please follow me on Twitter or Google+ for the next update.

What are Binaural Recordings?

Binaural recordings simulate the three dimensional sounds that you hear and reproduce the spatial location of noises. If the noise is made behind you then a binaural recording should reproduce that noise behind you.

You need to be wearing headphones for the effect to work and I have my own theory that recording made outside only work outside, just as recordings inside only work inside.

I think it has something to do with the echo or lack of echo, plus what your brain is expecting to hear.

These recordings are made using two microphones, placed on either side of your head, or a dummies head.

For a fuller explanation visit Binaural Recordings on Wikipedia.

Recommended Albums from Amazon

If you’d like to discover the sounds of Archive then their 2012 album ‘With Us Until You’re Dead’ is an excellent place to start.

And if it is Birdpen you’d rather start with, their second album ‘Global Lows’ is worth buying or downloading.

South by Southampton Festive 50 (2012) 1 – 10

The south coast music scene exploded in 2012 with a variety of acts either releasing quality albums or coming of age. The mixture of styles and genres means that there is no particular trend but one aspect that binds all of them is the quality of the song writing.

Below are 50 acts who have been featured on Xan Phillips’ ‘South by Southampton’ during 2012. The hash tag on Twitter is #festive50sbys

1 Only The Names Change – Birdpen

2 Sweet Sour (Letterman live) – Band of Skulls

3 This Old Town – Sean McGowan

4 Valentine – Delays

5 Wheelchair Sex – Shaun Sheers

6 Rites of Spring – Accrington Stanley

7 Peggy Sang The Blues – Frank Turner

8 Green Eyed Monster – Charley Macaulay

9 Welcome to Austerity – Doyle and the Fourfathers

10 Top of the Class – The Novatones

South by Southampton Festive 50 1 – 10 | 11 – 30 | 31 – 50

Paris launch for Birdpen album

Last night the place to be was the 114 Club in Paris: Birdpen launched their second album ‘Global Lows’.

A free gig and no doubt rammed, as Birdpen recently attracted 300 people to a concert in Normandy. and in France the buzz is this Southampton band.

They’ve a head start on most with front man Dave Pen also singing for ‘Archive‘, who headlined the French equivalent of Glastonbury in 2011.

But Birdpen’s manager, Duncan Lewis, thinks it runs deeper: “the European market and music fans are more open to the band’s style of music.”

Duncan is no stranger to the international scene having spent 10 years managing Delays and sees the UK’s obsession with youth and trends very good reasons to travel: “it is better to develop the band’s profile where they already have that growing fan base.”

No matter where it is released Mike Bird and Dave Pen have created a wonderful album.

Global Lows
Global Lows
They recorded it with Jim Spencer of Eve Studios who they described in an interview for France’s Rock’One as having “a great sonic mind” which was no doubt developed when recording names like: New Order, The Charlatans and The Horrors,

Global Lows‘ was influenced by international strife and Birdpen admit: “The music has an uplifting quality but the lyrical content and some of the emotional content is very dark, very melancholic and sad.”

The lows mix very well with the highs of quality songs, musicianship and recording techniques that promote Birdpen to music’s Premiership.

Here is a video from Thursday’s gig….