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Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Birds of Tin - Rinpoche
« on: December 19, 2008, 03:22:54 PM »
Artist: Birds of Tin
Title: Rinpoche
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds (Ltd CDR)

2008. Birds of Tin is a pseudonym for experimental sound artist Brooke Oates. He has previously collaborated with Rapoon and Augur (Steve Brand), and released several solo and collaborative works on a variety of labels, most notably Manifold and Mystery Sea.

We are pleased to announce the first release by Birds of Tin, Rinpoche, on the Hypnos Secret Sounds sub-label. This recording comes from an in-studio live improvisation from 2002, and covers a strange and varied sonic territory. Working in the realm of sound art as much as "music," the artist creates an effect that is hypnotic and at times seemingly psychoactive.

"Birds Of Tin is the one man project of Brooke Oates and there has been no new release since 2004. That perhaps might be right, since the recordings here on 'Rinpoche' were improvised in 2002. Birds Of Tin had releases on Manifold, Solipsism, Mystery Sea and XZF. What Oates does here is pretty much outside the lines of Hypnos: no finely woven tapestries of synthesizers, but a likewise finely woven pattern of all sorts of heavily treated sound objects. Lots of echo and reverb on the tea cups that is. Two pieces, together spanning some seventy-five minutes, whereas one would have been enough. Another difference is the improvisational aspect of the music, also not unlike Hypnos. Birds Of Tin seems to me a man who loves his record collection - don't we all - and particularly records by zoviet*france and to a lesser extent Rapoon. Sometimes things are a bit too haphazard in the way its put together, but then in other moments he proofs to be capable of producing a nice tune. A pair of scissors to splice the tape would be handy though."
--Reviewed by Frans DeWaard, Vital Weekly

Track listing (with mp3 sample clips):

Purchase Rinpoche for $11.99 here:

Everything and Nothing / 2008 winter weather
« on: December 17, 2008, 11:29:28 AM »
We're having some "weather drama" here in Portland, and the rest of the NW as well, actually.  Snow pretty rare for us, and when it does snow or ice up, usually a couple days later it melts and we're back to normal.  This week, we had a couple inches of snow, which isn't much, but it's remained below freezing, and very windy, ever since.

I know this wouldn't qualify as "drama" for those of you in the upper midwest, or most of the NE states, but for us it's a big deal.  The schools are all closed, the roads are mostly empty, and many businesses are closed.  TV stations are cutting in with "weather alert" features all day and night.

The steep road into and out of our own neighborhood has stranded cars along one side, all scraped and dented and banged-up where other cars have skidded off them while trying to deal with the hill.

Grocery store shelves are bare, as some deliveries are not arriving, and many people came in and bought up all the milk and bread and soda pop and chips (the staples of life, obviously) they could haul away.

It doesn't look like any big emergency when you look out the window but people are definitely reacting to it as if it were a big deal.

So, what about where you live?

It seems like the economy is in rapid-shrink mode, and huge layoffs are being announced every day.

I'm not too interested in a political blame-assignment discussion about the economy, but I'm curious how many people reading this forum have been touched, or spared, by layoffs.

At my "day job" the discussion came up.  So far we've been able to avoid letting anyone go, and have managed to reduce the workforce almost 25% by attrition.  But now nobody wants to quit, with the holidays coming up, and other jobs harder to come by, so we're having to discuss the possibility of letting some people go soon.  Lots of the other businesses we work with have done huge layoffs, like 25-40% of their work force. 

So, thoughts?

Everything and Nothing / If you could recommend one book
« on: October 29, 2008, 04:28:31 PM »
If you could recommend just one book, not to one specific reader but to anyone/everyone interested in reading, what would it be?

I keep changing my mind about what I would choose...

Lord of the Rings, assuming I could lump the three books together into one recommendation, would probably be my choice.

I might consider Dune or The Sun Also Rises but I think in the end it would come back to LOTR.

Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Various - Echoes of Polyhymnia
« on: October 24, 2008, 09:56:24 AM »
CD release announcement from Hypnos Recordings
Various artists
Title: Echoes of Polyhymnia
Hypnos Recordings, hyp2855

2008. Polyhymnia was one of the Muses of Greek myth, specifically the Muse of sacred hymn. Echoes of Polyhymnia compiles music in ambient and related genres composed and recorded exclusively by women. This genre is so male-dominated generally that we had a lot of fun gathering interesting ambient sounds, including some works that have one foot in ambient territory and another foot in one of several different, related genres. It covers styles and flavors as diverse as ambient, drone, glitch, vocal collage, goth and electronica.

Hypnos manager (and artist) Lena Griffin curated this specially-themed compilation which gathers an assortment of ambient & atmospheric sound works from around the world. This project reveals a totally new angle on ambient music, more diverse and wide-ranging than all previous ambient compilations from Hypnos. Ranging from ethereal to dark to pretty to spooky to melodic, we think this album displays a solidly worthwhile musical and soundscape content beyond just the curiosity and "I've never seen that before" factor of the theme.

"The nine Muses struck up a lifestirring melody. Polyhymnia, nursingmother of the dance, waved her arms and sketched in the air an image of a soundless voice, speaking with hands and moving eyes in a graphic picture of silence full of meaning." --The Dionysiaca of Nonnus

Track listing with mp3 sample clips:
1. Margaret Noble: "Nufon" mp3
2. Stellaria Fennica: "Hibernia" mp3
3. Kristin Miltner: "Slew Wave" mp3
4. Clarissa Borba: "Floating Tones" mp3
5. Sara Ayers: "There Was No More Time" mp3
6. Rose Bolton: "An Unheard Message" mp3
7. Gydja: "Wave-Particle Duality" mp3
8. The Floating World: "Kanam" mp3
9. K. Cornelius: "Of The Ancients" mp3
10. Lena Griffin: "She Forgot, She Dreamed" mp3

You can purchase  Echoes of Polyhymnia directly from Hypnos for $12.99 here:

Everything and Nothing / Do you speak English with an accent?
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:21:05 PM »
I stumbled onto this interesting web site today:

It's a reference web site set up by academic linguists studying the differences in accented pronunciation of English, in different parts of the world.  There are maps you can click on, and listen to a recording of someone from that area on the map reading a standardized little text-bit.  It's pretty interesting to hear how differently English is pronounced all over the world, but what might be most interesting to me is the weird little exceptions... like strong accents in one part of a certain area, but not in another close-by part of that area.

Am I crazy to think that the English spoken by people on the West Coast of the USA speak as close to a straight, unaccented version of American English as is possible?  I mean, I (and my friends and family) speak in a way that seems neutral -- I've never had anyone anywhere in the world say anything about my "accent." I speak the way most people on TV speak (well, not the way they speak on Gunsmoke or Andy Griffith or Hill Street Blues).  When I hear someone from Texas or New York or Alabama or Minnesota speak, I can hear their accent and place it right away.  When I hear someone from Seattle or Portland or San Francisco speak, they seem to be speaking neutrally.

So, I'm wondering what people who are English-speakers have to say about their own version of English.  Do you consider yourself to have an accent?  What do you consider "unaccented" English to be, whether American or British?  Or is there no such thing -- is there an accent no matter where you're from?

Hypnos News and Announcements / Special deal on Hypnos Secret Sounds discs
« on: September 22, 2008, 04:41:59 PM »
We've had some great releases on our Hypnos Secret Sounds sub-label, especially recently,
but we thought it would be a good time to highlight some of our earlier releases for those who
may have missed them.

So, we're running a two-fold special right now.

First, we're cutting the price of 8 of the earliest HSS releases from $11.99 to $10.99 -- permanently!

Second, we're offering a 10% off coupon on all orders that include at least one HSS release... and the
10% discount applies to ALL the items in your order, not just the required Hypnos Secret Sounds item.

That means you can get an extra 10% off the new lower price on the 8 we just price-reduced, and it
also means you can get 10% off the newest ones as well, and better yet, it means you can get 10% off
anything else you order at the same time.

This coupon is valid through  September 30, 2008, and may be used as many times as you like by then.

The coupon code:  hss2008

Here's a direct link to the HSS section of the Hypnos store:

And since I know people like to look at pictures, here's the cover of our latest on the Secret Sounds imprint:

Everything and Nothing / RIP David Foster Wallace
« on: September 16, 2008, 04:23:31 PM »
The well-regarded and somewhat crazy novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace died by suicide a couple of days ago.

His major work Infinite Jest had been at the top of my "must read this someday because so many people whose opinions I respect have told me this is right up my alley" list.  Sometimes I put off reading it because it was so big (almost 1,100 pages if I recall correctly) and other times I put it off because it seemed certain to become one of my favorite books, based on all I had heard of it, and I was postponing this great pleasure, this great discovery.

Well, now he has passed away and I think that's a shame.  In one of the tributes I read, there was a link to a commencement speech he gave for graduates of Kenyon College in 2005, and this is just such a great read. Not too often do I read an essay or a short speech and think "Wow, I wish I had read that," and resolve that this is something I had to remember to read again in the future.

Everything and Nothing / College football 2008
« on: September 14, 2008, 08:55:03 AM »
It seems like most years, we have a college football topic on here, as I know there are several of us following it. 

Yesterday afternoon's Oregon vs Purdue game was on national TV for most of the country, and it was a bit distressing as my team, the Oregon Ducks, looked clumsy and mistake-prone through much of the game.  But in the end, we pulled close enough to force overtime.  In the first overtime, both teams managed only a field goal, then in the second OT, Purdue went first and was held scoreless (missed a 44 yard field goal after being pushed back from the 25 yard line), then Oregon took over and had to substitute quarterbacks after yet another knee injury.  But rather than settling for quick field goal to win, which would have been risky in the windy conditions (Purdue missed 2 of their last 3 field goal tries), Oregon just kept running it hard and won the game on a touchdown.

There were some other interesting games yesterday. 

I had guessed USC would beat Ohio State by 21 or so, and it wasn't even that close.  The Big 10 does sometimes have good teams, but they also have several teams every year that are rated much too high to start the season.  Ohio State was pre-season number 1... what a joke!

To turn it around on the Pac 10, though, UCLA had fooled people into thinking they were solid, and some people were calling them the 2nd best Pac 10 team.  But I believe teams coached by Rich Neuheisel will always find a way to disappoint, and UCLA didn't wait until the late season to get started disappointing.  They lost to BYU 59-0 and that's just ugly.

More Pac-10 folly... Cal was another team being discussed as the 2nd best team in the conference, and the flubbed it up against Maryland.  They were actually way behind the whole time and just put together some offense in the last few minutes to get within a touchdown or so.  If that last onside kick had gone differently, who knows what might have happened, but Cal was just another Pac-10 disappointment.

Arizona State, ranked #15, lost to unranked UNLV in overtime.  Yesh... everyone was getting all excited about next week's ASU-Georgia game, but nevermind.  Yet another "might be the 2nd best in the Pac-10" team stumbles.

So, I'm here to tell you that the 2nd best Pac-10 team is now Oregon!

Anybody else following football this early in the season?

Everything and Nothing / The creative drop-off
« on: September 11, 2008, 09:31:34 AM »
After I posted that "who would you rather be?" topic, it got me thinking about which creative artists (in whatever medium or genre) had shown the greatest drop-off in quality, or become the greatest disappointment to their biggest fans. 

I was thinking of Anne Rice (insisting that her recent works not be edited, disavowing all her well-known earlier works) in particular, because she was really a very good writer for a "pop fiction" author, and she had so many millions of adoring fans.  Not only is the recent work very inferior, talk about a huge smack in the face to all the readers who love your work, and support you.  "Sorry, my vampire series and witching hour series are evil stories, and people who read them really need to find their salvation."  Yeesh.

In the field of popular music, U2 and REM came to mind.  Almost everyone roughly my age loved these bands in the 80s, and just about everyone I know now detests them completely.  Now when I listen to War or Murmur they seem to have no relation whatsoever to the bands parading around under those names today.  The degree to which I hate U2 now cannot possibly be overstated.  Not just disdain, not just disappointment, not just "sheesh, they've sure jumped the shark."  I mean hate, hate, hate.

As far as filmmakers, though the verdict is still out, I'd nominate James Cameron.  He was "on top of the world," directing several all-time classics of science fiction, which were also very successful commercially.  His side trip to popular romance-fantasy with Titanic could be excused at the time because it was a grand spectacle, and only the highest-grossing film in history, so OK James, what have you got for us next?  Then the guy vanishes up his own rear end, makes a little documentary about diving under the ocean (we get it James, you had fun going down to the ocean floor to film second unit stuff for Titanic, and it's really really need to be so far under water) and then... nothing.  Still nothing.  It's possible Avatar will make me eat my words, we'll see.

There are many other examples... authors, actors, athletes.

Everything and Nothing / Where would you rather live?
« on: September 11, 2008, 09:01:59 AM »
I really love Oregon and there aren't too many other places I'd even consider living,with everything this place has to offer.  But I've been surprised to hear several people recently tell me they wished they lived somewhere different.  It's weird to me to think of people living in a place they don't really want to live, given how acceptable it is in our society (at least in the US) to leave your family and friends behind and move a thousand miles away, for a relationship or a job or just "for a change."

It's common among young people, I think, to want to move somewhere bigger, cooler, more urban.  In high school and through college I was 100% certain I would move to New York after college. A few of my friends tried going there, and came back fairly quickly with stories to tell that convinced me it wasn't what I'd fantasized about.

Living in a place that's high on any "quality of life" rankings, I often hear from out-of-area friends and online acquaintances how much they've thought about moving to Portland or other parts of Oregon.  When I lived in Seattle, I often had people tell me "Oh, Seattle, I'd love to live there."

How many of us are going through our adulthood living in one place when we'd rather be somewhere else?

If we're not living where we want to live, what are the reasons?  The need to stay close to parents or siblings?  A work opportunity that doesn't exist elsewhere?  Cost of living?

What would it take to get you to move, if you've been wanting to go somewhere else?

If money was no object, and if I didn't have to worry about work, I could see living somewhere like Monterey or Carmel, California. That's a beautiful area.  I've thought about living on the Oregon coast, somewhere like Cannon Beach, when it's time to retire... but the Oregon coast can be cold and foggy much of the year.  Really, though, I'm happy here in the Portland area.

Everything and Nothing / The "free for all" section of this Forum
« on: September 10, 2008, 08:29:21 PM »
I've made the decision to de-activate, at least temporarily, the "free-for-all" section of the Hypnos Forum.  Recently things were becoming increasingly heated, increasingly personal, and some of the contempt and even hatred on display in there was very unpleasant.

I really don't think it will be any loss for a music-oriented discussion to do without a place to argue "hot button" issues -- there are hundreds of places designed specifically for that sort of thing.  I guess there will be some people who will think this is censorship, or an effort to silence different opinions, but I think it's preferable to the alternative, which would involve banning a number of people who might have been perfectly well-behaved when discussing music or movies or salsa recipes, and who might have been valued contributors on such a basis, but who couldn't respect one another when it came to disagreeing about the upcoming election.

I don't think there's any problem with people registering opinions in this topic about whether the "free-for-all" area should or should not have been de-activated.  I don't have a problem with dissent or the expression of different opinions, and I have no problem with people saying I'm wrong.  Having said that, I will absolutely not tolerate the resumption of any of the hostilities that were taking place in that area, in other areas of the Forum.   

Everything and Nothing / Color hue test
« on: September 10, 2008, 10:17:54 AM »
Online test to determine your ability to discern fine hue gradations.  Just takes a few minutes.

I scored a 20 (lower score is better).

Everything and Nothing / Who would you rather be?
« on: September 05, 2008, 09:39:38 AM »
Who would you rather be, between two roughly equivalent individuals famous for similar things... assuming that the question of gender was taken out of it?  Yes, I know that in some cases you'd rather not be either one of the pair, but you still have to decide.

1. Would you rather be Tiger Woods, or Lance Armstrong?

2. Would you rather be Anne Rice, or Stephen King?

3. Would you rather be Ben Affleck, or Jennifer Garner?

4. Would you rather be Amy Winehouse, or Britney Spears?

5. Would you rather be George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton?

6. Would you rather be Wolfgang Puck, or Anthony Bourdain?

7. Would you rather be Stephen Spielberg, or James Cameron?

8. Would you rather be Giorgio Armani, or Ralph Lauren?

9. Would you rather be Ernest Hemingway, or William Faulkner?

10. Would you rather be Fred Flintstone or Barney Rubble?

Discuss, and give reasons.

As for me...


OK, I hate "blind" links, so what this is... at a Britney Spears live performance, someone isolated her vocal mic feed, without all the effects and backing vocals and music, and it's very revealing.

We need to clear out some shelf space, due to all the new CDs we've been bringing in, so we have some new price decreases
and closeouts we'll be making available, gradually, in the Closeouts  section of the Hypnos store, which is here:
Available so far, with more coming in the next few days:
Aube - Howling Obsession -  price $4.99

Audela - Audela -   price $9.99

Maurizio Bianchi and Maor Applebaum - Electrostatic Deflection -  price $11.99

Controlled Bleeding - Between Tides  - price $4.99

Crawl Unit- vs Silence - price $7.99

Deutsch Nepal - Comprendido...Time Stop! - price $2.99

Usually price reductions like this see people snapping everything up pretty quickly, so if any of the
above links returns an error, or a blank product page (no item description or cover or price) that
means the item in question is sold out.  Like it says above, we'll be adding to this list frequently
until we create some room on the shelves.

Everything and Nothing / Organizers and task managers
« on: August 19, 2008, 03:21:00 PM »
I seem to be on a never-ending quest to try new organizers, task managers, outliners, and so on, whether we're talking about PC software, portable device applications (like PalmPilot), or "paper and pen" printed forms.

I dream of a system that will let me keep a bunch of task lists, and access them wherever I go... this last requirement  has always been the reason installed software tools have failed, and why I sooner or later have trouble with a paper organizer or day planner.

I've tried using a TikiWiki on a USB thumb drive, a Dayrunner, Outlook plugins, web-based tools like Remember The Milk and, and who knows how many others.

The best solution I've found yet is which is a hosted TiddlyWiki installation that you can access from anywhere you have web access.  It's really cool and worth checking out, and the closest thing I've found to organizational nirvana (actually, not the best organizational system but the best one that's accessible anywhere you have net access).  It's free and I'd highly recommend it if you're into this sort of thing -- and no, I won't tell you the password for or any of my other top-secret wikis.

I've noticed that the iPhone and iPod Touch have some new applications that will let you interface a web-based version of your organizer, for tools like Things or OmniFocus (if I remember right) -- that would seem to be the ultimate, letting me work on a portable device when I'm away from a computer and access my real, live to-do lists and reference.

I wonder, does anyone else have any suggestions for great accessible-anywhere organizational tools like this?   

Everything and Nothing / Latest ultra-realistic character animation
« on: August 19, 2008, 03:06:00 PM »
We're approaching that threshold where computer animation will be able to replace real actors.

Never mind the computer game industry... Imagine what this will mean for the porn industry!

Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Matt Borghi - December Impressions
« on: August 18, 2008, 04:17:46 PM »
Artist: Matt Borghi
Title: December Impressions
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds (Ltd CDR)


2008. We here at Hypnos have long enjoyed Matt Borghi's subtle atmospheric ambient music, and believed it
deserved more attention. Many of Matt's CDs are out of print, and  we've agreed to re-issue a series of our
favorite recordings on the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint. Simple, restrained, and artful, these recordings
deserve to remain in print, and we hope these reissues will  help introduce more of today's ambient music
listeners to the work of this important artist.Following our release of Huronic Minor a few months back,
here we announce the second part of our Borghi reissue series, December Impressions

December Impressions was conceived, and recorded during the spring of 2001. This is a dark, cold, and steely recording that borders
more on tone poem than full LP release. The tracks are named as sequences, representing parts of the same whole, and a cohesive linear
listen rather than a variety of separate tracks of the same mood. With this release there was an attempt to represent the cold Michigan
winters, or at least the sound of the Michigan landscape during the dark winter m onths. While this recording is truly ambient, and
contemplative in nature it's also quite gritty and cold. This doesn't have the warm, lush synth pad chordings that many ambient recordings
are known for. Comparisons for this recording are difficult becuase there's not a whole lot out there that sounds like it, but comparisons
to Robert Rich, VidnaObmana, Alio Die, and Zoviet France might be appropriate.
*Additional Composer's Note - December Impressions came to be in a weird compositional period. This recording used, as it's source, a
handful of pieces composed a few months earlier when I was working on Elegy for Time. Once I developed these guitar pieces I then
dabbled with composing for frequencies alone. I focused on using low-end frequencies between 100 and 500hz, and I focused on
high-end frequencies from 1Khz - 12Khz. This recording truly embodied the conceptual process of painting with frequencies. I organized
the frequencies wholly on how they worked with regard to creating a steely, icy mood of a Michigan December landscape, even though,
this work was actually being composed in the early spring. December Impressions eventually turned into a stark, and cold kind of ambient
soundtrack. I like the direction that this recording took, but after it's completion I had satisfied my experiments with 'frequency painting'.

Track listing (with MP3 sample clips):
1. Part I  - MP3:
2. Part II
3. Part III 
4. Part IV
5. Part V   - MP3:   
6. Part VI 
7. Part VII
8. Part VIII
9. Part IX
10. Part X
11. Part XI   - MP3:


"Somber-but-sweet tonal washes are smeared across the vast, cold soundscenery of December
Impressions. With one near-silent exception, Matt Borghi's "sequences" hover in a surreal state
of shapeless beauty against slate-colored skies."
--Reviewed by the AmbiEntrance

Hypnos Online Store listing -- price is $11.99

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