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Messages - Bill Binkelman

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Doin' the right Thing?
« on: October 15, 2011, 01:31:00 PM »
Thanks for the review, Darren. I may see it second run or watch it on DVD, but as someone who LOVES the John Carpenter version (have watched between 10-15 times, probably), I just think I will find this unnecessary and even redundant. But, since reading your review, I will not dismiss it out of hand.

"Oh, I'm a real light sleeper, Chiles."

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Movie trailers worth a look
« on: October 13, 2011, 10:43:03 AM »
I completely agree with you, Mike, about re-boots. I was shocked that the new Spiderman is a re-boot. I mean, WTF? Batman Begins and Casino Royale were good examples of re-boots that worked, IMO.

So many people hated the third X-Men movie and I thought it was "okay" so I'm curious if anyone wants to say why it sucked so bad. Admittedly, I stopped reading X-Men WAY before the whole Dark Phoenix storyline emerged, so maybe I am missing something here. Was it just because of Xavier getting killed? Also, no mention of the Fantastic Four movies, Mike? Probably because they sucked too? As a HUGE fan of the comic in the silver age, I certainly thought they sucked. Talk about abysmal casting!!! And Doctor Doom was supposed to be the FF's Joker, right? They completely missed the point of Doom, IMO. I always thought Lucas was somewhat influenced by Doom when he created the look of Darth Vader.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Movie trailers worth a look
« on: October 12, 2011, 01:11:09 PM »
Yeah, count me interested in this. I LOVED the Iron Man movies so am glad to see that Tony Starkplays a prominent role. I also enjoyed the Thor movie, too, despite myself (I thought the whole "fish out of water" bit when Thor came to Earth would be campy but it played out quite nicely, to my surprise). I never even saw the second Hulk film and isn't this the THIRD actor to play Bruce Banner? I have never been a Hulk fan, though, despite that I "came of age" reading the silver age of Marvel comics in the 60s and early 70s. I still haven't seen the Captain America movie (hope to see it soon as it's still in second run theaters here in Mpls). Can't say I was a HUGE Cap fan in my comic reading days, either, and if he never wears his mask (as it looks like in the trailer), well, it's not really "Cap" then, is it?  ;) And, while I love Samuel L Jackson, I just can't totally buy him as Nick Fury (at least not the Nick Fury who led the Howling Commandos). Speaking of which, no matter how bad Jackson may or may not be, he will NEVER approach the level of badness that David Hassellhoff did in that WRETCHED TV film, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, which was abysmal.

I also haven't seen X-MEN First is that? Good, "meh," or bad?

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 11, 2011, 02:36:41 PM »
Received an gift certificate and picked up the re-mastered and expanded Soft Machine Third CD. I hadn't listened to it in years since all I had was the LP (was waiting for a definitive re-master which this is). Two observations: One, this was WAY ahead of its time in the genre of progressive fusion, IMO. It STILL sounds fresh, exciting, and innovative. Two, HOW THE HELL did I like THIS music when I was only 16 years old (which is when I bought the original double LP)? I remember playing this for some girlfriends in high school - YIKES! What could THEY have thought?

Robert Wyatt's "Moon in June" is one of the most brilliant vocal songs of all time. "Facelift" explores some of the radical jazz fusion territory that King Crimson did on "21st Century Schizoid Man." And the other two long tracks are also startlingly original. The second CD in the package is a live concert which I haven't listened to yet.

Over the last two years or so, I find more and more that I don't take the time to go see movies in theaters much any more, except for blockbusters and even not so much those any more. My TV is modest (37 inch LCD 1080i/120mHz), so it's not like I get that great an experience watching at home. And here in Mpls, you can still see movies on first run, at matinees, for as cheap as $5-$6. I can't really explain what is driving this shift in my behavior.

I am shocked at the big action flicks I haven't seen in theaters recently (which is how these films should be seen, right?), when I used to see ALL "big event" pictures that way. For example, I didn't go see Captain America, or X-Men: First Class, or Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, to name just a few of the summer biggies. I just can't seem to get motivated to get in the car, drive the 20 minutes or so to theater, get there at 10 minutes prior to get a decent seat (I'm picky that way), etc. I'd rather wait and get it at redbox or through netflix. I know when I upgrade the set to a 50 incher, which I hope to do next year sometime, I will be even less inclined, since then my blu-ray player will really make a difference.

I also admit that with how rude people are now (cell phone conversations, talking loudly during the movie, coming in late, bringing bratty kids, talking back to the screen), that also enters into the equation.

So, how many of you here have switched to watching more movies at home and less in the theaters? Am in the minority or are more folks opting for not going out but staying in and waiting until the films get on DVD or streaming?

Projekt was kind enough to send me a review copy of this (I've reviewed Steve's last 3-4 releases on that label, I think) and I am now listening to disc 1...and I have what may be a controversial opinion.

What with the nature sounds, the warm melodicism, the twinkling bell tones that comprise most of this first disc...I can think of more than a few new age music CDs that sound like this. Granted, Steve is operating in a more minimalist vein here than some of the more syrupy n.a. artists, but's not a stretch by any means to call this first disc "classic" new age music. I know I am the resident (here and elsewhere) defender of new age music, and maybe disc 2 and 3 see Steve go in a decidedly different direction, but the warmth and "positivity" in this music (which I find immensely appealing and satisfying) makes me wonder if some "hard core" ambientphiles wouldn't enjoy some new age music that comes mighty close to this classic album.

Just my musings...not looking for anything approaching an argument. Feel free to disagree...but I KNOW there are some folks who are ambient fans who also LOATHE nature sounds set against music (it's one of their frequent bitches about the new age genre) and if you are one of them, avoid this CD (or at least disc 1) 'cause it has bird song and flowing water aplenty!

BTW, the CD (so far) is taking a walk through a forest alongside a brook with sunlight peaking through the canopy of trees now and can really float away with this music.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Samsara (follow up to Baraka)
« on: October 02, 2011, 09:14:15 PM »
As someone who saw Koyansquatsi (sp?) in a theater when it first came out and did the same with Baraka (and I own that DVD), I am looking forward to seeing this, but I wonder if it's just more of the same, in a way. No doubt it will be visually stunning - after all, Fricke is a genius, but I hope it's not just an amalgam of Koyansquatsi and Baraka, because in a way, that's what it sounds like. Still, I will certainly see it if it comes to the Twin Cities.

I really dislike the latest changes to Facebook in how my friends' news displays. As a result, I might not visit FB for 2-3 days at a time whereas previously, it'd be up to 5-10 times a day. Why they keep changing things is a mystery to me.

Jeff Pearce called me about a half hour ago, Bill, and we talked about you!


I figured it would be Pearce....I've been waiting for that sonuvabitch to invite me to Indiana for a beer for over a dozen years. But no! Well, I'm done being his lackey. He can just get someone else to provide hero worship, admiration, genuflection and worship...

Just kidding, Jeff.....need your car washed?  ;D

Maybe I could have worded it little more artfully, but I think there is more of a danger of the artist's own selectivity (or, to be more blunt, posting only positive reviews) if the reviews are filtered through the artist first.  Who would want to post a negative review of their own work?


Reviews in general are also not a problem for me, but I think it can be tricky when posting reviews of your own work.  As a potential consumer, I'd rather hear from the listeners or reviewers directly.

I was reading this several times and still donīt understand it.

The usual progress is: reviews are made from 3rd persons like website, blogs magazines, it makes a difference for you if a customer or the reviewer post the same review instead of the artist?  ???

True, agree on this point!

On the other hand, critical reviewers are very care in today...actually i got a very "nice" response back after asking for sending demos. I will be "fair" and not mention the name here, even a lot of people know this person and the radio station behind but the answer was...yes, sent me your stuff, but i charge 10$ for each review...isnīt it a great answer? Just imagine what happened if iīve sent 30$?  ;D ;D

Useless to say itīs not worth to support this nonsense.

I hate to say it but I have heard of this practice and it saddens me. I have been paid to write liner notes and press releases and bios, and in fact I actively solicit the opportunity to to do so (in case anyone needs something done) as I think I have a knack for it, as well as layout skills for one sheets. But I have never taken a dime from an artist or a label for a review and never will.

I wouldn't criticize a reviewer if he/she asked for a fee IF they are not being paid to review, and most are not...but it does cast a suspicious light on the nature of the review - obviously.

I also understand that when artists post reviews, it can be the case of hand-picking the best...but on the other hand, some reviewers simply don't circulate their reviews either. Some artists ask me to post my review on CDBaby or Amazon and others do it themselves or don't post it period. I don't mind being asked to do so and am surprised more people don't ask. Sometimes, I think my posting reviews seems, somehow, that I'm blowing MY horn, not the artist's! (okay...poor choice of words on my part  :o ).  So I don't post many any more. I have reviewed some ambient CDs for New Age Retailer, e.g. The Road Eternal, but I guess I'm afraid that since the review is in New Age Retailer, people here wouldn't be interested in what I wrote....guess I've gotten insecure in my old age.


On a totally random tangential note here, and I do mean random and tangential, John's earlier statement: "The people that know me really well... text me - or message me - or google talk me - or facebook chat me - or rM.ning chat me - live and instant. "
prompts me to ask the following:

How many of us IN THIS COMMUNITY (and I also include members who only occasionally or even never post here but are mentioned here frequently, e.g. Robert Rich) ever talk by phone any more? Back in the days of W and W the magazine and even the early days of the website (2000-2002), I FREQUENTLY spoke to folks on the phone. During the magazine, I think Mike and I talked at least once a month. I know I spoke to Howard Givens at Spotted Peccary, Jeff Pearce, Barry Craig (RIP), Lloyd Barde, and many more on a regular basis. But how many here still do that? Do members, who have known each other for years, ever call each other any more or is it all via electronic media? I think the ONLY person I speak to on the phone any more is the promoter Ed Bonk, Jamie Bonk's dad, who runs Lazz Promotions.

Frankly, I miss it. It's ironic (or is it? maybe... after Alanis M, I can never be sure) that I FINALLY got Comcast digital voice with unlimited long distance and now I never have to call anyone!  ::)

Back in the magazine days, my long distance bill was HUGE every month.

Just it all text, email, FB, etc? Do we reserve our personal contact for the rare face-to-face? My last contact face to face with ANYONE in this community was with SunDummy when we had a beer together then attended the Robert Rich concert at the Cedar Cultural Center in Mpls at least 6 or more years ago...hell, it might've been 8 years.

Gee, I'm rambling again...see? You get what you wished Gene Wilder said to Terry Garr in Young Frankenstein...."HAPPY?"

" a Binkelman treatise "

Frankly - we need a few more of those.

Hear, hear!  :)

Be careful what you wish for.... ;D

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"):

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