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Messages - drkappa

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Another star in the Gliese catalogue made the news last week having a
planet in the so-called Goldilocks zone.  Had you chosen Gliese 851 as a
moniker, you would have had plenty of hits.

Thanks for the link.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Gliese 614 - Battle of Passchendaele
« on: September 09, 2010, 05:24:50 PM »
Wearing my astronomer's hat... I'm curious.  What's the significance of
this particular star in the Gliese catalogue?  It's a faint, barely naked-eye
(from a dark site) star 14 Herculis.  It has exoplanets and might be a
candidate to observe its Jupiter equivalent directly.

Been out of the Hypnos forum for a while...

It was great to learn of an imminent Matthew Florianz release.  I
have most and probably all of Matthew's CDs.  Being a grumpy old
git I was saddened that the CD is dying, and have largely avoided
the download revolution and when I have bought download albums,
I've transferred these CD-R.

Matthew's web site informs that the 24-bit FLAC requires special
equipment.  What do I need to be able to listen to Koude Handen
at CD quality?  I don't have an mp3 player (apart from on the computer
to listen to samples or the likes of Dreamscape radio).  So is it merely
that I'll have to play the 24-bit FLAC files on the Linux computer with
some supporting player, but not on a traditional CD player?

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now watching...
« on: April 30, 2010, 03:53:59 PM »
Recent viewing on the gogglebox:

There have been lots of good science documentaries on the BBC recently

Beautiful Minds  -- a series about three scientists who bucked dogma
The two series on the power and role of maps
Darwin's Nightmare
The Story of Science

Damages      Whom can you trust?
Dr Who         Please can we have some longer stories like when I was a lad.

Everything and Nothing / Ambient music of the spheres?
« on: April 29, 2010, 01:56:49 PM »
Here's computer-generated ambient music based upon the periods of
the major and two dwarf planets.

Everything and Nothing / Re: The price of CDs
« on: April 25, 2010, 01:10:38 PM »
In the 80s and 90s CDs were overpriced in the UK.  There was some
feeble justification that they cost more to produce.  Typical rip-off Britain.

This was especially evident when I went to work in America for a few
years.   The prices of CDs in dollars were smaller numerically than they
were in pounds.  When you factor in the exchange rate we were paying
double.  Thanks to the Internet, the likes of Amazon, and supermarkets
selling music, retailers have been forced to reduce prices.  Chart albums
are typically around £9 ($13-18 depending on the exchange rate) rather
than £15 of last century.  Specialist music costs more.   The Internet does
at least allow you to find the best prices.

Upon my return to the UK I vowed not to pay more than £10 per CD and
£16 for a double.  This means that sometimes I miss out on some music
I'd like, or have to delay my purchase years until a sale or a second-hand
copy comes along. On the plus side the threshold means I can explore
more music within my total budget.  This was important as I had lots of
ambient and adult instrumental to explore, and a generation of electronic
music to catch up on.  Price does have an impact when buying 200 to 300
per year.  I've pared that somewhat, and perhaps I should make some
allowance for eight years' inflation... 

To answer the original question, paying $11-14 is fine.  More than that
combined with postage I'm more hesitant.   I do try to bundle two or three
CDs per order from the USA for better overall value.  The recent decline of
the pound makes ordering less attractive.  It's harder not to exceed the
maximum tax-free import level.  So I may postpone orders until the pound
is back to a reasonable $1.70.

While you usually get what you pay for, some cheap deals are fine, say
if vendors are clearing out old stock or have multi-CD sale offers, or it's
a promotional sampler.

Everything and Nothing / Re: The price of CDs
« on: April 25, 2010, 09:43:59 AM »

For you old-timers, it’s hard to imagine Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or Yes’ Close to the Edge without the 12”X12” album artwork that came with it.

Enough of the old-timers thank you. :)   Agreed.   I miss the large-format artwork of
1970s LPs, but I wouldn't have space if my CDs were 12-inch vinyl.   The artwork was
part of the package, and sometimes could sway a purchase or not.  How can you
compare a glossy Aqua or study the notes for Alpha Centauri to that in a CD
(ignoring that Edgar Froese has `noodled' the music too)?  So I do treasure many
classic LPs for their artwork as well as the music.   Part of the pleasure of buying a
new LP was studying the album.   On CDs the small text overprinted on complex
patterns can be difficult to read for old-timers.

The modern booklet digipak can be quite artistic as, for example, CDs from the fine
Ultimae label demonstrate.

While I don't care too much about format, I have to agree that the visual side of Pink Floyd has always been a big part of their appeal.

Storm Thorgerson was in the UK news recently because of an exhibition of his cover
art in London.

I'm impressed by the samples, especially the first track, to add this to my
Circular Ruins collection.  We Carry Them With Us When We Leave is
almost not-quite ambient  with a gentle melody.  I can't wait to hear the full

though your take is more lush.

This recently invisible fan has been out of the loop this year dealing with family
matters.  Browsing through the Hypnos news yesterday and  "lush" kept
popping out.   Is  it the latest buzzword or fashion in ambient circles (not
necessarily ruined)?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: TD - Phaedra versions
« on: December 12, 2009, 05:00:04 PM »
Of the early music I would have thought the ambient Atem and
Zeit would have most appeal in this forum. There are also various
live  performances form the Virgin years that I enjoy too; these are
mostly improvised often in an ambient atmospheric style without the
throbbing sequences.  For those that like Phaedra and Rubycon
the early ambient recordings were just too dull and/or too different.
Even I didn't rate them 30 years ago, but coming back to them in
recent years now my ears are attuned to the ambient soundscape I
do appreciate them.

My favourite is the first exposure to TD: Alpha Centauri followed by

I stopped buying TD recordings in the mid 1970s when I had to be
frugal as a post-grad and I thought Virgin was being mean only
offering about 35  minutes of music per album.  It's only in the last
few years that I've bought more of the later Virgin years on CD.
They're OK, more melodic, but lack the atmosphere and novelty of
the earlier compositions.

In the last few months I've sampled a few best of releases from the
1990s and recent music.  It's a completely different sound.  Quite
listenable but light years from the classic era.  Some fans have gone
along for the ride.  Many left.  (Reminded me of Genesis
switching from prog to pop.)  Some of those make their own music in
the 70s TD style, and prefer analogue sounds (especially the mellotron).
They're quite dismissive of TD now (judging by the programme for the
recent Hampshire Jam).  It was the 70--80s sounds that made a big
influence upon them and they want to continue to explore that style.
As I write I'm listening to F D Project Mandarinentraum and earlier
Free System Project+Brendan Pollard+Hastronaut Time Out of Mind.
There are so many exponents influenced by the pioneers of of electronic
music carrying the torch of TD.  If you like that style there's no shortage

EM concerts can be dull to watch.  A few guys standing around
twiddling knobs, occasionally playing some keyboards...  A good light show
(such as in a planetarium) helps.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: TD - Phaedra versions
« on: December 07, 2009, 01:49:27 PM »
A friend that I introduced to electronic music recently bought the 1995
remastered versions of the first four of TD's Virgin years.  Since I
hadn't played those for so long, being only on vinyl, I borrowed them. 
They sounded fine on headphones.  Lots of analogue nostalgia.

They only cost about $7 each.

Everything and Nothing / Re: The Prisoner - remake
« on: November 29, 2009, 01:45:43 PM »
If they're so lacking in ideas in TV/film why don't they re-make
series or films that were poorly made/adapted the first time?  Instead
they pick on iconic work that would take much greater effort to do
better.  The excuse is often well we have much better effects now,
ignoring the importance of the script and story.

I shan't be watching the remade Prisoner, just as I wouldn't watch
the American version of "The Office" or the remade "Italian Job" etc.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Roomful of vinyl reduced to a hard drive
« on: November 28, 2009, 06:12:53 PM »
I moved into my first home in 1998. 
By my estimates, I now have 2-3 times as much music as I had in the roomful of vinyl on a single 2 terrabyte external USB drive.
Hope it's on more than one drive, preferably in a different location,
and you've not just reached the possibility of backup, but actually
made backups.  It would be `terrabyteable' if you lost your collection.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Best of 2009!!!1
« on: November 28, 2009, 06:06:27 PM »
Isn't it a bit early for a best of thread when we're not even at Turkey Day? I'm not complainin' just askin.'  ???
It's all part of the Unified Theory of Creep.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: November 28, 2009, 05:06:08 PM »
Four albums bought at the Hampshire Jam 8 on the label
have been getting regular plays.

Aquavoice                  "Memories"
Odyssey                     "Syntharsis"  (a double)
Konrad Kucz               "Railroad Paths"  (more Berlin than his
                                                              previous ambient "Litania")
Tomasz Zawadzinski  "Sounds Like Pictures"

They're largely ambient but there are some tracks that go in to 70s TD,
Ken Martin, and even a synth-pop track.  Having not heard any samples
before I bought them, I was very pleased with my pot luck into Polish
electronic music. While I'd already had CDs by Aquavoice ("Cold") and
Konrad Kucz but the other pair were new to me.   It's a label to keep an
eye on.

For more up tempo electronic melodic with a Shadows guitar sound I've
interspersed  David Wright & Ian Boddy's  "Shifting Sands".   I've also
been playing some recent Groove-label purchases such as Ron Boots's
"Mea Culpa" and "Dreamscape", Create's "Words Just Get in the Way",
and Mike Oldfield `wannabe' F.D.Project.  Frank does passable
TD atmospheric pieces too.  One could argue that he should develop more
of his own style than homages.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Voluntary simplicity, or lifestyle minimalism
« on: November 07, 2009, 02:58:31 PM »
As a self-confessed hoarder, it's very hard for me to throw things away.
As I only have small semi, I do occasionally have clearouts, but it's become
an exercise using the limited space efficiently.  I have wondered about ripping
some of my c.1100 CDs and 200 LPs.  Instead of removing the clutter (& often
character IMHO) so often mentioned in TV lifestyle shows, I dream of buying a
larger detached property with more wall space for art and books.  I guess it
would have to be outside the crowded UK, where house prices are crazy even
after a recent slump.  Any of you `downsizers' care to swap? :)

It's certainly possible to live with a lot less stuff in a small space, as I recall
from my student days.  It's just not as comfortable and enjoyable.  At the
time my mind was focused on matters scientific.  Having a single room
somewhere to eat, sleep, play a little music or watch TV, but not really live.

It's been even harder to deal with my mother's belongings now she's in
a care home.  How do you become ruthless?  At least she asked me in recent
years to look after her financial and other papers.  Another stressful part has
been trying to get financial organisations and utilities to redirect
correspondence to me even when I have power of attorney.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now watching...
« on: November 07, 2009, 02:08:16 PM »
The Great British Synth Documentary.  This is up on the Matrixsynth blog right now There are 7 of 10 parts here. It appears to be a history of synthpop in England in the '80's. I've only watched 2 parts so far, but it looks interesting. You may have to scroll down a bit depending on what time you check it out. Right now it's about five entries down.       Harry
A few weeks ago there was also a BBC documentary on Krautrock featuring interviews
with the likes of Edgar Froese and Klaus Schulze, Autobahn.  I recorded it while I was away in
Seren Fford territory, but the Oxford transmitter power was much reduced and the
programme was unwatchable.
Both documentaries were directed by Ben Whalley.  Shame the German slant on synthesised
music only lasted an hour whereas the Synth Britannia had 90 minutes.

I was going to say no doubt it will be repeated... Just spotted it's on tonight BBC4 at
00:30. :)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Beautiful Ambient Video
« on: November 07, 2009, 01:40:24 PM »
Sounds right up my neck of the universe.  I love that swirling drone space
music.  It's also an interesting title and theme for the music.

In a previous life I studied clusters of galaxies.   Coma is one of the
richness known but is atypical.   It's a bit like a city but most congregations
of galaxies are in poor clusters and groups like towns and villages.
Carrying on the analogy, the populations and vistas are different too.  The
smaller country clusters have more beautiful and inspiring spiral galaxies,
whereas the likes of Coma city are dominated by elliptical galaxies, the
largest of which gobble up small companions.

The brilliant Fritz Zwicky discovered dark matter as we would call it now
by observing that the motions of Coma's member galaxies implied much
more mass in the cluster than could be seen.

Everything and Nothing / Re: VISTA
« on: October 22, 2009, 04:17:56 PM »
Not only in terms of operating systems but all software, Microsoft has really stagnated. 
That's what happens when you come too bloated.   The innovations come from
the nimble software boutiques.

They haven't released a "must buy" OS or application in almost a decade.  The only reason most people are buying Office 2007 is because MS changed the file format from doc/xls to docx/xlsx and it's no longer compatible.  In other words, in previous versions, if I was using Excel 2000 or Excel 97, and my buddy was using Excel 2003 and he sent me FILE.XLS created in his version, my older version could still open the file format created by his newer software.

Yes and it's probably the default setting just like the much bulkier html verbiage
that comes with most e-mails.  I can't stand the Windows approach of we know
best, we don't follow standards, and we're not upwards compatible.  So I use
various flavours of Linux (come back VMS all is forgiven).

The downside is that you have to live in a M$-dominated world, so for instance
many online video and music services fail because they only use Windows Media,
although there are perfectly good non-proprietary routes as shown by the BBC
iPlayer and Hearts of Space. 

Some safety person at work circulated a schedule of courses using that format.   
OpenOffice couldn't read it.  When our Division Head asked why I'd not responded,
I complained that the format was unreadable, and his response was Windows is
the Laboratory standard. :o  Trouble is that it's a moving feast and many scientists
use MacOSX or Unix/Linux.   I was pleased to see in the last Departmental
newsletter advising people not to circulate Office 2007 documents.  It would also
help if people just used plain text for most of the memoranda, saving lots of
storage and bandwidth.

Incidentally, a way around the above-mentioned problem is just to use Google Apps or Open Office, which will open .xlsx and .docx documents, and which will certainly server as a reasonable, free alternative to MS Office for all except professional secretaries or CPAs (and some of those).

I did try upgrading OpenOffice with some plugin for Office 2007 files but fortunately
I've not received any such files recently to test it.  OpenOffice works fine for those
types of jobs.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Sad News
« on: October 22, 2009, 03:43:44 PM »
It was a shock to read in the Groove E-news of the end of a star.
Rigel Orionis, a brilliant supergiant in the ambient-music skies,
illuminated our musical cosmos with his diverse knowledge from across
the universe.

Sadly he will no longer be in our firmament, but his legacy remains,
not least his passionate and humorous contributions to this forum.
I will miss those.

Is there any chance of a dedication compilation album by artists
whom Jim helped?

Agree with Jesse.  Danny Budts aka Syndromeda makes some lovely pastoral
and atmospheric Berlin School.  Creatures from the Inner is my favourite of
the ten recordings I have.  There are samples of most his recordings on
however they only last for a few seconds.  >:(

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