Category: Hypnos Store Special Offers

Weekly Sale Item: Three Saul Stokes Albums

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)
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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)
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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


And lastly,
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.

Weekly Sale Item: Weightless, Effortless

This week’s sale item is Hypnos compilation “Weightless, Effortless,” which we’ve temporarily marked down to just $5.99 through July 27th.

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The 2nd Hypnos compilation follows early 98’s landmark THE OTHER WORLD, one of the most acclaimed ambient/atmospheric compilations ever, which won numerous “Top 10 of 1998″ and “Best Compilation of the Year” awards. WEIGHTLESS, EFFORTLESS consists of 9 exclusive new tracks by some of the most noteworthy artists in this genre, both established figures and unknowns deserving of more attention. The contributors each created an expression of a central theme: that of existence without desire or struggle, indeed without intention.

The resulting pieces express a restraint, a purity and simplicity, all to uncommon in music today. Even if you listen without regard to the theme unifying these pieces, you’ll find WEIGHTLESS, EFFORTLESS to be a wonderful sampler of some of the finest artists working today. There is a continuity between tracks, as though all the material were composed by one mind. Yet despite this smooth continuity, each piece is an expression of a unique creative voice, and conveys strongly what is distinct about that artist’s personality. Let WEIGHTLESS, EFFORTLESS take you to a place that is without ego and without wanting.

Includes work by Steve Roach, Kevin Keller, Rod Modell, Ma Ja Le, Loren Nerell, Dave Fulton (of Dweller at the Threshold), Dean DeBenedictis (of Surface 10), Scott Fraser, and James Johnson.

“This is one of the better collections of electronic ambient, atmospherica, and mood-altering pieces. Nine morphs offer glimpses into the creative woodshedding by the likes of Keller, Johnson, DeBenedictus, Ma Ja Le, Modell, Fulton, Norell, Fraser, and Steve ‘the legend” Roach. (Roach is everywhere anything ambient goes down! Ever notice that?)

Ambience tripping herein doth vary from bizarre excursions into unsettling dimensions next door to peaceful drool-worthy dronings that decimate all conscious thought. Otherworldly, manipulated noise, wordless digital vox, cutting-edge goodies await the listener. Many the indescribably eclectic waveforms are mapped inside.

Hypnos is one of the best sources for consistently innovative and strong ambient releases. No “puff job” here, folks and no, Mr. Griffin sends EER no payment for saying so – it’s just a fact to be stated. Weightless, Effortless is just one more great Hypnos release.” –John W. Patterson, EER

“Best of 1999 list (ranked #2).” –Sal Espana, Soundscapes radio KCPR

“Jackpot. Here without a doubt is one of the best collections of meditative music of 1999. Listening is, indeed, effortless. A limpid sequence of calm environments and cosmic quests are created by big names (Loren Nerell, Steve Roach) as well as a string of talented lesser-knowns (James Johnson, Dean De Benedictis, My Ja Le). Without artifice, these tracks possess an allure both simple and direct, conveying a powerful lightness which takes over the listener, carrying through until the journey is complete.” –Via 2, Orleans, France [translated from French]

“:Adrift, but with purpose; ambience with tattered wings:

Ambient: 1. completely surrounding; encompassing: ambient noises 2. moving freely; circulating: ambient air. Hypnos is a label out of Portland that specializes in music that embodies the term ambient.

Weightless, Effortless gathers known and unknown artists, all under a veil of unrestrained, unlimited access to explore the shape of sound in it’s purest sense, the shape of space (of the room, of the heavens), the shape of infinite sonic exploration…Not only are the artists conscious of the timbres of silence (there is always sound, no matter the illusion of silence), there seems a willingness to apply the imagination (not always a given within a genre that, when uninspired, can induce somnolence), as well as incorporating the elusive persistence of time, the ticking of Forever winding effortlessly askew. Highlights include Kevin Keller’s “Anicca,” opening with telepathic thought whispers, huge slabs of sonic urban decay (a disorientating meandering through the out of sync ambience of a crowded, undefined environment) that branches out into space, forests, tunnels and other interconnecting corridors of sound; Dean DeBenedictis’ “The Mocking Of Consequence,” a track painted with broad brush strokes, the brush in question filthy with dirt, slivers of metal, radiowave voices, and other oddities, the imperfections a vital part of the all-around ambience: it is a product of everything, filtering out none of the impurities, the tainted elements as much a part of the piece as the synth’s caressing the background; and Loren Nerell’s “Liquid Metal Stasis,” a dark, gurgling excursion, deep metal chiming desolation’s cold embrace, while underneath, impetus drives the engines of existence. A vital addition to any ambient enthusiast’s collection.” –John C. Smith / Outburn Magazine


Weekly Sale Item: The Most Distant Point Known

This week we’re bringing you another of our classic Hypnos releases – M. Griffin/ D. Fulton’s ‘The Most Distant Point Known,’ low-priced at $5.99 through July 20th.

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The first collaboration between Griffin (Hypnos founder and determined minimalist) and Fulton (Dweller at the Threshold co-founder and now-leader) is broad and spacy sonic vista, yet quite listenable — different enough from previous Griffinmusic and Fultonmusic, yet working in generally familiar territory. Combining deep, churning drones with analog sequencer loops, THE MOST DISTANT POINT KNOWN is a deep and ever-changing collage of shifts and patterns.

“…a very powerful, deep, rich piece of work. Distant Point is one of the most remarkable releases i’ve heard in a while!”
–Lance Green on the Space Music mailing list

“The Most Distant Point Known by Mike Griffin and Dave Fulton is a lush treasure.”
–Bill Fox, host of Emusic Radio, WDIY

Tectonic” opens with the sounds of thruster exhaust coldly searing the invisible flesh of space, a scar etched in sound. Warm, rumbling drones offset the icy, cauterizing burn, while sparse synths tattoo tribal designs, the nucleus of which is more extraterrestrial than earthly: minimalist sketches of sonic mysteriousness. “Dark Observer” maneuvers thick, dark pulsing drones underneath synths wielded like sabers, slicing through light years from tip to handle. The four part “Quadrature,” slips the cosmos into a transparent box, each corner and every arching synth riding the ridge of the unseen geometry through black holes of echo, bellowing plasma volcanoes (essence of the primal whirlpool), crystalline spires that sing as they shatter, and cool, humming isolation. Mike Griffin (founder of the Hypnos label , Viridian Sun) and Dave Fulton (Dweller Of The Threshold) venture into the vast reaches of space ambience, utilizing drones and looped analog sequencers in the process. This distinction keeps the more prevalent swirling dynamics at bay, steering the ambience in a straighter line (though not purely linear, it is more about getting from point A to point B), the ambience made to surge instead of meander. The use of analog sequencers, lending a fuzzy, lightly distorted quality to the proceedings, really enhances the experience. Excellent work!”
–JC Smith, Outburn Magazine


Weekly Sale Item: The Contemporary Nocturne

This week’s sale item is Vidna Obmana’s “The Contemporary Nocturne,” marked down to just $4.99 through Sunday, July 6th.

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“Significant Releases of 2000 list.” –Star’s End Radio host Chuck VanZyl

“Vidna Obmana continues to twist the boundaries of whatever the term “contemporary” might mean… and “nocturne” for that matter; often brushed by breezy/raspy fujara blasts, the contemporary nocturne simmers in a surreal darkness which yields unseen-but-heard wonders.

Wispy fujara gusts sputter and resonate in a brief Duel (1:58) with some unknown foe. While written for E-bow and electric guitar (provided by Steve Roach), I seem to hear ghostly brass, sax and wind instruments in the big, rolling waves of sound which are Chasing the odyssee in slow, viscous percolations. Sprinkled with sparkling overtones, A platform of sorrow is built upon fujara and harmonics, evoking more trepidation than sadness. Softer (and not overly “dissonant”) textures are explored as The gaze in dissonance hushedly unfolds and drifts into the mysterious realm of Mute grief; tiny guitar plinks scatter and melt, joined by fujara winds amid a hazy backdrop. Jim Cole’s rich vocal overtones waver like a human theremin rippling through the glimmering sheen ofRevelation. A slope into amorphous serenity, The path downwards (19:12) billows with rising/falling currents of almost-orchestral stringsounds, which (eventually) begin to evaporate into nothingness. Loopy blurts of Joris De Backer’s double-bass erupt from 14.5-minute-long Infinity, accompanied by dreamy curtains of processed guitar and piano

Vidna Obmana’s sound has evolved away from earlier tribal efforts, through synthetic organics, and now into the contemporary nocturne, where everday instruments are reprocessed and shaped into fantastic tonal sculptures. An 8.5 for these varying nighttime soundshapes, contemporary or not.” –The AmbiEntrance, David Opdyke

“With the collaboration of Jim Cole, Joris de Backer and Steve Roach, vidnaObmana continues with his former work, releasing what could be considered a Second Part of his previous CD “The Surreal Sanctuary”, once again emphasizing the avantgarde and atmospheric trends the artist has chosen to follow, with a creativity that can hardly be surpassed. His music, mysterious, full of secret emotions, creates a soundscape of a dark nature, uneasy, nocturnal, and at the same time very complex that will no doubt attract the lovers of experimental music with Ambient, New Instrumental Music and ethnic touches.” –SIGRID BAUMANN, Amazing Sounds


Weekly Sale Item: Solar Noise

Viridian Sun’s “Solar Noise” is our sale item for this week, and we’ve markedit  down to the ultra-low price of just $4.99 through June 29th!

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A rich exploration into sonic textures and nuances. Listeners often describe this sound experience in terms of the sights or emotions it inspires, rather than how it sounds. Features M. Griffin (synthesizers) and David Tollefson (treated guitars).


“Timeless space music, by a Portland, Oregon duo who know how it’s done. The first long track, “Solar Solar N Sol,” brings to mind Steve Roach initially, but the improvisational nature of the collaboration gives Viridian Sun’s music a more restless structure overall. The absence of electronic percussion and rote sequencer patterns is also a plus, as it makes the music interactive and unpredictable. Mike Griffin supplies the spacious electronic drones, while David Tollefson’s guitar not only adds drone counterpoint, but also a variety of rhythmic figures and textures. Subsequent tracks maintain the quality of the first, but move in slightly different directions. “Voxuua Soexis” is darker and more agitated–almost the stuff of nightmare. “Nervous Eclipse,” at over 20 minutes, is almost glacially slow, and features layered metallic timbres and a cavernous echo. It is the longest and most abstract of the cuts, and the most purely atmospheric. The CD closes with “Radiat,” a serene, drifting piece which ends the program on a thoughtful, but mellow note.” –OPTION Magazine, Bill Tilland

“Seventy-one minutes (5 tracks) of richly textured multi-synth cosmic EM together with treated electric guitars, deep, rumbling synth bass, occasional tinkling background percussion, all quite varied in what is a spacy, drifting setting, from loud and booming cosmic textures to sombre reflective soundscapes — a fine example of cosmic space music.” –CD Services newsletter (Scotland)

“SOLAR NOISE is a fantastic voyage into synaptic space, unfolding over long, beatless vocal meditations, with a brooding moodiness that recalls the drone work of Lustmord, Robert Rich, and Steve Roach.”
–John Graham, The Rocket