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Messages - Bill Binkelman

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While I think there are things here that could do with some tweaking, overall, the Hypnos forum seems fine. It is relatively uncluttered, but I also don't think RM is "cluttered" as much as it is what it is...a NING community. I joined it, and two "new age music" ones but left the latter two when ALL they were was either self-promotional or discussions that started but never went anywhere. RM, at least, seems interesting...although sometimes the variety of people who post is a bit staggering (to me). I'm used to smaller communities.

I also think that, while there has always been ebb and flow in online forums and communities, I think we are in a paradigm shift (I know, I hate that term too  ::) ) I have NEVER seen the ambient@hyperreal list so dead. Part of this is that some live wires simply have faded away, both here and elsewhere. But, as Mike stated (I think somewhere earlier), people are re-aligning their online communication relationships, whether it be through Facebook or whatever. Again, the ebb and flow is natural, but I also think if you plotted the traffic here or other venues from, say, 2000 to now, you'd see a steady downward trend, irrespective of the ebb/flow.

Another thing is this...and it's just my opinion...ambient is no longer "new." Meaning it's been around now for over 30 years. I remember how exciting it was when, e.g. Strata and Soma came out, i.e. the first two collaborations between ambient wunderkinds Roach and Rich. Part of that was because it was all so new. I'm not saying that either (a) no one is making great music anymore or that (b) there are no "new" talents around. It's just that the element of "new" is relatively gone. And with it, a sense of excitement which led people to discuss more.

Also, (and sorry this is turning into a Binkelman treatise), with the exception of a few newbies now and then, most of us really KNOW each other pretty well, esp. from a music standpoint. Again, once we know our likes and dislikes, it leaves a lot of discussion moot, IMO.

I think it's VERY telling that one of the most discussed topics over the last few years are people dying, e.g. Jim and Barry. It's almost like we suddenly become aware of a world OUTSIDE the minimal discussions here. I know I am in the TINY minority who misses the contentious days of the Everything and Nothing being no-holds-barred and I understand no one wants that any more. But, again this is only my opinion, I can only read so many "currently listening" posts or posts about new releases that, if I had the time, I would buy and listen to (my reviewing backlog is so monumental at this point that buying anything but the occasional soundtrack is pointless).

Maybe nearly everything relevant to ambient music has simply been discussed..."what is ambient?" "how are new age and ambient different?" "does ambient have beats?" "is Eno relevant any more?" etc etc etc.

OTOH, for me personally, I just am not all that interested in some topics and even when I have opinions, I seldom post them. One is because I feel detached from the entire community anyway, and the other is because I don't see the that I mean, a discussion on the merits or downsides of CD-Rs...I mean, so what? Artists will do what they will, no matter who says what. Sometimes, I think some discussions are almost on the level of whining, but that's just me.

Wow, I am in full on rant mode now and LOL'ing to myself. Sorry to all the old timers who know me well from the past. I don't mean nothin' by it. Maybe I just don't like getting old! ;)

Mike, you have done wonders keeping the Forum alive all these years, with John and Anthony's help. Frankly, with everything else you got going, I say leave it as is. My only suggestion is to consider taking the "currently listening" tab and whittle away the really old stuff. Does anyone go back to page 3 or 4 and read it?  ::)

I wish I could get reignited and feel connected to not just here but the ambient community in general...time is just so short but I do hope to once again, at some point, contribute something of worth.

Thanks for indulging me.

I can't be sure but each of those COULD be from either Desert Solitaire OR Western Spaces, both of them collaborations between Roach and artists like Stearns, Kevin Braheny, and Richard Burmer. If I can find my Western Spaces cassette and Desert Solitaire CD, I will see if they match up. It sure does sound like a collaboration between Roach and Stearns, though.

As a reviewer, I find the listing of instruments used in the making of a CD to be HIGHLY important, esp. when it comes to this genre. More than once when the instruments are not mentioned, I have erred in stating something in a review which was untrue. There's only so much one can figure out based solely on one's hearing - and since I am not nor never have been a musician, I would prefer to know, even in ambiguous terms (e.g. "synthesizer," "electronic keyboards" etc.) what was used. But I don't need to know too many specifics, e.g. I don't need to know the brand of synth or which model.

Hi Matt. Welcome to the Forum. I've been a fan of the Peccaries since Howard Givens launched SP. I'm curious to know who your faves on the label are, if you care to chime in on the subject.

I'm happy for you and I hope the job works out well for you. Must be quite a relief  - and kudos to you for hanging in there until your luck changed.

Another shocker. The two Thought Guild recordings I have heard are excellent. And to die at such a young sad. I just attended a memorial service for the husband of a colleague yesterday. Too much death lately  :(

My sincere condolences go out to Chris' family and loved ones. Our small but well-knit community has lost another talented musician.

Mike, I have the interview scanned as a two-page PDF. Should I email it to you? What email address? mg (at) hypnos (dot) com?

(edited by Mike to remove my spam-crawler-readable email address)

Mike, I will try to scan the interview either tonight or tomorrow. Here is the cover (boy, does this take me back, as I 'm sure it will other of us "old timers"):

Bill- I think I did point Barry in your direction, long long ago.  And Mike- you wrote Barry around the time you wrote to me- Barry and I talked shortly after, and he asked me "what's up with this Hypnos label?" and I said that it was run by a pretty level headed, ego-free guy who appeared to be in it for the long term.  I remember Barry stating, dryly, "then he'll never last in the music business!"  :) I talked with Barry not terribly long ago, he was pretty excited about the (then) unreleased cd with Loren, but spent a lot of time asking about my wife and kids, wondering how it was possible that I was now the parent of a teen-ager.  I always appreciated how Barry was interested in, and willing to talk about, things other than music.

LOL! That does indeed sound like Barry! He had such a wickedly dry sense of humor. And yeah, he and I bemoaned the lack of serious attention ambient music got and how screwed up some things were. I thought I had found a real soulmate when it came to ranting at times! LOL! Yeah, I remember, Jeff, that I got in touch with you prior to my W and W days...I think you and Tim (Story) were the first artists I ever showed my "fan boy" side to back then. At some point Barry emailed me as a "Jeff Pearce" referral, I think...or maybe you told me about this great artist A Produce. I don't recall if I bought Land of a Thousand Trances from Lloyd or from Stu at Dark Star in Milwaukee. I think it was Lloyd (and I bought The Hidden Rift at Stu's store on Milwaukee's East Side. Man, the past we all shared. I so wish we could all be together tonight to raise a glass to Barry, a la the ending scene in Waking Ned Devine....(sigh).

I've already written some responses on Facebook, but I must say this is terribly sad news for me. Barry and I got to know each other quite well over MANY long distance phone calls shortly after I started up Wind and Wire in 1997. Barry was extremely supportive (as were you, Mike, and Jeff, too). I remember Barry telling me "It's easy, Bill, for someone to publish one or two issues...but if you can make it to 6 or 8 or 10, THEN people will start taking you seriously." His passion for music was just as engaging and contagious. The first album of his I got was Land of a Thousand Trances and MANY times I have stated that it is as essential an album as exists in ambient music. I think it was Jeff who put I and Barry in contact at first. If so, thanks, Jeff.  I interviewed Barry for issue 4 and, if Mike approves, I can find the interview and maybe post it here somehow. And yes, Mike, the photo was the cover image I used for that issue. As important and visionary as Barry was as an artist, he was also one of the nicest people in this business. That he helped me, who was a total unknown and a naive babe in the woods at the time, was a testament to his generous spirit. He had a great sense of humor and was a genuinely kind person. The world at large has lost a wonderful human being and the ambient community has lost one of it's pioneers and artistic geniuses (IMO, Barry was a real original). Safe passage to the next level, Barry. We will all miss you something fierce.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Happy Birthday - Bill Binkelman!
« on: August 18, 2011, 02:18:04 PM »
Thanks, everyone...and especially to John for spreading the word. I turned 57 today. I appreciate the kind words...I don't even have anything remotely cynical or curmudgeonly to say! I am sincerely and deeply touched.  :D

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Recent music purchases
« on: July 24, 2011, 05:52:56 PM »
Steve Roach/ Erik Wollo - The Road Eternal
Thom Brennan - Signals In Moonlight
Deepspace - The Glittering Domain
Matt Borghi - Huronic Minor

There's a classic from the past!

just noticed this!
is this the actual cover or not? feels a bit retro for nowadays but most probably intentional with this re-release :)

The original release of CD (at least the one I own) features the MIDDLE one of those three pictures. Color scheme of the rest of the cover is also identical to the original.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Special Editions
« on: July 07, 2011, 09:39:01 AM »
Kraftwerk's The Catalogue

Extremely COOL and numerous images were snipped to preserve bandwidth


Everything and Nothing / Re: What do you love?
« on: July 07, 2011, 09:36:22 AM »

My childrens' laughter.

Good food, preferably with decent wine.

And ambient.

Nice to see some of us are still kickin' it old school!

Everything and Nothing / Re: What do you love?
« on: July 01, 2011, 01:51:36 PM »
What do I love?

Just about every kind of seafood (fried, grilled, baked, broiled), shellfish, you name it. Freshwater, ocean, no difference. On our trip to Grand Marais, MN last weekend, we had whitefish (grilled and fried), crab cakes, scallops, lake trout, and grouper.

Cheese...hard, soft, aged, goat, cow, makes no difference.

Fall...I LOVE the gray skies and crisp days of autumn as well its cool nights.

I love the sound of rain or waves or wind in the trees, as well as the sound of crickets, frogs, and other nocturnal creatures.

I love George Webb Hamburger Parlor (based in Southern Wisconsin) hashbrowns...simply the finest I have ever sampled anywhere...and that covers a lot of territory.

Driving rural backroads through small towns, especially in Wisconsin in the fall.

That's not all I love, but it's a start.

In all seriousness, I think if solar activity was THAT bad so that even relatively small consumer electronics were affected, we (humanity) would be in such deep shit on a bigger scale that the state of your synthesizers would be the least of your concerns. Not saying it will or could even happen (and yeah, I remember Y2K too), but any solar event that would be able to fry small pieces of gear, think what it would do air traffic control systems, main frames, etc etc etc. I've seen too many post-apocalyptic movies (e.g. The Road, The Book of Eli, to name two recent ones) and I do NOT want to live in a society anything remotely like that anyway, either with or without synthesizers! LOL

Hi Julian,

I recognize your name from somewhere else...maybe a ning group? Anyway, welcome to a great forum, full of nice folks who actually want to discuss music....a wonder in this day and age, IMO.  ;)

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: For fantasy fans...
« on: May 18, 2011, 11:25:44 AM »
So Bill, what is your take on this series now that it's around half way done. Anyone else care to comment?

I am generally quite pleased with it thus far, especially given the monumental task of trying to bring such a complex story with at least 20 (maybe more like 30-40) IMPORTANT characters to the mini-series format.

Casting is amazing...not a single actor/actress was miscast and ALL the performances are spot on with how the characters are portrayed in the book. Especially good are the actors/actresses who play Jon Snow, Ned Stark, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Geoffrey Lannister, Caitlyn Stark, Viserys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Lyssa Aryn. In particular, all the "villains" are superb!

Sets are equally good, although you can tell the budget is small because you don't get the sensation of how big things are supposed to be (except "The Wall"). Costuming, weapons, etc. are all on a par with LOTR, from my perspective.

Music is "fine" meaning it is not bad but nothing has stood out yet, either.

The main problem, if you want to call it that, is that even at a 12-part mini-series, if one has read the book(s), one realizes how truncated the mini-series is (and has to be). Much backstory is left out and characters are introduced with little exposition, despite these characters being vitally important to the story. Given the constraints that a TV series must have, I am MUCH MORE than satisfied and am glad they are leaving the "tone" of the story as dismal, pessimistic, and cruel as the book(s) are.

Kathryn (my partner), who is a medieval studies scholar, praises the series for depicting how things really were at that stage of human history what with families turning against each other, alliances shifting daily, betrayal and violence being commonplace and anyone not of noble birth was pretty much fucked no matter what. She usually finds depictions of medieval kingdoms to be “whitewashed” but this is accurate from her perspective. One day a person is favored by the king and the next day, he or she could be be-headed.

Still, I don’t see how anyone who has not read at least the first book can be following this, unless they watched each episode 2 or 3 times. I think the producers should introduce each episode with the cast (the ones who appear in that particular episode) by showing the picture (in costume) and who they are playing, e.g. “Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Hand of the King” “Lean Headley as Queen Cersei Lannister” etc. That would help newbies keep all the players straight.

To give you an idea who many characters you HAVE to keep straight due to their importance to the story, go here
cause nearly everyone on this page is relevant to the storyline, at least in the upper part of the web page (the upper part lists 19 characters alone).

So, all in all, I am very pleased and am VERY HAPPY that HBO has already committed to a second season. Once all the necessary exposition and introduction of characters is done, the action picks up, to say the least, and the real murder and mayhem begins. Woot!

I just want to extend my congratulations to you, Darren, on seeing this through to the end. I have thought often of writing a book and have never even attempted it. Kudos to you on persevering and taking it all the way. You are to be commended!

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