This week, we’re doing something a little different and bringing you three of our earlier Hypnos releases by Saul Stokes. It’s a great deal, whether want to pick up one or all three!
First up, we have Hypnos classic,
WASHED IN MERCURY ($5.99 through Aug. 10th)
Using synthesizers and sound devices built by Stokes himself, Washed in Mercury achieves a sound as singular as the technology used to make it.
“Washed in Mercury, the first disc from (Saul) Stokes, also treads in extraterrestrial territories and metaphorical dreamstates, but the incorporation of rubbery beats provides earthly anchors. For verification, experience the perambulating “We Found It At Io,” akin to the feel of a moonride in a vehicle with a flat tire, your equilibrium becoming upset and out of sync as unidentifiable galactic detritus whizzes by. Stokes’s deft use of color, timbre and rhythm is remarkably cohesive — the spacefunk throb of “Kasei” essentially renders some of its better known European equivalents moot, as it seductively marries the pulse of digidub to the science fiction aspects of space music, minus the genre’s familiar vocabulary. Rinse off the mercury and await Stokes’ further exploits with fervent interest.”
–Darren Bergstein / i/e Magazine
“Ambient synth crossover — minimal soundscapes, drifty and cosmic. Seven tracks of really excellent music for lovers of synthy space music!”
–Midas Synth Catalogue listing
“Top 50 of 1997.”
–Chuck VanZyl, Star’s End Radio, WXPN, Philadelphia
Next up, we have
THE ZO PILOTS ($5.99 through Aug. 10th)
If machines could sing stories of the soul of a man… Stokes retains his recognizable sound even as he branches out into new sonic territory.
“A faint noise slowly gets louder and louder, almost like the approach of a propeller aircraft. When it is overhead lonesome synth pads join in one after the other in many different melancholy varieties. The sounds used are exquisite and ever changing. Just four minutes in and it becomes obvious why Saul Stokes seems an almost permanent feature on American Electronic Music radio shows, as far as sound sculpting goes this is high art. The first track might sound like a traditional ambient piece and it is but much of the album is in a much more modern ambient mode though without any dance beats, these being replaced by very laid back drum loops. The sounds used are perfectly crafted and combined to make sonic paintings of unique images and new colours that the eye can t usually see. It is these sounds which make Saul s music stand out from the crowd. Sure, the music is also perfectly crafted but it is the sounds that hit home and to me, as I have said many times before, it is these unique possibilities that makes Electronic Music so appealing. On the second part of “Altitude and Architecture” we get the introduction of a looped four note sequence and the addition of a rhythm, if it can be called that. It is more like a deep space rumble. “First Jump” isn t a million miles away from what you would have found on the recently released Morbius album. The hypnotic pulsations are exquisite, I just wish it had lasted longer than six minutes. Different drum sounds are used on “Downtown Inaka” but they are again low in the mix, the searing synth pads grabbing most of the attention. “Open Your Eyes Maitreta” is another floater, again very descriptive and though probably encouraged by the title it makes me think of being unconscious and struggling to wakefulness. “Wire Light Hills” is a mesmerizing chugger with synth detail flickering in and out of the rhythm, swooping pads diving low before blasting back off into space. We finish with the title track and what sounds like an alien craft coming in to land, we then enter the vehicle and all sorts of other futuristic sounds can be heard. This would have been great music to use in a sci fi film. No rhythm at all is present though non is needed as we return to the standard of descriptive music found on the opener.”
— Neu Harmony, UK
OUTFOLDING (just $3.99 though Aug. 10th)
The primary sound sources on all Saul Stokes recordings are several vintage-style analog modular synthesizers built by Stokes himself. But don’t mistake this to mean Stokes is working in a retro or “classic E-music” style, because this is definitely not the case. Perhaps no artist in the ambient/experimental music scene possesses a sound as distinctive, fresh and modern.
Those who have seen Saul’s much-acclaimed live performances in Philadelphia during the past year can attest to his challenging and dynamic sound. It’s world music for the mid-21st century, way ahead of its time. Ambient atmospherics blend with riveting electronic experimentalism, guided by an artistic savvy and grace all too rare in this tech-oriented genre.
The two Steve Roach/Vir Unis CDs that Steve turned me on to came very close for me. My latest find is Saul Stokes ‘Outfolding’. While I have only enjoyed parts of Stokes’ other CDs (finding much of them too abstract for me) this one is a masterpiece – imho.”
–Paul Levinson, on the Ambient Music internet mailing list
“Quite recently I have had the distinct pleasure of hearing Saul Stokes’ “Outfolding.” Absolutely brilliant piece of work.”
–Jeff aka Mxyzptlk, on the Ambient Music internet mailing list
“Saul Stokes is a very characteristic artist specialized in the electronic ambient/experimental music. In his recordings he tends to use primarily, as the basic sources of his sound, the modular analog synthesizers as well as other electronic instruments he himself builds, yet his music possesses a modern touch, fresh and daring indeed, masterfully managing the technology at his disposal. A supporter of live performances, his sound is challenging and dynamic. His music flows, evolving, never losing its intrinsic beauty, deep, hypnotic, with electronic undercurrents that lead to atmospheres full of a soft energy, at times with space or cosmic brushes, and always having in mind the exploration of new soundscapes with a creativity that can hardly be surpassed.”
–Amazing Sounds, MONTSE ANDREU
Be sure to check out the SAUL STOKES section of our store for even more great releases by this artist.