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Topics - mgriffin

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181
Everything and Nothing / Utopia & Dystopia
« on: February 07, 2008, 05:35:26 PM »
Not sure exactly what it is -- maybe I should think about it some more -- but I find literature and film based around stories of utopian or dystopian situations incredibly compelling.  I'm thinking of this at the moment because Lena and I re-watched The Handmaid's Tale last night, and it's a fairly good example of a dystopian tale (though it seems the book is very very different from the movie).  We talked a bit about 1984 and a few other examples, and I got started thinking about Things to Come, Gattaca, Anthem, and a few others.

I guess, as I type this, that what's compelling about these stories is what it reveals about where we might potentially hope to go, and also about where we should be careful not to go.  For example, The Handmaid's Tale immediately made me think about the problem of rising religious fundamentalism in our government.  That's not to say that I think religious people can't have a political voice, but I think you start to have a problem when the government is too driven by any religious text.

Anyway, this isn't a topic about the rise of religious fundamentalism, which is debatable anyway.

I'm more interested in hearing from others who find compelling stories or films depicting utopian or dystopian futures or alternate realities.  Further, I'd love to hear of some favorite examples.  I  listed a few of mine above, but there are others I'll come back and discuss further.

182
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Tools for rhythm-making
« on: February 02, 2008, 11:19:45 AM »
There are so many ways to make rhythmic sounds electronically, with drum machines and Reason probably being the two most popular.  I think another common tool is the "sort of a beatbox, sort of a sequencer, sort of a beat-sound synth/sampler" like the Akai MPC series or Korg Electribe series.

I've been starting to work on a couple of projects along these lines and the tools I've been using so far include:

1. Reaktor
Not so much for traditional beats, as for pulsing or surging rhythmic/ambient atmospheres

2. Impulse
This is a simple drum synth built into Ableton Live, which isn't the best rhythm-building tool I've found but I spend so much time in Live anyway, I can't help tinkering with this

3. Ultrabeat
This is the percussion module built into Logic Studio, and it's quite good, really very powerful and probably something I will concentrate on using more

I'm curious what people here are using to create their rhythmic sounds, or rhythmic patterns, or both.

183
Everything and Nothing / What should a small record label do?
« on: January 30, 2008, 03:53:33 PM »
I wonder, what should be the appropriate reaction for a small record label, to a place like this:

http://faunigena.blogspot.com/

Today, this blog is linking to downloads at 320kbps quality, of a couple of Hypnos CDs that we sell for $8.99.  I do understand the argument that sometimes, people hear something they've downloaded or reeived for free, and they like it so much they end up buying it.  I also understand that many who download it and listen, would never have purchased the CD in the first place, so in such cases there is no "cost" of a lost sale.

Still, despite all my attempts to look at this from some different angle or other, it's hard not to feel a bit annoyed about that.  So much for the argument that people only download music because "$18.99 is too much for a CD with only two good singles on it," or to "screw the major labels!" 

I wonder, separating out any personal annoyance or sense of being "cheated" I may feel, if people who make available downloads like that one realize that labels like Hypnos often sell such a small number of CDs as to make it just barely worthy of continuing, from a financial point of view? 

Or that the loss of a few hundred CDs sold could quite literally be the difference between a label continuing for another year, or not? 

Or that even if the label survives, a given artist's CD sales might be borderline enough to begin with, that the loss of just a hundred CDs sold might be the difference between the label opting to pick up the artist's next album, or passing on it as not viable?

One of the two albums available for download on that site, has just within the past year or two, finally sold enough copies to have paid for the expense of pressing it in the first place, nearly a decade ago.  It realy makes me wonder, without being hysterically possessive about the music on the label, or without being unrealistic about the complex matter of how and why music is shared without any money flowing to the label or the artist, if people actually have any idea of the financial realities of a small label like Hypnos, or Infraction, or Umbra?

This isn't meant to be an angry rant, nor to take an unrealistic view of file sharing, not at all.  I just wonder, what would be the right response in a case like this?  Should I write to those people and ask them to remove the downloads?  Should I just shrug it off and say, you can't control the impulse people have to take a shortcut, and you can't counter the rationalizations they will make in order to make themselves feel better?  I'm inclined to do nothing, but maybe I ought to be more active in searching for, and communicating with, people who run sites like that.

184
Everything and Nothing / Chat feature in this Forum?
« on: January 30, 2008, 11:29:58 AM »
Is there any interest in a Chat (real-time multi-user) room kind of application within this Forum?  I've been thinking about installing one, but not sure how much use it would get.

I assume that if it was relatively seamless, some people would use it, but I'd like to get a general response to gauge interest, before I spend the time setting it up.

185
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Water resistant earphones or headphones
« on: January 24, 2008, 10:32:09 AM »
i wondered if anyone had any recommendations for water-resistant (not "underwater" but OK for wearing in the rain, or for listening while chilling out in a hot tub or bath tub) earphones?  I don't imagine there's any such thing as over-ear headphones for this, so I figure any such solution will be in-ear.

186
Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Jonathan Block - The Anatomy of Waves
« on: January 22, 2008, 04:26:09 PM »
Hypnos is very pleased to announce a new release by Jonathan Block on our Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint.  Jonathan has previously worked with Hypnos, when his album Sonic Approach (under his alter-ego Synthetic Block) was released on our Binary sub-label.  Also his track 'The Language of Rocks' heads off the most recent Hypnos compilation Sounds of a Universe Overheard.

The new album, The Anatomy of Waves, is a series of four long tracks featuring improvisations using an electronic "wind instrument" device, an Akai EWI4000s wind synthesizer.

We'll have much more information here soon, but here's  the CD cover, and a track listing with audio clips:



Track listing with MP3 clips:
Diffract - http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-jb-aow-01.mp3
Diffuse - http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-jb-aow-02.mp3
Dissolve - http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-jb-aow-03.mp3
Disperse - http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-jb-aow-04.mp3

Thanks to Jonathan for bringing this work to us.  We look forward to sharing these with everyone else. 

If you've seen Jonathan's occasional posts elsewhere here in the Forum about his electronic wind instrument experiments, these pieces derive from the same explorations.

187
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Rune Grammofon label
« on: January 22, 2008, 10:25:45 AM »
Rune Grammofon was brought up in the ECM topic (as another example of a great label with a strong identifying aesthetic) and it's a label I've always meant to investigate further, but I could use some recommendations.

I did find this really cool slideshow of Rune Grammofon cover artwork by Kim Hiorthøy.

Slideshow:  http://swen.antville.org/stories/1703375/

Guidance, favorites and other thoughts appreciated.

188
Everything and Nothing / Vinyl
« on: January 17, 2008, 02:30:08 PM »
This topic isn't about vinyl siding, or those yellow vinyl pants you wore to the club last Friday... I'm talking about vinyl records.

I know this has been discussed on here before, but I'm thinking about it again.  Partly because I'm about to set up a turntable on my home stereo for the first time in over 15 years, partly because I've had Hypnos artists talk to me about vinyl releases, partly because I just received a charming 7" transparent vinyl release from Mico Nonet in today's mail.

So I'm wondering where people stand on vinyl now?

I know there are some people around here who talk about playing certain albums that are vinyl-only, but my question for them is, if that album were available on CD, would you have bought the CD instead?

Some have discussed using their turntable to play old records that don't exist on CD, and my question for them is, if most of those LPs were easily obtained on CD would you prefer a CD to the records?  Or would you say the LPs are good enough and just continue to play those?  Or would you prefer the LPs, and think I'm crazy for asking the first two questions?

If you're a recording artist or other "music biz" person, what are your feelings about your own releases on vinyl?
1. don't care or don't want your music released on vinyl
2. kind of curious about it, might like to have a vinyl release at some point just for the novelty
3. think it's quite cool and really love the idea of a few vinyl objects in your discography
4. much prefer vinyl and wish the dumb music industry would make it easier to release everything on vinyl

Myself, as a music lover, I can remember how great it was to look at big 12" record covers and liner notes, and one thing I didn't like about CDs when I switched, was the smaller space for artwork.  But I've never been a believer in the superior sound of vinyl, and yes, I've listened to turntables on stereo systems that cost more than my car, and even though those systems mitigate most of the problems with the vinyl experience, they don't get rid of the noise floor and "wear and tear" issues that are deal-breakers for me with vinyl.  So I guess I'd chalk myself up as #2 on the above list.

I might be crazy, but it seems to me that even as digital downloads are gaining momentum, vinyl records are re-gaining momentum as well, as more than just a retro curiosity, or a way of getting a copy of Kings of the Wild Frontier for 25 cents, or as a tool for DJs.  Curious what others say about this.

189
Everything and Nothing / Kombucha tea
« on: January 16, 2008, 04:32:12 PM »
Has anyone here ever tried kombucha tea?  I had been reading about its substantial health benefits so I picked some up to try with my lunch today.

It's a strange, fermented tea with active enzymes and cultures just like yogurt, and a weird, tangy taste like kim chee or vinegar.  I mean, it's more like tea than like vinegar, but it smells like the easter egg dye you used to use as a kid.

Anyway, I don't exactly hate this stuff, but it's so weird and unprecedented as a liquid refreshment, that I was really curious to hear what others think of this.

190
I have quite a lot to write on this subject, sort of a general update about what's coming up next, and what's in the works for later in the year.  I'll probably tackle this over several different messages.

A> PROJECTS READY TO GO VERY SOON (NEARLY 100% READY)

B> PROJECTS COMING ALONG BY SPRING (MOSTLY DONE)

C> PROJECTS PLANNED, BUT NOT YET DEVELOPED

191
Now that the whole Hypnos web site, including the Hypnos Forum and the Online Store have been successfully moved, we're going to have a special sale just to celebrate.

We're offering a couple of special coupon codes, valid at the Hypnos store between now and the end of next week (Jan 18, 2008). Use one of these codes to get 10% off any order, or 15% off any order of $100 or more. Only 1 coupon per order, so using both codes won't get you 25% off a big order. Those codes are:

CODE = 10NEWSTORE
(10% off any order, no limit, expires 01/19/2008)

CODE = 15NEWSTORE100
(15% off any order over $100, no limit, expires 01/19/2008)

Here's a direct link to the Hypnos Online Store:
http://www.hypnos.com/mm5/merchant.mvc

Thanks for all your support through our first decade, and our recent server move, from Hypnos Recordings!

192
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Gear for sale @ Hypnos HQ, 2008
« on: January 08, 2008, 02:20:38 PM »
A few items for sale here at Hypnos HQ.





Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) 828 firewire audio interface
Note that this is not the 828 mk II, but still includes 8 analog ins and outs, stereo monitor outs, spdif in/out, ADAT optical in/out, front panel level knobs and headphone jack, very light and portable but requires AC power.  Mac or Windows compatible (but I don't recommend this for people using Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 at least until MOTU updates their drivers).
$200 plus shipping





Digidesign Mbox USB audio interface
Compact, portable, powered by USB cable.  Mac or Windows compatible.
$125 plus shipping






M-Audio Firewire Audiophile audio interface
Compact, portable, powered by firewire cable or AC power, 2 analog inputs, 4 analog outputs, spdif in/out, plus MIDI i/o so if you're looking for audio i/o and midi i/o this is a great deal. Mac or Windows compatible.
$125 plus shipping

Note: these are not actual photos but are "swiped" from E-Bay in the name of expediency.  Condition of all units is very good though there are a few scratches on the 828's case.  If you want to see an actual photo before purchasing, let me know.

Also, I have not done much price research and if these prices are too high, I will consider lowering them or taking slightly lower offers after a week or so.

193
Everything and Nothing / What are your plans and goals in 2008?
« on: January 08, 2008, 11:14:40 AM »
I remember that in the old Forum, someone posted an interested topic at the beginning of 2007 about "What are your plans?"

It was mostly geared toward the music-makers here on the Forum, so they could talk about their upcoming projects, but it was also an interesting discussion of people's general plans for the coming year.

Lots in store for Hypnos, which I'll fill in later, but I wanted to kick off this topic and ask:

What are you planning or hoping to do during 2008?

194
Everything and Nothing / High definition home video
« on: January 08, 2008, 10:36:01 AM »
JKN's "buying a new TV" topic got me thinking...

HD (high definition) home video has got to be one of the greatest technological advances of my lifetime.  I never even go to the theater any more, and don't miss it, and I'm someone who used to go to 1 or 2 movies per week.  So, I'm curious what people think of HD home video and what their experiences with it are?

Do you have an HD set of some kind at home? 

Have you watched high definition video of some kind?  HD cable?  BluRay disc or HD-DVD?

Given changes in the BluRay vs. HD-DVD battle this past week, I suspect a lot of people will be taking the plunge in the next six months, but I'm curious to hear what others think.

195
Everything and Nothing / Moving the rest of the hypnos.com web site
« on: January 07, 2008, 05:55:46 PM »
This may be old news to those of us here on the Forum who have already migrated to the new Hypnos server, but the migration of the rest of the Hypnos site (main www.hypnos.com pages, the Hypnos Online Store, email, etc.) is happening right now.

If you need me or Lena urgently, leave a Private Message here, but our email is working and we just need to test the new email servers to make sure everything's working OK.

www.hypnos.com should now point to the new server for most of you already, and the rest of your DNS servers will update over the next 24 or so hours.

The new Hypnos Online Store address is http://www.hypnos.com/mm5/merchant.mvc -- again some of you may have lagging DNS servers that aren't updated yet, in which case you can still shop at the old store at http://www.hypnos.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc -- we'll keep checking both stores for the next few weeks just in case.

Thanks for your patience.  This should be entirely settled very soon.

196
Everything and Nothing / What's HOT and what's NOT
« on: January 04, 2008, 12:38:31 PM »
You know those little mini-articles in Wired magazine, and I think Esquire and Details does them too somethings... hell, probably every magazine does them... where they talk about a few things that are HOT, or NOT?

I was just thinking about a few trends I've observed recently, starting right here in our little neighborhood of ambient music. 

HOT: ambient music with melody and structure
NOT: ambient drone music


Comments... I'm seeing a greater interest in ambient music made by people who come from a more traditional music background, or at least who include more traditional elements in their ambient work.

And one more:

HOT: ambient music with acoustic instruments, guitar, and voice
NOT: ambient music with synthesizers and samplers


Comments... Same thing, just a movement I'm seeing toward more people working with these more "organic" sound sources, and despite my own synths/samplers background, this is a trend I welcome.


Does anybody else have anything to add?  Any movements, shifts or trends that can be observed?  I suppose this should be opened up behind just music-related or ambient-music-related changes.

197
Everything and Nothing / Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 03, 2008, 12:02:22 PM »
Hypnos Forum move happening today (Thursday Jan 03, 2008)

The entire www.hypnos.com web site is in the process of being moved to a new server during the next few days.  The old server and new server will continue to operate simultaneously until next week, so there will be two Hypnos news pages, two Hypnos stores, two Hypnos CD releases pages, and so on.  We'll update both old and new in sync with each other during this transition, so it won't matter whether you visit one Hypnos store or the other -- in both cases, your order will be accepted and completed just fine.

One part of the Hypnos web site that cannot be run in tandem (two versions running at once until the transfer is complete) is this Forum.  Because there's a database that's updated every time someone posts a message or creates a new membership, or even updates their "signature" or their avatar, there is no way of keeping two Hypnos Forums in sync for several days without an unreasonable amount of non-stop work.  For that reason, later tonight, this Hypnos Forum, the one you're looking at right now, will be taken offline for maintenance, and the databases (including members, forum topics, posts, and everything) will be backed-up and moved over to the new Hypnos Forum which is already running in test mode, and has been checked-out by your trusty Forum Moderators, JKN and APK.

Soon after this Forum goes "down" into maintenence mode, that database backup & restore will be completed and the new Forum will be active and ready.  I will post an address on the Hypnos News page that points directly to the new Forum.  I will also post that link here, below, but please do not start visiting and posting to the NEW Forum before this Forum goes down into maintenence mode, otherwise any posts you make there will be wiped-out when this OLD Forum is backed-up and moved over.

The link to the new Hypnos Forum effective late 1/3/08 and onward will be http://208.131.140.64/smf/

Eventually the hypnos.com internet domain will be converted over and you will be able to reach that Forum via the same address as this one, which is www.hypnos.com/smf

Please use this space (in the NEW Forum, starting Friday 1/4/2008) to post troubleshooting requests, problems, or questions relating to the NEW Forum.

A reminder.... you may visit that link to the NEW Forum prior to this OLD Forum becoming unavailable if you're just curious, and feel free to poke around and look all you want... but don't make any changes or posts that you don't want to be wiped-out when I convert over!  Continue to post here until the move is complete.

Thanks,
Mike


198
Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Nverxion - A Look Within
« on: December 21, 2007, 03:22:53 PM »
Artist: Nverxion
Title: A Look Within

Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds
hss14, limited cdr edition of 300
 


2007.   Nverxion (pronounced like "Inversion")  is the name under which David Brancato records his
ambient & experimental electronic works.  Brancato, based in Orlando, Florida, is also an artist and
photographer, and is relatively new to electronic music.  Reference points for Nverxion's sound
would be Numina, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Jonn Serrie and Jeff Pearce (all of whom the artist
acknowledges as influences).
 
Of his debut CD, Nverxion says, "A Look Within   began about two years ago as a series of experimental
improvisations. In the beginning I was just  concerned with learning my way through the process of
creating and recording the sound... As I progressed, the foundations of more advanced compositions
began to form, and soon I noticed a common feeling running through each of the pieces. Building on
this concept, I developed what is now a complete body of work."
 
We at Hypnos particularly enjoy discovering young, emerging artists who need help getting exposed.
If the endorsement of Hypnos isn't enough on its own, these audio clips below should help convince
even skeptical ambient music listeners that Nverxion is doing something distinctive and fresh. So
many new ambient artists rely too much on slow, flat drones, and it's great to hear material that
evolves, with sharp sound design, and an engaging progression to the album as a whole.  It's true,
we said the same thing just a few months ago when we introduced Hypnos listeners to Justin
Vanderberg, but we'll say it again: this is a composer and recording artist many people will be talking
about after he has a few albums to his credit, and he has started out strong.
 
TRACK LISTING(with mp3 sample clips):
Emergence (05:17)  http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-nv-alw-01.mp3
In This Place I Wander (18:59)   http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-nv-alw-02.mp3
From Where I Stand (06:49)   http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-nv-alw-03.mp3
Fortune of the Sky (18:32)   http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-nv-alw-04.mp3
In This Place I Rest (24:20)   http://www.hypnos.com/audio/hss-nv-alw-05.mp3
 
This limited CDR release, on the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint, is available for purchase for $11.99:
http://www.hypnos.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HOS&Product_Code=hss14

199
Everything and Nothing / The Hobbit and Peter Jackson
« on: December 18, 2007, 09:57:54 AM »
This makes me happy and it should make you happy too, unless you are a terrible person who didn't love the Lord of the Rings films. 

It looked like it wasn't going to happen...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071218/ap_en_ot/film_the_hobbit

Peter Jackson to produce `The Hobbit'

Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," a planned prequel to the blockbuster trilogy "The Lord of the Rings."

Jackson, who directed the "Rings" trilogy, will serve as executive producer for "The Hobbit." A director for the prequel films has yet to be named.

Relations between Jackson and New Line had soured after "Rings," despite a collective worldwide box office gross of nearly $3 billion — an enormous success. The two sides nevertheless were able to reconcile, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) splitting "The Hobbit" 50/50, spokemen for both studios said Tuesday.

"I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line," Jackson said in a statement. "We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth."

Two "Hobbit" films are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, similar to how the three "Lord of the Rings" films were made. Production is set to begin in 2009 with a released planned for 2010, with the sequel scheduled for a 2011 release.

New Line Cinema is owned by Time Warner. Sony and Comcast are among the owners of MGM.

200
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Twin Peaks fans should have a look
« on: December 11, 2007, 11:42:59 AM »
Richard Beymer, the actor who played Benjamin Horne (Audrey's dad, the guy who owned the Great Northern Hotel), posted a photo gallery of some pictures he took behind the scenes while shooting Twin Peaks.  To some degree this is meant as a tie-in to a recent book he wrote, but I think it's an amazing and strange glimpse behind the scenes of one of my favorite pop-culture-slash-art exercises ever.

Link:

http://gallery.mac.com/richardbeymer#100037&view=mosaic&bgcolor=black&sel=0

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