Category: Hypnos Store Special Offers

Summer Storewide Sale Reminder

Hello, everyone!

Just a reminder that for the remainder of June 2015, the following coupon codes are still active:

2015SUMMER10 (10% off any size order)

2015SUMMER20 (20% off orders over $100)

There’s no limit to how many times you can use these coupons, though obviously you’ll get a better deal if you can order over $100 at once, rather than several smaller orders, so visit the HYPNOS ONLINE STORE for some great summer deals!

Weekly Sale Item: Storewide Sale

Hey everyone,

Instead of sale items or discounts on one category or another, we’ve decided to do something we haven’t done in a while… offer discounts on everything! For the remainder of June 2015, the following coupon codes are active:

2015SUMMER10 (10% off any size order)

2015SUMMER20 (20% off orders over $100)

There’s no limit to how many times you can use these coupons, though obviously you’ll get a better deal if you can order over $100 at once, rather than several smaller orders.

Just an FYI, some items are in very limited quantity, so visit the HYPNOS ONLINE STORE early, before things start to disappear!

Weekly Sale Item: Hypnos Picks #2

After a little break, we’re back with another round of Hypnos label picks on sale for you! All items are just $5.99 each, and the low prices are good through June 7th.

Numina – Eye of the Nautilus
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We are pleased to announce the second release by Numina on the Hypnos label, the follow-up to his acclaimed breakthrough Sanctuary of Dreams (2004). Eye of the Nautilus is similar to its predecessor tonally, but also explores some different themes and textures. Evocative electronic percussion is present at times, but overall the feel is one of deep-space ambience.

It is with good reason that Numina is one of the few names in ambient music to so quickly gain in reputation and prominence in this new millennium. His work evolves dramatically with each new release, and by now he has surely made the transition from “new name you should watch” to the status of “established artist.” This is an album full of ideas, with a fresh and varied sound design.

Guest artist Rudy Adrian lends his trademark sound to the second track, “Secrets from the Flame,” and as with Sanctuary of Dreams, R. Chris Fraley provides artwork, and Hypnos founder M. Griffin is responsible for mastering and layout.


Paul Vnuk Jr. (Ma Ja Le) – Silence Speaks in Shadow

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SILENCE SPEAKS IN SHADOW, the first Hypnos CD by Paul Vnuk Jr. of Ma Ja Le (a duo that released a collaboration IMAGINARIUM with Vir Unis, and also more recently issued a limited-edition live CD with Hypnos artist James Johnson). Vnuk ventures out into the solo world with a longform release that blends the environmental sounds of a cityscape with an ebbing and flowing synth atmosphere. SILENCE SPEAKS IN SHADOW gives us a glimpse into the psycho-environmental sounds of a city drenched in rain and industrial sonics. Stating his inspiration for this project, Vnuk says: “The open windows and industrial sounds of a rain drenched city can have a strange calming effect on the soul.”

A pre-release review by Jim Brenholts says: “….expertly mixes somber passages and samples with an expansive drone, nature samples and melodic pastoral ambience. The effect is both chilling and calming. The emotional and spiritual responses are clear and undefinable. The physical response is immediate calm. This CD is essential psychoactive meditation material!”

Hypnos Recordings feels a special fondness for smooth, long-form environmental pieces. We find them full of details which gradually reveal themselves, and transport the listener to unfamiliar locales, or frames of mind. SILENCE SPEAKS IN SHADOW is sure to be a favorite “place” of many who experience it.

REVIEWS: 
“Soundscape meets cityscape in silence speaks in shadow, a panoramic blend of shapeshifting ambient streams and subtle occurences which blend rather than intrude. No hustle-bustle here as paul vnuk jr. processes the most subdued audiovisions, transmitting them as these flowing scenes of 9.2-rated beauty. Quite gorgeous! The amazing Hypnos catalog just keeps getting better… ” –David Opdyke, The AmbiEntrance

“Everythings about this CD is dripping with cool, from the jet-black cover sprinkled with nighttime city lights, to the soft rain that permeates the sounds and music. This is truly an environmental work, labeled “psycho-environmental music,” which is accurate. Vnuk successfully depicts an urban setting, with the rain falling and the windows open. Soft synthesizers accentuate real-world sounds such as a siren driving by (I backed the CD up to be sure I heard it right, thinking it was real). Changes are slow and subtle. It paints a perfect sonic picture, the musical equivalent of the current American penchant for “reality-based TV.” Other discs have used environmental sounds, particularly rain, but this is a cut above. It really sets itself apart from anything else out there. Thunder rolls occasionally, synthesizers softly float throughout much of it, but the rain really is the centerpiece, at times the only sound heard. Everyone knows the feeling of hearing a gentle summer or autumn rain on your rooftop or out the window on a sultry day, and how refreshing and luxurious that can be. Now, you don’t have to wait for just the right conditions to experience it. This is perhaps the ultimate ambient music, truly meant to be played in the background, to be absorbed into your world of the moment.” –Sequences, Phil Derby


M. Griffin – Fabrications

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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.

REVIEWS:
“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

“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


Various Artists – Echoes of Polyhymnia

polyhymnia

Polyhymnia was one of the Muses of Greek myth, specifically the Muse of sacred hymn. Echoes of Polyhymnia compiles music in ambient and related genres composed and recorded exclusively by women. This genre is so male-dominated generally that we had a lot of fun gathering interesting ambient sounds, including some works that have one foot in ambient territory and another foot in one of several different, related genres. It covers styles and flavors as diverse as ambient, drone, glitch, vocal collage, goth and electronica.

Hypnos manager (and artist) Lena Griffin curated this specially-themed compilation which gathers an assortment of ambient & atmospheric sound works from around the world. This project reveals a totally new angle on ambient music, more diverse and wide-ranging than all previous ambient compilations from Hypnos. Ranging from ethereal to dark to pretty to spooky to melodic, we think this album displays a solidly worthwhile musical and soundscape content beyond just the curiosity and “I’ve never seen that before” factor of the theme.

“The nine Muses struck up a lifestirring melody. Polyhymnia, nursingmother of the dance, waved her arms and sketched in the air an image of a soundless voice, speaking with hands and moving eyes in a graphic picture of silence full of meaning.” –The Dionysiaca of Nonnus

REVIEWS:
“My compliments for /echoes of polyhymnia/, great album!” –Dennis Koepper, Databloem

“A wonderful compilation from Hypnos, featuring women in ambient music. Highly recommended.” –Scott Raymond, WVKR-FM


Austere – Solyaris

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This is a creative peak for this much-overlooked ambient duo, their first release on Hypnos, following their Hypnos Secret Sounds album Pulse in 2007. In their 10 years of productivity, Austere has covered territory from Pulse’s drone minimalism , ranging back through odd and trippy Coil-inspired sonic experimentation, to seamless dark ambient, and occasionally glitchy weirdness. Despite some challenging material in their back catalog, Austere have in this case produced an album as friendly and pleasant as any Austere fan could have imagined possible, and yet without resorting to the usual tricks that make music sound “listenable.”

Bill Binkelman of Wind and Wire said of Austere:

“Austere is an enigmatic duo who record some of the more interesting ambient music I’ve heard in my six plus years of reviewing. From the swirling drones (I was gonna say “dark” drones, but ….) and eerie melancholy of Monodia to the warmth and beauty amidst minimalism of Fade… Austere are less concerned with following the path and more concerned with breaking new ground. However, they are undoubtedly enigmatic, as one would glean from the above, and shun the spotlights of media and personality.”

Numina – Shift to the Ghost
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Numina’s third album on Hypnos Recordings is “Shift to the Ghost,” a long-form continuous piece with indexed track points. Each song is distinctly different in feel, but the songs evolve seamlessly into each other.

Numina himself states that the album “is about the life and death of the physical self,” hence the title. Whatever the concept, this album contains all the elements Numina fans enjoy, from deep and sombre ambient, to twinkling, swirling space music, constantly evolving. It’s a long, fascinating visual journey, and it never grows tired.

The latest work from ambient “rising star” Numina is possibly his best yet.

Reviews:
“This release from 2006 features 70 minutes of eerie tuneage. Numina is Jesse Sola. Pensive tonalities rise to insinuate a portentous presence into a brooding darkness. It’s a tenuous presence, however; one that exhibits little animation, watching with unseen eyes and subtly influencing its immediate environs. Sighing electronic textures undulate with luxurious determination. Ethereal waves seep across the firmament, occluding silence with a translucent demeanor. A liquid undercurrent aids this vaporous resonance. Buried in the atmospheric flow are hints of violins and drawn cellos, so deeply immersed that they could well be illusionary sounds. Also lurking in the mix are traces of more demonstrative electronics, but pulsations actually surface to calmly dominate the ambience and generate a savory tension. An eerie mien permeates these songs, but there’s nothing ominous or threatening about these sonic ghosts. They are congenial spirits, conveying wisdom and introspection to the listener. Sola’s predilection for seasoning his pure ambience with softly churning activity imbues this music with a seductive quality. The compositions maintain a resolute dedication to a borderland between minimalism and density, producing tuneage that glimmers with implications as it seethes with gossamer vitality. Harmonic passages are tinged with evocative substance.” –Reviewed by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity, www.soniccuriosity.com

“a Great album. calmful and dark beauty, Highly Recommended!” –Parallel Worlds, on the Hypnos Forum

“In crafting a sonic narrative of the journey from life to afterlife, Numina has created a listening experience that is utterly immersive, a set of pieces that pull you in so deeply that trying to find adequate words for them once you’ve surfaced is difficult. This is signature Numina, moving as slowly as sleeping breath, elegant layers laid thickly upon layers with a certain and graceful hand. Sound textures course across the skin and into the spirit, coaxing the listener with warmth, beauty and imagery. This is the sound of the soul departing, and the sense of the journey itself. Rhythms rise only where they’re needed, as in the dramatic push of “Through the Unseen Barrier.” Shift… is heavy with well-realized aural scenery and emotive tones that fully suit Numina’s intent. The slightly serrated drift of “Arrival to Nowhere” points up the disk’s embrace of dark awe, and “Light Travelling” celebrates the upward release from being with some intriguing sonic turbulence. Who knew crossing over felt this good? There’s a distinct sense of the sacred here in hushed hymnal tones and choral whispers. There is the pull of coerced introspection, and a pure, overarching beauty. There’s not a moment on this disk that isn’t eminently listenable, down to the final quiet exhalations of the gorgeous closer, “The Hostless Ghost.” And that’s why Shift to the Ghost is another Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD from Numina.”–Reviewed by John @ Hypnogogue


Chad Hoefler – Twilight in the Offing

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This is the Hypnos debut, and in fact the CD release debut, of an fantastic new ambient music artist. It’s one of those rare, special debuts that immediately designates the artist as important and worth watching. Twilight in the Offing is the work of a mature and experienced artist, with a sonic variety and depth that stand up next to the best of the ambient/space music genre. We’re very proud of this release, and excited to be the first to bring you the work of Chad Hoefler.

Chad says:
As the title of my debut CD, Twilight In The Offing, metaphorically suggests, this 7 track, 1 hour long CD represents my attempt to sonically capture the concept of inevitability. I endeavored to use track titles that portray the muse for this work: the inescapable fact that darkness follows dusk (at least in the vast majority of places on this planet), that fall and winter follow summer, and that the expiration of life is the ultimate certainty. Tracks vary widely from one another from deep and dark orchestral soundscapes with tribal percussion to floating sonic surrealism to abstract, pensive soundworlds. If I had to compare the genre of this work to the genres of other ambient artists, I would say that it belongs to the same family of work represented by the likes of Alio Die, A Produce, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, etc.”

REVIEWS:

“Overall, I must repeat that this is some of the best music that I have mastered in a long time. I don’t say that lightly. Your sense of dynamics, patient timing and spaciousness makes for a very well-crafted work.” –Robert Rich

“…a brilliant debut release! And I mean Brilliant. Musical skill of this kind comes from the bones, it can’t be learned. The CD has a lot of familiar flavors, but nothing distinct or recognizable. Like a fine, complex wine. Musically, the CD is wonderfully dense and saturated, but is clear in purpose and design. The compositions are never muddy or crammed.

It is an amazing debut worthy of everyone’s attention. Regardless of your preferences in style, Twilight has something for everyone… electronics, blended with tribal beats, blended with floating pads blended with enough darkness to make it edgy… this CD carries it all with masterful precision.

The CD just seeps with solid, elegant production values. You can hear Robert’s subtle mastering style all over it, but obviously Chad’s skill as a musician and audio designer make the compositions work in the first place. This is a CD for headphones. I cannot recommend enough that people try this CD out. It is a very visceral, complex and noteworthy body of music that is to significant to miss out on! PUT IT ON YOUR MUST BUY LIST!” –Reviewed by Jeff Kowal (aka Terra Ambient) on the Hypnos Forum

“Twilight in the Offing (60’27”), the debut album by Chad Hoefler, deals with our inescapable encounter with Truth. The 7 tracks exist as leviathans within this album’s soundworld; to warn listeners of the approaching night. With its Godzilla size drones representing a mounting tension and cavernously deep reverberations revealing a nervous restlessness, Twilight in the Offing is more about the rising darkness than it is the coming dawn. This work makes heat through its crosscurrent of turbulent electronic soundwaves. The line of each piece uncoils, surges and swells into a sustained density. Breathing drones and murmuring sonic prominences intensify the listening experience. Hoefler’s mood ranges from that of a charred hellscape to the closing moments of a rapturous dream, somehow echoed into the world. Material is a reaction to form. Here, the sound design provides a brief space in which to contemplate transition. While sounds mingle like moving shadows in the dark, we consider the proportion of material to length, and that which is beyond twilight, and our lives.” –Chuck VanZyl, Star’s End Radio


Paul Vnuk Jr. & Oophoi – Distance to Zero

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This recording works in roughly the same “slow drone” territory explored by Vnuk and Oophoi on their solo Hypnos releases, Silence Speaks in Shadows and Athlit, respectively. At the same time, it has a different sonic character, at times slow and dark and smooth, but at other moments bright and modern and metallic. Distance to Zero could fairly be described as some of the most daring and experimental work by either artist… a true surprise to these ears when the demo arrived here at Hypnos HQ. It definitely has an “edge” to it, though it’s still definitely easy and smooth listening. I have no doubt this will be a much-loved and much-discussed Hypnos release, and a significant milestone in the discography of both Vnuk and Oophoi.

Vnuk’s Silence Speaks in Shadows and Oophoi’s Athlit are two of the best-loved releases on Hypnos, and now these two great artists have combined their creative and sound-sculpting powers for a new work!

REVIEWS:

“…a recording that might well be described as more exploratory work by established artists is Distance to Zero, a collab between old hands Paul Vnuk Jr. + Oöphoi that crept out late in ‘06. And crept is an apt word, for this is a surprisingly creepy set. They operate in similar slow drone territory to their last solo Hypnos releases, Silence Speaks in Shadows and Athlit, respectively. Yet their communion results in a work with a quite esoteric sonic character. More arcane and less harmonically resolved than anything Vnuk has done, and near the netherworld lights at the end of Oöphoi’s world, it definitely has a spooky eldritch undertow to it, especially on the unsettling opener, “Distance to Zero I.” “Distance to Zero II” contains recognizable elements of their individual work, notably Gasparetti’s palaeontology with Tau Ceti on Subterranea, evidenced in some trademark suspended bowl-sounds and steepling toneclouds, atavistic rumblings and abyss-hinting upsurges. This is well augmented by Vnuk’s orchestrations of the peripheral familiar from Silence Speaks, dwelling at the threshhold of static sub-vocal drone-float while channelling some eerie chthonics. The sound architecture is certainly denser and chewier than most of Oöphoi’s recent discs, and more timbrally varied, with Vnuk’s influence also apparent in the static grain that occasionally creeps in at the outer limits. Smooth but smudged, with hints of a processed distillate of metal machine music, Distance to Zero evolves weightily but actively, offering a sustaining richness of texture. Do not think of filing anywhere near “new age,” or even “ethereal.” Maybe under “atmospheric electronic” with a touch of “earthen” edge.”
–Reviewed by Alan Lockett for ei-mag.com

READ MORE/LISTEN TO MP3 SAMPLES/PURCHASE in the HYPNOS RECORDINGS section of the Hypnos online store.

Weekly Sale Item: Hypnos Picks #1

We’ve got some of our own, HYPNOS RECORDINGS items on sale this week, and at just $5.99 each, it’s the perfect time to grab any you might not yet have in your collection! Sale prices are good through May 24th or while supplies last.

Vidna Obmana – Landscape in Obscurity
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Explorations into unmapped landscapes… Vidna Obmana is Europe’s foremost practitioner of atmospheric and tribal ambient sounds, and already has nearly twenty CD releases to his credit. He is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Steve Roach, including “Cavern of Sirens,” “Well of Souls,” and “Ascension of Shadows,” but solo works such as the recent “Crossing the Trail” and “River of Appearances” make a powerful and unique artistic statement. LANDSCAPE IN OBSCURITY, a long, exploratory driftscape, integrates spacious and atmospheric performances on flute and saxophone (by Italy’s Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti) with the familiar sonic clouds of Vidna Obmana’s own electronic and acoustic instrument mix. This is a journey of almost 70 minutes of luminous, airy ambience. Smooth, subtle and unobtrusive, yet at the same time sonically complex and illuminating, this CD works fantastically on “repeat” mode for hours on end. Wonderful for meditation or as background for sleep or creative work, this is one of Vidna Obmana’s most minimal and truly “ambient” pieces in recent years.

REVIEWS:
“His first release on the Hypnos label, Vidna Obmana’s ‘Landscape in Obscurity’ is an impressionistic study of isolation, memory and lament. Somber saxophone leads and floating flute lines (by Italy’s Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti) mix with clouds of floating electronic ambience to evoke a feeling of isolation a cold city gives off in the dead of night.”- Chuck VanZyl, Stars’ End, WXPN, Philadelphia

“Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this union is the unusual sense of harmony this trio shares despite their choice of instruments. Drifting through the grey areas between the soothing and familiar, the surreal and uncharted, this project blurs the preconceived barriers between classical and contemporary. With another artistic triumph to his credit, Vidna Obmana further demonstrates his thorough insight into the language of amorphous sound.”
– Adam M. Bialek/Outburn (USA)

“…minimal atmospherics that blossom with beauty and wonder…. basked in a luminous, pristine glow, easily one of my favorite releases from Vidna Obmana.”
–John C. Smith, Side-Line

Markus Reuter – Digitalis
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The first Hypnos release by Markus Reuter. Based in Germany, Markus is a member of Europa String Choir, an instrumental group whose recent work has been released on Robert Fripp’s DGM label. His two previous works in the ambient genre (as 1/2 of Centrozoon, and with Ian Boddy) were released on Boddy’s DiN label, and both items have been very popular items at the Hypnos Online Store.

Markus’s instrument is the Warr Guitar, a tap-style 8-stringed instrument which is played less like a true “guitar” and more like a Chapman Stick. The sound, especially on Digitalis, goes through heavy electronic processing, with the result that (like fellow Hypnos label guitarists Jeff Pearce and David Tollefson) he ends up with a very un-guitar-like sound, but with a “feel” and style of playing that sets it apart from keyboard-played electronics. DIGITALIS has a fairly bright and vivid sound, as compared to the smooth and mellow tones of Pearce, or the heavier, sometimes challenging sound of Tollefson. Still, the end result is abstract and definitely “ambient.”

REVIEWS:
“Markus Reuter plays the touch guitar and benefits from the different approach afforded by an instrument that does not resemble the typical tools (i.e. synthesizers) used to produce our community’s wealth of musical releases. Reuter could surely market his album Digitalis as a demo disc of the latest in sound manipulation and processing gear, but his vision as an artist in ambient sound is clearly evident and Digitalis rises above our too often technology driven medium.

Recorded essentially in real-time, Digitalis is a churning and drifting swirl of interesting harmonics and subtle moods realized through the vision and character of an insightful musician. The idea of layering the sounds of a guitar by means of a long delay is about as old as our modern concept of ambient music. On Digitalis, Reuter stretches the parameters of his tools and the depth of the genre and aspires to more than he inherited. On one hand, Digitalis does represent Reuter’s mastery of the gear that loops, shifts, delays, flanges and filters a sound source. However, his involvement with the music goes deeper than just twidling knobs. Talent is the invisible force behind this gentle and amorphus music – acting like a soft breeze on the direction of mountain mist.” –Star’s End Radio host Chuck VanZyl

Ma Ja Le – Seed
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The second collaboration between Ma Ja Le (who previously released IMAGINARIUM with Vir Unis, now available again at the Hypnos store) and James Johnson (who released ENTERING TWILIGHT on Hypnos this year, also also just released a CD of his own with Vir Unis, PERIMETER, below) is a sonic melding of the minimalist overtones and organic synth work of James Johnson & the ethno-tribal-atmospheric sounds of ambient duo Ma Ja Le. The sonic tapestry is as lush, emotive and transportive as it gets. A Spiraling journey to the deepest depths of ethereal ambience and back.

REVIEWS:
“There is undeniable appeal in spacious music — music whose airiness can fill a room while its substance almost sub-consciously engenders both personal and universal visions. Ma Ja Le is Paul Vnuk, Jr and Christopher Short, who provide e-bow, bass flute, drone loops, “melted machinery, shakerscapes, sound-worlds,” ticking watch, wavedrum, udu, “cosmo-horn, prehistoric insect worlds, altered reality,” percussive drones and voice. Johnson supplies what may be the backbone: synthetic architecture, piano, reprocessed sound inversions, software synthesis, and ethereal textures. (Need I tell you that the sounds from this CD are unusually intriguing?) Six tracks total more than 72 minutes and transport the listener to an interior, earthy, somewhat shadowy space that feels as voluminous as the external cosmos. Ma Ja Le’s “ethno-tribal” atmospheres and Johnson’s organic minimalism combine surprisingly well into music that not only feels relaxing, but is as interesting as it is listenable.” –NAPRA Review, Sandy Marshall

“This is a stunning collaboration by three of the most gifted artists in the ambient genre, Christopher Short, Paul Vnuk Jr.,and James Johnson. Together with one vision they have created a sound world of rich textures and beauty that transports the listener to a different space and time. The sound flows effortlessly as the interplay between these artists conjures up the concept of all life originating from some type of seed. The production on this disc is awesome with a perfect balance ,blending guitar ,synthesizer ,percussion,flute, piano,effects and much more into a magical sonic garden. Yaquona [part 1] sets the stage with a swirling introduction, a collage of synth, guitartronics, percussion and effects. A tribal rhythm starts and marks the smooth transition into Yaquona [Part 2], a stately procession of intriguing sound. Up next is “Methane Sea”, eighteen minutes of beautiful flowing and drifting chords,with some nice guitar. Some snaky flute sounds and percussion entice the listener into the next track, the slightly oriental sounding and intoxicating “Outside In”. The fifth track “Hibiscus Ceremony” features some lovely piano work by James Johnson. Finally the last track “Seed” takes the listener on a long voyage through distant galaxies to the ends of time.

This is one of the very best ambient works and is highly recommended! It is space music of the highest order and a must for any electronic music lover’s collection. Hypnos Recordings has added another masterpiece to it’s catalog of high quality ambient releases.” –Dodds Wiley


James Johnson – Entering Twilight

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ENTERING TWILIGHT is a single long track, about 66 minutes long, in a sparse, almost subliminal style. Fans of Johnson’s previous works Surrender and Unity know the beautiful, glimmering restraint with which he expresses himself, but this one is even more minimal…. like floating in a thick fog with vague chiming chords drifting toward you through the haze.

“…at the end of the day
when the past & the future
slowly end & unfold
bathe in the dreaming light of the sun…”

In a slow moving, almost still ambience, ENTERING TWILIGHT creates an atmosphere that surrounds and unfolds for 66 minutes. This long form piece was created for continuous playback to enhance the listeners environment with an amorphous, and at times almost transparent, background of sonic imagery.

REVIEWS:
“This 66 ½-minute, one track CD reveals a style that may be part of the lineage of positive, gentle, cloudy ambient music that one finds on Steve Roach’s Quiet Music albums and in early Eno. It is a relatively low volume piece of music with gentle, melodic notes resounding and fading in and out of the deep. It more or less fills the space for an hour with bell tones, soft voice-like chorales and lots of resonant ambiance. The notes drift on the winds rather than work as distinct melodies, almost like MIDI controlled wind chimes. The title, Entering Twilight, is aptly descriptive, an album perfect for all-night repeat sessions.”
— Mike McLatchey

“Genres are always expanding. The ambient domain covers a great portion of music that takes a less aggressive approach to gain recognition. James Johnson’s release Entering Twilight spirals further away from the original ambient source to outer regions that are defined only as sparse or meditative. Exhibited in one 66 minute opus of serenity and enlightened Bliss, we see flight further ahead in time, music that is soundtrack to the path taken during afterlife. There is no other way to accurately describe the music other than as The Opus from Heaven. Even the most non-religious, open-minded person could see how Johnson’s production on Entering Twilight could be categorized as heavenly or celestial in shape and form. Johnson’s vision for the future of ambient has veered quietly towards celestial realms that can be none other than described as pure, unadulterated tranquility.”
–Brad Anderson

“Entering Twilight has carried me to sleep every might for the last 3 weeks, and every time I experience it the beauty of its nuances grows stronger and stronger. As I become more familiar with the terrain, its depth and magnitude only intensify. A stunning work of art, and a stunning journey. Thank you.”
–Brock VanWey

Stephen Philips – Into the Dark
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Debut release by Stephen Philips on the Hypnos label “proper” following his album Dagboken on the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint a couple of years earlier.

Into the Dark is a beautifully restrained and elegant piece of ambient music reminiscent of Neroli by Brian Eno, and Entering Twilight by James Johnson. Moving patterns of sounds, varying from bell-like chimes to deep rumbles vaguely-ethnic rattles, interact and react to create an always-shifting atmosphere, a sense of “place” and mood while avoiding ambient music cliches.

Stephen Philips is a prolific ambient music composer, best known as founder of Dark Duck Records, and he has collaborated with such diverse and respected artists as Numina, Austere, IXOHOXI, Ben Fleury-Steiner, James Johnson, Rigel Orionis, Ben Summers, and Isomorph. He has frequently performed live, and has worked in styles ranging from drone minimalism to glitch to deep chill, mostly centering around restrained ambience.

A single, continuously-evolving track of over 74 minutes, Into the Dark works great as a background atmosphere for continuous repeat play. But like the best ambient music, it is appealing enough for careful listening as patterns repeat and evolve, and themes emerge throughout.

REVIEWS:
“Finally got to listen to this disc in its’ entirety, and it is very impressive indeed. No overload, exquisite balance. What at first appears to be soulful trancing repetition evolves with wonderful sounds, deployed with a deft and disciplined hand. I have never heard Eno’s Neroli, to which this album has been compared, but am now tempted to check it out. I do have some basic experience with Eno, though, and can tentatively say that Into the Dark, to me, seems to have a deeper sense of soul (or an animistic outlook on life) and narrative, things I particularly enjoy in ambient music, as opposed to being ‘programmed’ and designed…Just my initial feeling though…I can sense a kind of thread here, a visual movement through a landscape…It is beautiful…so many subtle sounds and transitions…”
–Reviewed by 9dragons on the Hypnos Forum

“I have had it on continuous repeat since I got it out of the envelope. This isn’t the drone that Steve is known for but instead a very addictive, work of highly refined minimalist ambient–as Mike G mentions very much in the tradition of Eno’s utterly sublime and timeless Neroli–Steve lays down a very catchy main rhythmic motiff that floats over propulses of light chiming exhalations. over and over again for 74 minutes and 29 seconds…. It’s one of the best single track immmersions in a very long time–an immersion that is definitely on the same level as Steve Roach’s recent and appropriately titled Immersion discs (particularly my favorite Immersion I)…” –Reviewed by gearsofsand on the Hypnos Forum

“Sometimes even reviewers judge a book by its cover. Hypnos release, check. Stephen Philips, check. Abstract cover art, check. A single track over an hour long, check. It’s obviously going to be deep dark ambient drones for the duration, right? Well, that impression goes out the window on the first note. The pinging noises sound more like the Barron brothers’ “Forbidden Planet” soundtrack or modern classical, than say, the latest Steve Roach hour-plus ambient epic. Bells, gongs and chimes are the predominant sounds, used rather sparsely, with synths and other sounds and effects for good measure. Wood blocks appear now and then, just briefly. Bass notes ring out from time to time and give just a hint of jazz flavor. This is thinking man’s ambient, like Brian Eno’s recordings from 30 years ago. While quiet, it isn’t exactly background music, as it doesn’t exactly flow. Notes are discrete and intermittent. It is subtle yet assertive in a way. The basic overriding theme and sound palette changes little over its course, just the placement of the notes and sounds. It’s like taking a thin slice of something and studying it intently, deliberately, ignoring everything above and below. Engage, listen intently, and see what you find.”
–Reviewed by Phil Derby, ElectroambientSpace


M Griffin/D Fulton – Imprint

imprint

Griffin (Hypnos label founder, and also known for his solo album SUDDEN DARK, as well as work with A Produce and Viridian Sun) and Fulton (best known as a founder of Dweller at the Threshold, now with the Binary sub-label of Hypnos) release their follow-up to the well-received collaborative debut THE MOST DISTANT POINT KNOWN. IMPRINT updates the sound and concept of the duo’s previous recording, while still exploring the concept of balancing the artists’s divergent backgrounds and influences. Griffin leans more toward the ambient &  end of things while Fulton’s influence runs toward Berlin school, sequencer music and prog rock, but what may seem at first a mismatch in fact brings about a blending of two complementary styles.
IMPRINT is a bit more dynamic and brighter-sounding, whereas THE MOST DISTANT POINT KNOWN was more slow-moving and nocturnal. The duo hope ambient fans may be surprised how much they enjoy the sequencer & analog synth elements, while those who approach the project from the “old school” point of view will like the many-layered complexity and atmospheric quality.

Robert Scott Thompson – At the Still Point of the Turning World
still point

At last, the Hypnos label debut of one of the great names in ambient/electronic music, Robert Scott Thompson. At the Still Point of the Turning World is spacious and meditative, yet with a delicate musicality. Robert is Director of the Center for Audio Recording Arts (CARA) in the School of Music at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He also runs the Aucourant Records label, which has released selections of his work in a wide range of styles.


Numina – Sanctuary of Dreams

Sanctuary

The first release on Hypnos by this up-and-coming ambient artist based in Colorado. Numina, real name Jesse Sola, arrived on the scene following a handful of self-released albums and quickly rose to become one of the most popular new faces in electronic ambient music.

REVIEWS:
“SANCTUARY OF DREAMS (73’14”) by Numina (a.k.a. Jesse Sola) comes from the same spark as many other soundworld realizations in the field of Spacemusic. Through the subtle manipulation of deep drones, sub-sonic swells, metallic sonorities and the slow spiraling of contrasting chords, Numina provides the listener with a wondrous sonic sanctuary in which to reflect upon their own inner workings. Throughout his music we find an artist trying to identify his relationship with the scale of his work, and the relationship of this work to the environment. The material on SANCTUARY OF DREAMS guides the form in which Numina is working. The 10 tracks are each a storm of color and sound, less representative of the chaos of the unconscious mind than of the enigmatic and ominous world of dreams . . . visions beyond cognition.” –Chuck VanZyl, Star’s End Radio, WXPN, Philadelphia

“Jesse Sola records as Numina. Sanctuary of Dreams, his first release on a major label (Hypnos Recordings), might be his best effort yet. In the past, his CDs have leaned to the darker sides of ambience. While this disc does have some ominous tones, the overall timbres are gentle and soothing. Sola’s style allows the uplifting chords to be the overriding persona of this CD. He combines organic textures with languid atmospheres to create warm and friendly soundscapes. This disc is a friend. It will appeal to fans of Jeff Pearce, Remco Helbers, Markus Reuter, and Zero Ohms.” –All Music Guide, reviewed by Jim Brenholts

READ MORE/ LISTEN TO MP3 SAMPLES/ PURCHASE in the HYPNOS RECORDINGS section of the Hypnos online store.

Random Picks #5

We’ve got another round of random picks for you this week, and sale prices will be good through May 17th!

Z’EV – The Deep Path Regularly $13.99, right now just $9.99
z'ev

“A monumental album, three impressive tracks in which Stefan Joel Weisser, a.k.a Z’EV, legendary avantgarde experimental artist, master of percussions and live performer of worldwide fame, collects and exhibits all his bravest and incredible sonic solutions, mixing and alternating enormous, deep and sometimes exploding and devastating sound masses based on low frequencies, noisy metallic sounds, gong and cymbal stratifications… All channeled in resonant time tunnels, where every sonic element has infinite decay, entangled through suggestive cyclic echoes and reverberations mixing and completing with the other sonic weaves, for an absolutely unique listening experience.” -Silentes

 

Bruno Sanfilippo – Subliminal Pulse – Regularly $13.99, right now just $9.99
subliminal pulse

“Veteran Electronic/Ambient composer and recording artist Bruno Sanfilippo has been creating and releasing impressive soundscapes since 1991. Now the internationally established instrumentalist delivers his first official US release, Subliminal Pulse, a tranquil and hypnotic ambient musical tapestry comprised of delicate melodies, layered electronics and synth textures that seem to come from deep within a dream.”

-spottedpeccary.com


Resonant Drift – Full Circle
  – Regularly $11.99, right now just $8.99
full circle

“Resonant Drift return, bearing new worlds of sound that vary from wide, windswept desert-ambient vistas and hushed, cloud-shrouded meditation chambers to uncertain, grit-choked places better left unnamed. Tone and texture chart the course on Full Circle, a journey that goes as far inward as it does out, making it a trip worth taking over and over.” -resonantdrift.com


Under the Snow – Delta
  – Regularly $10.99, right now just $7.99
delta

“Extended sonic fluxes of synthetic nature mixed with delicate acoustic and electric guitars chords and riffs, crowd noises, indefinite and fading melodic spots of unknown origin, feedbacks, echoes, pulsations, vibrations, cracklings, rustling waves in continuous movement… But also sudden pauses, unpredictable and improbable inserts of folk blues radio transmissions, crystal clear water sounds, static, wrapping and dramatic electronic weaves, metallic tickings. An extraordinary range of sounds and atmospheres for this new, challenging and really particular experimental-explorative project by Stefano Gentile and Gianluca Favaron.


Saul Stokes – Sleek Nucleus
 – Regularly $12.99, right now just $8.99
sleek

Saul Stokes is definitely one of the most popular artists associated with Hypnos (though he has also released a lot of music for other labels as well). This is Saul’s first self-released CD, in a distinctive folder-type package, but the music still has that recognizable “Stokes sound.”

Saul says: Stokes is pleased to announce the release of Sleek Nucleus. Eight effervescent songscapes that simply redefine electronic music. Each song is a crafted fusion of contemporary rhythm and melody sculpted from Stokes’ hand-made electronic instruments. A lasting and unforgettable electronic album, Sleek Nucleus continues Stokes’ 17 year history of merging sonic innovation with soulful song composition.


Martin Franklin & Michael Northam – An Opening of the Earth
 – Regularly $8.99, right now just $5.99
opening earth

“…Excavating the sonic crust with heavy synthesised drones, trebly buzzes and popping bursts of sound……eerie as hell.”

-Darren Bergstein, I/E (from review of original release)

“After unearthing the original tapes, Martin Franklin has created all new mixes for this Faria Records release, including previous unheard sections, re-interpreted and enhanced for the 21st Century listener.”

-Faria Records

Set between a passive, rolling, drifting beauty and the eviscerated android guts of a more extreme Industrial music, this is dream music to inspire the worst of nightmares. Raw electrics (too raw to be electronics) buzz, boom and sizzle against a charming backdrop, sharing centre stage with nerve-jarring loops and creative electronics to form ever-transmuting, floating patterns, mutant soundscapes and dehumanised acid baths of softly rolling noise. This truly is a hybrid of two extremes – the harsh, raw electronics of extreme noise and the warm welcome of smoother passive music. It takes you to places which are simultaneously pacifying and threatening, sweet and sordid. Edgy, raw and often quite beautiful. –Bonnicon at discos.com


Innfallen – Three Days of Darkness
 – Regularly $10.99, right now just $5.99
innfallen

“Intended to capture in sound the immense fear, but also the great hope, of those hiding indoors during this time, Innfallen offers their vision of the Catholic prophecy of “Three Days of Darkness.” Consisting of veteran Doyle Finley (of Invercauld) and talented newcomer Kevin Scala, Innfallen has composed a rich, illustrative tapestry of multi-layered soundscapes that is undeniably the soundtrack to this frightening prophecy.”

-First Fallen Star

Sean Reardon – A Collection of Origins (ltd. cd)  Regularly $6.99, right now just $4.99
origins

Cardboard sleeve, limited to 200 copies

A 39 minute, warm, positive and extremely uplifting soundtrack for the summer from New Hampshire based sound artist Sean Reardon.

“A shimmering and glitchy mix of guitar manipulations made between 2007 and 2008.”

-Waterscape Records