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Topics - chris23

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I've recently invested in some basic gear so that I can try my hand at making ambient music. Let me blunt: You all make it look (sound) so easy.

How do you do it?

I've read a bit about some of your workflows in various places in the Hypnos forums, but, if you're in the mood, I invite you to say a bit more here about how you work. I realize that is an open-ended question, so I'll toss out a few specific questions if those are helpful for inspiring a response. I also realize we have a range of experience on the forums, including others who recently starting messing about and those who have been at it for several decades. I'm curious to hear from people at all phases of their development.

1. Do you typically just experiment until something "clicks" and you feel inspired? Or do you typically have a aural version of a vision that you're trying to bring to life?

2. If you use synths, do you typically start with a preset and then modify it? Do you start from scratch (e.g., with basic oscillators) and build from there? I assume there isn't a "one way" you do things, but what are some of the common roads you follow?

3. Building on the last question: If you work with synths, do you typically stay within that local synth environment? Or does your final sound emerge as a result of chaining a source through multiple plugins/effects? (If the later, do you "futureproof" it by saving those sounds separately and banking them? Or is that typically not necessary?)

4. I assume there are some things in your arsenal that are "must haves." For example, I've read about the way many of you revere certain reverb plugins, like Valhalla. What are some of your essentials--hardware or software?\

5. Sometimes people say things that imply that the quality of your gear is less important that what you can do with it. The implication is that, with the right mindset, knowledge, and talent, it is possible to produce some amazing soundscapes. But, I must confess, some of the more pricey tools out there would seem to give users a huge advantage. Is that perception the result of being new to this? Or is it, in fact, worthwhile to drop a few dollars on some strong "bang for your buck" style synths/modules?

What were some of your favorite ambient recordings from 2017?

Here are some releases that I was especially fond of. They are listed roughly in the order they were released. A surprising number of them came from the ARCHIVES label this year--a label that spans ambient techno to ambient soundscapes.

Yoyu - Ordinary Moon
My favorite of the year. Field recordings, loops, and beauty.

Snufmumriko - At First Light
Glitchy lo-fi ambient.

Eternell (Purl) - Children of Infinity
Majestic and spacious ambient, featuring a lot of acoustic guitar.

Halftribe - Daydreams in Low Fidelity
Glitchy but smooth.

Warmth - Home
Drones with slowly unfolding movements.

Ishq - Sen
A mix of experimental Ishq and the more magical and Elve-ish soundscapes.

Andrew Heath and Anne Chris Baker - Lichtzin
Like a mysterious puzzle, with pieces that gradually come together.

Rod Modell - Dawn, Dusk, and Darkness
(No digital version available.) Beautiful compositions based on beatless ambient washes and field recordings. The melodies are subtle and hypnotic.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Storms and Studios
« on: September 09, 2017, 05:40:05 PM »
Just out of curiosity: What do you those of you with lots of gear and studio equipment do when you know there is a significant storm approaching?

I also see Julio Di Benedetto hasn't posted since June. I hope he's okay. I know he lives in Florida, but I'm not sure how far south. Julio, I hope you'll be able to check in at some point. Hurricane Irma looks terrifying.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Web Audio API
« on: June 29, 2017, 08:37:57 AM »
Has anyone here experimented with Web Audio API--a set of methods for playing and manipulating audio in modern web browsers?

I've been playing around with this for the last few weeks and have been having a lot of fun. I was shocked at the wide range of things that can be done these days in a browser alone:

- create oscillators using a variety of wave forms
- manipulate in real time, manually or algorithmically, the frequencies of those waveforms and their timing
- load audio clips/samples and process those in a variety of ways
- add/subtract gain nodes, panning nodes, and a variety of filters
- use impulse files for convolving signals (reverb)
- chain nodes together to customize signals and how they are processed

Most of this is done by using javaScript to control the work flow.

Anyhow, just checking to see if there are others around here who have poked around with this stuff.

I thought it would be fun to carry on drone on's tradition of asking people to list some of their favorite releases of the year. It doesn't have to be a list of 10 per se, but I'd love to know what really stood out for people so I can insure that I didn't miss anything that deserves a good listen.

Here are some of my favorites from 2016. The first four are my absolute favorites of the year; the rest are listed in no specific order.

Steve Roach and Robert Logan - Second Nature
Unlike anything in the Roach catalog. I love the serene, Budd-like quality of the piano and the way the synths wash over those notes like waves over stones.

Alio Die - Seamlessly Bliss
Pure and deep ambient bliss with Stefano's distinctive signature sounds.

Ishq - Space Simulator
Six longform ambient-drone pieces delivered from outer space.

Nacht Plank - Alien
This is such a unique, odd, and quirky recording: modular experiments with alien melodies.

Mick Chillage - (M)odes
Such great tracks on here, and a lot of ground covered, including drifting ambient and an up-tempo closing.

Autumn of Communion - Broken Apart By Sunlight
This is easily one of the better AoC releases.

Jacob Newman - Biospherica
Bubbling and glitchy ambient. CD coming on Carpe Sonum in 2017.

Remember - Route Back Home
Technically released in 2015, but the CD came out in 2016. Ambient vapourwave inspired by lost love, wanderlust, and rainy nights in the city.

Forrest Fang - The Sleepwalker's Ocean
I'm especially fond of the Sleepwalker's Ocean suite, as well as the longform track on the second disk. Lots of depth, and chock full of interesting sounds.

Andrew Heath - Europa
Found sounds and field recordings mixed with ambient textures. Each track is like a sonic tapestry.


Computers, Internet and Technology / Bird Sounds Visualized
« on: July 16, 2015, 06:55:55 PM »
This seems pretty cool. Particle effects + art + bird song = neato

Other Ambient (and related) Music / 12k on Bandcamp
« on: January 06, 2015, 09:24:52 PM »
12k is gradually uploading their catalog to Bandcamp. Some nice OOP releases listed too, including an older Dan Abrams album.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Yagya
« on: December 08, 2014, 06:17:05 PM »
For the second year in a row, Yagya is offering "name your price" downloads on Bandcamp in celebration of his birthday. Chances are that many folks here already have his CDs, but, if you've been curious or needed to fill a gap in your collection, this is a fine opportunity to do so.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Loscil?
« on: August 08, 2014, 08:21:00 PM »
I just watched the movie, Divergent, with the kids. Imagine my surprise to hear a Loscil song in the movie. Anyone notice that?! My kids now think I might have "okay" taste in music.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / USB albums
« on: July 29, 2014, 07:06:56 PM »
What are your thoughts on releasing albums on USB sticks? I recall that machinefabriek did this earlier this year with an album + video collection and it seemed like a smart way to distribute a ton of data. ...txt also just released a USB of various Nacht Plank recordings:

My collector instinct doesn't feel moved by USB sticks, maybe because I can't stick the darn things in my stereo. But I'm curious to know whether others collect these, buy them, etc.

Everything and Nothing / German & Swiss record store suggestions
« on: July 06, 2014, 08:18:09 PM »
I know this is a long shot, but who knows who might be lurking out there...

I'll be doing some work in Tübingen, Germany and Lausanne, Switzerland over the next two weeks. If any of you live near one of those cities or have visited them and have some good suggestions on stores to check out for ambient and related music, I'd love to hear your recommendations.

ASC's new release on Silent Season is in its pre-order phase. There appear to be fewer than 40 copies left.

His Time Heals All release last year was wonderful. The samples here suggest this will be an outstanding followup.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Projekt sale
« on: April 18, 2014, 04:56:32 PM »
Projekt is having a 50% sale this weekend on their Bandcamp site. The discount code and further information is available here:

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / ASC's Studio
« on: April 13, 2014, 09:10:33 AM »
I'm not a musician, but I know that those of you who are enjoy swapping gear and studio pics.  ;)

Here are some pics of ASC's setup.

ASC has done a lot of dnb and techno work, but has also recently begun to venture more explicitly into ambient territory in his releases on Silent Season. His double CD last year, Time Heals All, was my favorite ambient release of the year. He has a new one coming out sometime in the next few months.

Everything and Nothing / Austin TX Record Store Suggestions
« on: February 11, 2014, 08:35:40 PM »
Anyone on the forums familiar with good record stores in Austin, TX? I'll be there for a few days this week. Wouldn't mind hitting something that has a good selection of ambient, new age, em, world, etc.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Jim Guthrie
« on: January 17, 2014, 04:52:20 PM »
Not ambient, but good:

Jim Guthrie is one of my favorite indie rock musicians. He's done some creative stuff, including scoring the soundtrack for a pretty fun iOS game called Sword & Sworcery. One of his better albums, Now, More Than Ever, was recently remastered and Gurthrie has released a digital version on bandcamp for the low, low prices of "pay what you want."

I encourage folks to give it a spin and/or a buy. It is truly great stuff. Rock-opera style in some places.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Oblivion - 2013
« on: January 11, 2014, 11:35:14 AM »
Has anyone seen Oblivion? My wife and I watched it last night and I thought it was an incredible piece of sci-fi. The visuals were wonderful, the story was excellent, and the way the story unfolds is really clever. It didn't get great ratings, but it seemed like something that a few Hypnos folks might appreciate.

Marketplace / Want to Buy: Hummingbird + ASC
« on: October 26, 2013, 08:49:10 AM »
If anyone has a copy of these releases and is willing to sell, please send me a private message with information on how much money it would take for you to part ways with these discs.

ASC - The Light That Burns Twice As Bright (Silent Season) -- Looking for a repress that doesn't have the rumored problem of the tracks cutting off prematurely

Hummingbird - Our Fearful Symmetry (Fluid Audio) -- Not the remixes; the original CDr release from 2010.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Breaking Bad
« on: September 29, 2013, 02:55:32 PM »
Anyone gearing up for the finale this evening? I might not be able to watch it until Mon or Tues; going to be hard to stay away from discussions of it until then.

Everything and Nothing / SF record stores
« on: July 02, 2013, 05:41:29 AM »
Hi, all. I'll be in San Francisco for a few days. Are there any record stores you Bay Area locals would recommend for ambient music? In the past, I've gone to the Haight St. Amoeba when I'm in town, but it has been many years since I've visited that location and it might be a difficult one to reach since the transit system is down due to a strike. I'll mostly be downtown and in the mission district near Valencia.

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