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Messages - Gurdonark

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looks like a fine album, Pete. I'll look forward to hearing it.

I'm sorry to hear of his passing.  It's sad that he passed away so young. He created a body of music, and I hope it will help his memory live on.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Sad News
« on: October 18, 2009, 02:57:41 AM »
Jim showed himself over and over to be not only a fan of ambient music, but a real friend and promoter of artists who worked in ambient and other similar styles of music. He was a fixture on this message board.
He had an encyclopedic knowledge of ambient music. He loved to share his passion for the sounds. He showed many people, including me, great kindness. I am sorry that his family, and his many friends in the ambient world, lost Jim Brenholts Saturday night.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: The ambient 'scene'
« on: September 20, 2009, 11:40:02 AM »
I think that the way in which ambient music is promoted and distributed has changed. The old model of a group of ambient fans who read a narrow band of common websites and followed a narrow band of ambient labels subsided. The new model of a wide range of ambient music promoted through a diverse set of channels by a huge variety of labels and individual artists arose.

The advantage of the new system turns out to be a huge influx of great material The disadvantage
is the common disadvantage of creative expression distributed through the  new internet media--curation. I think that serves an important "new media" purpose by illustrating a successful "new" form of curation. This is curation by social media community. Nobody in this forum looks to some ambient equivalent of the classical tastemaker Gramophone magazine to advise people on what to hear. Instead, the forum community here, artist and listener, engage in discussions about what they like and why.

I do not think that ambient music is "more underground' these days. I see acts with strong ambient influence like Stars of the Lid and Sigur Ros who get "rockstar" treatment from cadres of fans.
Certain "pure" ambient artists are as niche as ever--but no moreso than in 2003.

I believe that the communities from internet radio, such as, or free streaming services, such as, provide huge opportunities for listeners to hear ambient music and decide what to buy. The "sharing economy" based in Creative Commons and the netlabels have created a rich field for ambient sounds. I am one of what I believe to be many people who find myself downloading lots of free material, and  yet spending money on independent releases more than in the 2003 era.

I think, too, that the way in which ambient fans sometimes fell into tiny genre niches is changing.
The debates of 2003--"may we use beats?"; "is it too new age?", "what is dark ambient", now seem quaint, as ambient's many modes and the many electronica-based genres like chill and downtempo
appeal to a wide variety of people. I'd no more listen to one style of ambient now than I'd listen to one Kinks song, over and over.

So I think that there has been change, but in the area of a broadening of ambient music generally.
The old days of a handful of labels and artists bravely (and without huge profit) has dissolved into a new day with a plethora of labels and artists bravely (and without huge profit) distributing to a somewhat wider audience. The listener has been the big winner in this change.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Adonis-2
« on: July 27, 2009, 02:30:44 PM »
Dear All:

I hope everyone is doing well.

I ran across a donationware VST softsynth lately which I find
quite useful for ambient work. It's called Adonis-2, and it's by
France's B. Serrano.

I mention it in case anyone else shares my love for finding little useful instruments at modest expense.

best, robert

Everything and Nothing / Re: Childless couples
« on: February 08, 2009, 12:51:48 AM »
My wife and I don't have kids, though we've been married for 18 years. We chose not to have kids because at the time of our consideration of the issue, my work schedule was a big concern. We love kids, and love in particular our nieces and nephews. Sometimes we regret the deciison not to have children, but more often we think it was the right decision for us. Our parents, relatives and friends have all been very hands-off about the issue, so that we face no real issues on that score. Kids are great--we just did not have any.

Everything and Nothing / Re: It's a new year... let's introduce ourselves
« on: February 08, 2009, 12:48:00 AM »
I'm Robert Nunnally. I live with my wife in Allen, Texas USA, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas. I've been a fan of Hypnos music for many years now. I've enjoyed how many interesting conversations take place here at Hypnos Forum.

I co-own a Creative Commons netlabel called, in which most of the music "fellow travels" with ambient music, without often being traditional ambient. I also make music under the name Gurdonark, and can be found not only on NSI but also on various other netlabels and compilations here and there. My most recent EP, "Seven Virtues", was posted CC BY at I often remix things at

I work as a commercial litigation attorney, which I enjoy. My hobbies include reading, hiking, chess, and a bit of fairly novice birding.

My weblog is

I twitter as gurdonark, and enjoy following ambient music folks.  I also am gurdonark at, and enjoy loading up ambient pieces (as well as other things) on the little player and scrobbler.

I am a big believer in Creative Commons licenses, netlabel culture, parlor ambience, and compassion.

My main analog instrument? The mountain dulcimer.

hi there:

I've released a new EP of songs called "seven virtues". It's melodic ambient work comprised of seven short pieces. Each piece is derived from a sample of a wooden mallet tapping an object d'art of Orrefors crystal.

It's a free download on, but it can also be most easily accessed for listening or free Creative commons download from:

The folks at have been kind enough to play a track, as has John Anealio's new "sci fi song" podcast. It's also been featured in a viral video or two, thanks to the kindness of friendly video makers.

If you like light melodic work which is basic, then you might enjoy discovering "seven virtues".

I do not know anything about the Italian seller(s), but this thread reminds me why I like that Hypnos CDs arrive when ordered  :)

Everything and Nothing / Re: 2008 Olympics
« on: August 22, 2008, 02:15:47 PM »
I sure enjoyed the trampoline competition this year, which I'd never really watched before.

I always wish they'd cover the really minor sports more extensively during the TV coverage.

I try to drive less. I take mass transit more often on the weekends. I want to make myself slow to 55 mph, as well. 

I hope that the temporary fall of gas prices down to 3.50 or so is not going to lull people into increasing their driving again.

I am sorry to read this news. Gordon Danis was an ardent supporter of ambient music.

I love classical music. When I listen to classical, I tend to listen to:
Sibelius, whose austere majesty, though non-ambient, certainly can find a resonance with ambient music
Satie, a father of ambient music
Milhaud, someone who appreciated sound as sound
Copland, arguably not "ambient" at all, and yet someone willing to put aside the formalism of his time to find a way to use sound to connect with an audience--to me a very ambient idea, in that our music is in some ways a different kind of individualized folk music.
early chants and church vocal pieces, which are ambient in design and execution

Even composers who might not be "ambient" even by analogy, such as Tchaikovsky, make densely textured music which speaks in broad instrumental passages--a reward for patience that any ambient fan completely understands.
Dark ambient fans appreciate how Schoenberg's work is essentially kindred to dark ambient material made under its shadow.

Among the modernists, Philip Glass' minimalism resonates with ambient minimalism (which is, actually, a by-product of the application of the minimalist theories to our more "folk" idiom). Golijov's music is "narrative" in its sound, and yet part of the joy of hearing it is that it is a celebration of sound itself.

Lately I think we must "save" classical music from a generation no longer attuned to it--and in so doing, we will save and extend the ambient listening base as well. If one bought 1 classical album for every 4 ambient ones, then perhaps the world would be a more classical--and ambient--place.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ambient Guitar
« on: April 24, 2008, 07:20:23 PM »
I love ambient guitar, whether it is Jeff Pearce's, Solyaris', Verian Thomas', or even the near-ambient angles of Durutti Column.  I love it when it is rendered into drone, and I love it when it is much less fxeffected and yet still has an ambient angle.

Among sources to morph into ambience, the guitar just is so versatile. Life really happens in ambient guitar melody.

Everything and Nothing / Re: What should a small record label do?
« on: April 24, 2008, 07:15:06 PM »
I'm late to this discussion, but still wish to join in.

I co-own a free netlabel which releases ambient and near-ambient music. I support Creative Commons releases of material under BY and BY NC licenses, and release almost all of my material, if not all, under a Creative Commons license.

Although I favor releases which are more "open source", that does not mean I condone or approve of things done by people who take it upon themselves to release copyrighted material without a permissive license or direct permission. I disapprove of the practice of making other peoples' intellectual property available on other than a fair use basis.

I consider that this is a key issue not only to a small traditional label owner, but also to someone who, like me, believes that labels must inevitably completely reshape themselves to adjust to the new technological/cultural realities of virtual digital media. This is because I think it is important that any in-roads in traditional record labels be accomplished through permissive licensing rather than through piracy. This is because a coherent rights regime
for intellectual property, including permissive licenses, is far better than a "pirate bay" approach.

I believe that a rights holder such as an artist or small label must utilize appropriate firmness about removal of unauthorized material on other websites.  The fair use of excerpts for review purposes, if judicious, would be one thing. "Download this release here in 320 mp3" is another thing. "What should a small record label do?". Alert each such site to take that work down.

At the same time, the key weapon Hypnos has is its fan loyalty. I take inspiration from what Issa (formerly Jane Siberry) and Kristin Hersh are doing. Issa pioneered the self-directed pricing download plan. Kristin Hersh has self-directed or prescription pricing, and posts not only mp3s but also FLAC and even remix stems. I believe that this kind of read/write interaction between audience and creator is essential. I shy away from buying material which lacks Creative Commons features, with limited exceptions.

I buy less Hypnos now than before, though I would never listen to any pirated Hypnos material. This is because Hypnos does not offer digital downloads yet. I would never argue with the point of view that CDs are better sound quality. That's really beside the point. For me, digital downloads and use of my mp3 player is my main mode of
listening. Although I make enough mp3s of my own work to have the requisite conversion softwares, I rarely want to buy the CD to rip the mp3s myself.

CD pricing irks me, because the artificial inflation at the pricing at its outset was never adjusted downward when the mode got popular. This has been an unmitigated disaster for the recording industry, both major and independent. The classical music recording industry suffered massive sales declines, although the classical market is not an illegal downloading contingent. The culprit was not piracy, but a pricing structure that drove away its purchasers. The exception? Budget label Naxos, whose per-CD cost was dramatically less than major-label standard.

When I buy an album from, I can get high-quality Mp3 downloads, CD quality files, the right to re-download if I lose my mp3s, the right to remix the tracks for non-commercial purposes, and even the right to preview all the music on an XPSF player before I buy. I can find great ambient music on that label, including many "name" artists. Why would I buy from a label which offers me only CDs at a much higher price?

I digress.

The people who are pirating your label's artists are in the wrong. I believe that a small label demands their compliance in ceasing the practice, and takes such steps to secure compliance as your lawyer and IT professionals suggest.

I have no kind words for piracy, because my thesis is that (a) pirating big label works perpetuates material that should not be perpetuated; (b) pirating small label works often is a matter of taking from the worthy little buy for no good reason; and (c) piracy removes the market pressure to reform the industry that a meaningful consumer insistence upon read/write products would create.

I hope that people do not pirate hypnos works. it's not only wrong, it's banal to engage in such piracy.

But I do want to see the day when hypnos, one of my favorite ambient labels, offers the features I have come to expect in the small labels I patronize.


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Techno Music
« on: December 19, 2007, 04:12:46 AM »
I think there's a lot of good techno out there. I like the music on Spain's Antiritmo label, and in particular the artist Dosem.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Re-launching of Wind and Wire
« on: December 19, 2007, 04:10:39 AM »
Congratulations on your re-launch, and best wishes for more wind and wire.

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