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The Binaural Banjo
Petal - A Thousand Ages
A couple years ago there was a podcast episode names A Thousand Ages . I like the name and have recycled it as the title of my latest Petal release - while the phrase is from an old hymn, my use is inspired by Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, a sci-fi classic which begins with a quote from the hymn.
For several years I've been working on tunes which capture my impressions of the book, and have finally got them into some sort of shape and order which feels release-worthy. Featuring some beautiful cover art courtesy of Richard PJ Lambert, the whole thing is freely available from the Rusted Sun Collective at Bandcamp:
A Thousand Ages by Petal
The original Double Pinhole Solargraph image used for the artwork is available from Mr. Lambert's flikr stream at https://flic.kr/p/s817GW. Additional information about the artists is also available at http://www.richardpjlambert.com/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/auspices/.
For the Fathers We Never Found
The final episode is here.
I thank everyone who has followed this podcast for so long - seven years now, I think - and hope you've enjoyed listening to the music as much as I've enjoyed making it. Obviously, things have slowed down a lot over the past year or so, but as I've said at some points I've been making a lot of music. For the most part it's freely available Creative Commons stuff, very similar in vibe and style to the Binaural Banjo, but for various reasons the material just isn't finding its way here.
So I'm taking the hint from myself and closing down.
The blog/podcast will stay online indefinitely, and the tunes will likewise be hosted over at the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/podcast_dronelab . Please do continue to download and enjoy, and I would be grateful for anyone to spread the word about my doings as Petal or my other projects. All of these will be posted to http://petalmusic.blogspot.com/ .
As for this last episode, as far as binaural beats go the previous episode was really the last. There is no binaural beat in this one, which is here because it started out as a Binaural Banjo tune and like so many others evolved into something else. I'm also happy to say it is the result of a collaboration between myself and Thomas Lindsey, aka TonePoet, who is an amazing musician in his own right and who releases lots of great stuff over at Bandcamp under the Rusted Sun netlabel: https://rustedsun.bandcamp.com/ . If you like this tune, please be sure to head over and download - for free or "name your price" - the complete EP, Communicate , by the Rusted Sun Collective.
Thank you all again.
For the Fathers We Never Found
Bandcamp EP Released
Too much time has passed since the last Binaural Banjo episode, and I confess that many things have me contemplating the future of this podcast. I've been making lots of music lately, but my ideas and the way the tunes come together don't generally fit the vibe of the podcast.
That said, I do have a tune in the works that will make a good episode and hope to have it online within a week or two. Plus I've been working with some great musicians on collaborations that hopefully will come out on Creative Commons netlabels by late spring or summer.
In the meantime, I decided to take the Bandcamp plunge and release an EP that I've been working on for a while.The tunes were recorded so that bits and pieces could be extracted and used as loops and samples for some other projects. It was supposed to be disposable but I ended up growing attached to the tunes, so I pulled them together into a release:
Straw Men Don't Chase Tornadoes by The Transgender Muleskinner Diaspora
I debated with myself about charging anything, but $3 for 20 minutes or so of music seems reasonable. I kept the CC licensing, so the music can be sampled and used in other stuff same as Binaural Banjo tunes. If you download a copy and like it, please feel free to recommend to friends and family!
A Thousand Ages
Breaking with the usual guitar and banjo duet approach, this tune includes a couple low synth parts. I've also been experimenting a lot lately with poly-rhythms and overlapping time signatures, looking for surprises and interesting intersections of beats and phrases, and although some of that stuff has come out too abstract for what I like to do with this podcast there is a touch of that here towards the end.
The binaural beat is 18Hz, so once again good for some active listening and this tune can also stand a little higher volume than I recommend for the more mellow, sleepy tunes.
I see the last episode, Boatman, was something like four plus months ago. Sorry about that - I've had a bunch of tunes that I started writing for the podcast but which evolved into other projects, so the delay was not from a lack of activity but from too much activity going off in other directions. But it has all gone towards a full length acoustic-ambient release I hope to have out soon, and I think everyone who likes the Binaural Banjo will like that, too.
Thanks as always for your patience and for listening!
As usual, with embedded artwork:
A Thousand Ages
First off, I should say that this tune is pretty dark and noisy. On the one hand, I think it makes some interesting changes from the kind of music I generally post. On the other, I tend to think of the Binaural Banjo as an outlet for my more melodic and light offerings and this tune just doesn't go there. Not for lack of trying - part of the delay in getting a tune up here is the fact that everything I produce lately turns out dark, regardless of how it starts out.
But for all that I like the tune, and it may be relaxing enough in its own way. It comes with a 2Hz binaural beat, which is way down in the mix (the droning you hear is ebowed banjo, not the binaural beat track). At low volume and with headphones it makes an interesting trip.
Next time will be something lighter, I promise.
The Boatman (with embedded artwork!)
I mentioned in my last post about the end of the lossless site that I was working on a lot of new ideas, and of course true to form here I am posting an episode that doesn't really incorporate any of them. But I got stuck on this new wave psychedelic guitar riff a couple weeks ago and decided to see how well I could mix it into a Binaural Banjo tune.
There are some new things in here, actually. I've been wanting to work a rhythm section into more of what I do, which may not be the best choice for this podcast overall but for this tune I think it sounds okay. Because it's a bit more of a pop song and could stand to be listened to at regular volume I included a 30Hz binaural beat that should work with more active listening.
The only thing to watch out for is the high droney parts, which have a kind of delay that I couldn't get rid of. It doesn't take away too much, but maybe should have reduced the gain a bit. Of course you're all welcome to comment.
Lossless Site Offline
For multiple reasons I have decided to no longer maintain my own domain, so the lossless site is no longer available as of today.
I do have every intention of maintaining this podcast indefinitely. From what I read online there does seem to be some doubt about the future of Feedburner and possibly podcasting in general, but we'll have to work through those issues as they arise. At the very least this blog will remain as the front page, regardless of how the music content gets syndicated.
And since I'm posting general info and updates, I know it's been pretty quiet here lately but I had some other musical commitments that I had to fulfill. All good fun but time consuming. That's done with now, and I'm in the studio working hard on a bunch of new tunes and new ideas. So stay tuned and thanks as always for hanging in there!
Don't think I've done this before, but I went with a 1Hz binaural beat on this one after I saw somewhere that it is supposed to cause euphoria and endorphin release. Sounds good to me! After Tuesday I'm sure most of us here in the States will be ready for some endorphins. I'm ready now.
This is also a long one - about 15 minutes. It may be too long to sustain such a simple arrangement and melody, but not for a lack of trying. I did the guitar and banjo parts and experimented with several counter melodies, harmonies, bridges, etc. but found that everything else just got in the way.So I ended up making the intro and outro longer, which was probably the best thing anyway.
Includes embedded artwork, lossless version to be posted soon. Enjoy!
After some delay, a new tune. I hadn't done a drone piece in a while, so that's what I went for here. Experimentally, I also added quite a bit of high end harmonics. I tend to stay away from the upper ranges but this time it seemed like it might work. I hope it did.
Binaural beat of 10Hz this time, good for alert listening.
Includes artwork! The lossless version will be posted later today at Binaural Banjo Lossless .
Rehab, sort of...
I know I'm a little behind my usual schedule for new tunes, and wanted to post quickly to let folks know the podcast is still alive and a couple songs are on the way. We recently had a run in between banjo and child, and the banjo got the worst of it. The pickup on the electric banjo quit working around the same time, so there was not much for me to do but wait on the repairman.
But the banjo is back from the shop and it looks and sounds great. Hopefully within a week or two I can post some new music. Thanks for listening!
Back in February we experienced another move and the start of a new job. One of many perks in this arrangement is I now have a dedicated home studio space - the day we moved in I sat down and just recorded a chord thing on the guitar, which ultimately evolved into the tune featured today.
Hopefully it sounds okay. This time around there's a lot of carpet to deal with, and the studio is also fairly small, so everything sounded different to me.
In any case, there's an 8Hz beat on this one. I know I tend to favor the 4-8Hz range, but that's just my favorite. Hopefully others like it, too. The mp3 also has "cover art" already attached, which is no big deal but should look nice on little devices.
I haven't uploaded the lossless version yet, but check http://www.petalmusic.org/beats/ in a couple days and it will be there.
Lossless Site Back Up!
Binaural Banjo Lossless
Lossless Site Down
While logging on to the Binaural Banjo lossless site this morning to deal with comment and member spam, lo but I discovered that something is wrong. The main page does not load. The non-main pages don't load, either.
I apologize for the inconvenience to any who have tried to access the site since this occurred. I recently started a new job and moved a couple hundred miles (again!), so I haven't been keeping tabs and don't know when the site went down. But the dust is settling so I will plan to have the site back online within a few days.
Thanks again for listening and for making the Binaural Banjo the number one ambient banjo resource in the galaxy.
The Ashen Light
Ahead of the usual schedule this time, with a 16Hz binaural beat. As I was getting this one together, it put me in the mood for more aware, active listening, so I went with a beta wave frequency. I should say that as a tune, this one is still pretty meditative and relaxing. Not quite as simplistic musically as I usually try to keep things, but hopefully it will be interesting without being obtrusively so. Lots of major pentatonic stuff going on, for the theory geeks out there.
Also, some folks will have noticed that I've been embedding images in the mp3 files for the past few episodes. So far the picture has always been the old Binaural Banjo banner image, but starting with this tune I'm going to try and use original art each time. I'm not much of a visual artist, so I doubt anyone will be blown away, but I think it makes for a nice additional touch.
As usual, the lossless version will soon be available at http://www.petalmusic.org/beats/ . Also, since I updated the template here there's a lot of social media capabilities. Please use the buttons provided to "Like" on Facebook, or to Digg or Tweet or otherwise spread the word about the Binaural Banjo. The subscriber count has been holding for a while now and I'd like to see if we can grow the audience.
The Ashen Light
After years of prodding by the Google and Blogger folks, I finally updated to one of the new templates. Looks good and works fine, but mainly I decided it would be nice to capitalize on the available views for mobile devices.
Additionally, there is a follower gadget. If anyone has a strong feeling against this for privacy or other reasons, please comment or send an email.
Thanks as always for listening!
Ambient Radio Feature
Zurich radio station Lora will be featuring the music of my "Petal" project in a broadcast of the "So21" art music program, hosted by Akita Yra. Several Petal tunes will be mixed in with works by acoustic ecologist Gilles Malatray of Des Arts Sonnants , whose work we highly recommend. This should be a real treat! Tune in to radio Lora at 95.7 in the Zurich area, or follow the internet stream from the station's website this Sunday, January 8th, between 21:45 and 22:30 Swiss time.
A little later than usual with this one. Sorry - everything was on schedule for a November release when a series of technical issues forced me to abandon multiple recording sessions and dump an entire work in progress. I'm still hoping to salvage that one, as the tune was really nice, but I'm equally pleased with the current song, Enchantment . This was a mostly improvised piece, with the chord progression and the melody just kind of falling together instantly. Very simple and spacious.
The binaural beat is 6Hz, which is right in the middle of the theta range. As usual around Christmas, I wanted to put out something relaxing and meditative. I think this fits the bill very nicely. Check out the lossless version at http://www.petalmusic.org/beats/
Facebook Page Created
I added a Binaural Banjo Podcast musician/band page to Facebook. Not sure right now how to link to it here, but a search in Facebook for "Binaural Banjo" will get it done. Any Facebook users out there, please spread the word by heading over and adding a "Like." Thanks!
Still keeping to a roughly two month release schedule, here's a new tune with a 10HZ alpha beat. Nice for active listening or relaxation without getting too mellow. The lossless version will be up shortly. Never fear to check it out over at:
Also, I've been enjoying some side activity recently that I'd now like to grow, if possible. Thanks to some enthusiastic listeners I've been pleased to fill a few requests for customized Binaural Banjo releases. These include CD ready collections of tunes written and recorded solely for the buyer, along with original artwork. If anyone out there is interested in such a thing, please email for details.
In the meantime, thanks again to everyone for listening and for the positive feedback!
Evergreen Lossless Available
It has been my intention to remaster some of the old Binaural Banjo tunes and post lossless versions up on the new site. Unfortunately, audio production has been a learning process for me and many of the available songs don't profit from remastering. I can't say right now how many will actually make it up to the lossless site.
So far, the best remix has been Evergreen , which has always been one of my favorite episodes. The lossless version features a bit more treble, so the guitar and banjo both come across more clearly while a lot of the low end noise has been cleaned up from the original. I'm pleased with it, and hope you will check it out:
Evergreen , at Binaural Banjo Lossless
This one is a drone piece, with a 6Hz binaural beat. There's also a bit of synthesizer in the mix, which I rarely use but in this case I wanted to bring the binaural beat more forward in the mix. The synth drone helps to blend everything together smoothly.
I think the last real droney piece I did was Advent , which was something like two and a half years ago. Normally I try to go for a bit more structure, but this time around I wanted something that could serve as a relaxation piece. I think it works, and hope you'll enjoy it. As usual, the lossless version is available at: http://www.petalmusic.org/beats
MP3 here and also available through iTunes or other RSS readers:
A new episode, a mere two months after the last one. The dust is settling from the move and the new job, and it's nice to finally have some dedicated music time. I hope to be able to keep up this kind of schedule for a good long while.
8Hz beat on this one, which overall is just a laid back, simple pentatonic thing that moves from string ideas to droning ones. I admit I was hoping to add a bit more of a melody, but everything I tried just got in the way so I left it as-is. As always I hope you like it.
The lossless version is already up as well. Too big, I think, to host through iTunes but available for download at http://petalmusic.org/beats/
Get the mp3 version here:
Thanks entirely to the hard work of the Drupal folks, there is now a site for lossless versions of Binaural Banjo tunes. Right now the whole thing is totally vanilla, but Soledad is up and ready for a right click and download. Get it here:
I will be adding some older tunes to the site, but I probably won't put up everything. Evergreen for sure, along with whichever tunes are most popular by download count. If anyone has something they'd really like to get in lossless format, please leave a comment.
Also, if you do drop by the site for a listen or download, please leave a comment. I'm interested in seeing what kind of traffic I get. Aside from improving the look of the site, Drupal makes it easy to include features like forums, newsletters, etc. Depending on the uses, I'd be interested in including all that as well.
After a long hiatus, I'm very pleased to get this episode out there. This is not the tune I mentioned starting last week - that one turned out to be like math and I decided I wanted something simpler and more laid back. Soledad fits the bill perfectly, with a 4HZ binaural beat to complement the easy rhythm and straight-ahead melody of the tune. Please enjoy!
Not much else to say. I've been living in the desert for six months now, and the vibe may be creeping into my music. It will be cool to see how things move forward.
Also, coming soon, a new site for lossless versions of Binaural Banjo tunes!
Free Full Length Ambient Release
The ambient release that I've been talking about for so long is finally out, and available at the excellent Earth Mantra netlabel.
As I said in an earlier post, early mixes of several of the tunes were released as Binaural Banjo episodes. Even so, a lot was added along the way and I think the release versions will still sound fresh.
In podcast news, I started laying down tracks for the next Binaural Banjo episode yesterday. Hopefully within a week or so there will be some new music ready for download!
The full length, called Up From Here , can be downloaded from:
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