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Topics - mgriffin

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Computers, Internet and Technology / OK, Mac-haters!
« on: November 17, 2010, 05:51:20 PM »
OK, Mac-haters, here's something for you!  Via Daring Fireball (ultimate blog for Mac-lovers), a photo gallery of destroyed Apple products.

Everything and Nothing / What can we do to liven this place up a little?
« on: November 16, 2010, 03:35:13 PM »
Things seem a bit stale here on the Hypnos Forum.  Lots of people still visit here, and "hits" to the forum aren't down at all, but there are fewer new posts.  An increasing number of those posts are self-promotion, "for sale" links, radio playlists and "now listening," and while those are perfectly fine things to talk about, I wonder what we could do to get everybody more interested.

I'm not just complaining, but looking for suggestions regarding anything people would like to see around here.

Does anybody think it would make sense to eliminate the forum sub-sections, so all new postings go into a single time-sorted area? This wouldn't have worked before, when there were hundreds of new posts per day in dozens of topics, but now there are usually only a handful of new topics per day. This isn't a change I'm likely to make, but I'm trying to consider all kinds of things to make this a more active community.

I've considered switching to a different forum software, just to enable some different features and interface options. For example, phpBB was the software we used in the "golden age" of this forum, and there are some interesting add-ons for it. 

Does anybody care about things like better integration with outside social networks like Facebook and Twitter? I'm not sure what that would add to the forum, and I'm hesitant to make a section of this forum a dumping-ground for everything tweeted by every Forum member... but I'll throw it out there to see what anyone thinks.

One other possibility is to add a section for "user blogs," where some forum members could have their own section for posting reviews, podcasts, opinions, or whatever. This could be accomplished either by sectioning off a place for approved users to blog, or by integrating with the existing off-site blogs of certain users so that content is mirrored here.

This would be a great time to sound off if you have certain complaints or wishes for what you'd like to see at the Hypnos Forum.  Should we focus on offering members-only content? We could set up a part of the forum where anonymous browsers couldn't reach, and post extra special stuff.  Do you wish more recording artists and label owners would contribute here?  Is there anything on the Hypnos forum you'd rather see less of?

Any input appreciated... fire away!

Hypnos News and Announcements / New Robert Rich interview
« on: October 26, 2010, 04:31:30 PM »
New Robert Rich interview here -- mostly gear-related but not entirely. Lots of detailed information about Robert's working methods and tools, along with plenty of historical info.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / New Robert Rich interview
« on: October 26, 2010, 04:30:17 PM »
New Robert Rich interview here -- mostly gear-related (though not entirely) so I'll post it here rather than in the "artists" section.

On second thought I'll post the link in both places, as there's enough non-gear-related stuff to interest listeners.

Hypnos Label Releases / RELEASE: Herion - Out and About
« on: October 22, 2010, 04:07:04 PM »
Artist: Herion
Title: Out and About
Label: Hypnos digipak CD

2010. Herion is an Italian trio whose members include Emanuele Errante (known to Hypnos customers for Humus
on Evan Bartholomew's Somnia label), Enrico Coniglio (Aqua Dorsa project collaborator with Oophoi for the album
Cloudlands, he also released Sea Cathedrals solo on Silentes), and Elisa Marzorati.

They've created a beautiful and compelling combination of delicate musical structures with "glitch" components and
strange, experimental little samples. Always a pleasant, peaceful listen, Out and About brings a blissed-out
classical musicality into connection with an artful edge. This combination of elements results in an especially
sensitive, moving set of mood pieces. Somewhere between chamber music and minimalism, between lightness and
melancholy, this trio balances elements uncommon in ambient music.

Pre-release review by Michael Vitrano for Fluid Radio:
"Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, and Elisa Marzorati have created a wonderful album that moves right to the
 soul of the listener. While I was familiar with Emanuele Errante, who released the excellent Humus album on
Somnia in 2008, the other performers were a mystery to me. Marzorati’s piano motifs, mixed with Coniglio's
multi-faceted contributions involving melodica, harmonica, and treated guitar, all meld beautifully with Errante's
orchestral arrangements."

Hypnos is very pleased to release the first album this this trio. Out and About is not only a departure in
terms of sound, but is also the Hypnos label's first release in  digipak format.  Here are pictures to give a sense
of the package. See below for sample audio clips in mp3 format.

Out and About tracks, including mp3 sample clips:
01. Oxg    MP3 here:
02. Lindos     MP3 here:
03. Cab    MP3 here:
04. One Minute After the Sunset   MP3 here:
05. Moske Orgulje   MP3 here:
06. The Earth   MP3 here:
07. The Hanging Glacier    MP3 here:
08. Two Minutes To Sunrise   MP3 here:
09. Risvegli   MP3 here:
10. Solo   MP3 here:

Purchase direct for $12.99:

Hypnos News and Announcements / Binary sub-label sale on the Hypnos store
« on: October 13, 2010, 03:50:54 PM »
We're having a Binary sale!

The Binary sub-label of Hypnos releases more dynamic, percussive or energetic
sounds than the usual low-key style of the Hypnos label proper. Right now we're
making available all the Binary releases at temporary price reductions.

These are not permanent price reductions, just a special to focus attention on a batch of great
electronic music.

You can browse our Binary page here:

Or proceed to direct links to individual Binary releases (prices from $7.99 to $10.99) below.

Dweller at the Threshold - Ouroborus

Paul Ellis - Into the Liquid Unknown

Vir Unis & Saul Stokes - Thermal Transfer

Synthetic Block - Sonic Approach

Saul Stokes - Fields

John Duval - Hell's Canyon

Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves - The Range

Saul Stokes - Villa Galaxia

Hypnos Label Releases / RELEASE: Seren Ffordd - Arhythmia
« on: October 04, 2010, 03:34:43 PM »
Artist: Seren Ffordd
Title: Arhythmia
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds
hss31, limited cdr edition of 300

Reissue of out of print 2005 recording by Seren Ffordd, an ambient artist residing in Wales. This is the second in our series of reissues by this artist, following  Stellar Nurseries, and we previously released his album Veils, Shadows on Hypnos Secret Sounds a few years earlier.  Arhythmia is hypnotic and at times restful, yet often has an "edge" or a discordant quality.  It's more "active" than most other Seren Ffordd music

Cycles, patterns and rhythms, the world is full of them. Not the steady beats prevalent in most music, but subtle interlocking rhythms that dance and move through each other. The flow between the monthly phases of the moon and the daily tides. Stellar precession and the turning of galaxies. The pulsations of our blodd, neurons and breathing. In five parts,  Arhythmia is an exploration of such shifting patterns that can be heard and felt but not danced to. Rhythms and movements of sound that draw the mind and spirit into other places of dreaming. Arhythmia is a mixture of light and dark textures that contain both flowing and hypnotic elements. All the sound sources on the CD are acoustic in origin. They include field recordings of Thunder, rain and other things. The rest of the music is created on singing bowls, voice, gourds and chimes. All the effects and sound manipulations are performed on a Korg D16 digital portastudio. Recorded in June and July 2005.

Review by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
"Interestingly with a title like   Arhythmia, the artwork on the front of this one looks much like the inside of a heart valve, albeit softened in both texture and color. As for the music, hopefully it won’t give you any cardiac trouble. Darker and more experimental than his other discs, here Benford takes us into what he calls “an exploration of rhythms that can be heard and felt but not danced to.” Rumbling and churning sounds are joined by a steady rain in the background. Benford notes that the music is divided into five parts, although it plays as a single track. The movements are distinct and easily identifiable. The rain and rumbles fade away and are gone within 15 seconds of the start of part II, which takes a long slow descent to parts unknown. It plays like an infinite downward spiral, a rather creepy but cool effect. Unusual brushing sounds pan back and forth forming a unique percussive element. Its clear by this point that the disc is more sound collage than music in the conventional sense. Metallic bells ring out to start part III, and we breathe a sigh of relief as the ominous rumbling drones from part II gradually disappear. Though still quite stark and minimal, this part is bright and cheery by comparison. Part IV swirls similarly to part II, though in more of a holding pattern than a deep dive. I’d call it grey noise rather than white. This one plays like a blank canvas for your mind to imagine various subtleties that may or may not be there. The last part follows a similar pattern, creating another unique sound world to explore for the last 15 minutes before coming back to reality. Arhythmia is daring adventurous fun."

Track listing, with mp3 sample clips:
Part I - 10:15  mp3 clip   
Part II - 14:45  mp3 clip   
Part III - 17:00 mp3 clip   
Part IV - 14:00 mp3 clip   
Part V - 14:50 mp3 clip
This limited CDR release, on the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint, is available for purchase for $9.99 here:

Most of you are nowhere near Portland, but if you're anywhere nearby you may be interested in this weekend's H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, aka CthulhuCon.  It happens Friday through Sunday, October 1-3, at the Hollywood Theater in Portland.

Lena and I will be there.  Anybody else from the Forum planning to attend?

Edit: oh yeah, link:

hplff2010 by Hypnos MG, on Flickr

Computers, Internet and Technology / Halo
« on: September 21, 2010, 10:32:13 AM »
Any of you gamers out there keeping up with the Halo video game franchise? I was a huge fan of the first three, but skipped ODST which seemed like a cash-in to me, and was prepared to skip Reach on the same grounds. But now I'm reading reviews that make Reach sound like a true installment in the series, really just Halo 4 under another name (though it's a prequel), and I'm thinking about giving in.

Anybody keeping up with Halo?  The series is really the only reason I purchased an Xbox and 360.

Posting of self-promotion by recording artists or labels is acceptable, but please use restraint.

Don't "bump" your own topic over and over with frequent, incremental updates.

Don't just spam the same messages here that you're spreading to every other forum or mailing list on the internet.

Try to engage the Forum's other artists, labels, reviewers and DJs, as well as listeners from around the world.  You'll create more self-awareness by interacting with your peers, rather than spreading what amounts to junk mail.

Computers, Internet and Technology / What's up with SEO, anyway?
« on: July 29, 2010, 02:25:18 PM »
Most Hypnos Forum members and lurkers probably don't realize this, but for years now we've been flooded with "fake" member signups on this forum.  Sure, some people sign up for accounts because they actually want to post here and participate in subjects relevant to this board, but far more people sign up because they want to post spam and disappear.  A newer "trick" is signing up for an account and never posting anything, merely creating a membership with "spammy" links in your profile, so that Google's web-crawlers will see instances of those links and thus their placement in search engines will be better.

This is known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.  Before people started getting savvy to it (and even now, in some places) people would go around and create zillions of memberships and comments and blog postings and all kinds of other "presences" on the web, for no other purpose than to get these web links visible in as many places as possible.  Because if you post links to in five billion places on the web, then any google search for any term relevant to that site will tend to "rank" that site higher than others with the same term relevance.  In other words, if you have a site and want it to show up well on google searches, you might resort to this kind of disgusting, spammy trick to get people to find your sire.

All this background is for those of you who don't know what SEO is, or maybe you've just wondered why very often the front page displays a newest member name of "AmbientGuy" one minute, then the newest member is "Spammer99," then minutes later (after I've deleted Spammer99's account) the newest member is once again "AmbientGuy."

What I'm really posting this for is because I figure someone reading this must know more about the subject than me, and I'm really wondering whether this sort of activity really works.  I mean, is it really lucrative to pay teenagers in Indonesia or Ukraine to sign up for forums and message boards, and spread your web links around all day long?  It just doesn't seem like it can possibly be worthwhile monetarily, and maybe the only reason people are still doing it is because they haven't yet realized they're not REALLY going to get rich (same reason people try selling Amway or Cookie Lee or Tupperware).  If somebody knows better, tell me I'm wrong, and these people are actually pulling down a decent amount of money, setting up forum accounts and putting links in there, and then moving on to the next forum.

It's so annoying, deleting five or ten or fifteen new memberships every day.  I've managed to at least prevent the "bot" signups, automated computer programs that sign up without any human being involved, but it's tough to prevent somebody from setting up this kind of "junk" account. 

Everything and Nothing / Super-realistic human masks
« on: July 07, 2010, 11:20:36 AM »
Holy crap!  This mask is so realistic, it won't be long until ugly people can buy realistic masks that look better than their real faces!

Uh oh... Lena might make me wear one of these things!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Adobe Audition coming to Mac OSX?
« on: June 04, 2010, 04:05:45 PM »
Adobe Audition coming to Mac OSX?  Looks like it.

I've complained here over the years that one thing I've never yet found among Mac software to equal its Windows counterpart is a good stereo waveform editor for mastering.  Sound Forge is close to perfect for this, and it's the sole reason I keep a Windows machine in the studio, which I used for ONLY this purpose now that I've stopped using Sony ACID much.

I know, someone will chime in with "What about ___?" and name some sucky, half-assed audio editor for Mac, but we all know there isn't one out there to match Sound Forge.  Audition would be close enough, I think.

This fella's got me thinking of another possibility:

Everything and Nothing / R.I.P. Frank Frazetta
« on: May 10, 2010, 03:59:06 PM »
The all-time great artist of the fantastic, Frank Frazetta, died today at 82.  At his peak there was nobody close, and he inspired a huge number of imitators and totally changed the face of fantasy art. 

Not too long ago, Lena and I watched a documentary about the guy, and he'd been unwell for a number of years.  That documentary is worth getting from Netflix, by the way.

Computers, Internet and Technology / Dropbox is fantastic
« on: May 07, 2010, 10:06:20 AM »
Anybody else out there using Dropbox?  It's a free service that lets you set up a folder on any/all of your computers, up to 2gb (and there are various ways to get bonus storage space), and anything you drop into there is automatically synchronized on all your computers.  It works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone/iPad, Droid and more.  It's so great, I no longer have to carry around portable USB drives for my files I want to work on in more than one location.

Did I mention... it's free?  You can purchase an account if you want a lot more storage space but for most people, 2gb will get them by.  If you have friends with Dropbox accounts you can share sub-folders of your dropbox with them.  Lena and I share large files this way all the time, and Lena shares files with her sister in Austria as well.

If you want to sign up, use my referral link and we'll both get an extra 250mb bonus, here:

I'm mentioning this more because I think people will love it, than because I need a lot more bonus space.  I already have 3.5gb and I'm nowhere near my limit.  To me, this and gmail/gdocs are the best applications yet of "cloud" computing.  Oh, and Evernote too.

Everything and Nothing / E-readers revisited 2010
« on: April 02, 2010, 09:50:40 AM »
Over a year ago I created a topic here bitching about the Amazon Kindle, specifically Amazon's sneaky trick of removing already-purchased E-books from customer Kindles after Amazon received an "oops, we didn't really mean to sell that book electronically after all" complaint from a publisher.  It seemed clear afterward, though, that Amazon realized creating the sense that you don't really OWN the stuff you've purchased -- just rented it for an open-ended term subject to intervention by Amazon, the publisher, the author or possibly others -- was the worst possible impression they could create. I heard lots of good things from people about their Kindles, and I might have considered buying one.

Then Barnes and Noble announced their Nook, and I thought it looked like it might be even better than the Kindle, so I decided to wait a while longer and see.  Specs, photos and videos of the Nook made it look pretty appealing, but before it was actually released, rumors of Apple's tablet computer ramped up enough that I was sure one of those would be announced soon.

Apple did in fact announce the iPad and it seemed to me the ideal combination of kick-ass full-color e-reader, with additional (though basic) computer functionality.  I love my iPod Touch and often though tan iPhone or iPod Touch with a bigger screen would be an incredibly useful device, and that's what the iPad seems to be.  The increase in screen size isn't just about a larger display area, but ALSO a larger control area, so this thing really makes me wish I hadn't purchased a netbook last year.  I wouldn't want an iPad to be my main computer, but it could definitely be my second computer, for things like email, web browsing and the basic stuff (twitter, facebook, blogging, banking) that comprises 98% of most people's actual computer use.  Oh yeah, and it looks like a great ebook reader!

I went ahead and ordered an iPad which will be delivered tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to checking it out.  I know some others on here have Nooks, Kindles or Sony Ebook readers and I'd be interested in comparing notes.  Do you wish your ebook reader had a color screen for things like magazines, web browsing, comic books, or illustrated books?  Or do you just read black print on a white page anyway, and it doesn't matter to you?  To me, the color screen was something I really wanted, and I figured eventually the Kindle 3 or the Nook 2 or something would have color.

Just curious to see how much people use these things.  I probably won't buy fewer books (paper books I mean) but I'm sure I'll buy more ebooks.  Reading downloaded book or magazine PDFs while sitting at my computer kind of sucks, but lounging around and reading them comfortably sounds kind of nice.

Everything and Nothing / The price of CDs
« on: March 18, 2010, 11:03:29 AM »
I know we've discussed this from slightly different angles before, but usually the question has been mixed-in with other issues (CD versus CDR, piracy, the effect of free downloads, etc.) so here I'd like to make my question very specific.

How much does the price of a CD affect your willingness to buy?  Is there a price below which you would be more likely to purchase a CD?  Is there an even lower price point at which you would view the CD purchase almost as an impulse buy?

For myself as a music consumer (taking off my label owner for a moment), $16 and up represents "too high" and $12-14 represents sort of a normal, mid-point price, while CDs $10 and less seem cheap enough that I'm willing to take a bit more of a chance, and a CD as low as $6-7 is cheap enough I'd pick it up on impulse, without much consideration.

Hypnos CDs have usually been $12.99 for a pressed CD or $11.99 for a CDR in a slimline case.  More recently we've tried $9.99 for CDR in slimline cases and $10.99 for a pressed disc in a paper sleeve.

I've considered trying out an extra-low-price release just to see what would happen, maybe even in a jewel case or a digipak.  What would people think about that?  I mean, obviously cheaper is better, but how many of you would actually be more likely to try the music for a price $3 or $5 lower?

Everything and Nothing / How do you do?
« on: March 16, 2010, 01:44:24 PM »
It seems to me this Forum, while still relatively active, has gone through a phase of being less personal, less chatty.  You know, we still have plenty of music reviews and self-promotion and "now listening" stuff, but not so much real interaction any more.  I feel like I don't know the people here as well as I used to, even though I recognize all the names and know a few things about everybody's preference for music styles, music formats, and so on.

So... how do you do?  My name's Mike Griffin and I'm the founder of Hypnos Recordings, which I now operate with my wife Lena who is also on this forum.  At some point I stopped calling her my "new" wife but it still feels that way to me -- isn't that nice?

I'm ready for winter to be over so I can get outside more often for hikes and trail running and a few mountain bike rides.

I've been listening to a lot of demos, trying to get a number of Hypnos CDs going.

Lately I've been reading an awful lot -- great activity for Portland's gray and bleary winters.

How about you?  What's up, how you doin'?  Why not get everybody here up to date?

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