In audio recording, "binaural" refers to a recording made with microphones spaced to approximate the distance between and audio differential of (a matching set of)human ears. Binaural recording techniques are far different from spaced stereo miking.
The result is often uncanny, even disorienting, to listen to through headphones, because the sense of presence it confers is so intense.

Binaural

was the title of Pearl Jam's 2000 released album. The track-listing is as follows:

  1. Breakerfall (Words: Vedder/Music: Vedder)
  2. Gods' Dice (Words: Ament/Music: Ament)
  3. Evacuation (Words: Vedder/Music: Cameron)
  4. Light Years (Words: Vedder/Music: Vedder/McCready/Gossard)
  5. Nothing As It Seems* (Words: Ament/Music: Ament)
  6. Thin Air (Words: Gossard/Music: Gossard)
  7. Insignificance (Words: Vedder/Music: Vedder)
  8. Of The Girl* (Words: Gossard/Music: Gossard)
  9. Grievance (Words: Vedder/Music: Vedder)
  10. Rival* (Growing Up Gay In illegible) (Words: Gossard/Music: Gossard)
  11. Sleight Of Hand* (Words: Vedder/Music: Ament)
  12. Soon Forget* (Words: Vedder/Music: Vedder)
  13. Parting Ways (Words: Vedder/Music: Vedder)


Personnel:
  • Eddie Vedder: Vocals, Guitar
  • Stone Gossard: Guitar
  • Jeff Ament: Bass
  • Mike McCready: Guitar
  • Matt Cameron: Drums
Produced by: Tchad Blake and Pearl Jam.

Mixed by: Brendan O'Brien, *Tchad Blake


Binaural was the first album Pearl Jam recorded with their new drummer, Matt Cameron (formerly of the now sadly defunct Soundgarden), and it shows. Binaural rocks more consistantly than any album they've released since Vs. It's an album which shows its roots and influences, but they're more spiritual roots than just sounding like another band. For the most part, Binaural is an angry rock album, recalling artists like The Who, Fugazi, The Clash, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, the opener Breakerfall being especially (lyrically) Young-esque.

The album also has it's more tender moments; Light Years was described by the NME as "Pearl Jam's answer to (REM's) Everybody Hurts", and Thin Air is just beautiful. Soon Forget is caustically humourous ("Sorry is the man who trades his love for a Corvette/Thinks he'll get the girls, he'll only get the mechanic"), and features Eddie in George Formby mode, playing the ukelele.

Lyrically (as mentioned above) the album is quite angry; especially Vedder's lyrics, his stand-out contributions being Evacuation and Grievance. The rest of the band acquit themselves well, although Gossard's lyrics can occasionally be a bit pretentious ("Your disciples are riddled with metaphors" indeed....).

Musically, the album rocks in a punky, "alternative" kinda way, as opposed to the "classic rock" sound their debut had. As a whole, the album has a fairly homogenous sound, unlike the somewhat unfocused Vitalogy and the slightly rambling No Code. Binaural is probably my favourite PJ album, and it deserved the 9/10 review that the NME gave it (the same review which influenced me to buy the album).


Before this wu, I was suffering from E2 writer's block for several days. Then, I remembered the hidden track on Binaural. Et voilà! I'm back in action.

Bin*au"ral (?), a. [Pref. bin- + aural.]

Of or pertaining to, or used by, both ears.

 

© Webster 1913.

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