Polyhymnia was one of the Muses of Greek myth, specifically the Muse of sacred hymn. Echoes of Polyhymnia compiles
music in ambient and related genres composed and recorded exclusively by women.
This genre is so male-dominated generally that we had a lot of fun gathering interesting ambient sounds, including some
works that have one foot in ambient territory and another foot in one of several different, related genres. It covers styles and
flavors as diverse as ambient, drone, glitch, vocal collage, goth and electronica.
Hypnos manager (and artist) Lena Griffin curated this specially-themed compilation which gathers an assortment of ambient &
atmospheric sound works from around the world. This project reveals a totally new angle on ambient music, more diverse and
wide-ranging than all previous ambient compilations from Hypnos. Ranging from ethereal to dark to pretty to spooky to melodic,
we think this album displays a solidly worthwhile musical and soundscape content beyond just the curiosity and "I've never
seen that before" factor of the theme.
"The nine Muses struck up a lifestirring melody. Polyhymnia, nursingmother of the dance, waved her arms and sketched in the
air an image of a soundless voice, speaking with hands and moving eyes in a graphic picture of silence full of meaning."
--The Dionysiaca of Nonnus
Track listing with mp3 sample clips:
1. Margaret Noble: "Nufon" mp3
2. Stellaria Fennica: "Hibernia" mp3
3. Kristin Miltner: "Slew Wave" mp3
4. Clarissa Borba: "Floating Tones" mp3
5. Sara Ayers: "There Was No More Time" mp3
6. Rose Bolton: "An Unheard Message" mp3
7. Gydja: "Wave-Particle Duality" mp3
8. The Floating World: "Kanam" mp3
9. K. Cornelius: "Of The Ancients" mp3
10. Lena Griffin: "She Forgot, She Dreamed" mp3
"My compliments for /echoes of polyhymnia/, great album!"
--Dennis Koepper, Databloem
"A wonderful compilation from Hypnos, featuring women in ambient music. Highly recommended."
--Scott Raymond, WVKR-FM
"It sort of beats me why after a mere three months we get another compilation by Hypnos. Of course with many new names, but if a
compilation is to promote the artists on your label, then why not release those artists? The two CDR releases also received are by people
who I haven't seen on either of these compilations. The only name I recognized was Gydja and no doubt Lena Griffin is connected to labelboss
M. Griffin. What ties these ten tracks together is the fact that all of this are by female composers. Some of them operate in the strict Hypnos
field of ambient music, such as Kristin Miltner, Margaret Noble, Sara Ayers, Gydja, Amanda Volta (though quite dark there), K. Cornelius (with
too much reverb). The exceptions here are made by Stelleria Fennica, whose pieces has some ethereal singing (think Hyperium' 'Heavenly
Voices' series), the marimba and glockenspiel minimalism of Clarissa Barba and the treated piano of Rose Bolton. Lena Griffin's piece for
heavily treated viola might pass on as true Hypnos music too, but its so dark that it falls outside the well-known paths too. These four tracks
make the difference here, but throughout it was a most enjoyable compilation, with many interesting names to watch out for."
--Frans DeWaard, Vital Weekly
"Haven't seen many (any?) comments on this CD so thought I'd dive right in with my review. This one's turning out to be the perfect soundtrack to
the fall/winter season, full of melancholy floating watery soundscapes. The beautiful cover art on this release really fits the music contained within.
Unfortunately, the disc opens with an awful track that annoys rather than soothes, "Nufon" by Margaret Noble. Didn't quite see how this one fit.
Luckily it is only 3 minutes! Onto track 2, "Hibernia" by Stellaria Fenica. Now I never would have guessed I'd hear something like this on a Hypnos album,
but it's great stuff. File under "goth ambient." If you're familiar with the Swedish goth band Arcana, who are one of the few (IMO) artists to do the Dead
Can Dance style with class and originality, this will be right up your alley. Martial drumbeats, melodic piano, Lisa Gerrard-like vocals, and tons of reverb.
This would have been a much better opening track. Track 3, "Slew Wave," by Kristin Miltner. Wow, what a great track. Think female Saul Stokes, I kid
you not! Drifty experimental ambient w/heavenly processed female vocals. 13 minutes very well spent. Track 4, "Floating Tones" by Clarissa Borba.
Keeps the "water"' imagery going with what sound like a xylophone and bells. For some reason I think of Harold Budd on this one, perhaps in that it's
quite "musical" and a bit avant-garde. Very nicely done. Next up is the Sara Ayers track "There Was No More Time." She's one of the few artists I'd
heard of before on this collection. Some great (female of course)choral voices reminiscent of Eno's "Music for Airports" augmented with beautiful
electronic drones. Definitely one of my favorites on this disc. "An Unheard Message" by Rose Bolton--we're back in Harold Budd-land with Budd-like
piano chords and tinkly flourishes of notes, cello, bells, some Alio Die-infused organic scrapes, and nice effects processing. Again, quite "musical" like
the Borba piece, and again very aquatic sounding. Next up is Gydja, who I'd heard before with her excellent Mystery Sea release a couple years back.
Nice electronic based soundscape with watery effects, some samples of a female scientist(?) speaking about cosmic rays. Another very cool track.
"Kanam" by The Floating World (aka Amanda Votta) is a dark ambient stunner done in collaboration with Gustaf Hildebrand (Cyclic Law label). This is some
very deep cosmic/organic ambient, Oophoi fans take note. An amazing track. "Of the Ancients" by K. Cornelius fuses reverb-drenched bells, and
echoing electronic effects, reminded me very much of Rapoon/Zoviet France (two very good reference points!) Another fantastic piece. Finally, we
have Lena's "She Forgot, She Dreamed," heavily processed viola piece with a very big Alio Die feel to it. A great way to close this very psychoactive
and meditational album. This disc is really successful in keeping a theme going (for me, that was water) and moving seamlessly from one track to the
next, even though some of the pieces are quite different stylistically. I am counting "Echoes of Polyhymnia" among my top five of 2008. Great job, Lena!!!"
--Reviewed by "drone on" on the Hypnos Forum
"I received "Echoes of Polyhymnia" yesterday and have only been able to listen to it once. I agree with Drone On that this a very good release. I used to
not care much for compilations, but the recent batch of Hypnos comps have made me change my mind. I look forward to listening to this release a lot
more this weekend. I disagree with Drone On , however, about Margeret Noble's track "Nufon". I did enjoy this piece. The second track, "Hibernia" did
catch me by surprise , but not in an unpleasant way. All in all, another excellent Hypnos release. Way to go, Lena."
--Reviewed by "hdibrell" on the Hypnos Forum