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HYPNOS RECORDINGS => Hypnos Label Releases => Topic started by: deepspace on August 05, 2008, 05:38:36 AM

Title: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on August 05, 2008, 05:38:36 AM
Giving Villa Galaxia a good listen now- I daresay that it sounds very different from what I have heard thus far from Saul.  It's poppy, and quite Ulrich Schnauss sounding....and don't anyone dare take that in a negative way, I love Ulrich and will defend his wonderful music with great vigour- I honestly don't understand some of the negative press he gets!  Jealousy I think  ;)

This isn't a review....god forbid I'd post a review after my last post which got me into a spot of trouble by the reviewers who frequent the forum! ;)  but it's more a description of some parts of the album, to whet your appetite if you haven't already got the album:

"Hello Radar" is a great opening track, featuring wide-eyed crispy keyboard sounds, and a nice moody bassline.  I can feel that I'm really going to like this- you know the feeling, when an album taps you on the shoulder and goes, "Are you ready?  we are about to become good friends...."  It happens far too infrequently don't you think.  "Vapor trails"  Slightly melancholy second track- with some great outro key washes. yay.  "Blaze" is completely different and brings the album to a, dare I use the word, "chilled" place with it's slightly more, well, serious and blue feeling.  I really like the big sunny melodies on "Night Painting".  Vibrant, primary colours, sweet sounds.  Fingerpainting.  "Eta Car is a massive Star" sounds like an epic Mario Bros game, full of detail and shimmering pixely effects (I don't know what that means either).  Really lovely.  This is an excellent album that will attract many listeners.  It's full of nooks and crannies and quite delirious.  I like!  Nay, love!

Bravo Saul!

Please add some of your own more coherent impressions of the album.  What do you think?
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: 9dragons on August 05, 2008, 10:02:40 AM
I didn't even know this was out yet! It still says "coming soon" on Saul's site. Where'd you get it. Oohhh, those samples are awesome...just as you describe...
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: mgriffin on August 05, 2008, 10:04:53 AM
It's not officially released yet... one of the digital download sites released it early, which kind of stinks.  So, if you're dying dying dying to hear it, you can go to emusic.com and get it, though it's not listed anywhere else yet, and we don't even have the CDs yet.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: saulstokes on August 05, 2008, 12:32:20 PM
Deepspace, thanks so much for your positive initial thoughts. I've had this music kept to myself for too long.  We were trying to keep the digital download a bit secret as the company we used to get it up has a 4-8 week posting. So, we thought we'd hit it about right with the cd coming out first followed by the mp3s. Emusic posted it in about a week. I do not believe it's on any other service yet.

 ;)

JUST A NOTE. What you miss with the digital download:

Fantastic album artwork all the way through.
10 minute extra ending to Interrupted by Time- Many of you might find the extra 10 minutes worth waiting for.

Also, I did want to thank everyone for all the nice comments in one of the other threads. It surely the best thing ever to read comments like this.

Saul
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: Undershadow on August 05, 2008, 12:46:54 PM
[...] It's poppy, and quite Ulrich Schnauss sounding....and don't anyone dare take that in a negative way, I love Ulrich and will defend his wonderful music with great vigour- I honestly don't understand some of the negative press he gets!  Jealousy I think  ;)


I feel I have to represent a minority view. Any reference to Ulrich Schnauss has to be taken in a negative way, at this end at least. One of the most overrated electronica artists of recent years, Schauss's "skill" is to distil some of the best of 80s/90s indie and electro and reduce it to a lowest common denominator anodyne hybrid. The sound he produces is larded over to the max with layers and layers of synth wash (backed up with nasty biscuit tin drum loops) to the extent that the listener has no space to breathe. His first two albums were undistinguished enough, but the last one really was terrible. I think it was called Goodbye. Very poor sound design to these ears, but I guess I'm a voice crying in the wilderness, since the majority seemed to slaver over it. Very poor fare. There are any number of more deserving artists out there, which I feel justifies a negative assessment of this artist's suffocating blanket of overblown electro-pap.

Saul Stokes, on the other hand, is a different matter.







Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: mgriffin on August 05, 2008, 12:53:16 PM
Saul Stokes doesn't use any biscuit tins!
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on August 05, 2008, 02:18:09 PM
Deepspace, thanks so much for your positive initial thoughts. I've had this music kept to myself for too long.  We were trying to keep the digital download a bit secret as the company we used to get it up has a 4-8 week posting. So, we thought we'd hit it about right with the cd coming out first followed by the mp3s. Emusic posted it in about a week. I do not believe it's on any other service yet.

 ;)

JUST A NOTE. What you miss with the digital download:

Fantastic album artwork all the way through.
10 minute extra ending to Interrupted by Time- Many of you might find the extra 10 minutes worth waiting for.

Also, I did want to thank everyone for all the nice comments in one of the other threads. It surely the best thing ever to read comments like this.

Saul

Ah I see- so, you sent it out early to emusic, knowing that it usually takes a while for them to get the releases up there, and they go and put it out early.....Typical isn't it.  I'm sorry if I let the cat out of the bag then!  I recommend waiting for the cd then-  I'd certainly love to have a hard copy of this one.  It's one of those releases that you don't want disappearing on your hard drive.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: saulstokes on August 05, 2008, 03:11:26 PM
Yes, usually it takes a long time to post. No biggie. It's nice you're talking about the album and I've been dying to hear peoples thoughts. Mike and I had a lot of conversations about mp3s and fact of the mater is most Hypnos customers are here for cds and most emusic customers don't buy cds so it's really two types of listeners. It's really cool that you found it so quick on Emusic!

About Ulrich Schnauss - I think what Deepspace is saying is that Villa Galaxia runs parallel to Schnauss' work perhaps because it's upbeat melodic instrumental music that happens to be electronic. When you think about it, there's not much melodic instrumental electronic music out there right now. I have "Far Away Trains Passing by" and can get about a 3rd of the way through it before I turn it off due to agreeing to some of Undershadow's comments on technique.  On the other hand, most of the time it's really hard to tell one artist from another in this genre and you can pick out a U Schnauss song from the rest. There's something to that!
Saul
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: mgriffin on August 05, 2008, 04:41:39 PM
This isn't a review....god forbid I'd post a review after my last post which got me into a spot of trouble by the reviewers who frequent the forum! ;)  but it's more a description of some parts of the album, to whet your appetite if you haven't already got the album:

"Hello Radar" is a great opening track, featuring wide-eyed crispy keyboard sounds, and a nice moody bassline.  I can feel that I'm really going to like this- you know the feeling, when an album taps you on the shoulder and goes, "Are you ready?  we are about to become good friends...."  It happens far too infrequently don't you think.  "Vapor trails"  Slightly melancholy second track- with some great outro key washes. yay.  "Blaze" is completely different and brings the album to a, dare I use the word, "chilled" place with it's slightly more, well, serious and blue feeling.  I really like the big sunny melodies on "Night Painting".  Vibrant, primary colours, sweet sounds.  Fingerpainting.  "Eta Car is a massive Star" sounds like an epic Mario Bros game, full of detail and shimmering pixely effects (I don't know what that means either).  Really lovely.  This is an excellent album that will attract many listeners.  It's full of nooks and crannies and quite delirious.  I like!  Nay, love!

Bravo Saul!

Sorry, Deepspace, this does count as a review!  Now you'll have to stand up to the reviewers counter-reviewing your reviewing style, like it or not.

Thanks for your comments on Villa Galaxia.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: saulstokes on August 05, 2008, 09:13:09 PM
I should clarify that there's 3 minutes of extra music on Villa Galaxia versus mp3's available online.  Not sure what I was thinking when I wrote 10 minutes.  ???

s
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on August 05, 2008, 11:03:50 PM
This isn't a review....god forbid I'd post a review after my last post which got me into a spot of trouble by the reviewers who frequent the forum! ;)  but it's more a description of some parts of the album, to whet your appetite if you haven't already got the album:


Sorry, Deepspace, this does count as a review!  Now you'll have to stand up to the reviewers counter-reviewing your reviewing style, like it or not.

Thanks for your comments on Villa Galaxia.


Argh! (runs away)  :)
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: kawera on August 06, 2008, 07:07:46 AM
The samples at saulstokes.com make me ache for this album! To me, the samples don't sound that much different from Mr. Stokes' earlier albums. It still sounds unmistakably like Saul Stokes, even if it employs a bit more percussion and chippy melodies rather than ambient pads. I've heard Vapor Trails on Blue Oasis' Perceived Distances and that track knocked my socks off. It is easily my favourite on that compilation, which is saying a lot, since that's a superb collection of tracks (and artists).

Along with two or maybe three other albums, Outfolding completely redefined the way I thought about music. And judging from the samples and the one track I've already heard, there's a good chance Villa Galaxia is right up there with Outfolding as one of the best albums I'll ever hear.

Fantastic work Mr. Stokes. I can't wait to get my hands on Villa Galaxia!

//Kasper
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: Antdude on August 06, 2008, 12:56:10 PM
Just listened to the samples on Saul's site. What a tease. This album needs to be released right now.

Thanks.

Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: mgriffin on August 21, 2008, 04:56:21 PM
All you anxious-to-buy people, it's ready now.  The link to purchase is in the "official" Villa Galaxia topic (which I may just merge this one into soon so we don't end up with two discussions forking apart) is here:

http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=673.0 (http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=673.0)
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: 9dragons on August 21, 2008, 05:59:07 PM
Yes!!! Can't wait to get it!

To those who have it already, is it as psychedelic as the samples are letting on? It's like a hallucinogenic gust...
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: mgriffin on August 21, 2008, 07:25:19 PM
I don't think many people have VG yet.  Deepspace stumbled onto it on Emusic.com when they activated it for download earlier than expected, but the only CD copies in the world are right here in Hypnos HQ (though they'll start making their way out into the world starting tomorrow).

I don't know if I'd call the album "psychedelic" really.  The word I always think of when I hear Saul's music is "futuristic," and I'm not completely sure why... there's a science fiction feel to some of the song titles, and of course purely electronic music has a pretty modern feel most of the time. When I listen to Saul's music though I always feel like I'm listening to the kind of music people would listen to it a distant, futuristic utopia.  It's bright and crisp and pure but still very human.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: drone on on August 21, 2008, 11:11:15 PM
Just ordered my copy from Hypnos HQ and I want it Fed-exed!! BTW, on the storefront it is listed as a limited CDR at $11.99 instead of the actual $12.99 and I'm pretty sure this isn't a limited CDR. :-)
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: mgriffin on August 22, 2008, 06:33:03 AM
Just ordered my copy from Hypnos HQ and I want it Fed-exed!! BTW, on the storefront it is listed as a limited CDR at $11.99 instead of the actual $12.99 and I'm pretty sure this isn't a limited CDR. :-)

Oops, thanks the reminder.  I think I did a copy/paste from the recommendation for the new Matt Borghi and forgot to edit some of the details.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: kawera on August 27, 2008, 06:27:40 AM
Villa Galaxia is fan-freaking-tastic. It does have a very sci-fi feel to it, but it's not the airy and luminescent kind you got from Outfolding. It's just darn pretty all the way through, and has lots of delicate moments which will suddenly veer in other directions with what can best be described as sonic explosions of quirky electronics and bright melodies.

Amazing!
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: drone on on August 28, 2008, 01:42:13 AM
QUIRKY. Um,  yes, that's the word I'd use for this, but not in a good way, I'm afraid.  After a few listens I can hear very little in the way of the classics Stokes has created like Zo Pilots and Outfolding, which were experimental, psychoactive, and melodic all at once.  This was a huge disappointment for me, sorry to say, and I'll probably get hate mail, but what the heck, it just sounds like noodling to me.  Maybe that was the point, and that it's not supposed to sound like ZP or Outfolding. Looks like so far I'm in the minority here on this opinion, so go easy on me people.  Sorry don't mean to be a party pooper...
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on August 28, 2008, 03:22:35 PM
QUIRKY. Um,  yes, that's the word I'd use for this, but not in a good way, I'm afraid.  After a few listens I can hear very little in the way of the classics Stokes has created like Zo Pilots and Outfolding, which were experimental, psychoactive, and melodic all at once.  This was a huge disappointment for me, sorry to say, and I'll probably get hate mail, but what the heck, it just sounds like noodling to me.  Maybe that was the point, and that it's not supposed to sound like ZP or Outfolding. Looks like so far I'm in the minority here on this opinion, so go easy on me people.  Sorry don't mean to be a party pooper...

You're allowed to state your opinion, but I'm allowed to disagree with it. :) If your definition of noodling is carefully selected themes which layer against each other in an emotive way, in which motives develop and are transformed subtly over the course of the song, and the end is different yet related to the beginning, and harmonic progressions are simple, yet always thoughtful and interesting, and never cliche, and sounds complement each other to carefully build a big full spectrum of sound, then yep, I guess he was noodling.

That must also mean that the opposite of noodling: composition, would mean some slipshod improvisation over a pongy sounding bassline with a preset sound, and then calling it a song. ;)


Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: michael sandler on August 28, 2008, 06:18:01 PM
Saul Stokes doesn't use any biscuit tins!

What's wrong with biscuit tins?

Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: drone on on August 28, 2008, 09:31:39 PM
Deepspace--
The problem I have with VG is it leaves me cold.  Play the track "Downtown Inaka" from Zo Pilots REALLY loud.  That sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it.  It drips emotion.  As for quirky, some people like that thing, which I don't generally, I like my space music deep and "serious", VG is "fun" music.  I don't like fun. ;-)
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on August 28, 2008, 10:46:55 PM
Going by his last couple of releases, yes, I agree it is very different and seemingly (at first listen) less serious.  You use the word 'fun' and your dislike for it (which I thought was a very funny thing to say by the way.) and you might see this album as fun, but I don't really see this album in this way.  Maybe I'm different, but whenever I hear a record like Villa, I see it as the author attempting to connect in a truthful way- there's something about "Hello Radar" for example, that is so beautiful and innocent, that it is not 'fun' or 'quirky' for me, but more 'truth' and an attempt to capture (without wanting to sound wanky) the elusive, fleeting nature of joy or innocence.  Joy is one of the hardest emotions to capture in music, without the music coming across too syrupy and too Windham Hill.  Now I'm sure that Lustmord would disagree with that statement, but I hope you see my point, and why I don't see Villa as fun or quirky, but as beautiful and joyful.  Having said that, you're allowed to express your opinion on the Hypnos forums in this way.  It would be dull if everyone agreed just for the sake of it.

Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: drone on on August 29, 2008, 07:22:12 AM
Hey, don't be cappin' on Windham Hill.  I like a lot of those early WH albums.  Should have said "too John Tesh or Yanni." ;-)
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on August 29, 2008, 02:50:08 PM
Actually, I was referring to the more recent Windham Hill.  I did omit a (late) before the name.  But then it sounded like Windham hill had died.  But hey, maybe it has. :)
George Winstons Autumn (recorded in 1982) was one of the first I guess you could call ambient piano albums I ever heard, and I absolutely loved it.  It reminded me of J.S Bach's Well Tempered Clavier but in this really windswept minimal way.  It really lodged itself into my subconscious, and whenever I play piano, a little bit of it is there.  I never like much of what he did after that sadly- it all became a little too Americana sounding or something, or like music they would use for retirement homes, OR like he was trying to summon Oprah or something. :)

M
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: drone on on August 30, 2008, 12:38:14 AM
Absolutely right about George Winston's later music.  Geezer music for moms. My mom loves him, I took her to a GW concert long ago, lots of old people in wheelchairs, and one young guy kept "air pianoing" the whole concert. I wanted to slap him.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: Scott M2 on September 01, 2008, 11:46:12 AM
Air piano!  Gotta say, that's a new one.     
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: soma611 on September 01, 2008, 04:55:41 PM
(http://gallery.njpinebarrens.com/data/556/medium/IMG_2476b.jpg)

"We Resolve," from Abstraction, fits it best, this time of the year; my night painting, that is.  I put my pieces back together on sand roads in pine barrens, miles from anything but sand and pine, windows on the Silverado down, bombarded by the sound of insect chants.  Abstraction screams back.  There are hundreds of miles of these roads which make a perfect escape from the otherwise most densely populated state in the union. 

Zo Pilots, Fields, Edge of the Forest, my broken boxes (still haven't figured out how to open them, Saul), Outfolding, cicadas, katydids, frogs, owls, howling coyotes ...

I dunno.  I might be Saul's first groupie.  I followed him around so much during his pioneering Philadelphia days he would turn around at every live performance and see me there, front and center, and I could read his lips.  "Oh.  Him again."  Stokes fascinated me.  Not being a musician, nor knowing much about the technical aspects of what it takes to be one of an electronic nature, I still managed to see in the artist the genius behind his accomplishments; building instruments by hand, then sculpturing the sounds created from these into unbelievable shapes.

(http://gallery.njpinebarrens.com/data/556/medium/IMG_2480s.jpg)

And his compositions speak to me in the same manner as what I hear out there.

Last night, sand roading, and Villa Galaxia setting the mood, I thought of my step father.  Not long before he lost his final battle, and curious about the weird choice of music preference I had a reputation of having, Shep offered me a "five minute window" with which to impress him by playing an electronic music piece of my choice. What I picked then wasn't important ... and there was no chance of impressing him, even if I had 500 minutes to play.  Wish I had another chance.  I think I've heard the song.

"Night Painting."

I played it pretty damned loud last night, repeatedly, remembering one of the last things he said.

(http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o286/soma611/dix8s.jpg)

"Life was good."  




Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: Brian Bieniowski on September 02, 2008, 06:15:49 AM
Always great to read Bill Beck's impressions on the Forum!  Hope you'll stick around.

I can't wait to get this CD—hard to believe it's already been a few years since Vast.
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: 9dragons on September 07, 2008, 02:54:40 PM
I don't know if I'd call the album "psychedelic" really.  The word I always think of when I hear Saul's music is "futuristic," and I'm not completely sure why... there's a science fiction feel to some of the song titles, and of course purely electronic music has a pretty modern feel most of the time. When I listen to Saul's music though I always feel like I'm listening to the kind of music people would listen to it a distant, futuristic utopia.  It's bright and crisp and pure but still very human.

For me, almost all electronic music is psychedelic by definition. But I would say that Saul's music is quite special in this arena. After listening to "Vast" recently, I wanted to describe it as "pimpadelic". It just has this outlandish, weird, and joyous kind of deep cool, balanced with true, unabashed, unironic feeling, that is alien amongst modern electronica. There are just these moments of total retro suaveness couched in a futurist antique/modern sound, that I find absolutely delightful. It is indeed music of the future, in a future where the people are clad in one-piece shimmering jumpsuits with silver tubing down the sides, and finned helmets. I am loving the differences in character between Outfolding, Fields, and Vast. I was wondering why Saul doesn't seem to be as well known (correct me if I'm wrong) as many of the slew of more popular generic electro artists out there. I think it is due to the fact that his music has taken a completely unique path to arrive at what it is, which is not easily describable. It doesn't really reflect the derivative tastes and basic styles of contemporary electronica, but feels like it harks back to an imaginary, ancient electro past. Such a delightful amalgamation, and always moving. Music for the connoiseur...

And that sense of heartfelt beauty, of late night/early morning honing of craft, of an explosive, escapist joy, is so startling to hear. I think we aren't used to hearing these kinds of feelings expressed in the modern world. It can even be off-putting at first. One must surrender to it...hopping on for the ride is richly rewarded.

I am looking forward to Villa Galaxia and late nights with the headphones...
Title: Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
Post by: deepspace on October 15, 2008, 02:30:05 AM

balanced with true, unabashed, unironic feeling, that is alien amongst modern electronica.


Yes.  The above sentence is probably the most important one for me.  Those emotions are something that I really value, not just in electronic music, but in all music.  Irony and darkness are artistic commodities that have been explored almost to the point of exhaustion in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and I personally love it when an artist goes out on a limb and says something that is "true, unabashed and un-ironic"

There's way to much 'cool' in music.  Frozen.  Time to thaw it out a bit.