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Topics - mgriffin

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Everything and Nothing / RIP Jóhann Jóhannsson
« on: February 10, 2018, 12:58:28 PM »
Shocking news... one of my favorite composers, Jóhann Jóhannsson, has passed away far too young. I must've played the Arrival soundtrack CD 200 times in the past year. A terrible loss.

I remember his early albums on the Touch label, and lost track of him until recently. Since then I've been buying & playing a lot of his soundtracks, especially Arrival, and his beautiful album Orphée.

Here's a link to one of the articles confirming this news.

Everything and Nothing / R.I.P. Jeff Kowal aka Terra Ambient
« on: April 27, 2016, 01:58:40 PM »

I've just seen the terrible news that Jeff Kowal, who was a long-time visitor to this forum, and best known for his recordings as Terra Ambient, has passed away.

As for today, the landing page is a memorial to Jeff, though assume this link will point to something else if you find this later:

Many of us may have seen Jeff posting on Facebook about his difficult illness. I'm not sure what I can say. In addition to being a sensitive and gifted recording artist, Jeff was always intelligent and thoughtful in my interactions with him, and seemed to be well-liked and respected by everyone. He will be missed.

Everything and Nothing / R.I.P. Susumu Yokota
« on: July 14, 2015, 11:17:00 AM »
According to this article, Japanese ambient composer Susumu Yokota has passed away, aged 54.

I loved his album Sakura, though I admit I hadn't checked out his most recent works. What a terrible loss! Do others around here know his work?

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / "Mythos and Music"
« on: April 23, 2015, 11:19:44 AM »
This weekend Lena and I will be attending CthulhuCon here in Portland - a convention event sort of loosely focused on the work of H.P. Lovecraft, including movies and games inspired by Lovecraft's work, and other writers working in the same general area of cosmic horror.

One event I'll be part of is a panel discussion called "Mythos and Music" where we'll discuss various types of related music. It won't just be about ambient or dark ambient stuff, and will probably focus more on industrial and metal, as there are more examples of that kind of thing actually using words and names directly out of Lovecraft. The other panelists have all different kinds of varied music backgrounds and interests, and are probably even more knowledgeable than I am about songs and albums where recording artists have directly "quoted" from Lovecraft.

My opinion is that it's not terribly interesting if we talk only about artist or bands who make songs named after Lovecraft stories, and much more interesting if we discuss the wider sphere of influence, and that's where dark ambient comes in. Something like Lustmord "feels" a lot like Lovecraft's stories even though Lustmord isn't name-dropping Cthulhu or other details out of Lovecraft's mythos into his work.

I wondered if anybody had any suggestions about what might be covered in a discussion like this?

A while back Bert Strolenberg provided me with this lengthy interview of Ruben Garcia conducted by his friend and collaborator A Produce (the late Barry Craig).

Many thanks to Bert for sending me this text. I hope others will find it of interest. It reminds me of my early friendship with Barry, discussing our influences and enthusiasms.

I'll post it in several parts, starting with the image of Ruben in his studio that was inserted at the top of the interview document.

Everything and Nothing / Forum software upgrade coming up
« on: March 19, 2015, 09:07:07 AM »
I'm going to do a version upgrade to the Simple Machines Forum software that runs the Hypnos Forum. Just wanted to let everybody know in case anything looks different, or the forum itself is briefly unavailable.

This will involve me removing installed themes or modifications, so if you're using a non-standard theme, the forum will display the boring default gray and light blue theme, at least until the upgrade is finished.

I'll try to minimize the impact on visitors as much as possible!

Everything and Nothing / RIP Edgar Froese
« on: January 23, 2015, 12:12:57 PM »
Wow, sad news. Edgar Froese has just passed away, according to a post on Facebook by his son Jerome.

Just passing along this free ambient download by 'for the birds' from Forced Nostalgia


Elmar Hintz is a German musician and sound engineer who began experimenting with synths in the late 1970s. He re-started recording around 1991 after dropping out of medical school. Except for a single appearance on one of the infamous em:t label compilations and a Nonplace Urban Field remix on Source Records, 8m² stereo has mostly operated below the radar. We think he's an overlooked artist with an exceptional skill to produce characteristic ambient music using lo-fi equipment, 2nd hand synthesizers and tape recorders.

Recorded on 2, 4 & 8-track tapes in the early to mid 1990s by Elmar Hintz.
Thanks to everyone who provided shelter, encouragement, or discouragement.
All recordings © & ℗ 8m² stereo.
This compilation © Forced Nostalgia, 2014.

Hypnos Label Releases / RELEASE: Subradial - Ice Diving
« on: May 29, 2014, 08:24:44 AM »
Artist: Subradial
Title: Ice Diving
Label: Hypnos Recordings

Subradial is the musical alias of Tomasz Szatewicz, who was born in the small Polish town of Mragowo. He’s been creating electronic music for twenty years, and has previously released the albums Bioloophorm 1, Bioloophorm 2 and Biorephorm on labels such as dataObscura and AtmoWoroks. His more recent work combines drones, subtle rhythmic loops and textures into churning, visually evocative soundworlds.

Of his inspirations and approach, Tomasz AKA Subradial says: “I was always inspired by listening to the sounds of the environment… I use everything that sounds interesting and what I can further process to create the imagined soundscape, a vision of some place, express my emotions or moods connected with particular times or places, either existing in real life or just imagined/dreamed.”

Ice Diving, his first release for Hypnos Recordings, is an album composed around a theme suggested by the title: a soundtrack to an underwater journey. Like the title, the cover photo (from an actual ice diving expedition in Antarctica) gives a sense of the sound worlds evoked by Subradial’s music. Many ambient recording artists apply titles to their music intending to suggest a theme, but here the effect is especially strong.

Ice Diving is an extraordinarily visual and immersive sound journey, with a wonderful balance between atmospheric/drone elements, and more musical or rhythmic components. We hope the sound samples offered below will convince you to take the trip. Hypnos Recordings presents Subradial’s Ice Diving.

Track listing w/ MP3 clips (follow link at bottom for MP3 jukebox player):
01 Alpha
02 Below
03 Ice Diver
04 Decompression
05 D.A.C. Station
06 The Mirror
07 Dance of Shadows
08 Hydrostatic
09 Octopus
10 Core Oscillations
11 Drifting Downward
12 Batiskaf
13 Out & Dry

Purchase direct for $12.99 ($8.99 intro price until 6-5-2014 only)

Hypnos News and Announcements / March Sale Offers
« on: March 17, 2014, 11:07:20 AM »
Here are two new coupon codes, good March 17-31, 2014 on the Hypnos Online Store.

10MAR2014 gives 10% off any order, no minimum

20MAR2014 gives 20% off $100 minimum order

Direct link to the Hypnos Store:

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / True Detective
« on: March 06, 2014, 08:21:14 PM »
I just realized that although everybody I know on Facebook and in "real life" is mad about the new HBO show True Detective, I haven't  seen anyone mention it here yet.

I think it's the best show on television, powerfully acted, superbly directed, and the writing is just out of this world. The season finale (the first season is only 8 episodes) is this Sunday. Anybody here watching?

The headphone topic has been a popular one, and many times while reading it I've wanted to create a related topic to discuss headphone amplifiers.

I think in many cases, the audiophile community tells prospective enthusiasts that they have to spend huge amounts of money, or don't even bother. This probably leads many people to distrust the advice they receive. Well, in the case of headphone amplifiers, I hope people won't ignore the advice that headphone listening can be significantly enhanced with the use of a dedicated headphone amplifier, as well as the use of a decent DAC (digital audio converter) if you're listening to music output from a computer.

We can get into the discussion of some higher-end headphone amps, but for now I want to discuss the "entry level" headphone amplifiers, the kind that might be purchased by someone who is not completely convinced they will change the way a given set of headphones sound.

Lately, there are some good, high-output headphone amps for not too much money. My latest is the Aune T1, which is a USB DAC as well as an amp, and is really amazing quality for under $200.

Schiit (see ) makes some cheaper models which won't quite stack up to their Lyr or Mjolnir, but at least output sufficient power that even a high impedance headphone will perform pretty well. The new Magni model us just $99!

Also if you have any DIY abilities, you can build one of your own. I have a kit for an O2 (Objective2) headphone amp which has been sitting on my shelf... haven't found the time to build it yet. You can buy them pre-built for not much more than the price of the kit (see ) and the sound quality is supposed to be especially good for the money.

Kit version:


I'm certain some people will look down on the suggestion that headphone amps under $200 could be adequate, but my purpose is not to suggest these are all the amplifier a headphone listener would ever want. This is just to show a few ways it's possible to try outboard headphone amplification for $100-$200, and gain a noticeable improvement in sound quality. I think people are much more likely to try something if they can do it cheaply, with less risk. Personally, I think it's unlikely a serious headphone listener would try one of these amps and fail to agree the difference was a great improvement over using the headphone output of their computer or iPod or stereo receiver. Once the listener is convinced, maybe they will want to step up to a mid-level or high-level amplifier. There are certainly many of those to choose from.

In my own listening experience, you can get excellent sound quality from an amp in the $500-600 range, and unless you're using very exotic headphones indeed, you might not need (or notice improvement from) a headphone amp more expensive than that. I have yet to hear a headphone amp over $1000 that convinced me it was better, though there are plenty of high-end amps I've never heard. I do understand that many people listening to planar or electrostatic headphones especially emphasize the importance of the amplifier, even more than with normal high-impedence headphones.

Everything and Nothing / Help me find good cider
« on: December 31, 2013, 12:43:57 PM »
I enjoy a good hard cider, but it seems the recent boom in popularity of cider has resulted in more "candy" ciders -- light and very sweet, with more in common with a Zima or a Bartles & James wine cooler than the dark, dry cider I enjoy.

Some of the craft breweries are offering cider now, but I'm leery of proceeding without recommendations. I don't want to spend $7 on a bottle of cider only to find it's sweet "alco-pop..."

Any recommendations?

Everything and Nothing / Christmas wishes from Mike & Lena
« on: December 25, 2013, 09:05:12 AM »
We wish everybody a great Christmas, and hope you all enjoy the rest of your holiday season. We've both been sick a lot lately (like everybody else around here, it seems), but we're fighting back and looking forward to a great 2014.

Everything and Nothing / MP3 player widget?
« on: December 11, 2013, 07:43:16 PM »
Hey, all my internet-savvy media-aware friends...

A year or two ago, I started working on setting up a little "jukebox" type MP3 player and was planning to switch all our MP3 sample clips over so they were playable in this format rather than just linking to the MP3 files on our server.

I tested several players, and had to eliminate most of the ones that  relied to much on Javascript, because I can't edit the HTML headers in the Hypnos Online Store. I believe I found a player that relied on Flash, rather than Javascript (though HTML5 might work too), and that had several skins available. It looked like a little WinAmp window, with a list of tracks below it, and a play/stop controller, and a scroller so you could skip ahead in the track playing, and a volume slider.

I'm pretty sure it was free, but it might have had a "paid for" premium version.

Does anybody have any idea what I'm talking about? I've been searching all over the place, and can't find the original files I was tweaking, or any reference to this MP3 player/jukebox thing on the internet.

Antonio Testa & Michel Miglia
Title: Forget the Past
Label: Hypnos (digipak CD)

Antonio Testa ( may be best known for his ethno-ambient collaborations with Alio Die, but he has also released a diverse variety of solo ambient music on such labels as Hic Sunt Leones, Faria and Emit. Testa’s collaborator Michel Moglia, credited here with fire organ, flute and drones, will be a new name to most.

Often ambient recordings pursue a single sub-genre or niche — dark ambient, ethno ambient or drone, for example — and stick faithfully to it. Forget the Past exhibits a pleasing diversity, with plenty of gently atmospheric stretches, rthythms that sometimes fade out and at other times build to a wicked trance churn. The sound is clean, yet derives from a full list of natural and organic sound source, and a diverse set of field recordings.


One track lays gritty, hallucinogenic flute lines over a slow-swooping psychedelic rhythm mechanism and incantatory female whispers and recitations like an overheard magic spell. Another mixes bird sounds and subtle electronic atmosphere with distantly echoing percussion, creating something like a soundtrack to a lost film by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Percussion with a tribal or ethno flavor is used in an unusual way, not to fake a specific brand of exoticism, but to create a sense of something both intuitively familiar and also strangely foreign.

Forget The Past covers a lot of sonic ground and a broad range of moods, but it’s always unpredictible and fresh, while remaining smooth, introspective and restrained. We’re very proud to bring this recording to Hypnos listeners, and trust that the sample clips will convince many of you to give this a full listen.

As usual, we're offering a discount for the first week of release, $8.99 until December 17. The price goes back up to $12.99 December 18.

Purchase direct:



Purchase direct:

Originally posted on the Hypnos blog:

We’ll have some exciting changes coming soon, primarily related to our first digital download store. As soon as we finish up beta testing, we’ll be opening the door to the public. Though we plan a sort of “soft open” for the store, with just a few products available at first, we plan to steadily ramp up and increase our offerings.

We’ll start out by offering a handful of Hypnos titles for download, then increase the Hypnos (and Binary and Hypnos Secret Sounds) offerings until most of those are listed.

After that, we look forward to offering digital downloads from other labels, starting with some of the music we already sell on CD in our Hypnos Online Store. Again, we’ll start small and gradually ramp this up.

The next phase after that, perhaps most exciting of all, is when we start selling downloads from other labels and artists not currently represented in our store. We envision our store becoming a hub for ambient, electronic and experimental music, with a mix of CD and download items. While physical space requirements keep us from offering more than 1,000 or so titles on our Hypnos Online Store, digital downloads don’t take up any physical space, so we might end up offering thousands of titles.

Here’s to the future! We’ll have more specific news very soon.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Ableton Live 9 and Max for Live
« on: November 19, 2013, 11:21:56 AM »
Most of my software, I don't upgrade every time a new version is offered. Usually I'll buy maybe every 2nd or 3rd upgrade, either because the new version offers something special, or because the old version seems not to work so well any more.

I think it's about time for me to upgrade to Ableton Live 9. In the past, I've always bought the "Standard" version of Live, not the "Suite" version with all the extra instruments and samples, but this time I'm thinking of upgrading all the way to Live 9 Suite. The inclusion of Max for Live is interesting to me. I feel like it's something I might use for crafting my own effects and pseudo-instruments.

Anybody out there using a recent enough version of Ableton Live to have an opinion on this? Anyone using Max for Live?

For a few years, I've had an Akai APC20 controller that I almost sold, because it was ridiculously hard to set up with earlier versions of Live. I just tried it with the demo version of 9, and the software recognized it and self-configured the interface, no problem at all. That alone is reason enough for me to want to upgrade. I love the idea of having external hardware with buttons, knobs and sliders to control Live, rather than trying to do everything with a mouse.

This is the thing I'm talking about:

Anyway, at the very least I'll upgrade to Live Standard, and I'm kind of leaning toward getting Studio. Just hoping someone will have some experience with this and let me know whether they think it's worth it.

Hypnos News and Announcements / Next stage in our summer sale.
« on: August 13, 2013, 03:30:16 PM »
We’re still trying to significantly reduce stock before we move over to a new online store. Here’s the next deal… two deals, actually!

First, check our store’s CLOSEOUT area, where we continue to add new items, and further reduce prices:

Next, use our new coupon code 25PCT100 which gives you the largest percentage discount we have EVER offered — TWENTY-FIVE percent off any order over $100. You can use it as many times as you like through Friday, August 16.

Or, if you want to order and want a good deal, but can’t find $100 worth of stuff you want, use this coupon code: 15PERCT — it gives FIFTEEN percent off any order, any size, and is good through the rest of August.

Let your friends know, and help spread the word.

Hypnos Online Store:

Hypnos Label Releases / RELEASE: Robert Rich - Trances & Drones (2CD)
« on: July 09, 2013, 01:41:12 PM »
Artist: Robert Rich
Title: Trances & Drones
Label: Hypnos/Soundscape (digipak+booklet 2CD)

2013. Hypnos is pleased to collaborate with Robert Rich on this deluxe reissue of Rich's out of print classic ambient drone work.

Originally released on cassette individually three decades ago, Trances and Drones were later released together on double-CD by Extreme (1994) and Release (2000). Our new edition, designed to be the ultimate archival version of an essential ambient/drone classic, includes a beautiful 6-panel digipak with 8-page full-color booklet insert.

link to larger image:

link to larger image:

Track listing (with MP3 sample clips):

1. Cave Paintings (23:54) MP3
2. Hayagriva (25:13)  MP3
3. Sunyata (Emptiness) (22:50)  MP3<a href="

1. Seascape (29:59) MP3
2. Wheel of Earth (27:58) MP3
3. Resonance (12:17) MP3

Purchase 2CD for $14.99 on Hypnos Online Store:

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