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HYPNOS and BINARY Artists: Jonathan Block aka Synthetic Block





Jonathan Block has been best-known for his electronic music released under the moniker Synthetic Block, including his Hypnos/Binary release Sonic Approach, but he has recently started releasing music in a more traditional, less overtly EM style, under his own name. The first such full-length solo release will be The Anatomy of Waves on Hypnos Secret Sounds, soon to be release.

Sequences magazine said the music “is certainly not the usual sound we expect coming from the U.S., but it's a fresh approach to electronics which is most welcome.” While Wind and Wire wrote that “it isn't quite ambient or techno, but takes elements from those genres and combines them into its own unique mixture.”

The third Synthetic Block CD, “Sonic Approach,” is scheduled for release in summer 2002 on Hypnos/Binary Recordings. Block has also released a series of limited edition CDs containing live and unreleased recordings, available through mp3.com.

The second Synthetic Block CD, "The Opposite Of Staring Into Space," was released on Ironing Board Recordings in 1999. The disc was named as one of the 50 most significant releases of 1999 by the Star's End radio show. And Expose magazine called the release "very sonically satisfying…the music moves purposefully and fluidly."

The first Synthetic Block CD was released in May 1998 on Mindspore Records. In reviewing Block's first disc, Expose wrote that the music had "odd-meter workouts that bring to mind no one in particular but Block himself. Not only are his compositions good, but the sounds he produces from his synthesizers are rich, organic and fresh."

Radio shows that have featured Synthetic Block music include the nationally syndicated radio shows Echoes and Star's End. Block’s music has also appeared on numerous compilations. Block began playing the piano and guitar at age 10, influenced by such bands as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Jefferson Airplane. After a few years, Block taught himself the bass, which he played in bands through high school and college. Block began using synthesizers as a means to create otherworldly music, with the aim of performing solo. Influenced by the more atmospheric moments of King Crimson and Pink Floyd, Block joined the burgeoning ambient/space music scene of the early 1990s, releasing a number of cassettes under his own Ironing Board Recordings imprint.

Block is also a published poet, with more than 50 poems that have appeared in journals around the world, including Phoebe, The NRG Anthology, The Chiron Review and Riverrun. He has also taught poetry for the Writer's Voice program in Connecticut.

Brief discography:

Solo CDs:
Sonic Approach
The Opposite Of Staring Into Space
Synthetic Block

Limited Releases:
Live at the Gathering
Book of Formation
Driving Backward

Compilations:
Beyond Me
Tracks Across The Universe
To Canterbury And Beyond: A Tribute To The Canterbury Scene
Fanfare For The Pirates: An Emerson, Lake & Palmer Tribute
GoldTri Compilation: Volume 1
GoldTri Compilation: Volume 2
Elephant Tape: A Tribute to King Crimson

Detailed discography here.