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Messages - Bill Binkelman

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Everything and Nothing / Reviewer Michael Diamond medical news
« on: December 19, 2016, 06:58:35 PM »
Hello all.

Sorry to be so absent in recent years, but this post is not about me. I want to alert you to new age/ambient reviewer's Michael Diamond's medical status. He suffered a severe stroke, I think yesterday. He is a tireless advocate for instrumental music (and a musician himself), so for those of you who pray, please send up some to the big house yonder. If you are more agnostic like me, send healing energy and positive thoughts his way. Musician Joe Paulino has opened a Facebook page where updates will be posted. Michael has made some progress since the stroke, but it will be a long way back, it looks like. The Facebook page is here:

I met Michael 2 years ago in NOLA at the ZMR event. He is a kind soul and it would be great to see him recover fully.

I hope you are all well. I and Kathryn (who retired last year) wish you and yours a Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday and a most excellent 2017!

Everything and Nothing / Re: ...a few thoughts on communities
« on: September 16, 2015, 09:19:07 AM »
I admit to becoming more and more withdrawn here simply due to time constraints and spending my online time in other places. I use Facebook a lot to network with artists, but those are seldom ambient artists...almost all of them are in the new age/contemporary instrumental/world music genres. I also run a Facebook group with over 600 members where the BUSINESS of making music is discussed, i.e. no promotion, no asking for opinions of your music, etc. Topics such as royalty payments, int'l distribution, etc. are discussed by artists from all over the world. And I am not promoting it, just relaying where my time goes. Plus, my full time job has just blown up in the last 1-2 years and I usually don't even have time to listen to music during the day much - which sucks and makes it harder than ever to write reviews on a timely basis.

I so much want to plug back into the ambient scene, but man, finding time is hard these days. I have enjoyed being here and participating over the years, although certainly I found myself embroiled in more than a few flame wars and sometimes regretted voicing strong opinions here. Nonetheless, the few times now and then when I do drop in, it is nice to see some old timers still hanging out. I wish more was written about movies and other stuff and not just music, but OTOH, I don't drop by that often. Maybe I can try to make it more frequent.

The music scene (from when I started the magazine in 1997) has changed SO much that it's hard to even recall how it was back then. Change is inevitable but I have to say I miss the days when the scene (not the music but the online community) was vibrant, enthusiastic, and populous...even if flame wars seemed to erupt on a regular basis (not just here but on various USENET (later Google) groups and Yahoo groups. Those really were the days. (sigh)

Now I should go listen to the Mary Hopkin's single "Those Were The Days" I suppose!  ;)

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: March 10, 2015, 03:12:08 PM »
I have to say I miss both W & W, & E-Dition very much not to mention IE as well. I wish their was some alternative but this style of music just doesn't seem to have the fan base to support such an endeavor. I sometimes wonder how history will judge this music, or if will even last long enough for it to be remembered.

Thanks, Loren. Yeah, magazines just didn't seem to be able to hold on in this genre. It wasn't for lack of trying or quality writing. I admit Wind and Wire was less "professional" looking than either E-Dition or IE (in any of its incarnations), but with time, it could've been. If I win the lottery, and retire form my day job, maybe I will give it another try. Gotta fill my golden years with something to do! I believe Expose (a fine fanzine of progressive music that always ran lots of ambient reviews as well) has also finally bitten the dust. Emails to the editor have gone unanswered.

The past was a great time for mags at one point, because we also had Asterism, too, which was a mag put out by Jeff Berkwitz (sp?). Even New Age Voice, at its inception, featured ambient reviews as well as columns by Alan Bogle and, I believe, Scott Raymond. It was a great time and people seemed genuinely excited about the ambient music scene. Well, at least our dear and true friend Richard Gurtler is still flying his flags high, bless him.  :)

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: March 10, 2015, 01:51:13 PM »
Hi Bill,

I can only agree with the former comments on the W & W-issue; back then, it was great to correspond with you about EM and new names, and it was a pleasure to do the David Parsons feature as my 2 cents for the quality mag.; years later, we gave out very best in producing E-Dition magazine over here, but it proved not viable in the end (although it was lots of fun and hard work getting it done time and time again)

Hi Bert,

Thanks for the kind words. I remember helping you out at E-Dition by doing some English proof-reading. It was a solid magazine, esp. that last page where you really let it fly when it came to critical reviews. I usually got some chuckles out of reading those short blasts of honesty. And yeah, putting out a magazine was just an immense amount of work (not to mention the expense). It could be fun, but it could be otherwise too. I'll be putting up the issue with your excellent interview with David Parsons soon (hopefully).

Everything and Nothing / Re: Did you ever like KISS?
« on: February 15, 2015, 02:18:57 PM »
I owned their first four albums (the last one I bought was their double-LP live album). I think their debut is one of the best rock albums of that period and holds up well today. "Cold Gin," "Black Diamond," "Strutter," and "Deuce," are all excellent hard rock songs. Their next two albums, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill were not anywhere near as good (loved the back and white cover of Dressed to Kill, though), but they were okay. By Dressed to Kill, they had almost started to parody their image as studs who would fuck every plaster caster who would venture backstage. Everything went to shit when they cracked Top 40 after the live album came out when "Rock and Roll All Night" went monster hit on them.

I saw them live in 1974 or 75. Believe it or not, they were top billed with RUSH! Rush were on their Fly By Night tour. Geddy Lee had bad laryngitis and could only sing for about 30 minutes. Kiss came on stage and rocked it. Despite their theatrics, they were (at the time) a great band (kinda like Alice Cooper from their Killer, School's Out, and Billion Dollar Babies era). But yeah, their debut album is the only one worth getting, IMO, and "Strutter" is just a killer song, as is "Cold Gin."

I think, in some ways, Kiss' success went to their heads just as it did with Blue Oyster Cult. I was into BOC right out of the gate and I consider (like many fans) that their first three albums (BOC, Tyranny and Mutation, and Secret Treaties) represent their very best work. By the time they released Agents of Fortune, like Kiss, they hit it big on Top 40 with "(Don't Fear) the Reaper," and, IMO, they started to decline. They had some decent music after that, but nothing topped those first three releases...what a crop of songs: "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll," "Before the Kiss, A Redcap," "Flaming Telepaths," "Astronomy," etc etc etc.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Interstellar
« on: February 10, 2015, 07:10:23 PM »
Thanks for the links, Mike. I will be sure to check them out. Here is my problem with Interstellar, which is the ending reveal:


Okay, now, supposedly the wormhole near Saturn and the tesseract (the "bookcase" at the end of the black hole singularity) were created and positioned by us, i.e. future humans who had reached an evolutionary point where they discovered that time is the fifth dimension (as someone in the film explained it, as if time were mountains (future) and valleys (past). They manipulated events so that the wormhole would bring Cooper, Brand, et al to the black hole so that Cooper could go back in time and send the message to Murph so she could solve the "gravity" equation and save humanity. Okay, I'm on board with that...except....

How did the human race evolve to that point if they never survived and by that I mean the paradox. They sent Cooper on a mission to ensure their own future survival but if Cooper didn't succeed they wouldn't exist to create the wormhole and tesseract in the first place, but they did survive yet if they survived "before" Cooper sent the message to Murph (which they did, right?), then why go through all that trouble?

I have read one critic postulate that Cooper actually died and everything in the tesseract and his rescue to be reunited with Murph was merely his "dying dream." Which Matt Damon's character foreshadowed with his monologue to Cooper about "dying." Nice, but way too "Sixth Sense" for me.

I think the only way to avoid the paradox is this. Brand successfully started a colony on the third planet. THAT "humanity" is the one that created the wormhole and the tesseract. Brand "instructed" them about the species downfall and as THAT version of humanity grew and evolved, THEY (not Cooper or Murph) solved the gravity equation and went about "twisting time" so that the "original humanity would survive. Not THAT is a cool concept and I would be on board with it but no way does Nolan seem to infer that (if he did, I missed it). Instead, we get some kind of pseudo science that "love" is the force that made all this happen. While I enjoy movies that address love as a power in the universe, I just couldn't buy it in this case.

I will view it again to seen if maybe on second viewing I like it better. It's happened before with me and a film.

Thanks again, Mike, and I am glad you enjoyed it that much - I sincerely wish I could have because when I saw the trailer the first time, I was severely stoked for it.

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 10, 2015, 06:35:49 PM »
Really cool, Bill. I wasn't a subscriber, but it is fun to read some of this stuff in the present. Thanks for taking the time to make these available.

BTW, I'm really enjoying your discussion on the ambient listserv. You should consider posting your favorites list here (and some of the issues you're struggling with in crafting it) and see if it generates any discussion.

Thanks, Chris. It is fun to look back at where the scene was back then (and see the names that have more or less disappeared and those that have prospered.

Thanks also for the kind words re: ambient@hyperreal. If I posted my list here, I would be subject to a lot of (good natured) ribbing, trust me...don't forget, I am someone who thinks new age and ambient crossover a lot more than most folks do. Jon Mark has two of the slots in my top 20, for an example.

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 10, 2015, 06:33:16 PM »
Yes, great old memories awake, Bill!!! Printed copies of Wind and Wire magazine belong to the most treasured items in my ambient collection!!! Thank you and all the best, my friend!!!


Thanks, Richard! You were an ardent supporter of the magazine way back when I have fond memories of getting emails from you at that time! Thanks for holding onto the paper copies - that's pretty cool.

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 10, 2015, 06:31:09 PM »
I had a ball flipping through issue #2!   It's like this cool time capsule - thank you for posting these!

Thanks...glad you are enjoying it, John. I just put issue 5 up online. 7 more to go.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Interstellar
« on: February 09, 2015, 06:09:45 PM »
The science consultants for Interstellar were the same ones who consulted on Contact.

Yeah, which makes it even more of a puzzle to me. I just don't get it, i.e. the paradox factor. I will post it later and se what forumites have to say.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Interstellar
« on: February 09, 2015, 09:46:40 AM »
Finally went to see this last night at our neighborhood second run theater (it's an excellent theater with tremendous sound quality and digital projection....not your typical 3 buck a show theater, trust me). Man, was I disappointed. Everything was a let down and the reviews I had read previously were mostly all spot on about what was wrong. IMO, it wasn't even that spectacular to look at (and the Riverview Theater has a HUGE screen...not IMAX sized but BIG). I kept waiting for some kind of WOW factor, but even going through the wormhole and the 2 planetscapes were underwhelming, e.g. the frozen cloud never get a sense that they are on frozen clouds above the planet surface, you just think they are on the ground already.

But it's the third act that just fell apart, IMO. I may be no astrophysicist but I'm not stupid and the time travel paradox at the end was one of the worst I have ever seen in a time travel movie. As soon as Cooper entered the black hole, I thought "Well, at least we're going to see something awe-inspiring." Nope...just some nonsensical I-don't-know-what-it-was. I could give you a better idea of what I couldn't buy, but not sure it's worth it. I thought Contact did a MUCH better job with some of the same ideas (e.g. wormhole traveling), although at least there the "ending" (i.e. when Jodie meets her "father" and it's revealed what the movie is about) made sense, from an SF standpoint. Interstellar, did not. Even the earth bound scenes that set the story in motion had me thinking "Really???" E.g. schools are teaching that the moon landing was staged to bring down the Soviet Union? Yeah, right.

As I walked out of the theater (at midnight) a woman who was alongside me said "No one stays for the credits when it's midnight." We both laughed and then I said to her, "Ya know, I don't get this movie at all...I saw 2001 in 1968 when I was 14 and and I understood that movie a lot more than I did this one."

I had such high expectations for this...damn. Oh well, it was still 100x better than Prometheus, IMO.  ;)

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 08, 2015, 02:04:20 PM »
Awesome Bill, issue two has your review of Ma Ja Le's 1st release "Dreams In The Orchards Of Saturn" to this day it remains one of my favorite reviews I have ever received on one of my albums!

Thanks, Paul. That means a lot. I was just listening to Silence Speaks In Shadow a few days ago as I was compiling my top 20 "desert island" discs for the ambient@hyperreal listserv survey...and yes, once again, it made the cut. What a brilliant piece of work. Absolutely essential ambient and should be in everyone's collection (I actually own two copies "just in case.").

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 08, 2015, 02:01:34 PM »
Thanks everyone for the kind words and encouragement. It is MUCH appreciated. Issues 3 and 4 are up online now as well...of particular note is my interview with the late Barry Craig, aka A Produce. I can't believe it's already been 3 years since his passing. Also check out my interview with Stephen Hill (I think it's in issue 3). It really opened my eyes to the "business" end of this genre of music (sadly). Also in this latest batch are an interview I did with Robert Rich and the first part of a 2-part interview that Stu Daniels did with Steve Roach.

It is weird to look back after all this time and see who has left the field (i.e. who is no longer making music) and who has persevered, even with regards to labels. Miramar was still going strong back then. And Narada still existed. And of course, HOS had no less than 4 sub labels going at once. So much has changed, yet the music itself remains vibrant and alive (even if the business paradigm form back then has collapsed).

Anyway, I still have issues 5-12 to post so with your kind permission, I will continue to let you know when new ones come online (3 and 4 just got put up yesterday on the Wind and Wire blog).

The best approach is to be polite, smile and ask her why she hadn't replied to your last email, but before she has chance to answer say " I was worried that I had made you feel uneasy or something, which was not my intention" That is how I would handle it. The worse thing to do is for you to avoid her because that looks like, well; you are avoiding her :-)

This is really good advice. Couldn't say it better myself.

Independent Music Reviews / PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: January 30, 2015, 05:12:13 PM »
Hello folks,

I apologize for being mostly absent for a long time now. I have been dealing with medical issues (as has Kathryn) for more than a year now and that has taken me away from a lot of music things. Anyway, hope you are all well. I ran this by Mike yesterday and he approved my posting this news.

I have begun posting issues of Wind and Wire, the music magazine that I published from 1997-1999, in PDF format, on the Wind and Wire blog. These are not downloads (they are stored as a Google file so when you click, you view them) so it should be 100 percent virus-safe.

Old timers in this forum, this is your chance to relive the good old days! I admit feeling quite nostalgic when I viewed the scans myself. Currently, issue 1 and 2 are up and available. Those who never got the chance to see the magazine may want to take a look. Every issue featured reviews, interviews, some op-ed articles, my opinionated editorials  ;) and other stuff too. Mike was an early advertiser, and for that I have always been very grateful and appreciative. NOTE: Wind and Wire covered several genres of music, not just ambient, but there was always something of interest to ambient fans, I made sure of that, e.g. Issue 1 had interviews with Jon Jenkins and Howard Givens of Spotted Peccary and Jeff Pearce. Issue 2 put the spotlight on Tim Story, Meg Bowles, and Liquid Mind (Chuck Wild).

I will be uploading more issues up as I get them scanned and I will announce the uploads on both the Wind and Wire Facebook page and my personal Facebook page.

Here is a link to the blog (which also features new reviews by me, although since it is one of 3 reviewing gigs I currently have, I don't always have time to write for it). I hope you enjoy looking back at how it all began for yours truly (and several other later issues, Phil Derby came on board and reviewed a lot of ambient and EM).

Thanks to Mike for allowing me to do this.

Cheers to you all.


I am really excited about this film. The latest trailer makes it look like a serious SF film with brains and heart. Hopefully, this will not be a let-down (cough * Prometheus * cough).

This is a techie question for those of you who watch a fair amount of HDTV. I have to replace my 5 year old LCD Samsung due to ALL 4 of its HDMI ports quitting (a common problem with 2008-2010 models, apparently). I will be buying a 47 inch set (either LG or Samsung, most likely). I have been reading a lot that, in recent years, the 60Hz refresh rate LEDs has greatly improved in eliminating motion blur and that 120Hz actually can be worse due to the "soap opera" effect. On article on basically stated that thr upgrade from 60 to 120 Hz isn't worth the added expenditure (this was a 2013 article). I can save over 100 bucks buying a 60 Hz set. We don't play games (well, the VERY occasional Wii) and for sports, we only watch football or golf...we mostly watch cable TV and DVD movies (both standard and blu-ray), so I am considering a 60 Hz and 1080p set. My Samsung is a 120Hz 1080p set but we also have a LG 720p 60Hz set in the bedroom. Unless I sit within a foot, I have never seen blur from either set. So, what I am looking for is (a) general advice (whatever you want to offer) but more importantly (b) if you own a 60Hz set, do you ever see blur and is it a big issue for you? Thanks in advance for any and all opinions. With our HDMI ports out on the Samsung, we can't watch DVDs or use our Roku for streaming Netflix, which is a HUGE bummer for us, so I'd like to get this resolved soon.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Does this woman want me to ask her out?
« on: April 23, 2014, 07:27:17 AM »
As someone who entered the dating pool first at 18, then again at 36 (divorce), and the last time at 39 (after a 3 year relationship went bust), I can tell you that the woman's (and your) age is a determining factor. The older a person is, IMO, the more direct you can be. I'm not saying you can ask her "Hey, wanna shag?" but I also know that as I got older, the less women cared about the "opening gambit" and it was more about the middle and end game. While a "coffee" date is cliche, no matter how old a woman is, she wants to feel safe, so the first date needs to be something non-threatening and friendly, e.g.  a walk, coffee, or maybe a daytime movie. OTOH, you can just come right out and ask "Would you like to go out sometime?" That way, you will know her intentions right away - if she says "no" then you are either misreading her or she is not yet ready to make her intentions clear. If she says "yes" well, you're all set. If you want to make it safer, you can ask her to coffee, a walk, or something that people do even if they are not "dating." Dinner or lunch is fine, provided it is not a restaurant that screams "Romance!" Maybe something like "I have read about a new Asian/French/etc. restaurant and want to try it...would you like to join me?" DON'T OFFER TO PAY for goodness sake. For myself, I always took the most direct approach as I got older, simply because I didn't want to beat around the bush (hoo boy...I know). Some women liked that, some didn't. 

Lastly, I agree with Sun Dummy...I have lots of regrets...not for things I have done, but things left unsaid and undone. I've told some women things that I, in hindsight, probably should've kept to myself (unrequited love and all that), but at least I won't be left wondering "If only...."

Everything and Nothing / Re: My coworker stopped talking to me
« on: April 13, 2014, 08:12:59 PM »
A coworker advised to only make an effort if this is genuinely somebody I care about.  I can't say that about this person because all there is is small talk and tv and movies discussions.  I feel like if my conscience is clear that I didn't do or say anything to warrant this situation, then the other person is choosing to behave this way based on their own issues.  Maybe I just need to suck it up and take it like a man.

I think this is the wisest approach to take, based on my experience as well.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Insomnia treatments
« on: March 28, 2014, 10:01:01 PM »
When I was newly divorced and my folks died, all in a short amount of time, I had lots of problems sleeping. I used environmental sound recordings set on repeat. Ambient music is fine, but I think just sounds are better. I used a recording of gentle rain with nocturnal insects. Thunderstorms are great for relaxing but lousy for sleeping, IMO. A steady irregular noise did the trick for me. These days, since Kathryn needs some kind of white noise to sleep, we sleep with the fan on in the spring, summer and fall and switch to a humidifier in the winter. It's to the point that I can't sleep without white noise at all...which makes staying in hotels interesting...if we are driving on vacation, I take a small fan with us everywhere...anyway, my sympathies. I spent years having trouble sleeping, esp. when I worked at IBM. It sucks and I hope you find a solution.

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