We’ve got all our BINARY items on sale for you this week, and the low prices are good through February 5th or while supplies last.
Hypnos Recordings has established a reputation as a reliable and yet daring explorer of atmospheric and minimal ambient recordings. But some of us are interested in more dynamic electronic music, both from the perspective of the listener and the recording artist. Our customers have requested, more than anything else, that Hypnos give expression to more dynamic forms of electronic music, everything from experimental electronica, to more rhythmic ambient music, and classic European-influenced e-music. To that end, the BINARY sub-label was established, to give voice to artists both new and familiar, who were previously working in forms more kinetic than would have fit with Hypnos.
Dweller at the Threshold – Ouroborus –Regularly $8.99, right now just $5.99
OUROBORUS by Dweller at the Threshold is the first Binary release by a group whose members include Dave Fulton (whose collaboration THE MOST DISTANT POINT KNOWN with Hypnos founder M Griffin was released on Hypnos, to much acclaim, in 2000), Paul Ellis (whose solo album INTO THE LIQUID UNKNOWN is the Binary label debut, also released this month), and John Duval. The first Dweller album, NO BOUNDARY CONDITION (released on Eurock) had a stronger Tangerine Dream influence, but the group has since moved further into deep, deep space. Though some measure of digital technology is in use here, one of the features identifying Dweller’s sound is the heavy use of analog modular synthesizers. Fulton relies heavily on a refrigerator-sized bank of Doepfer modular synths and a Synthesis Technologies (MOTM) system, while Duval uses “The Fist of God,” a massive Serge Modular system.
The use of all this expensive, esoteric analog synthesis gear is no mere “synth geek’s vanity” — the sound of Dweller at the Threshold possesses a character and clarity that would simply not be possible with modern digital synthesizers. An audience member at a recent DATT concert in Portland was overheard afterward saying “I haven’t heard something that good since Tangerine Dream was young.” That isn’t to say that Dweller intends to mimic the German synth music greats — just that their sound has enough substance to thrill even the most jaded e-music fan.
“Once again, the past comes to our rescue with the Dweller at the Threshold release Ouroboros. As so many of today’s artists in electronic sound have been influenced by the classic cosmic music of the 1970s, so has Dweller at the Threshold. The great thing about DatT is that this group has captured the mood of the era without becoming a cliche. DatT explores this realm of music while retaining their own true voice. Due to their unique approach to music and technology, DatT produces compositions that are distinctly their own. Sure, present are the syncopated electronic rhythms, haunting mellotron leads and unearthly morphing effects we look for in good spacemusic, but DatT produces all this off-center enough to give the attentive listener a refreshing pause. This is achieved by more than just a comprehension of the historical aspects of creating spacemusic, more than just the how of making sounds and what goes where, Dweller at the Threshold understands deeply the ultimate purpose and meaning of this music.”
— Chuck van Zyl / STAR’S END
“This is a very exciting work and a promising start of a new label.”
–Vladimir Jovanovic, Innerspace Radio, Zagreb, Croatia
Paul Ellis – Into the Liquid Unknown –Regularly $8.99, right now just $5.99
INTO THE LIQUID UNKNOWN by Paul Ellis, a bright and distinctive piece of modern electronic music. Those of you who are more interested in true e-music — shifting synthesizer patterns, beautiful resonances, expressions of the soul of the machine — will delight in this fantastic, fresh recording.
Using a dash of classic European e-music as a reference point, but never for a minute sounding like an artist exploring any path buts Ellis’s own, INTO THE LIQUID UNKNOWN supplies that modern synth music “fix” for listeners who remember their excitement at first hearing Wendy Carlos, Jean-Michel Jarre, Synergy, or early Tangerine Dream… but for people who already own all those albums and don’t want to hear them re-done. Like the first albums of Alpha Wave Movement and Synthetic Block, this album utilizes just the right limited measure of “classic” and moves on from there to create something new.
Working within a theme of the exploration of the ocean’s depths (see the title), Ellis takes the listener on a nearly exhausting musical roller-coaster of pulsing arpeggios, cascading mechanistic sequences, lilting melodic passages, and gradually to brief interludes, before cranking the energy level up again. Definitely not for people who hate synthesizers that sound like synthesizers!
Vir Unis & Saul Stokes – Thermal Transfer –Regularly $7.99, right now just $4.99
The third Binary release, first ever collaboration between Vir Unis and Stokes, THERMAL TRANSFER is also the most uptempo, high energy recording yet released by Hypnos or its related labels. In fact, truth be told, this recording is the very reason that the Binary label was created — so Hypnos could bring you excellent electronic music, even if the style in question was too “hyperactive” for the Hypnos label.
“I have to say Thermal Transfer now is one of my favorite hypnos family releases. Very cool production and a very nice synthesis/blending of the pairs (Vir Unis & Saul Stokes) individual styles. Recommended!”
–Dave Fulton (Hypnos and Binary artist, member of Dweller at the Threshold)
Synthetic Block – Sonic Approach –Regularly $8.99, right now just $5.99
This Hypnos/Binary debut by Synthetic Block blends “classic EM” elements with a more modern approach. It was mastered by Dave Fulton (who also played on one track) and is sonically amazing. One of the best things about running a small record label is the opportunity to help expose more people to artists like this one, whose work merits much wider exposure. Give it a listen!
“I cannot believe that there is not more feedback regarding “sonic approach”. upon receiving my radio promo the first note on track 1 totally captivated me. block approaches sonic sounds immediately and never slows. and, of course, fulton pulls some tricks. “square triangle” is my top playlist pick because of it’s well defined and energetic change in tempo and musical registration. all tks are getting air and well deserving of such. are you guys collaborating with the russians? are you on the same interstellar link? very few composers are in touch with the same deep grooves and beats (nearly industrial), but very melodic. not wanting to pass judgement, or anything, but “sonic approach” & “fields” are two HYPNOS/BINARY tops. thank you my friends…”
–Flyingdude, WAWL Radio host, on the Hypnos Forum
“There has been quite a gap between the release of Jonathan’s 2nd release The Opposite of staring into Space and this brandnew one. Sonic Approach (8 tracks, almost 60 min.) has been worth the wait, offering another blend of classic electronics & the sophisticated infusion of modern approaches, so-called “Block-treatments”. Next to the flowing passages there are sequenced , more structured parts leading the way, but there’s always this lush, adventurous feel showing up during the whole record. The music delves into spacious territory (Quartz Marsh) but the tracks also show distinct traces of Berliner School (Square Triangle), the vast soundlayers sometimes even reminding of Schulze in his ’70- period. The later absolutely applied for the nice solo-sounds in the 12-minute track Doused. All these elements make listening to Sonic Approach a very enjoyable experience, in which you actually experience electronic music of former times get connected to the present. Well done!
–Bert Strolenberg, KLEM Magazine, The Netherlands
Saul Stokes – Fields –Regularly $8.99, right now just $5.99
Saul’s new solo album FIELDS has been very hotly anticipated by those who have heard parts of it (one track appeared on the Atmoworks compilation PORTRAITS), as it represents at once a revisiting of the familiar Stokes sound, as well as a venturing into some very new territory. Each of his releases on Hypnos has shown growth and development over the previous recordings, and FIELDS is perhaps the greatest leap yet. A prominent radio producer who heard the album predicted FIELDS would be the best album of this year. This is modern electronic music with an individual artist’s unique personality clearly expressed throughout.
“I was fortunate enough to have heard 3 advance cuts a while back and was definitely impressed. I wrote briefly about it calling it a “Moss covered Kraftwerk” I find it very different from Saul’s other work. I must admit I haven’t heard his whole body of work, but what I had heard was in the drone/ambient category.
This music has a pulse to it. Chord progressions and melodic hooks that display and extraordinary sense of clarity and craft. The music is Saul’s own. I have a hard time finding reference points. I can see this appealing to both old school EMer’s and those who prefer more cutting-edge modern work. I understand that Saul composed the pieces on a piano before making arrangements on his hand made synthesizers (Not from a kit… he builds them from scratch.) This is an album where the music is on equal level with those endlessly fascinating tones and textures that drew us to synths in the first place. Sometimes albums are really good with one or the other facet, but Fields is firing on all cylinders. The music has an organic life that I find exists in the best electronic music.
This is a genuinely stunning album. I can tell that this one will be getting a lot of airplay here. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a release.” — © Paul Ellis, on the Hypnos Forum
John Duval – Hell’s Canyon –Regularly $7.99, right now just $4.99
Hell’s Canyon is the solo debut of John Duval, member of Binary’s own Dweller at the Threhold. Created entirely with Duval’s massive array of modular synthesizers (a wall of electronics dubbed “the Fist of God”) Hell’s Canyon is an abstract, deep-space exploration of pure electronics. With all these analog synthesizers involved, of course there’s an element of the “classic EM” sound, but this is not a retro, “Berlin school” composition. Closer comparisons would be Robert Rich’s Bestiary album (another abstract, pure modular synth piece), or perhaps even the deep-space excursions of Hypnos’s own Viridian Sun.
All performances here are by Duval himself, but fellow Dweller at the Threshold member Dave Fulton edited, assembled and mastered Duval’s original tapes into a sonically refined and cohesive recording.
Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves – The Range –Regularly $7.99, right now just $4.99
Dave and Giles met at the Different Skies festival at Arizona’s Arcosanti. The two of them hit it off musically and after nearly 4 years of hard work the CD “The Range” was the result. Why did it take 4 years? The answer is as complex as the feelings behind the music. First there was distance, then life. Many of the songs were written during periods of emotional exile, pain and just general muck. Distance provided an interesting fodder for collaboration. Songs would start off as single cells and fly back and forth over the internet until they had grown into complex organisms. The ability to let go of pre-concieved outcomes allowed the true spirit of collaboration to fertilize the ideas. A decision was made from the start to allow any instrument, tool and any feeling to propel the song. The duo’s ability to deal with the technical aspects of a long distance collaboration helped immensely but soon it became necessary to meet again and finish the recordings. In the summer of 2007 life allowed the basic overdubs to be completed in Salt Lake City. Then long distance mixing began. The result is a rich but cohesive collection of songs that range from ambient to progressive rock, and incorporate influences from tribal to electronica to new age.
Description by Chuck VanZyl, Star’s End radio host (WXPN):
“American Electronic Musicians Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves, make their East-Coast concert debut in Philadelphia within the remarkable setting of St. Mary’s Hamilton Village on 21 April 2007 as part of The Gatherings Concert Series. Local spacemusic duo Orbital Decay will open.
Giles Reaves has to his credit several influential albums of innovative electronic music, including the genre defining “Wunjo”. Dreamy, trance-inducing melodic textures figure prominently in his music.
Part mad scientist, part sonic visionary, Dave Fulton’s command of the many custom designed electronics at his disposal is formidable. Currently playing in two underground rock bands, Fulton filters this activity through his years of experience with the Berlin-School inspired ensemble Dweller at the Threshold to realize a new and unique music.
“The Range”, the debut release by The Fulton/Reaves Project, is a diverse but cohesive collection of songs that range from Ambient to Progressive Rock, and incorporate influences from Tribal to Electronica to New Age.”
Saul Stokes – Villa Galaxia –Regularly $7.99, right now just $4.99
Always one of the most popular artists on the Hypnos and Binary labels through the years, Saul Stokes is also one we’ve been very proud to “launch” into the ambient/electronica world. The first new work by Saul Stokes on Hypnos/Binary since Fields in 2005, this is certainly one of the most hotly-anticipated discs we’ve released in years.
Saul Stokes says: Stokes’ 8th solo album to date, Villa Galaxia is a hyperfusion of sonic exploration seeded in Stokes’ seminary music past, while arcing into a completely new genre defining collection of songs. Stripping away any notion of ambient drone or chill out labeling, Villa Galaxia surfs its own ocean of contemporary electronic music culture with eccentric listenable experimentalism wrapped in catchy lyrical orchestras of electronic fireworks.
READ/LISTEN/BUY in the Binary section of the HYPNOS ONLINE STORE.