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Messages - Hypnagogue

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: April 02, 2008, 12:43:05 PM »
While looking in the library for a copy of a book I saw at Borders, with all of Moorcock's early Elric stories crunched into one volume (I don't usually buy books because I rarely re-read), I decided to give a long-overdue read to Larry Niven's "Ringworld." Quite enjoying it. Loved Niven's Known Space short stories as a kid--rediscovering him as an old guy.

That's me being the old guy, not Larry. Who is even older.

Hope no one minds if I toss my freshly finished review in here....

The new Hypnos compilation Sounds Of a Universe Overheard is another of those disks that are hard to review cogently because it’s another of those disks where somewhere in the middle you suddenly realize just how far you’ve drifted along the soundcurrent without realizing it. And then, noting same, you try to be more mindful but within a short while you’re floating again, quite pleasantly so, and you wonder how you’re ever going to comment on something you can’t entirely recall, other than to say it was so lulling and lush that you can’t entirely recall listening to it. Hypnos head M. Griffin has done an amazing job not only of culling together from disparate sources a soft and dark blend of slow-moving ambient, but of seamlessly melding them one track to the next. There are no bumps here, no abrupt switches in styles. Griffin opens the disk with the geometic precision of Jonathan Block’s “The Language of Rocks” before fully immersing us in the flow. The listener is carried through the shadow-cave depths of M. Peck’s “Somna” and “Nitrous” by Freq.Magnet, the latter coming dangerously close to inducing a hypnotic state, and on through the descriptive aural text of Kirk Watson’s “Scarecrow” as it glides from its creepy beginning to a more soothing sense. From there, dreamSTATE launches into the spacey drone textures and sighing distances of “Ghost Nebula,” depositing the listener in the nervy, penumbral landscape of Seren Ffordd’s “Strange Attractor,” perhaps the darkest and sparsest track on the disk. The dark continues through Dwight Ashley’s “Behold the Trampled Wheat,” painted as always in the artist’s beautifully murky palette. This track takes the listener briefly out of the drone zone toward the end with some gracefully orchestrated string sounds. Justin Vanderberg dials it all back down with the smooth, drawn-out washes of “Infection.” Glimmers of light peek through the well-drawn shadows across the span of Igneous Flame’s gracefully soaring “Pandora” and Tau Ceti brings the disk to a gentle close with the soft fluidity of “Float.” Universe is dense, rich, and heavily layered with sonic imagery. I cannot call out a highlight here, despite the inclusion of several artists I rank as my personal favorites, because the disk simply has to be taken as a whole—a whole and wholly engaging voyage through a universe which does, indeed, deserve to overheard. Often. Sounds of a Universe Overheard is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

[To be posted soon to the Hypnagogue site]

Kudos to Ben Fleury-Steiner at Gears of Sand for consistently finding superb new artists. This time around it’s Con_Sense with Compass—a rich, deep work that seamlessly melds dark ambient textures with irresistible beats for a fully immersive listening experience. The disk begins with the sinewy electronic slither of “Threshold,” a thick undergrowth of drums and jumbled sounds punctuated with sudden balalaika-like bursts. “Tarika” ups the beat ante with a mechanical clank-and-throb over the rise and fall of ghostly vocals, and begins a gentle Middle-Eastern vibe that carries into the wailing voices and percussive atmosphere of  “Gathering From Step Beyond.” From there, “Structures” insinuates itself quietly with a jazzy downtempo beat and hushed tones like half-heard secrets. The fantastically hypnotic “La-U-Tir” charges in next powered by a driving beat and a barrage of electro-birthed sounds. Halfway through the percussion drops away suddenly, and it’s like a reprieve, however temporary, from a forcible groove. This is the pure highlight of the disk. The lengthy drone of “Sirius” then moves in slowly, a welcome sonic balm that calms like a long, soul-felt exhalation. An easy beat rises to complement the quiet base without disturbing the relaxed feel it’s imparted. This is a beautifully meditative stretch, time well spent inside the sound. Then it’s back into high gear with the potent bass twang and long-hanging pads of “Compass Error” as they swirl upward in an ever-more-complex spiral of sound. The disk closes with “Starry Sky,” replete with appropriately twittering, glistening sequencer lines. This is a disk that will most certainly get a lot of repeat play, and offers enough depth and layering of sound to reward subsequent listens. Have I gushed about Compass enough yet? Clearly, this is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

Everything and Nothing / Re: terry fator
« on: March 02, 2008, 10:07:54 AM »
Don't worry, Mike. We're all here to support you during this difficult time.

And though it may seem a small consolation, I do want to point out that at least Lena didn't confess to having a thing for mimes.

Because for that you really would have had to kick her to the curb.

Everything and Nothing / Re: terry fator
« on: February 29, 2008, 09:58:04 AM »


Everything and Nothing / Re: terry fator
« on: February 29, 2008, 09:57:02 AM »
Terry's amazing. I really enjoyed watching him on America's Got Talent. I think when you first see a ventriloquist dummy (unless it's in Jeff Dunham's hands) you go, "" And then Fator breaks out with the singing!

But I must say, the guy Fator beat out, singer Cas Haley, is something to listen to as well. Great voice, funky blend of reggae and rock on acoustic guitar.

Everything and Nothing / Re: CLOVERFIELD!
« on: February 20, 2008, 10:29:02 AM »
Have to agree with Bill on this one. I geeked out and had to see it. Normally I hate going to the movies. I always feel like I've pretty much peed away my $8 and lost 2 hours. Not this time 'round, oh no.

Agreed that this HAS TO be seen on a big screen. Your TV's not going to do it justice. The whole point of this movie is to put you smack-dab in the middle of Hell, and it takes 20 feet of screen and an ass-kicking sound system to do it. When this thing gets going, it doesn't let up.

I loved that you don't get a big "here's the monster!" shot for the vasts majority of the movie. You get glimpses--glimpses like you'd get if you were in the middle of downtown Manhattan with smoke and dust and craziness all around you and this enormous thing is wending its way between buildings and you really, really don't feel like standing there trying to get a look. Especially not when jet fighters are slamming missles into it and it's a block and a half away.

I have to add, though, that digging into the viral marketing that was done around the movie fills out a lot of information that was not in the movie. There's no typical monster-movie moment where a scientist conveniently explains where this thing might have come from and how. This isn't a big lizard woken up by an atomic blast--but it IS awoken by something, and that something makes the very, very smallest of appearances very, very late in the movie, and unless you read the viral stuff--which I only did after the fact--it's not going to make an, ahem, splash with you.

I love that Abrams & Co. didn't go the easy-explanation route. Because if you were in this situation, you wouldn't know. You'd have nowhere to stop and get your convenient information from. You'd only get to know much later....if you survived.

See it, see it large, and try not to puke. Motion sickness is a definite threat. But damned if the flick isn't worth a little hurling. :-)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Favorite toys from when we were kids
« on: February 19, 2008, 02:29:59 PM »
Major Matt Mason had some serious adventures in my neighborhood, exploring planets on his jet sled. And I was all about that cool yellow visor you could open and close.

Another fave was a helicopter toy--had a central "base" with the chopper attached to it by an arm. Up, down, forward and back was all you got out of it...but then there was the hook that you could lift stuff with...oh, yes, I lifted stuff.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Help the playwright do some research
« on: February 07, 2008, 01:55:06 PM »
This is perfect, folks. Perfect. You're a blessing.

peace & power,

Everything and Nothing / Help the playwright do some research
« on: February 07, 2008, 11:55:51 AM »
So maybe an ambient discussion forum isn't the place to ask a question about recording technology during the hair-metal days, but I know there are some folks here within my age demographic who may have, in their day, slung an axe with great sonic force while wearing spandex--for which they may be forgiven--so maybe one of you will have an answer.

In a piece that I'm currently working on, the main character had been in a fledgling metal band in the early 80s. (Think Ratt, Poison, Cinderella.) The band was offered a recording contract by a very small, extremely modestly funded local record label. A master was cut for an album. Here's where the questions come in...

At that time, for an outfit that probably couldn't afford the best of the best in recording equipment, what would the recording/storage media have been? Would the master be cassette, reel-to-reel, very early digital? How many tracks might it have been? 16? 32? (I'm thinking 32 might actually be too high for the type of operation that's in my head.)

In essence, the main character ends up in possession of the master--in whatever format--and has been keeping it hidden for 25 years, working on it here and there. So I need to know what it is he's got.

Any takers?

Everything and Nothing / Re: Your MySpace experiences ?
« on: February 01, 2008, 11:41:44 AM »
In my tiny little mind, I like to think that my myspace presence helps get the word out about this community of artists. I've purposely limited my friends list to musicians, and I have a listen to their stuff before I admit them. I've gotten requests from pop bands, folks bands, etc. But I started it as an adjunct to the Hypnagogue site, and it's my hope that here and there a non-musician or two, one of the curious and unwashed masses, might wander in and discover a Lena or a Pete Kelly. But the guard's always at the know, so no Suicide Girlz slip in undetected. :-)

Glad to see another artist grabbing hold of that thingy that Sloan used. Will have to try to stay up like a big person to watch Altus perform!

"At first we called ourselves The Originals, but there was another group of lads called The Originals, so we changed our name to The New Originals..."

Everything and Nothing / Re: What are your plans and goals in 2008?
« on: January 12, 2008, 10:27:11 AM »
I don't mention it much when I'm wearing my Hypnagogue mask, but yes--been writing plays since 2002, and it's been a blessing.

For the curious:

Everything and Nothing / Re: What are your plans and goals in 2008?
« on: January 09, 2008, 01:06:00 PM »

Lose weight.

Be more consistent, schedule-wise, with the Hypnagogue site.

Write another full-length play and get it on stage.

More theater productions for my other two full-lengths, preferably in places I want to visit. :-)

More productions all around.

And writing, writing, writing, more writing.

I was in the "crowd" last night--all 9 of us on Jason's feed--and it was an hour well-spent. I didn't have a real problem with the quality of the feed. It was what it was. I think anyone expecting glorious symphonic sound from a video stream was setting their sights a little high.  ;)

But Jason delivered a solid hour of far-ranging, guitar-based ambient. Everything melded smoothly from the first lush, dark atmospheres through a tribal-infused jam and back into a soothing, contemplative mode. It was my first experience with his music and now I need to actively hunt up more. I hope other artists will look into this idea, using Ustream to invite us into their space.

Speaking of dungeon crawls, I've now lost several hours playing "Monster's Den" at Party-based, great graphics, and fairly addictive.

And free, which is my favorite flavor.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 31, 2007, 10:39:03 AM »
Thanks to that big analog rig in Scott's post, I think that if ever I got around to recording anything, I would have to do so under the moniker "Squelch Threshold."

If no one minds, I'd like to add my own kudos on this one:

A strong sense of narrative drama underlies every track on Parallel Worlds’ superb new CD, Obsessive Surrealism. Lushly dark, beat-driven and meticulously constructed, Surrealism makes great use of frontman Bakis Sirros’ adoration for and mastery of analogue systems. Classic-feel electronic twiddle and sequencer runs blend smoothly with breathy synth pad textures as Sirros leads the listener through his shadowy musical explorations. “Beneath Fear” opens the disc with a gentle piano riff playing in the middle of an ever-darkening atmosphere. Electro-critters chirp in the undergrowth and a phantom chorus sings like a hymnal. “Different Pathways” drips with something both sinister and urgent, a feel that carries into the potent, if short, “Empty Human Cells.” The pace slows for “Increasing Complexity,” where glitch-and-blip notes arc and bounce over a simple melody. Two short pieces follow (“Interlude” being the better of the two), providing something of a aural palate cleanser before Sirros hits his stride with the 10-minute “Reflective,” where a sequenced bass line stalks like a masked killer on a rain-slicked street. Sirros cites the soundtracks of John Carpenter movies as an influence, and the cinematic tint to Surrealism is obvious—as I have said too many times before, these pieces are bits of background music in search of their scenes. And it’s never more obvious than in “Reflective.” “Mindmists” grabs hold of the listener with heavy-handed piano chords over weeping strings before spreading out to a lighter, more melodic feel. “Pale Yellow Sky” offers more glitch-beat goodness (again tinged with the ominous). “Distracted” is an oddly danceable bit of funk, with its twangy analogue bassline and body-moving backbeat. The disc ends with “Crying Spells,” accented with slightly too bombastic percussion. Other reviewers have noted appreciatively that Sirros keeps his tracks fairly short. I concur. It allows each piece to be a scene unto itself, an enjoyable-if-melancholy story told wholly and never overdone. Overall, Obsessive Surrealism is an enjoyable blend of old and new, melody and melancholy, and dark and light--and it’s worth many a listen.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 27, 2007, 01:57:37 PM »
red hot sexpot

Which, not surprisingly, is the title of her next CD.


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