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Topics - jkn

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Software Modular
« on: June 16, 2016, 06:43:22 AM »
I just ran across an article on Softube Modular...  oddly (to me at least since I prefer hardware) - seems kind of interesting how they are recreating specific modules.

"Created in close collaboration with Doepfer, Softube Modular gives you both the sound, flexibility and expandability of a true analog modular synthesizer. But Softube Modular is more than just another virtual synthesizer plug-in—it's an entirely new modular synth standard."

"Basic system contains six Doepfer modules (A-110-1 VCO, A-108 VCF, A-132-3 Dual VCA, A-140 ADSR, A-118 Noise/Random, A-147 VCLFO)

Basic system also contains over 20 Utility modules (such as MIDI to CV/gate, mixers, slew, sample & hold, switches, multiples, delay, offset, sequencers, clock dividers, logic and signal tools, as well as a Polyphonic MIDI to CV/gate module).

Additional authorized emulations from Intellijel is available as add-ons (uFold II, Korgasmatron II, Rubicon). Many more modules from other quality hardware Eurorack vendors to be released"

Everything and Nothing / Why I still love Ello
« on: December 22, 2015, 09:50:28 AM »
It's been almost a year and a half since I joined Ello.  I've lived through the early beta - the growing pains.  I never stopped loving it.   

For a long while I tried to encourage people to join with me - but I stopped asking, because most people don't like it. 

However, if you want to read about why I love it - the founder posted an end of year look back - and looking forward for Ello that's worth a skim.  This network is built for creators - and we're all creators here.  You might like it - you might hate it. 


The First Year: Looking Back (and Forward) with Ello

This past week I gave a few interviews to online news organizations.

One of the journalists scoffed when I told him that Ello is built on principles we believe in, and that in 2015 we did everything we could to grow slowly. Rather than sell out and make another giant network the world doesn’t need, we decided to take our time to build the beautiful and inspiring place we have today.

I felt sad for the guy. It's awful going through life never believing in anything.

So in the spirit of the New Year, and because it was clear that this journalist wasn’t going to believe anything I told him anyway, I figured I'd publish a short list of things Ello will never do:

1. Diverge from our mission to empower and support creators to inspire one another, and move the world forward.

2. Tolerate hate. Ello has many tools, some visible and others not, that help keep this network positive.

3. Sell ads or user data to third parties.

4. Sell out.

5. Suck.

A little more than year ago Ello blew up in the media. All at once, it seemed like everyone in the world wanted to join our fledgling network. By October I had 200 name-brand VC firms in my inbox begging to invest in this company. The catch was, we had to change course and live up to the hype of “Facebook-killer” instead of building the inspiring network we’d already begun.

Ello's seven founders got together and unanimously said, "fuck that". We share a collective history of pursuing things we believe in. For me personally, a successful career is defined by having the freedom to choose what I do (and don’t do).

I choose not to do things that suck.

Instead, we committed to stay the course, and to create the network we ourselves want to use. We took on friends as investors, who unconditionally agreed to support our mission, and let us to keep complete control of our company. The Ello we are enjoying today — safe, inspiring, and remarkably positive — is a direct result of that choice we made a year ago.

Ello’s first users were artists, designers, photographers, animators, and videographers. We now have storytellers, adventurers, DJ’s, chefs, creative coders, curators, minimalist poets, cartoonists, ski inventors, futurists, activists, car lovers, fly-fishermen, and mushroom hunters.

@arinewman from Techstars, a DJ and one of our committed investors, pointed out that Ello is the only visual network in the world that isn't filled with selfies. I'm not sure that's strictly true, but the selfies that are on Ello are usually amazing, too.

So, here’s Ello’s commitment to you in 2016:

Ello is not going to grow as quickly as possible. Last year we did everything we could to slow growth, and to allow time for Ello to grow the right way. We’re keeping that course.

Ello will grow in other ways — in quality, in positivity, through community, and in new features and updates designed to support a visual network filled with love, light, and unbridled creativity.

2015 was the very beginning. Lots more amazing things to come in 2016.

Thank you for helping create this wonderful place!



PS: If you're new here, or just want an Ello refresher, please check out The Ello Manifesto, The Ello Bill of Rights, and the Ello WTF section. Ello's PBC Charter outlines legal commitments we've made that govern this network's growth. You can also read hundreds of posts by Ello's founders, or talk on Ello to many long-term members of our community.

PPS: Yes, the Android App is coming in 2016. We built the Ello iOS App first to make sure we got it right. Now that we have 5-star reviews in the App Store (thanks everyone!) we'll bring Android out next year.


Join us tomorrow for the premiere of the new album by Massergy - A Novel Sense of Calm on SomaFM Drone Zone!

There will be a live chat during the premiere with Massergy there to answer questions. It's always a great time! Details for the chat will be on the label website:

You can listen to the album today if you'd like!


Massergy's new ambient album is a tribute to the passing of his younger brother. He recorded this album:

+ entirely outdoors in a nature preserve
+ at night with just a headlamp
+ no sequencing, no software, no post-effects
+ the only in-studio changes were volume levels

This is passion. This is dedication. In the outdoors, Massergy can reach that 'zone' musicians strive for. This album was recorded year round - he mentioned he was bundled up like a mountain climber in the winter and barely dressed during the summer months.

Ignoring "how" it was recorded... the album itself is beautiful and to my ears... stunning. Massergy is new to Relaxed Machinery and I'm so happy we brought him on board!

posted originally to ello this morning - but totally fine to discuss here and not there....

Topic of the Day: "Subscription Services"...

Bandcamp Subscription
What do you think? Have you used them? Are they good for the fans? Are they good for the Artists?

It's back on my radar this morning because Bandcamp just emailed me about setting one up for my artist page.

I thought this part of their Subscription Details Page was interesting:

Is this yet another crowdfunding platform?

A few years ago we noticed many artists using Bandcamp to fulfill the digital piece of crowdfunding campaigns, so we asked them whether they wanted crowdfunding built right into Bandcamp. Their response surprised us. As they described months spent focusing on campaign rewards, the word we heard most often was “unsustainable.” At the same time, our own experience contributing to crowdfunded projects was that we were motivated by a desire to help an artist we loved, not by a wish for a t-shirt, signed plastic disc, or potpourri sachet. Our hunch is that your biggest fans are less interested in funding studio time or mastering for just one album than they are in supporting you in a sustainable way. Speaking personally, we don’t want you to knit us a beer koozie, we want you to keep making more great art.

Another one that's been around is Patreon.

I don't see a lot of musicians getting much backing (unless you're @amandapalmer - and she's awesome more power to her). But if you look for ambient musicians - you won't find many.

There are cool projects there. For example - awesome Elloer @kseniaanske has supporters on her Patreon - $157 / month right now. She's a writer (follow her - I love her posts).

Finally we have Drip.

Drip was created by Ghostly International (fans of ambient techno, Tycho, and a ton of great music will know them well). Another way for you to subscribe to an artist and get exclusive content from them.

You can subscribe to someone, for example Christohper Willits for $5 per month.

Or They Might Be Giants Dial a Song... 52 weeks / 1 song a week...

@atomtm has 95% of his massive catalog online:

Everything and Nothing / ...a few thoughts on communities
« on: September 09, 2015, 10:58:41 AM »
I posted about my involvement with communities over the years and how Ello is doing - what's right what's wrong.  I mention Hypnos and Ambient Online - and point people here.

Just thought I'd mention I'm babbling about you.  :-)

Listening: Podcasts, Mixes, and Music Sample Clips / Mixcloud favorites
« on: September 09, 2015, 06:54:10 AM »
I know I'm late to really getting into Mixcloud - a lot of reasons for that. The big one is I couldn't stream at work for years so I always listened on my ipod. Now - we've got a big fat fiber pipe and... umm... I'm enjoying it.

There's my profile, you can scroll down my listens.

A few recommended mixers - these are people I keep coming back to and listened before I bothered to sign up for a mixcloud account.  Some, of course, post here.  :) <- truly oustanding < - Ambient Landscape / GAB on forums - does a great job <- long time mixer <- circumambient series from thomas matthie / we are all ghosts <- brilliant, not always ambient < - yep - slow... and drifty <- old friend from chicago - he does great mixes, not always ambient <- the name says it all...

I just posted an interview with Rusty Hodge of SomaFM - who is a massive supporter of ambient music.

I also did an interview with Don Tyler a few weeks ago  - who records ambient music as Phase47 and as part of Acendant and is a grammy nominated mastering engineer.

Hope you enjoy them.

John Koch-Northrup
owner / artist
Relaxed Machinery - organic .: ambient :. techno

Ello Ambient & Relaxed Machinery Community:

Hey - we're having a premiere / chat party tonight for our new rM album by Roy Mattson.  Stop by if you can for chat!

All the details at

I haven't mentioned this here yet - but I'm shutting down the Ning community.  I've run communities there for 8 years - 5 as Relaxed Machinery.  Ning is falling apart - especially the last year.

I've found a new "home" on Ello - as the Ello Ambient Music Community -

rM is moving there. 

Now - I love it here on Hypnos - this is just another outlet for you and ambient related talk and posts. 

Ello is not everyone's favorite platform although it's getting tremendously better and better - I've been there 9 months and the improvements are staggering - and the level of interaction with the developers, owners, and users - is wonderful.  (Mike - you should check out the writer community - some really good people).

I just did a MASSIVE interview with Don Tyler (mastering engineer, records as Phase47 and in Ascendant and other ambient collabs).

I'm interviewing Rusty and Soma FM next.

Join in if you like. 


NOTE:  I posted these over at and thought they'd be of interest here...  the "SOURCE" link give you pictures and audio and such - so click there...

A Quietus Interview - SOURCE:
In Pole Position: Jon Hassell Interviewed
Daniel Patrick Quinn , September 17th, 2014 09:30

Daniel Patrick Quinn interviews Jon Hassell about his long overdue book The North And South Of You and recent reissues of his music

"The basic metaphor is that of the north and south of a person as a projection of the north and south of the globe. A mind formatted by language and located in the head compared with the area of wildness and sensuality below the waist where dance and music and procreation reigns. Mirrored in a global north of "developed" countries that control the world by superior technology. A global south where there's a "technology" of the samba. Which one would you rather have more of when life ends?"

This is Jon Hassell on the thinking behind his long-awaited book The North And South Of You, the writing of which is still in progress. It has been on the annual list of 'must buy' books written on the front page of my diary for countless years now and if it takes him another decade to complete then even then it will have been worth the wait.

For those who don't know, Jon Hassell is a 77-year-old visionary trumpet player and composer whose intoxicating output since the 1970s could initially be described as organic, wordly, futuristic and overwhelmingly sensual. Even before you hear the music, you get the idea from many of his album covers: alluring, often semi-abstract landscapes that you want to leap into. Select one of his albums at random and you will hear what appear to be recordings from an idealized version of Earth, in which beings similar to humans wear ornate grass skirts, sit pleasantly resting at the base of trees gazing off to the distant forest-clad hills.

This fantasy land is full of philosophers, insect noises, and avant-garde conga pageants framed by lush rice terraces. It's a environment in which the intellectual and the sensual have fused, in which cutting edge technology and primal urges have come together in balance. This place must be located somewhere on the equatorial beltline – the point at which Hassell's 'north' and 'south' meet. It is, perhaps, a highly optimistic painting or dream of what the Earth could be like, a century or two from now.

To trace the beginnings of Hassell's unique worldview one need look no further than the first album recording that he appeared on, the original 1968 version of Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece In C. Not far off half a century later, here are Hassell's recollections:

"I can't separate the session itself from the 2-3 months of getting to know Terry, playing an all-night concert at the University of New York at Buffalo student center, dragging some Moog equipment up from the studio to play (I think) the first synth bass line. He was a big influence to me (and everyone). After studying in Cologne with Stockhausen he was a breath of american fresh air, describing the European music as 'neurotic'. That clicked with me as an audaciously insightful and accurate description. Referring to above: very 'north' and behind the wave of american minimalism with its re-discovery of trance, raga, psychoactive drugs."

Whilst thousands of hitherto 'unlikely' musical hybridizations are commonplace now in the age of being able to research and download sounds from anywhere and anywhen, equal temperament tuning still very much dominates popular culture in the West. Hassell's early projects with Terry Riley and La Monte Young were both doors to vast realms of alternative tuning systems that one could argue remain relatively neglected by the majority of modern composers.

"Of course my playing with La Monte Young in New York was a real baptism in the harmonic series. The oscillator was tuned to 60 cycles (USA standard, he tuned to 50 in Europe!) in order to avoid any unwanted frequencies. There was also a hashish milk shake in the picture and in these performances there was a crystalline world of overtones (the voices and instruments attempting an ultimate tune-up of natural harmonics) that I had never experienced. I later (1969) did a piece - Solid State - that was a growth out of that experience with a stack of eight perfect (2:3) fifths creating a dense harmonic block which was time-sculpted with voltage-controlled filters. Maybe to be released on Warp. Flash forward to recent times. Not into purity, I often tune harmonizer pitches in natural intervals but on keyboard for example you get a hybrid. And - look at hip-hop with all those samples tuned weirdly to get rhythm synch. That's opened ears to a plethora of exotic tunings."

An expanded version of Hassell's 1990 album City: Works Of Fiction has recently been released on Warp as an expanded edition with two bonus discs. I got to know this new release whilst re-reading JG Ballard's The Drowned World and found it the perfect musical companion to the vivid imagery in the text. The lands that Hassell and Ballard detail are both from an imagined future however many weeks, months or years around the corner. On Hassell's collaborative album with Farafina (1988's Flash Of The Spirit) is a piece entitled 'Tales of the Near Future', an obvious nod to Ballard's 'Myths Of The Near Future'.

The original album is, for me, the least interesting because it is atypical of Hassell. City sounds resolutely urban (hence the title!) and over-reliant on then-contemporary technology that paradoxically allows the material – particularly the percussion - to sound a little dated. The sonic atmospheres here are also often too specific, the places they evoke too limited. When one hears the sound of a drum machine there's less room for the imagination of the listener to set to work constructing elaborate imagery. That's just my opinion – others are bound to disagree and preferCity to the wide open, mysterious, beautifully vague landscapes suggested by the majority of his work.

What for this reviewer are far more enjoyable are the many gems on the two bonus discs. The second disc is entitled /Living City and is a live set from New York in 1989, live-mixed by Brian Eno. The finale is 'Nightsky', 18 minutes of shimmering drones and tropical insect accompaniment. Things reach such an ecstatic climax that you could imagine the performers levitating metres above the stage. Like much of Hassell's work, it's music for a magic carpet ride.

"I carefully edited the three nights of performances in NYC into one show so it's a sort of idealized concert but still live. I'm irritated by reviewers who think that Brian had anything to do with all the natural sounds except for a cross-fade from the Rainforest environment in the beginning. These sounds were part of my sonic palette in those days."

Psychogeography is the title of the third disc, and it's a collection of remixes of Hassell's work plus unreleased recordings that simply didn't find their way onto an official release at the time. The remixes certainly demonstrate how Hassell's ideas have been hugely influential on DJs and experimental composers of all genres. However, they sit uneasily next to Hassell's own pieces which, on Psychogeography, are frequently dazzling.

'Favela' is atypical Hassell in that it is funk-blues-rock, but what an album could be made of this unusual coupling of empty American South bar-room groove with Hassell's otherworldly snakecharmer melodies superimposed on this backdrop. It's as if Hassell's regular group of collaborators caught the wrong bus and he simply enlisted the help of a few heavy drinking guitar-wielding audience members for an improvised jam session instead. Other, more familiar sonic territories are explored on pieces such as 'Aerial' as synths bubble and drone whilst Hassell's treated trumpet swoops and soars across the canvas, sculpting curves over the evening sky.

Hassell's work spans six decades. I wondered what his secret to longevity was, not just as a musician with a career but as a creative person in general. He replied in reference to The North And South Of You, that book I and many other fans are patiently waiting for. There's a line from the book that asks you to ask yourself:

"What is it that I really like? Following that is a long process of self-excavation from being buried by what you've been told you should like."

City Works Of Fiction is out now. Listen to Acting The Rubber Pig Redux by Daniel Patrick Quinn here

Ambient fans will know Kenny Wheeler from his ECM releases and 4 albums with David Sylvian:


Jazz trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler, who lived in UK since 1952, has died

Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler Photo: Rex Features
Martin Chilton
By Martin Chilton, Culture Editor online
10:27AM BST 19 Sep 2014

Kenny Wheeler, the distinguised Canadian-born trumpeter, has died at the age of 84.
Wheeler is considered one of the modern greats of British jazz and he had a dedicated following.
Wheeler's ECM albums of the Seventies – recorded with Norma Winstone and John Taylor – remain a touchstone of quiet and unflamboyant ensemble playing. Wheeler, also a flugelhorn player, was a fine composer, as he showed in works such as Jigsaw, with its clever harmonic patterns.
He was born on January 14 1930 in Toronto but had been based in the UK since 1952. His father was a semi-professional trombonist, who encouraged his son to learn the cornet. He studied briefly at music college before leaving for Britain to avoid being drafted for the Korean War. Once here, he worked with West Indian Carl Barriteau, with saxophonist Tommy Whittle and eventually, from 1959, with John Dankworth. He was active in many British jazz bands of the Sixties, including with groups led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott.
For many jazz fans, though, Wheeler's artistic highpoint came in the Nineties, with excellent albums including Music for Large and Small Ensemble and Kayak. In 1997 he won critical acclaim for Angel Song, a quartet album featuring Bill Frisell, Dave Holland and Lee Konitz.
Wheeler was a thoughtful man, saying once: "I’ve always liked losers, and I think a lot of very talented jazz musicians have a streak of it, that thing of being an artist with dreams, but not really knowing how to make your way in life, like Charlie Parker or Chet Baker."

In recent years, he became the founding patron of the Junior Jazz programme at the Royal Academy of Music and was the subject of a year-long exhibition by the Academy Museum. He celebrated his 80th birthday with a concert in 2010. Wheeler died on September 18 2014 after a short period of frail health at a nursing home in London.

Everything and Nothing / Robots and Donuts - the art of Eric Joyner
« on: September 19, 2014, 06:11:04 AM »
Many people know I have this crazy thing for robots - especially the iconic older tin toy robot "look".  While I don't own any classic tin toys... (and probably won't as they're crazy expensive even for many of the reproductions...) - I love the artwork and images of them.   Hey, I said I was crazy. 

So... I'd like to point out the wonderful artwork of Eric Joyner.  Who combines classic tin toy robots and ...  donuts.  And has been for quite some time now.  These are gorgeous paintings (not digital... actual paint here folks... :) 

Below are just a few of my favorites... there are so many more in his galleries.  Know of other "robot" artists?  (paint, pencil, or digital!) - let me know!

Reposting from my label site:

We are very proud to present Steve Brand’s newest release, The Space Between.  Even better?  Rusty at SomaFM is going to premiere the entire album at 8pm Eastern on Drone Zone!   – AND – We’ll all be in chat for a listening party!  Join us, won’t you?!?!



Times throughout the world:

Oct 3:
2:00 pm – Honolulu
5:00 pm – San Francisco
8:00 pm – New York
9:00 pm – Rio de Janeiro

Oct 4:
1:00 am – London
2:00 am – Berlin
3:00 am – Helsinki
4:00 am – Moscow
5:30 am – Mumbai
8:00 am – Perth
9:00 am – Tokyo
10:00 am – Melbourne
Noon – Auckland

S1gns of L1fe just posted this over on rM:

I know there are Robert Davies fans over here... enjoy!

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Your music?
« on: August 05, 2014, 07:37:49 AM »
I just found myself looking at some threads from artists here and wondering where there music is.  No links in signature or on their profile. Crossing_the_treshhold is the person I was wanting to click 'play' on.  Some amazing gear flowing into that studio - and I want to hear what's coming out. 

So - where is your music - "your music" in the global everyone here sense?  List it below - and hey - add a link on your profile, too!   



Anguaji - Trigger, Happy { the demos }

Read the info about the fact this is a demo.  First track is very "beaty" - the rest chill out quite a bit.  I'm loving this - 4th listen.

Pinklogik - Syn-Metry

Here's what I tweeted after my first listen this morning:  "Water color smeared textural ambient - different from her usual beaty awesomeness."

Lykanthea x Savage Sister - Sundrowned

My first listen tweet:  "ethereal floating ambient vocal lilting clouds"

Also check out Lykanthea's first track off her debut:  Aphonia. 


SomaFM + Relaxed Machinery + DataObscura Present
a night of ambient album premieres Friday July 18th on SomaFM Drone Zone.

Join our event:



Chris Russell - Illuminoid - new on Relaxed Machinery
Robert Scott Davies - What The Moon Reveals - new on DataObscura

Everything and Nothing / Pete / Igneous Flame photography
« on: July 09, 2014, 06:37:33 AM »
Hey - I don't often cross post over here - but I know a lot of Igneous Flame fans around...  head over to today - and click "THE DARKROOM" image at top... that will open a gallery of a ton of photos Pete has posted for us over at rM.

I think you'll enjoy them - you don't have to be a member to see them.


Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:10:26 AM »
I'm working on our 2nd compilation to be released this month.  It's called "reBOOT" and celebrates our 4th year as a label.  Artists include:

* Broken Harbour
* Zero Ohms
* Ran Kirlian
* Loren Nerell
* Steve Brand
* Frore
* Chris Russell
* me... John Koch-Northrup
* arbee (Mathieu Lamontagne)
* Specta Ciera (Devin Underwood)
* Robert Scott Thompson
* Chronotope Project
* Ishq - in collab with Steve Brand
* Roy Mattson - in collab with Steve Brand
* eyes cast down - in collab with Chris Russell
* apne sinn

More details as they get ironed out. 

A great year coming for us...   we have lined up Loren Nerell and Andrew Lahiff for solo releases.  Several other artists in the works!  Thanks for all of your support over the years!


Other Ambient (and related) Music / 1st Annual Relaxed Machinery Awards
« on: November 26, 2013, 09:11:57 AM »
Hello, Hypnos!  I know I know I know - I've been absent a while.  I will make every effort to stop back in and post a bit more.  The community over at Relaxed Machinery has decided to do an awards thing - celebrating music, photography, poetry, podcasts, reviewers, etc...  YOU are welcome to participate whether a member at rM or not - I'd love to see us get a wide range of people from all over the ambient landscape and not just rM.  I will be highlighting that I asked for input from Hypnos, Ambient Online, Electro-Music and other communities to try and get as wide of participation as possible.   

What I posted at rM is below.  Thank you very much!


The awards are now open for nominations through the end of this year.  You can nominate as many artists, albums, photos, poems, etc... as you want... but please only nominate the same artist for the same thing once.

This is fully inclusive to everyone in the world. If you love an artist who doesn't post here - nominate them! If you have a favorite photographer who doesn't post here - nominate them!  Maybe, just maybe, we'll encourage some new people to join in our wonderful creative community!  And, of course, if your favorites are "pro" or "amateur", "commercial" or "creative commons" or "free" - it doesn't matter. 

What matters is who YOU think deserves to win.

The form is here:

You do not have to fill in every field.   And once you "submit" the form at the bottom - there's a link to start it over again to nominate another person, album, etc...

Once the nominations are closed - I'll compile a short list from each category and everyone will vote in January for the winners!

The January voting will also include some open ended questions for you to share what moved you in 2013... whether an artist or an event or whatever.

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