M Griffin & D Fulton - The Most Distant Point Known
2000. The first collaboration between Griffin (Hypnos founder and determined minimalist) and Fulton (Dweller at the Threshold co-founder and now-leader) is broad and spacy sonic vista, yet quite listenable -- different enough from previous Griffinmusic and Fultonmusic, yet working in generally familiar territory. Combining deep, churning drones with analog sequencer loops, THE MOST DISTANT POINT KNOWN is a deep and ever-changing collage of shifts and patterns.
Track listing with MP3 sample clips:
Source of All Gravity
Quadrature - Phase 1
Quadrature - Phase 2
Quadrature - Phase 3
Quadrature - Curved Beyond Zero
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Reviews"Significant Releases of 2000 list."
--Star's End Radio host Chuck VanZyl
"....really blows me away."
"Top 10 of 2000 list."
--Joel Krutt, WHUS Radio
"Top 10 of 2000 list (#2)."
--Phil Derby, SMD
"Best of 2000 list (#11)."
--Eric Meece, Mystic Music, KKUP Radio
"Best of 2000 list (#6)."
--Michael Bentley aka eM
--Jesse Sola aka Numina
"Close the curtain, hit the lights, grab your [insert favorite thing here] and turn this album on. It WILL screw with you. Not quite so much as a gothier-than-thou album, but then again, who really wants to listen to that when this album exists. I wish I could write about specific tracks as I usually do, but every time I put the album on I started to drift away into another state and only came back around when it was over. I think this should say enough for the album. If you're looking for the musical version of your favorite drug, or a nice compliment to it, this is a perfect choice for you your ultimate fix."
"The Most Distant Point Known by Mike Griffin and Dave Fulton is a lush treasure."
--Bill Fox, host of Emusic Radio, WDIY
"Best CDs of 2000 list."
--Jim Brenholts on the Ambient Music mailing list
"...a very powerful, deep, rich peice of work. Distant Point is one of the most remarkable releases i've heard in a while!"
--Lance Green on the Space Music mailing list
"INTERSTELLAR AMBIENCE, PAR EXCELLENCE:
Tectonic" opens with the sounds of thruster exhaust coldly searing the invisible flesh of space, a scar etched in sound. Warm, rumbling drones offset the icy, cauterizing burn, while sparse synths tattoo tribal designs, the nucleus of which is more extraterrestrial than earthly: minimalist sketches of sonic mysteriousness. "Dark Observer" maneuvers thick, dark pulsing drones underneath synths wielded like sabers, slicing through light years from tip to handle. The four part "Quadrature," slips the cosmos into a transparent box, each corner and every arching synth riding the ridge of the unseen geometry through black holes of echo, bellowing plasma volcanoes (essence of the primal whirlpool), crystalline spires that sing as they shatter, and cool, humming isolation. Mike Griffin (founder of the Hypnos label , Viridian Sun) and Dave Fulton (Dweller Of The Threshold) venture into the vast reaches of space ambience, utilizing drones and looped analog sequencers in the process. This distinction keeps the more prevalent swirling dynamics at bay, steering the ambience in a straighter line (though not purely linear, it is more about getting from point A to point B), the ambience made to surge instead of meander. The use of analog sequencers, lending a fuzzy, lightly distorted quality to the proceedings, really enhances the experience. Excellent work!"
--JC Smith, Outburn Magazine
"Hypnos label founder M Griffin has previously collaborated with guitarist David Tollefson on two albums as Viridian Sun and with A Produce on last year's Altara, all of which in addition to Griffin's own solo debut have been excellent albums. Now he takes a turn collaborating with Dave Fulton of the group Dweller in the Threshold.
Although I'm not familiar with Fulton's work, I take it that he fits more into the European-style "emusic" catagory, with its very overtly electronic modulated sounds and frequent pulsating rhythms, and that influence is very present here. I don't usually enjoy that sort of thing for too long, but in the context of Griffin's thick drones, it can have a nice effect. That kind of music often sounds to me like it wants to go somewhere but doesn't, but on this album the sounds are more vertical, letting the listener feel around and explore rather than always just waiting for something bigger and louder to happen."
"If sound could travel through the vacuum of outer space, it might sound like the atmospheric wave patterns created by Mike Griffin and Dave Fulton in this outstanding collaboration from Hypnos. Performing on modular and digital synthesizers, they explore the farthest regions of deep space on this fascinating ambient journey. The textures and harmonics fashioned here are ideal for meditation and relaxation.
'Lithospheric Flux' includes rapid Jarre-esque keyboards in staccato pulsations. Dreamy synthscapes evolve throughout 'Opposite Horizon.' 'Quadrature Phase 1' gleams with celestial synths sparkling over continuously morphing lines. Listeners might picture a spacecraft preparing to land on some distant planetary surface during 'Quadrature Phase 2.' Aficionados of ambient electronic compositions frequently heard on the syndicated Hearts of Space programs will appreciate this remarkable venture."
--Ted Cox, New Age Retailer
Oh, sorry. I was somewhere else. I'm not sure where, but it was a long way from here.
On this Fulton/Griffin record, we are much farther out in the cosmos, in the unbelievably thin and rarefied medium between galaxies, listening for the occasional whirr of a passing cosmic string rippling spacetime in its wake. Out here, there is only the fabric of space itself to push against, no distraction from the contemplation of the infinite. Reaching for the boundaries where cosmological theory and general relativity break down into conjecture and shrugs of "beyond this, we really don't know... dragons, maybe?".
Once again, true space music in the sense not of being in space or traveling through space, but of BEING space.....
A remarkable release, highly recommended to all who love such. Well done, Mike and Dave."
--Mike Metlay on the Beyond EM mailing list
"Here is a production that is both synthetic and organic. Each track is named for an earthly force (i.e. "Source of All Gravity") among those mysterious dynamics that govern our planet and its relationship to all that is. One can feel planetary vibrations and a magnificent flow of life as the mind wraps itself around this sonic portrait of our biosphere. The opening track ("Tectonic") sets a tone for the entire album, so that by the time track 4 ("Opposite Horizon") arrives, listeners are firmly committed to an inward journey that encourages a sense of oneness with the planet. The boldness of track 6 ("Quadrature") is further magnified by division into three stunning phases. It's easy to envision this music accompanied by special lighting effects, and it would beautifully augment other forms of artistic presentation."
--Triana J. Elan, NAPRA Review
"I'd second the recommendation on this one. Very interesting juxtaposition of abstract textures and analog sounds. To my ears, almost an update of the 70s cosmic EM sound. I'm also partial to the Jeff Pearce and Saul Stokes releases on Hypnos (not to mention Robert Rich's Humidity)."
--Forrest Fang on the Space Music mailing list
"Fantastic.... The feeling of immensity and incommensurability of Cosmos is described at the best. The emptiness of vastity of space bright of coldness and impersonality. Not joy is present in this work or loving feelings, but is full of strangeness and impersonality of the empty spaces. Listener is like an observer full of marvel that see the infinity of Distant Spaces and reflect on incommensurabity of God...."
--Massimo Pavan, Italy
"M. Griffin in his latest partnership on his Hypnos label (with D. Fulton) has produced a fine album worthy of notice by all... The Most Distant Point Known. Tracks 6 and 8 are especially fine, as well as 2,4,5. Hypnos releases are usually good or great."
--Eric Meece, Mystic Music, KKUP Radio
"This is the most original piece of ambient drone architecture I've heard in some time. Warm/cold/lush/and stark... When it gets loud and noisy it doesn't break the illusion of softness and when it's soft you never get spooked by the spectre of John Tesh leering over sacharine keyboards...So you drone and transport to where you've always been but forgotten about I guess...How can I recommend this disc enough...well I've only heard it once and not quite through...in a week or so maybe I'll have some perspective...
People always want to know where to get started with ambience...histor-ically that would be SAWII, UFOrb and Eno...but now-ically it would be Griffin and Fulton's CD on the Hypnos label...
If this sounds like an ad, sorry...it ain't..."
--John R. VanAken (email@example.com) on the Space Music mailing list
"Hey, this CD is AWESOME! I absolutely love it. Fulton's work with modular synths brings me back to the best the late '60s and early '70s had to offer. The comparison of The Most Distant Point Known to Tangerine Dream's Phaedra is obvious, but I stress Phaedra, and not Tangerine Dream at large."
--Max Shea, host of Martian Gardens Radio, WMUA
"Eager to travel to dark and spacey realms which few human ears will be fortunate enough to visit? Make your seating arrangements now for an aural starflight to The Most Distant Point Known....
Hypnos CEO M. Griffin collaborates with D. Fulton (of Dweller at the Threshold)
A densely churning mass of sonic darkness envelopes the slow-moving tectonic expanse which opens the disc; a massive grumbledronehiss spreads and eventually is caressed by more-tonal breezes whish rise above the thundering murk. Mulitple soundstreams levitate and intertwine in a glimmering state of lithospheric flux. Smooth sheets mingle with more-active sequencer patterns. Big, echoey pulsations form a rhythmic pattern which moves through source of all gravity as if swimming through syrup. Organ-like chords stream alongside, faint then growing stronger, embellished with wispy tendrils of almost-metallic fibers. Like some starflung symphony, opposite horizon simply radiates on several lush layers which slip so-slowly amongst each other.
The disc's final half-hour encompasses the four-parts of quadrature; practically invisible musicality enamates from the shimmering veils of phase 1 (9:39)... chiming iridescence flows in subtle contractions of time and space. phase 2 coasts into more sci-fi-like territories with thrumming machine hum and mechanical hisses decorating its windswept passages. Light electronic tones bop along robotically to propel the piece. A brief closing piece, curved beyond zero (3:24), gleams in a final swaying wash of electric hues.
Merging their visions into one vast (though condensed into 66-minutes) exploration, M. Griffin / D. Fulton travel to The Most Distant Point Known... and of course the fun is in getting there, "watching" the starry nebulae, shining constellations and patches of luminous gas float past the portholes in your mind. 8.9 for a tranquilly immersive speed-of-sound trip into the distance."
--The AmbiEntrance, David Opdyke
"Mike Griffin is known for his ambient and somewhat experimental work, both as a solo artist, and as part of Viridian Sun and other collaborations. Dave Fulton, part of Dweller at the Threshold, is a self-professed lover of progressive rock who tends toward a more active style of electronic music. Their contrasting styles actually turn out to be quite complimentary. The result is more ambient than Dave Fulton, but more accessible than Mike Griffin, and something that neither would have come by on their own.
It's by no means a sequencer album, although 'Lithospheric Flux.' includes a slow pulsing rhythm which girds the atmospheres around it. The synth sounds are very smooth and flowing, always on the verge of forming some structure or melody, but never quite giving in. This gives the music a sense of tension, of continually cresting to where you expect a Dweller lead line to assert itself. The fact that it never emerges does not disappoint, because the electronic sounds used are so cool. 'Source Of All Gravity' is the e-music equivalent of a ping pong ball, with lots of reverb. You can tell Fulton and Griffin had fun putting the sounds together. A sci-fi feel predominates. 'Opposite Horizon' is one of my favourites, a dramatic, deliciously evil-sounding piece for when the bad aliens show up. 'Dark Observer' serves up a deep pulse, similar to 'Lithospheric Flux.' This is the most structured number on the disc, with a great vintage synth lead line, clearly a Fulton touch. The centerpiece of the disc, rightly so, is 'Quadrature,' which is divided into three discrete phases. Together, they total over 25 minutes of the coolest distant space sounds and effects, warbling and gurgling and chugging along. 'Phase 1' goes through a few phases of its own, before settling into bright shimmering metallic sounds, slightly reminiscent of Michael Stearns' spacier works. 'Phase 2' starts dark and formless, but again develops churning sounds and at least the illusion of rhythm midway through. As the pulsing fades away, 'Phase 3' returns to shimmering sounds similar yet distinct from 'Phase 1.' At this point in our space journey, it does indeed sound like we've reached the most distant point known, the edge of some faraway galaxy. I can't say enough about how strongly this disc ends. 'Phase 3' is the epic conclusion, and the brief echoes of 'Curved Beyond Zero' make a deliberate sounding epilogue. I just love how these two pieces go together to wrap things up. A perfect ending to a really fun CD."
--Phil Derby / SMD
"First off it's important to mention that M. Griffin is a huge influence to me therefore I'm going to be more than a little excited to hear his new work no matter who he's working with. For Griffin this recording is in the same vein as much of his previous work, but his work with D. Fulton is more dynamic, both sonically and compositionally.
The Most Distant Point Known opens with profoundly revelatory drones and beautifully cascading ethereal soundscapes that immediately move the listener towards a contemplative state. From the opening of this fine recording to the last bit of fading sound at the end this recording moves slowly and subtly taking the listener to new depths and new dimensions in the organization of sound. This recording possesses a warm and resonating ambience that can best be described as heavenly, and is unparalleled in its use silence as an effective compositional tool.
Interestingly the musical timbres in use are a lot more identifiable in this recording than Griffin recordings of the past, I'm speaking singularly of the use of the modular synthesizer. I've often questioned the use of straight synthesizer timbres, or any timbre in dark atmospheric music that isn't awash in delay and echo, but Griffin and Fulton have managed to make great use of the synthesizers timbres ultimately transforming the synthesizer into part of the ethereal sonic fabric.
In sum, The Most Distant Point Known is full of fantastically tranquil and evocative atmospheres, with an almost majestic ambience that many of Griffin and Fulton's predecessors and contemporaries have yet to broach. While this recording stays within their contextual idiom, it shows a move towards a deeper, more personal ambience. This is a very unique contribution to the ever-evolving genre of Ambient/ atmospheric music, but I have to consider this recording for what it is to me, another very cool, very original, and profoundly inspirational Hypnos recording. Please take a minute and check it out at the Hypnos On-Line store."
--Matt Borghi, The Organization of Sound
"When most modern electronic musicians refer to their synthesizers, we visualize an image of plastic piano keys, a few knobs, buttons and sliders. When Dave Fulton considers his synth, it is not your typical "black box". Fulton works with modular synthesizers, synths whose virtues are: no presets, no memory, no hard wiring and no boundaries in programming flexibility. Part mad scientist, part sonic visionary, Fulton's command of the array of custom designed electronics at his disposal is formidable.
Mike Griffin's orientation to music is more cerebral, building and deconstructing a composition mentally rather than linearly in real time. Griffin's music deals with ambience, nuance and perspective. He is an avid collaborator and has demonstrated his compositional and production skills on several critically acclaimed ablums. Griffin's new CD is a convergence with Dave Fulton entitled The Most Distant Point Known.
This release is a wonderful exploration of electronic textures and synthetic atmospheres. The music is smooth and cool and references early spacemusic in its spirit of sonic exploration. Dense layering, detuned drones and timbres that fold back in on themselves give the album a sense of subtle movement. The Most Distant Point Known draws in the listener and stimulates the mind yet the music is transportive, spacey and at times majestic. The ever churning soundmill of Griffin and Fulton is a fascinating integration of technologies and esthetics."
--Star's End Radio host Chuck VanZyl
"Hypnos, a label known for its trademark sound-recordings of tranquil, ambient music seems to be treading into novel directions with the release of The Most distant Point Known. Here, the artists unearth unique innovative sonorities with experimental leanings recorded with breathtaking dimensionality. There have been many great issues in the field of electronic music lately -- yet most stems from the Nouvelle School from Germany. Listeners and collectors alike should demand new strategies in sound, welcoming the New Jazz/Electronique/Glitch artists that are pushing the envelope and our imagination into new directions. There is nonetheless, much room for the given protocol of Ambient, Minimalist and Drone music to expand upon. This new release from Hypnos founder Mike Griffin, working with outrageous synth-designer Dave Fulton does just that, even as treading the new territory carved by the Nouvelle German faction. Using cues from other, earlier releases of Minimal-Ambient recordings Hypnos has perfected, the musicians intensify and develop established themes into a freshly formed music; one of intense build and release. In fact, the teaming of these two artists bridges the gap between the two Electronica offshoots, forming an entirely original amalgamation of both. Using the drone-based stillness of true Ambient coupled with the subtle experimental suggestions eluding to Nouvelle-Electronica, the luminous duo take the listener into undiscovered sound worlds both profundity and imaginative.
The artists focus on innovative tonal palette colourings and lush, opulent atmospheres due, in part, to the custom-designed modular synths of Fulton's design. These specially designed synthesizers are void of presets and memory, providing a solid foundation that allows limitless possibilities in sound. The Most distant Point Known therefore exhibits a definite spontaneity and sense of experiment present in the first recordings of Electronica -- while transferred beyond the present and well into the future. Many listeners will recall the exhilaration and elation of discovering Early 70's Electronic works for the first time. That excitement is reintroduced on this release. There is a feeling of definite suspense, traversing the 'Other' and leaping into the unknown. Despite the fact that there is an experimental edge -- each note, every step is seemingly deliberate, purpose-filled and intentional. It is this aspect precisely that will cause the collector to return to this CD many times over discovering imbedded deep within the mix.
There are fresh, emergent trends in a field of music many thought exhausted years ago bringing a much-needed rush of stimulation and renewed interest in Electronic Music. 'TMDPK' is counted among one of the works responsible for the budding enthusiasm of the New Movement."
--Glenn Hammett, The Raging Consciousness