Hypnos Artists - Austere
Austere released their Hypnos label debut Pulse in 2007, on the Hypnos Secret Sounds sub-label. Their next album Solyaris is a February 2008 release.
The well-established but very secretive duo has been releasing their own work for some time, and a bit more information is available at austere.org on the web. And here are a few questions Austere consented to answer:
What? Mindscapes: ambient soundtracks for altered states of mind.
When? Since 1998.
Where? Somewhere in the Pacific Wonderland.
Why? Because we like to.
How? We're not so sure ourselves.
Q: Why "Austere"?
A: We mean it in the older sense of "simple; plain; unadorned; minimal" rather than "severe; stern; forbidding; ascetic". Mostly we thought it looked nice, and we like the idea of being filed between "The Aphex Twin" and "Autechre". We prefer to pronounce it "awe-steer" rather than "awe-stare" but you can use the one you prefer. We also answer to "Hey you!" and "Yo, douche-bag!"
Q: How do you cook up this stuff?
A: Each of our tracks is lovingly handcrafted from only the finest ingredients: specially imported subtractive, additive & wavetable digital & analogue synthesis, a pinch of Indian grown tambura, certified organic analogue synthesis, a hint of broken acoustic and electric guitars, a smattering of top-shelf tape effects, with a little rusty spring reverb on the side, all seasoned with mushrooms and herb. Each and every dish is then glossed with analogue and digital effects, pedals, and software plugins, and finally each and every bit is hand-polished using only the latest and most chic digital editing and mastering to provide you with a multitrack meal best accompanied by fine red wine.
Q: Are you trained / classical musickians?
A: If we may quote a good friend and collaborator of ours, Ben Hudgins of Abstract Audio Systems and several other excellent musickal projects, as well as a top-notch DJ from New Yawk City:
"I love music and make my own, yet I am not a 'musician' and therefore lack all the implied emotional damage and over-inflated ego problems of a 'musician'."
There is no way we could put it better than ourselves, so we decided to just nick Ben's own words.
Q: Could you describe your musick?
A: Musick is hard to describe. Here's some words we or other people have used: atmospheric, gorgeous, ambient, cathedral-like, somber, ebbing and flowing, minimal, electronic, surreal, moody, abstract, soothing, psychedelic, subtle, relaxing, lush, colourful, spooky, quiet, evolving & bloody crap. Overall, we get lumped into the "ambient" genre.
Q: Ambient? So you sound like The Orb?
A: No, we're old school ambient, props to Mr. Eno. Most of our stuff doesn't have a beat, and you can't bug out to it.
Q: So you're New Age wankers?
A: We're much too weird for the Windham Hill crowd, a bit too mellow for the ravers, and we look horrid in all black.
Q: So what exactly are you trying to do?
A: We like musick that you can really listen to or totally ignore, depending on your mood. We try to make musick that sounds differently every time it's heard. We want to make musick that's like taking a trip inside your head.
Q: Why the obscurity?
A: Maybe we're daft, but we think that the musick is the only thing that's important, not the personalities nor myths behind it.
Q: Isn't that rather pretentious?
A: Not intentionally.
Q: Is this some sort of weird Zen attitude thing?
A: Probably. Mostly. Or maybe it's just a way of having a larf. Oh wait... isn't that a koan?
Q: What do you get when you play New Age musick backwards?
A: More New Age.
Q: What do you get when you play Ambient musick backwards?
A: Oh... was something playing?