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Messages - Axs

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After a lot of thinking, Rod Modell. Definitely.

I'd love seeing how he produces music, how does his studio look, and considering he might probably have a whole lot of old unreleased material in DATs on his shelves, this is really the producer I'd love to meet and talk to.

Everything and Nothing / Re: RQ003: What influences you the most?
« on: January 12, 2010, 02:02:34 PM »
Most of all, my inspiration, particularly when I make ambient, is landscapes. Green, island landscapes for the most part, or abandoned valleys, or remote parts of the planet.

Photos like this :

etc etc...

Everything and Nothing / Re: good old vinyl... yet another article...
« on: January 05, 2010, 02:41:48 PM »
I'd say vinyl is good, but not for all styles of music. For pop, soul, disco, techno, whatever music with rhythm there is, most of the time, when the vinyl pressing is nicely done, it sounds sharper, crispier, than any other form of media. I tried, I have some releases on vinyl, cd and mp3 format, and when it is techno, for example the last Redshape album I have on top of my head, the vinyl version has more warmth of sound, and the hi-frequencies are much more clearly heard in the mix. It's not really born out of my subjective ideas, it's just a thing I happened to notice, it's a fact.

On the other hand, when you take ambient, drone, orchestral and overall calm music, 98% of the time it's a miss. Why ? Because like Mike said, after a dozen listens you tend to hear more the cracks and the hiss than the actual music... For example, recently on Ghostly international, they released a Biosphere remix of a The Sight Below track. Only problem : they chose to release it only on vinyl format, no digital for this remix, whereas the other tracks are actually released on mp3. Resulting in the most calm track of the release being on the only format it doesn't belong. I also have some Die Stadt releases on vinyl, and compared to the cd version, Mirror's Still Valley for example, a very calm piece, the vinyl version doesn't hold up, even with a fine pressing.

So in the end, if you're an ambient listener, there are chances you're more akin to listen to your favorite music on cd. If you're more of a techno listener, it's up to you, but most techno enthusiasts like having their music on vinyl format exclusively, to the point when sometimes, they can't stand that an artist/label releases some music on digital/cd format (you should take a look at the Dub Techno forum on Discogs, it can be quite funny at times). As for me I'm both : I love having appropriated music on vinyl (dub techno, etc...), but I prefer having my ambient releases on cd, because it's more convenient, and it also allows long musical formats, which in lots of releases is a key element of the music (think Steve Roach's Immersion series for example).

Everything and Nothing / Re: Passing friends
« on: January 05, 2010, 04:39:26 AM »
I sure didn't knew her but I was quite shocked when I heard the passing of Dani Long from Celer. Even more, it is one of my favorite ambient bands period, and knowing she died at such a young age left me quite sad and empty... So it can come as a bit of an over-reaction, especially since I never met her nor Will but it's such a miss that makes you remember we still all are human beings after all :'(

Everything and Nothing / Re: What have they become ?
« on: January 03, 2010, 07:23:25 PM »
@ Forrest : Ah yes, I've always wondered what happened to Yamashiro Shoji too, I love the Akira soundtrack and I got pretty curious with his work, and I realized he didn't released anything since 1994... It's a shame, but as he is born in the 1930s (if I remember well), I just figure he must be enjoying a quiet life and quite simply retired from making music, or at the very least retired from releasing it.

@ Scott : if even Sam Rosenthal (whose Projekt site owns the only web page I know with some bits of information about Stephen Nester : ) doesn't know about him, he must be pretty well hidden... I think the best thing to do would be to ask Stefan Goldmann of Macro Recordings (who re-released some of Nester's tracks on vinyl last year) about how he got to contact him and eventually get him to re-release some of his music. I don't know about this Happiness Boys myspace page though, there are lots of fan pages floating around and I wouldn't be surprised this is one of them, as there seems to be no web presence of Stephen Nester whatsoever. I don't even think anyone knows when he was born... Hell, Stephen Nester may not even be his real name at all.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 03, 2010, 07:04:11 PM »
Just bought : Steve Roach & Robert Rich's "Strata" - beautiful, almost (dare I say) "tribal" sounding ambient album, with stunning soundscapes and percussion work. I find hard to believe this album was actually released way back in 1990, it sounds like it could have been produced yesterday. Quite simply stunning, and plain relaxing music.

Everything and Nothing / What have they become ?
« on: December 28, 2009, 07:26:04 PM »
I love searching through records, in my own collection, in shops, in conventions, and there's always a time when, at some point, looking back at some records you like or ones you didn't put on the turntable in years, you ask yourself the question "what have those guys become ?". Most of the time, the producers are still producing today, or might have take a break or a hiatus from music producing... But what about the ones who made a few records, and then quite simply vanished in mid air ? As there are quite a few musicians and a whole lot of music lovers around here I thought it might be fun to start a topic like this, especially if some people know the actual producers who seem to have erased themselves from the public light for good.

I've asked myself the question with two artists recently, one is Stephen Nester, aka Slap or Belt and half of the "Happiness Boys" duo, owner of Duotone Records, experimental electronics musician, I've always loved his works, but apart from the records he did in the 80s, a cd compilation on Relic (a sublabel of Projekt) in the mid 90s, and more recently a reissue of some of his tracks on Macro (which gives no clue on his current state as he was obviously not involved in the project, his tracks on it being straight from the 80s releases) there remotely has been nothing new since the late 80s/early 90s... Anyone knows what he does now ? Is he still producing ? Is he still alive ? It begs the question (I think there might not be more than two different photos of him floating around).

The other artist I'm wondering about is Matrix (aka Tetsuo Tsuri), who published an album I love on Chain Reaction recordings a good ten years ago (called "Various Films") and then disappeared, which is quite unusual regarding the fact that all the artists to have published a cd on Chain Reaction always seem to pursue a musical career today (Monolake, Vainqueur/Substance, Fluxion, Vladislav Delay)... There is no photos of him that I know of, and as far as Discogs go, apart from the CR releases and a couple of tracks on compilations at the time, nobody has heard of him again. I know a former music critic that used to know him back in 1999/2000 but he has lost contact since Tsuri's mail address got erased for whatever reason...

Do you have such examples of artists you'd like to hear music from again ? Do you know any of such artists that just seemed to left music productions after a short but excellent string of releases ? :)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Best of 2009!!!1
« on: December 28, 2009, 06:49:53 PM »
My pick for the top 10 2009 albums :
01 • Atheus - Soundscapes & Drones
02 • Thomas K๖ner - La Barca
03 • Vladislav Delay - Tummaa
04 • Moritz Von Oswald Trio - Vertical Ascent
05 • Snd - Atavism
06 • Celer - Engaged Touches
07 • Variant - The Setting Sun
08 • Monolake - Silence
09 • Redshape - The Dance Paradox
10 • Brock Van Wey - White Clouds Drift On and On

Not very ambient related, but most of what I listened to in 2009 wasn't music released in 2009 per se. I didn't even had the chance to pick up any 2009 Hypnos release, but I intend to correct that in 2010.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: The most somber Classical piece ???
« on: December 24, 2009, 07:38:11 AM »
Not a classical piece either, as it is a soundtrack for a film, but it is actually entirely symphonic, is Ennio Morricone's "Humanity (Part One)", a cold, atmospheric piece he composed for the John Carpenter's movie "The Thing" :

Everything and Nothing / Re: Have a great holiday season, everybody
« on: December 23, 2009, 05:31:01 PM »
Thanks a lot for the holiday wishes Mike, I sure hope everybody in here enjoys his or hers ;)

By the way, is it really sunny in Portland ? Lucky you, right now I can hear rain tapping at my windows...

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 23, 2009, 05:05:18 PM »
Second question first, as I talk to him a bit I've seen this release slowly evolving during the past year, it was already finished quite some time ago actually, but originally the packaging was going to be hand made leather cases done by Serge (Atheus) himself, but he left that idea out (it took him an unbelievable amount of time to make), and let go that idea around march 09 I think, after that there was to be another type of packaging that didn't quite worked out either (for some reason), so after almost a year of delay I think him and Anders (owner of the label) decided to release the album, and took whatever packaging that was cost-less and, most importantly, fast to make. I think that after a year of delay just because of packaging issues he was indeed quite fed up with it.

As for the album itself, I heard the first extracts from it almost two years ago now, so I couldn't say I was entirely surprised by it's content. Basically, to keep things straight, the style is really dark deep drone sounds. There are always notes underneath the sound but the large majority of the spectrum is taken up by processed white noise and hissing sounds. As he is a dub techno producer too we can sometimes hear a dub styled delay panning in the speakers, but the part that makes it so great is the actual melodies and chords used, which are dark and very melancholic to say the least. The last two tracks are the same concept but with deep throbbing beats and basslines applied to it, at very low frequencies for the most part. The harmonies are subtle and sometimes hardly audible but always present, and listening to the release in the dark with my eyes closed and at loud volume is truly one of the most immersive music experiences I've ever had...

Now I don't think everyone will be appealed by this release, the very essence of the sound being sheets of noisy waves subtly crushing on each other, but I think that if you can have a copy it's really worth the listen, just for Drone 37Hz, which is one of the most beautiful "beat ambient" tracks I know.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 23, 2009, 04:30:33 PM »
Listening a lot to Atheus's "Soundscapes & Drones" these days, the album of the year for me...

Also, just got Forrest Fang's "Phantoms", not going into details in here, but it's a downright genius album.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach - Immersion Series
« on: December 23, 2009, 04:24:01 PM »
Mathias Grassow is a great artist who has a very special mood to his material in my opinion. There is almost always a sense of mystery and suspension in his pieces that make his prolific output quite interesting in many ways, a bit like Celer or Viridian Sun (to me at least).

Hypnos News and Announcements / Re: Hypnos 2010 outlook
« on: December 23, 2009, 04:46:58 AM »
Just read all the news for 2010, it's great to see the label releasing all those cds after a (very) relatively calm 2009 year ! I can't wait to check out the Herion album, I wonder how it's going to sound like, with Enrico Coniglio and Emanuele Errante on board I gotta say my expectations are going sky high !

Hello everybody !

I hereby introduce myself : my name is Alex, aka Axs, I'm an electronic music lover (and producer) especially in genres such as dub techno, ambient and drone. I've discovered the Hypnos label a bit more than a year ago thanks to the Michael Mantra and Rod Modell's "Sonic Continuum" release... And since then I pretty much buy every Hypnos record I stumble upon, and every time I'm amazed at the quality of the releases. Of course as many ambient fans I'm inspired by the works of Brian Eno, but also Mathias Grassow, Thomas K๖ner, Andrew Chalk and Michael Mantra. I registered here after reading the forums for a bit, as the community seems nice and constitued mainly of music lovers like me. And on the internet, that's something quite seldom found.

Best regards ;)

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