Originally announced in 1997 as the follow-up by Hypnos founder Mike Griffin to his debut Sudden Dark, Fabrications has been
reworked, abandoned, restarted from scratch, back-burnered, reimagined, and left frozen in carbonite. Among those who have followed Hypnos
from the beginning, Fabrications achieved a certain notoriety as the album always promised for release in the coming year, which never
quite arrived. 2008 is finally the year in which Fabrications is revealed, perhaps appropriate for the 10-year anniversary of its original planned
release date, 1998.
Generally known as an ambient minimalist, utilizing synthesizers for most of his work, this time M. Griffin took advantage of "real world" sounds,
captured with binaural microphones using a portable digital audio recorder.
For this release, Griffin built up collages of numerous location recording elements, including cars driving on freeways, people walking in long echoing
hallways, the ocean waves in Kona at night, a metalworking factory with heavy machinery crunching away, distant trains, and clothes driers. These
elements were manipulated, combined, worked-on and re-worked, and overlaid with looped spoken elements later created by Griffin in the studio.
The end result comes out something like the Zoviet France soundtrack to a David Lynch film, that is, a dark and dream-like collage of loops, spoken
fragments, disembodied whispers, and the echo of far-off machinery.
While ambient music recordings generally only include a few "layers," Fabrications has been painstakingly built-up over the years so
that all tracks are now comprised of dozens of layers, in some cases upward of 100. The result is incredibly complex, with ghostly remnants of
real, concrete sounds filtered one against another. Aural signatures of many real places combine to form sonic impressions of
a series of locations that do not really exist. These imagined, artificial locales are in effect, fabrications.
Track listing, with MP3 sample clips:
Water is Silver
Air Sense Space
Sky is Glass Lit
"A new album from Mike Griffin of Hypnos Records, more than 10 years
in the making. Lots of processed field recordings with a drifty ambient
sound. I hope we don't have to wait as long for the next one."
--Scott Raymond, WVKR radio
"This one was worth the wait. One of the most truly "ambient" recordings Hypnos has released, great listening for headphone-nauts.
I've heard the third solo album will be coming out in 2018, so everybody should have lots of time to wrap their ears around these gorgeous
micro-worlds of sound."
--"drone on" on the Hypnos Forum
"This is some gorgeously built, tripped out work! ...Vast, deep, and sounds lovingly well-crafted!! You have fashioned some dark ambient nectar of the gods..."
--"9dragons" on the Hypnos Forum
"Very nice! A windblown stream of strange sounds and vocal fragments, very atmospheric, and never straying far from the Almighty Drone. Highly recommended ...and use your headphones!"
--"Joe R" on the Hypnos Forum
"Very dense spooky concrete atmospheres that remind me in places of mid-period Zoviet France, but without the emphasis on looping. Some
industrial-like abstract sounds midway through, but nothing Merzbow harsh. Very nicely done."
--"ffcal" (recording artist Forrest Fang) on the Hypnos Forum
"Over a decade in the making, M. Griffin’s Fabrications CD is inventive ambience that challenges preconceptions of what constitutes “music.” Only processed field
recordings are used, culled from a variety of unique settings, ranging from a Hawaiian beach to a steel sheet cutter. The end result reminds me of other
experimental ambient recordings, such as harmonic vocals in a cistern or underwater ambience. Tones are deeply resonant, more like white noise than music,
but strangely soothing. Although vocals are not mentioned as source material, I think I can hear some briefly, albeit unintelligibly, in “Water is Silver.” Mechanical
churning and pulsing characterizes “Gravity,” and it sounds like being pulled into a vortex. If I had to guess, “Behind” would be the track that uses the steel sheet cutter,
although most tracks have a sort of industrial feel at times, none more so than the hard, cold, darkness of the 23-minute closer, “Sky is Glass Lit.” This is a particularly
deep dive into all things dark ambient, culminating in a narrative of some sort, though processing renders it alien in nature, which is perhaps the best way to describe
this inventive adventurous album."
--Reviewed by Phil Derby, ElectroambientSpace
"This CD from 2008 offers 60 minutes of reprocessed environmental ambience.
All sounds on this album were derived from location recordings, like the Pacific Ocean, a steel sheet cutter, a waterfall, footsteps in a tunnel, a large electrical
transformer, a jetliner cabin, running water, and a night-time walk on the beach. To achieve the music, signal processing was utilized. So...the tunes are harmonic
constructions without peppy melodies of discernible rhythms.
The pieces are moody soundscapes, possessing environmental hints amid fogs of serene sounds. Textural layers undulate to achieve an atmospheric demeanor punctuated by
additional tones and effects. Those additional elements maintain a soporific character, gentle and ephemeral, waves that cascade with languid substantiality.
These natural tonalities retain little of their original presence, having been transformed into a series of resonant aspects that exude an otherworldly disposition.
The sounds drift like vaporous configurations, blending with each other to engender fragile oscillations. These oscillations waft with breathy delivery, generating an
expansive aerial tide of softly roiling emanations.
A softly grinding (periodically rotary) sound provides an edgy undercurrent to some of the tracks, establishing an eerie presence.
These harmonic compositions are ethereal and often elusive. Their flow is evenly crafted with appropriate highs and lows generating an emotional mien. Example: the
“Gravity” track, while airy and tenuous, exhibits a distinct sonic pressure that approximates weight. The delicate sensibilities embodied in this music are temperate
and soothing, delivering an ambience rich with sedative properties that at the same time produce a subtle psychic invigoration."
--Reviewed by Matt Howarth at Sonic Curiosity