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Topics - mgriffin

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Everything and Nothing / WebDogme
« on: April 02, 2008, 09:10:18 AM »
Heard of the Dogme film movement?  Lars Von Trier and a group of (mostly Dutch) directors agreeing to certain austerity measures to keep their films more "real" or natural?  Rules like "use only natural light," and "No overdubbing, use only sounds that so on.

Well, I think it's an interesting set of rules, but I'm glad most directors don't adhere to it.  I like special effects, and pretty-looking films, all that kind of stuff.

I found this WebDogme variation, a similar set of rules for web design, and thought it was interesting.  If you're like me, and spend time thinking about the decisions (and mistakes) people make when they design web sites, you might find it interesting.

Everything and Nothing / Hypnos forum and web site problems
« on: March 28, 2008, 08:47:13 AM »
Many of you may have noticed we had a complete outage of the domain, including the online store and this forum, between about 1PM and midnight Pacific time yesterday.

This was a problem at the company that hosts the domain, and was not specific to our site, though I haven't been able to get any more specific information from them, at least yet, about what caused the trouble.

Everything should be OK now, and I apologize for any inconvenience.  If you were trying to email me or Lena during that time period and had your email returned to you as undeliverable, please re-send the email now and it should come through just fine.

Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Sense Project - The Sublime (2cdr)
« on: March 16, 2008, 06:00:03 PM »
Somehow I managed to announce the latest Hypnos release in all the usual places, except here at the Forum. 
So, since this one's still fresh, I'd like to announce our latest release, from Sense Project (who posts here on
the Hypnos Forum under his real name, Robert Logan).

Artist: Sense Project
Title: The Sublime
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds, ltd 2cdr edition of 300

Sense Project - The Sublime

2008. This release is a departure for the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint in that it will be a two disc set. Sense Project is an
alter-ego of Robert Logan, who releases experimental electronic music under his true name, including the truly amazing
debut CD Cognessence. Robert also composed the music for Alex Gibney's Oscar-winning documentary feature 'Taxi to
the Darkside' along with Ivor Guest and Philip Sheppard.

The Sublime careens from drone ambient, to churning, confrontational Aphex Twin style rhythms, with perhaps more rich
and diverse sound content than any album we've ever released. Normally we'd have reservations about releasing a double
CD by a young, emerging artist but this one justifies its duration without question. If you're not sure about buying an
ambient 2CDR release by a teen-aged recording artist (actually, he may be 20 by now... we should check before we go
around repeating the "he's only 19" thing), just give the MP3 sample clips a try.

Track listing, with MP3 clips:

CD. 1 "The Sublime Part I"

1.) VidÚk MP3 clip
2.) Rain Chimes (featuring Andrea Black on vocals) MP3 clip
3.) A Moment MP3 clip
4.) Solar Insect MP3 clip
5.) The Sublime MP3 clip
6.) Garden (featuring Sarah Sarhandi on viola) MP3 clip
7.) Isten MP3 clip
8.) ╔jjel MP3 clip
9.) Death and After (featuring Francis Logan on violin) MP3 clip

CD. 2 "The Sublime Part II"

1.) Erd§ MP3 clip
2.) Mantis Religiosa MP3 clip
3.) Prime Mover MP3 clip
4.) Shards MP3 clip
5.) The Lamb MP3 clip
6.) Voice of Many Waters MP3 clip
7.) Cimbalom MP3 clip
8.) The Beautiful MP3 clip

Hypnos Online Store listing

Hypnos Label Releases / Announcement: James Johnson and Hypnos
« on: March 03, 2008, 04:40:36 PM »
Hypnos Recordings is pleased to announce a renewed affiliation with an
artist we've worked with before, but who has been involved in his own label
for the past several years.  In 2000 through 2002, James Johnson released
the solo albums Entering Twilight and The Butterfly Chamber, as well
as Seed with Ma Ja Le. 

We will follow up with more specific announcements about individual upcoming
projects, but at this time are happy to announce our partnership.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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 -
Diffuse -
Dissolve -
Disperse -

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.

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 Hiorth°y.


Guidance, favorites and other thoughts appreciated.

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.

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.

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.




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:

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

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

Here's a direct link to the Hypnos Online Store:

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

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.

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?

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.

Everything and Nothing / Moving the rest of the 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 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. 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 -- 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 -- 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.

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.

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