Ville Pulkki’s fame reached the techno avant garde with the adoption of his ingenious VBAP (vector-base amplitude panning) a tool for creating spatial sound. When I met him in Helsinki, I was delighted to discover that behind the techie who developed VBAP, a charming jokester. Since then, I’ve enjoyed his warmth and his efficient organizing of the Acoustics Department at Aalto University, including the 2023 convention of the Audio Engineering Society of Europe. Maija-Leena Remes and I interviewed Ville in his lab where he was studying the acoustic layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. He also talked about his learning to dance at the age of 40 and performing on television for commercials and musical events, where the delight of performance must compete with his delight of invention.
Ville Pulkki is a professor in the Department of Information and Communications Engineering at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland who has worked in the field of spatial audio for over 25 years. He developed VBAP for his PhD. in 2001 and later, directional audio coding with his research group. He has also made contributions to the perception of spatial sound, laser-based measurement of room responses, and binaural auditory models. He received the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal Award from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the AES Silver Medal Award. He enjoys being with his family, building his summer house, playing various musical instruments, and acting, dancing and singing in musical ensembles.
Playlist of samples: Score The World contest STW2618 • Ville Pulkki Songs of Flowers and Stones • Charlie Morrow Chorale bounce 1 • Charlie Morrow Soundflake orchestral version • Ville Pulkki Musical fractal Kuusi Soundflake instrumental • Ville Pulkki Tous les Matins du Monde (Marin Marais) • Jordi Savall Ella (1960) • Charlie Morrow Ultrasonic spatial superhearing • Ville Pulkki A Future Harvest • Charlie Morrow ScruTiny in the Great Round • Charlie Morrow Daydream musical composition • Ville Pulkki Binary sequences Six variations for orchestra • Ville Pulkki Wave Music III - 60 Clarinets and a Boat • Charlie Morrow Sun Chant (1975) • Charlie Morrow Bat Sounds
Themes discussed: VBAP, perception of spatial sound, early immersive experiences in Finland, experiencing silence, bat sounds, ultrasonic super hearing, physics vs music, esoteric inventions, ambisonics, performing music live.
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