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Everything and Nothing / Andy Hughes of Orb
« on: June 24, 2009, 05:36:27 AM »
Saw this on the ambient listserv at hyperreal:

The following press release was forwarded to us by The Orb’s US agency, WME Entertainment.
Andy Hughes, electronic music producer/DJ who was born 11th November 1965
and, and who lived and grew up in Harrow, Middlesex, tragically passed
away on Friday 12th June 2009 after a short illness.Andy was a genius who
gave so much inspiration and passion to all with his incredible work. He
was loved by many aficionados of the trance/ambient genre, but will be
especially remembered for his work with Alex Paterson and The Orb, most
notably the album Orblivion and single Toxygene, which reached number 4 in
the UK charts in 1997. Together with his musical partners Alex Patterson
and former members Kris Weston, Simon Phillips and Thomas Fehlmann
together with Nick Burton of Westworld fame. Andy created electronic and
ambient/techno/house/dub masterpieces. These took him across the globe
where he played to masses of fans in countries including the USA, Japan
and Canada as well as a sell out concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1998.

Episode 2 is up now at with music from Lopside, Dave Preston, Austere, Sense Project, Zero Ohms, Igneous Flame, Phillippe Emanuel Gueble, Orbital Decay, Larry Kucharz and Jonathan Block. (A fine collection of Hypnos artists hiding in there!)

Kindly give a listen, consider subscribing, and feel free to comment.

Oh, and pardon my slightly overmodulated voice.

Everything and Nothing / Help the podcast N00b
« on: June 09, 2009, 11:35:50 AM »
Audio-mavens... Right now my podcast is kind of piggish, size-wise. My 90 minute cast is 85MB in size. By contrast, Ultima Thule's 'cast of the same length is half the size (about 38MB).

Googling for answers, I found the simple suggestion that reducing the bit rate from 128 to 64 will (duh) cut the file size in half--but how much will the sound quality suffer?

Thank you for any input. I'm still trying to hammer out the technical side of this new hobby-thang I've fallen into!

Everything and Nothing / Hypnagogue Podcast
« on: June 03, 2009, 04:19:16 PM »
Friends: I've finally managed to get my techno-sh!t together and cobbled together a podcast. The intention is to offer 90 minutes of music every two weeks. I've got two shows in the can, with two more playlisted and ready for production.

The first podcast is available now via Hopefully soon I can figure out how to make it available through iTunes. (For a guy who still doesn't have internet access at home--by choice--even this first episode took some doing!)

So please have a listen and let me know what you think. Hopefully it's the start of something good.

Just got a hit on the Hypnagogue site off the search term:

"new ambient trendy music"

Ambient and trendy....never before used in the same sentence?  ;D

Everything and Nothing / Podcasts and compensation
« on: April 28, 2009, 06:46:12 AM »
Friends: As I do a couple of times a year, I am once again toying with the idea of starting up a podcast tie-in with the Hypnagogue web site. But I'm do podcasts like Ultima Thule, Magnatunes, or Quiet Sounds compensate artists? Or do they? If you've got music running in any current podcasts, I'd like your thoughts on this. Because if I did finally go this route, I'd want to do right by the musicians, of course!

peace & power,

Will be updating the Hypnagogue site soon with reviews of a few Hypnos disks. Figured I'd share an opening thought on this one with the forum. (Along with my usual apologies for being so far behind...)

A bunch of years ago there was a short animated film called “Closed Mondays” where a drunk stumbles into a museum after hours and all the artwork comes to life in little tableaux as he watches. I was reminded of this as I made my way through the 2-disk gallery that is Sense Project’s The Sublime. Robert Logan brings together a broad array of sonic sculptures, tone paintings, and electronic sketches, each with its own inner life and story. The pieces range from softly drifting landscapes to challenging, noise-based works of art. Like any good gallery, each offering deserves more than a cursory glance—and yet, like any good ambient disk all the pieces blend together richly to create an overall experience.

[complete review coming...soon.]

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Dolmen--Incantations Verses One & Two
« on: February 03, 2009, 08:19:38 AM »
Currently being absolutely blown away by this double offering from Jason Sloan and Steven K. Smith (aka Dolmen). It's the duo's final outing and they're going out big. Dark, dense guitar-based drone and noise pairs up with aggressive tribal rhythms. A sense of the ritualistic; a calling to a sensually dark place inside of ourselves. Mesmerizing stuff that makes me NEED to go back and find Dolmen's previous work.

Go find. Go listen.

Everything and Nothing / Great moments in ambient fandom.
« on: October 28, 2008, 10:41:04 AM »
In the car with mom last night, driving her home. I begin to back out of the driveway.

Mom: Oh my, you need brakes!

Me: What?

Mom: Your brakes sound---oh...that's your music.

It was the beginning of M. Peck's "Glacial."

 :o   :D

Everything and Nothing / Hypnagogue's back on track
« on: October 16, 2008, 06:11:33 AM »
For what it's worth, friends, the Hypnagogue site has been reactivated. The relocation is over. And, outside of the fact that after two months in the new joint I haven't bothered to get internet access (hooray, work computer!) or restore my lost iTunes after the computer died, I'm set to resume reviewing. Just posted reviews of Kettering, Vanderberg and Grafiti61, with more to come--hopefully on an every-two-weeks schedule. I have a backlog to get through!

Everything and Nothing / But what does the family think?
« on: September 19, 2008, 08:42:37 AM »
Here's a question I've been sitting on for a while...

Some folks may know that on the side I'm a playwright. I've had shows go up at small theaters and festivals around the country over the last several years. But I've got two sisters who have never managed to take in one of my shows--even when they were close by. It's like...they don't get it.

Given that no one here makes mainstream music, and knowing that when a good portion of the world outside the ambient/electronic community seems to "get" what you do...what do your friends and family think of the music you create? Do they get it? Do they mostly nod and smile? Do they understand what makes you do what you do? (And how often do you hear, " make any money from this?"---because I get that A LOT.)

Independent Music Reviews / Justin Vanderberg, In Waking Moments
« on: May 21, 2008, 08:40:15 AM »
Hypnagogue review:

As you put Justin Vanderberg's In Waking Moments into your CD player or start it up on your iPod, be sure to set either device for repeat play. Then breathe deeply and prepare to live within the sound. This is a gentle, meditative journey that courses unhurriedly through areas of light and shadow in equal parts. Vanderberg layers long, slow-exhaling chords, each placed in perfect complement to those both before and after, crafting solid ambient-music constructs. Along the way, soft bells, hints of a drumbeat or a repeated melodic phrase infrequently anchor the dreaming listener to the corporeal world. This is a full-immersion disk that works for both attentive listening and as a soothing backdrop. I literally spent an entire workday with In Waking Moments in my headphones on constant repeat. There was no sense of hearing it again, no urge to stop or to move ahead to something else. The only thought was to just be. To be there within the sound, letting my attentiveness rise and fall as the day dictated, becoming mindful of the music in places, slowly soaking in the superb beauty of Vanderberg's compositions. And that's the earmark of a genuinely good ambient CD—its ability to allow you to exist within it without question or interruption. Warm, engaging, and quite simply genuinely pleasant, In Waking Moments is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

Everything and Nothing / A game just made for ambient music
« on: May 08, 2008, 01:22:57 PM »
A friend sent this link earlier. I clicked over to it and naturally happened to have a bit of ambient going in the headphones. Something slow and quiet and ethereal. (Like right now...Jeffrey Koepper's "Distant Light" from the Etherea CD.) And it was a match made in heaven.

So grab a nice drifty disk, or bring it up on the 'pod, put on the headphones and mesmerize yourself playing The Hell of Sand.

Everything and Nothing / Come closer, Philly...
« on: April 03, 2008, 06:54:33 AM »
I just wanted to share my pain with the board. Last year I made the trek from Boston to Philly for The Gatherings to see Steve Roach and Jeffrey Koepper. More than just the concert itself, the whole Gatherings experience--helping Chuck & Co set lights and run wires (inept as I may have been), being invited over the studio (after playing roadie and lugging gear, which was actually a blast)--just to be in that whole incredible atmosphere, among people who didn't look at me funny when I mentioned Steve Roach, was a really addictive thing for me.

So yesterday I got Chuck's postcard for the upcoming season. And I wept. Because while the whole card is good (of course!), three shows absolutely tug me toward Philly....and this boy just can't afford three treks. (Buying a house, quote the esteemed philosopher Simply Red, "Money Too Tight to Mention.") Therefore--lament with me, friends!--I shall not see the Jeffrey Koepper/Jason Sloan show in two weeks. (And this, after Sloan hooked me on his music with the live broadcast a few months back.) Lo, I shall not make a cool fall journey to see Ministry of Inside Things (who reside perpetually within my iPod!) and M. Peck and Mark Mahoney (same for them! O, Gallery of Subtle Smiles!). But I do hope that come cold November, having endured, having saved myself for them...I will indeed be there for Tim Story, Dwight Ashley, and H-J Roedelius.

But damn, it's hard to pass up those other two shows....

[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 / 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?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Time to fire up the gift card
« on: December 23, 2007, 07:38:33 AM »
Thanks to the boss I've got a lovely iTunes gift card burning a hole in a briefcase. But you know, I'm sort of lazy and killing time looking for good ambient/electronic stuff over there just doesn't appeal to me.

So tell me, Forumites, what three CDs you think I should go get over at iTunes. (And yes, feel free to include your own music!!)

Genuine thanks,
The 'Gogue

Everything and Nothing / The holiday food you're waiting for
« on: December 19, 2007, 09:35:22 AM »
This thread is brought on by the arrival in our office of these insanely good chocolate truffles one of our designers makes. They're downright sinful and positively addictive.

The holidays are the time of year when people roll out that "special" food. For my family, it's a thing we call "balls & dogs"--cut-up hot dogs, little meatballs and pineapple chunks in a sort of sweet-sour sauce. It sounds foul, but one taste and you're hooked. And I know that come Christmas Eve my sister will have a big crockpot full of it just waiting for us.

So....what's the holiday food you can't wait to get to?

(Now if you'll excuse me, there are truffles to be had...)

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