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Topics - mgriffin

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Everything and Nothing / A Hypnos Forum member has just passed away
« on: May 09, 2008, 11:39:50 AM »
I'm sorry to report that someone known to many of us here on the Hypnos Forum, Gordon Danis, has apparently just passed away.  According to a posting on the space music mailing list, this apparently just happened.

Gordon has always been a big fan of the music and a supporter of many of the artists and labels familiar to all of us here.  I know Gordon had endured health problems in the years since I've known him, but I don't know the cause of his passing.  Maybe someone else here will know more.

Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Darkened Soul - Bathys
« on: May 02, 2008, 10:03:43 AM »
We're readying this disc for release soon, and just wanted to float a little "coming soon" teaser announcement.
We'll have much more complete information on this one soon, including MP3 clips.


(I removed the "teaser" announcement now that the more complete announcement of the release is below).

Everything and Nothing / Thousands of new cars destroyed
« on: April 29, 2008, 10:10:12 AM »
Has this story crossed people's radar yet?  It's the story of a freighter ship loaded with new Mazda cars, that nearly capsized up near Alaska, and sat anchored in the ocean for months while rescue workers tried to figure out how to keep the ship from completely tipping-over.

A block from where I work there are a series of huge gravel parking lots (I mean, HUGE) surrounded by chain link fences, Port of Portland property, where freighter ships unload cars from Japan and Korea and they're staged on their way to be delivered to car dealers around the NW.  There are hundreds of people whose part-time job is to spend days on end, driving Kias or Hyundais or Hondas or Mazdas off a ship, down a ramp, down an access road to Marine Drive, and into one of these staging lots, where they board shuttle buses to take them back to the freighter to drive another car down to the lot... repeat again and again, for days on end, until the lot is full of new cars.  Then the lot empties out gradually as the car-moving trailers deliver them to dealers.  This cycle happens over and over, throughout the 10 years or so I've been driving to this place.  The Port of Portland is a busy port.

Months ago, I was driving home from work past one of these lots (I work right off Marine Drive, where several of the Port terminals are located) and I noticed a giant forklift picking up new Mazdas and moving them across the lot into metal containers.  I couldn't tell for sure, but it looked like an ordinary forklift, not some kind of delicate car-moving tractor designed to move new cars without damaging them.  But they were placing the cars in the containers sort of carefully, not stacking them or anything, so I couldn't figure it out.

Then I started seeing articles about how all these thousands of cars, though they looked brand new and have never been driven, were being "junked" by Mazda, and were being taken in containers to nearby Schnitzer Steel, which is one of the biggest steel scrapyards and recyclers in the country.  Schnitzer shreds the cars whole, and sells the scrap metal back to Asian countries, where presumably it's made back into cars.

A lot of people are troubled by this story, by the shredding of 5,700 new cars which might have been used for something else.  They might have been donated to charities or churches, or put into government fleets at a reduced price, and I'm sure any of these recipients would have been glad to sign "hold harmless" waivers in case the cars were damaged by their months at sea, in salty air.

This is a really in-depth article about the efforts to "rescue" the capsizing ship.

Hypnos Label Releases / Robert Rich's Somnium - back in print!
« on: April 23, 2008, 07:36:44 PM »
Robert Rich's landmark long-form ambient recording Somnium went briefly out of print late last year, but
we have a new pressing available for sale now in case you missed it the first time.

2001 release, DVD format.

For those who are unclear about the format of SOMNIUM: it's an ordinary DVD-video disc, playable in regular,
garden-variety home DVD players, as well as DVD-rom drives on you PC or Mac. It does not require (and in
fact is not compatible with) a high-end "DVD-audio" format machine. To put it another way, it's a DVD-video
with music only, no picture (aside from the menus). The DVD-video format was used because it enabled us to
store 7 hours of continuous audio on one side of one disc -- no breaks in the program... no need to change discs
or wait for a changer to swap from disc 5 to disc 6, for example. It is a stereo (two channel) audio program.

Technical questions aside, SOMNIUM is a re-creation of Robert Rich's famous "sleep concerts," which began
during Robert's time at Stanford University. These sleep concerts have been much discussed, but few current
fans of ambient/space music have actually attended them. Consequently, a lot of speculation and mystery has
grown about the "legendary sleep concerts." Now you'll have an opportunity to stretch out in the dark and listen
to some of Robert Rich's finest deep, subliminal ambience.... seven hours worth, uninterrupted!

Ready to purchase now, 7 hours of music playable in any DVD player, for $21.99, here:

Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Matt Borghi - Huronic Minor
« on: April 17, 2008, 07:55:25 PM »
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.  We'll have more information soon about these recordings, but wanted to post a quick announcement to let everyone know these are coming.

The first of these Matt Borghi reissues will be Huronic Minor.

Coming later will be December Impressions, and then The Phantom Light.

Very soon we'll have audio clips and full descriptive information for  Huronic Minor, prior to its release, then the other releases will be spaced 2-3 months apart.

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!

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