Another Stunning, True-to-life Performance
Thrill to a more true-to-life performance than you have ever heard before on disc. The Blue Knights recording, High Altitude Drums, uses patented IsoMike technology for the ultimate drum and bugle corps experience.
Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps
Since 1958, the Blue Knights have been providing young men and women the opportunity to perform, compete, and better themselves as members of highly talented performance groups.
From humble beginnings as a parade corps, the Blue Knights have grown to offer a year-round program of ensembles for thousands of youth from the Rocky Mountain region and around the world.
The Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps has established itself as one of the elite groups of its kind in the world. A perennial Drum Corps International finalist, the Blue Knights are renowned in the activity for excellence in symphonic music, intricate visual choreography, and an unwavering commitment to innovation.
Far beyond a high school or college marching band, drum and bugle corps are the pinnacle for marching musicians across the world. The best young brass and percussion performers from all over the globe join with color guards of the highest quality to embark on a grueling national tour with hopes of being crowned the DCI World Champions.
For the performers who participate, drum corps becomes a way of life and a fondly remembered part of their youth. Between the thrill of entertaining enormous crowds, touring the country over the course of a summer, the creation of life-long friendships, and the motivation to perfect an intensely challenging show, it is easy to see why passion runs so deep for both the corps and the fans who love and support the activity.
The IsoMike System
IsoMike ("Isolated Microphones") is an experimental acoustic baffle system, to address the interference of inter-channel sounds that results in compromised fidelity.
For the four-channel recordings on this disc, the microphones were suspended on four arms, separated by IsoMike baffles.
Most baffles absorb sound from mid- to high-range frequencies; lower frequencies are more difficult to absorb. Here, the unique shapes of the IsoMike baffles are advantageous. As lower frequencies flow around the heart- or egg -shaped baffles, they are scattered, effectively dissipating their energy.
Eliminating line-of-sight between the microphones seems to lower some fidelity robbing cancellations, this reveals a layer of extreme detail and a sense of increased sensitivity. The technicians also took great care to reduce the noise level within the auditorium during the recordings.
All recordings were made at a low enough level to assure that no clipping occurred, therefore you may need to raise your volume control more than when playing some commercially available CDs where the volume has been "normalized" and/or compressed.
Since there is NO limiting, the dynamic range might surprise you, your system or your pets. So be VERY cautious the first entire playing so as to be kind to your amplifiers or speakers.
These tracks contain no gain changes or other such processing, so some tracks will be at a softer or louder level than other tracks. However, the dynamic range within a track is the same as the original live performance.
Small groups may have a performer-to-microphone distance of 10-15 feet, larger groups would have performer-to-microphone distances up to 60 feet. At no time were the microphones in a "close-miked" configuration. All recordings were made at Weber State University (WSU).
The Blue Knights
Blue Knights proudly celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the corps' organization this year, remembering all the great years as well as the challenges that preceded the Blue Knights of today.
Some years were more fun than others, and some years were downright scary. In retrospect, it's a wonder the corps survived some of the more challenging difficulties placed in its way during its half century of evolution. But the roadblocks of the past instilled in the corps a grit and determination to move forward, stronger and more focused on the future.
Everything in the corps' past—the triumphs and the letdowns—comes together in the corps' 2008 show, "Knight Reign." The show celebrates the glory and the adversity that has molded the personality and fortitude of the corps over the years.
The reign of the corps, reflected in the title, is poetically reflected in the sound and visual representation of rain. A play on words…yes… but one that is most appropriate to convey the meaning of the theme. If it's true that into every life a little rain must fall, then no "reign" is truly complete without a little "rain."
The guard opens the show to the sound of rain in Eric Whitacre's "Cloudburst," conveying a visual representation of the falling rain heard in the music. John Mackey's "Turbine" floods the field in a deluge of power unleashed by the brass line, the storm front a vortex of resonating tornado effects. Through any storm that we persevere, whether real as in weather or metaphorical as in life's challenges, we ultimately celebrate the joy we find in our survival. This is heard in Maurice Ravel's "Jeux D'eau," literally translated as "laughing rain." We realize we're full of life's greatest gift, life itself; and thus we laugh at the confrontations of the past and move on.
With hope and anticipation for the future, the commemoration of what has transpired and what is to come culminates with a fresh take on the tradition hymn tune, "Amazing Grace," full of percussive grandeur that beats into our soul the very promise of a brighter tomorrow. Before the show ends, you'll sense the sun breaking through any remaining storm clouds to uplift our souls and light the way to the corps next fifty years.
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