Live performance by Kutumba

After a busy day of orientation and sightseeing around Kathmandu, Greg Simmons' GE-OS team arrived in the town of Patan to record a private concert by Kutumba – one of Nepal’s most successful musical ensembles. Kutumba are a six-piece acoustic ensemble that only play instruments found in the Himalaya region.

The band set up in their tastefully decorated rehearsal studio and patiently gave the recording team numerous soundchecks as microphones and performers were positioned and re-positioned for a direct-to-stereo recording. Team leader Greg Simmons chose a pair of DPA 4023 compact cardioids in a 90° XY configuration to capture the performance.

The GE-OS Project update #01

Day 1, 21 December 2010

‘A pair of coincident cardioids crossed at 90° requires a soundfield of almost 180° to create a stereo image that extends from hard left to hard right when played through a stereo monitoring system’ said Simmons. ‘It is my least favourite stereo mic technique due to its 3:1 angular compression ratio, but it was a good choice for this recording due to the physical width of the ensemble and the need to mic from a relatively close distance to avoid too much room sound.’

Setting the musicians up in a semicircle around the microphone pair and adjusting their relative distances produced a very acceptable balance with considerable detail and separation thanks to the resolution of the DPA cardioids.

When the performance was over, the GE-OS team members were treated to a feast of Newari food in the courtyard outside of the rehearsal studio, washing it down with copious amounts of rice beer and racksi (a millet-based home brew that is very popular throughout Nepal).

About The GE-OS Project

Founded by Greg Simmons in 2008, The GE-OS Project takes audio students and other interested parties on international recording expeditions to capture the sounds and music of different countries and cultures. The goal is to make the highest quality recordings under the circumstances, with an emphasis on the educational aspects of recording on location.

‘GE-OS’ is an acronym for ‘Guerrilla Ethnomusicology – Open Source’, a reflection of the recording philosophies and dissemination methods used by the project. The recordings fall into three broad categories: direct-to-stereo ethnographic recordings of traditional music performed in traditional contexts, multitrack recordings of local musicians improvising over backing tracks, and phonographic recordings of city sounds, village sounds and nature sounds. On completion of the project, all recordings will be placed on line for anyone to access and use under the terms of a Creative Commons licensing scheme.

The GE-OS Project is currently undertaking its third extended recording expedition and gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of Amber Technology, DPA Microphones and TC Electronic.

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