Weekly Sale Item: Opium – Algorithms

Here’s our latest sale item of the week, specially priced at $8.99 (marked down from $13.99) though February 9th.


A stunning offering by Opium. Classically elegant and extremely refined ambient music. Multi-dimensional sounds that are warm and enveloping. An emotional travelogue, starting dramatically, then taking the listener down a slower path, comfortably easing you into a long and fascinating sonic trip, where the sounds grow wide and large, and finally crumble inward, then regenerate, returning for another phase. A new sonic alchemy, and an entirely new world of soothing sounds for the adventurous listener to visit.


Weekly Sale Items From First Fallen Star

This week’s sale includes four items from the “First Fallen Star” label, which we’ve marked down from $12.99 to just $7.99 through February 2nd. Grab ‘em while supplies last!

Forged in 2009, First Fallen Star’s focus is to release music on the dark end of the ambient / experimental spectrum. That being said, the first sale item we have for you this week is:


Format: CD in a DVD case

“Karsten crafts desolate dark ambient sound structures, ornamented by sampled sounds and experimental textures. The end result of this process is an experience categorized perhaps too simply as dark ambient, though it more closely resembles a dark soundtrack to a movie, or to a life – as seen through the eyes of a stranger… Presented in a DVD case with professionally pressed CD and professionally printed artwork, limited to 1,000 copies. The first 500 copies are presented in a 2-disc DVD case with a professionally pressed bonus DVD (PAL format), also titled “Through the Eyes of a Stranger,” that takes the viewer on a visual journey of imagery used for live performances.” –First Fallen Star

“Hamre delivers with some of the best dark ambient soundscapes I’ve heard this year. The album is full of big, dark passages which purvey a mood not unlike walking through an endless field, moist after the rain, which is shrouded in dense fog and lit only by the soft glow of the unseen moon somewhere far overhead. Beyond the field you will travel through dungeons, withered ruins of antique castles, and perhaps even venture outside the terrestrial. The dark, subtly evolving drones are supplemented nicely with a plethora of distant sound effects and weird, almost uneasy textures; both of which help immensely to define atmosphere and take the listener to some place beyond this sphere.” — Dan Barrett/connexionbizarre.net

Our next sale item is:


“Building upon a solid foundation of dark ambient, Dense Vision Shrine also employs sampled sounds and sparse rhythm to carefully design the listening experience of a realm where time itself has stopped, of a blackened voyage into oblivion.

Presented in a DVD case with professionally pressed CD and professionally printed artwork, limited to 1,000 copies. The first 500 copies are presented in a 2 disc DVD case with a professionally pressed bonus DVD (PAL format), also titled “Time Lost in Oblivion,” that takes the viewer on a visual journey of imagery used for live performances.” –First Fallen Star

REVIEW:“The CD holds almost an hour’s worth of nature-inspired ambient with a darkened overtone – or vice versa. The music is calm and in a way very simple; the songs’ backgrounds are built from usual synth-ambience with a (industrial) neo-classical feel, but their amount of different layers and the good-quality source sounds make them very pleasing to the ear. The songs have a lot of variation between them, and they hold a surprising amount of content and vivid movement despite their peaceful outlook. Some are topped with field-recorded metal beats (either modified to form a rhythm or left as-is), some with softer industrial-beats, some have birds chirping, and so forth. The reversed sounds in “Through Fjords…” are a pleasingly eerie add, and the melody in “Through Eternity” that sounds like raindrops is just amazing. The thing that fascinates me the most with this album is its atmosphere. It has a really calm and even serene feel, but it’s constantly clouded by ominous, formless darkness that kept me wondering how I feel about it, and how I’m supposed to (from the artist’s perspective). “Time Lost in Oblivion” feels desolate and made me think about different kinds of abandoned or otherwise lifeless and quiet surroundings. Even so, the small glimmer of hope shines through the darkened void every now and then, keeping my thoughts from becoming monotone while listening to the album. It clearly has a lot to give.” –damned-by-light.com

Next up, we have:


“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

The album delivers on its promises, and you’re treated to a surprisingly precise and vivid portrayal of the events the music is trying to cover. Even without looking at titles, with just a brief knowledge of the concept, you’ll know with fair certainty which phase you’re in while listening. The artists never seem to drift away or allow themselves too much freedom on the narrative side of things. They’ve set out to depict a certain story from the get-go and they do it to the best of their ability – which is very well, I have to admit. It’s like an ecranisation of the story, but deprived of sensual qualities, focusing on the feeling itself. The listener is transposed into the story, and while not directly threatened, the experience of the events is very much first-hand. You’ll hear and feel the torrent of demons on a killing spree, the rampaging destructive forces of nature, the wailing muffled cries in the distance, and the sombre aftermath of it all, where the few left standing wander around in despair wondering if the returning light is salvation or just another form of punishment, showing them how little there’s left to scavenge of their world.” –fortheinnermost.com

And finally:

outer gates

“Ambient and dark ambient soundscapes alike are deftly populated by neo-classical elements, occasionally with an experimental twist! There are no comparisons to other musicians or albums, as this album and the journey within are distinctly those of Mystified! Dare you join Thomas on his spiritual journey? Or do you fear to leave this world behind?”

Mystified`s “Passing Through the Outer Gates” is presented in an A5 digipak with silver foil-embossed lettering and a specially die-cut cover whose coffin-shaped hole reveals only a hint of the true album cover artwork underneath! Featuring David Demaret`s “Burning Souls” painting, with additional graphics and layout by Eclipse Media. –First Fallen Star

(Limited to 500 copies.)

“There are some genuinely interesting elements at play here: calm, dark, minimal drones, various melodic elements, and even some well-crafted tribal-esque percussion. Only some of the tracks contain beats, which is nice if you also enjoy more droning soundscapes. The melodic stuff is typically good as well; each track has some type of melody, whether it is a highly reverbed flute or distant synth line. I find that these melodies add a sad, cinematic and almost ancient/medieval tinge to the work, which I quite enjoy. Another positive aspect of this album is that it remains tranquil and serene throughout its duration, providing an enjoyable, relaxing listening experience through its shadowed corridors. –Dan Barrett/connexionbizarre.net

Click on the artist/title links above each picture to read/buy!

Weekly Sale Item: Sounds of a Universe Overheard

We’ve got a great item on sale for you this week: “Sounds of a Universe Overheard,” priced at just $5.99 through January 26th.

Sounds of a Universe Overheard

A collection of ten tracks exclusive to this CD, created by a cross-section of ambient, experimental and soundscape artists from around the world. Included in this diverse group are more established recording artists who will be known to most listeners to these genres, as well as new, emerging names. We feel a compilation is most interesting when it varies from the familiar to the new. This disc covers all sorts of territory in terms of sound, from more musical and soundtrack-like sounds, to darker ambient, to pure sonic experimentation.


Jonathan Block, better known as Synthetic Block, has released electronic music on such labels as Hypnos/BInary and Gears of Sand.

M. Peck, based in Tennessee, has recently released two collaborative CDs with Mark Mahoney, but his Glacial on Gears of Sand is a great solo debut.

Freq. Magnet is an alter-ego of one half of ambient/experimental duo Austere, working entirely with treated electric guitar, who has two solo full-length CDs, Étoiles du Couvrecle and Principium Somniferum.

Kirk Watson appeared previously on a compilation, Passing Strange, on the short-lived Broad Vista label.

dreamSTATE, a duo from Toronto, Canada, have released several CDs and have been active in collaboration with other artists, and on compilations on such labels as Umbra, The Foundry, Dark Duck, and Atmoworks.

Seren Ffordd is a sound artists working in Wales, who has released several CDs on the Umbra & Penumbra labels, as well as a recent release on Hypnos Secret Sounds.

Dwight Ashley
is a long-established ambient composer with several solo CDs as well as well-received collaborations with Tim Story.

Justin Vanderberg is a relatively new name, but his debut CD In Waking Moments on the Hypnos Secret Sounds label has been well-received, and marks him as a name to watch.

Igneous Flame is a British ambient/soundscape artist who has come on very strong in just the last few years, with his self-released albums gaining positive notices.

Tau Ceti is an Italian ambient minimalist, and frequent collaborator with his countryman Oophoi, on whose labels Umbra & Penumbra the majority of Tau Ceti’s delicate works appear.

Listen to MP3 clips and purchase HERE.

Weekly Sale Item: Hell’s Canyon

Our sale item for the week is John Duval’s “Hell’s Canyon,” specially priced at just $4.99 through January 19th.


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.

“Great electronic sound journey through the canyon… Wonderful trip through Hell’s Canyon in a vessel of sound. Exciting and intriguing. A great sound that only leaves me wanting more, expecting more.”
-Reviewed by Bren on www.cdbaby.com

Listen to MP3 clips and purchase HERE.

Weekly Sale Item: Digitalis

The sale item for this week is Marcus Reuter’s “Digitalis,” priced at an incredibly low $4.99 through January 12th.


Based in Germany, Markus Reuter 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.”

“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

“Markus Reuter is known for his work with Ian Boddy and the Europa String Choir; his Digitalis marks an excursion into abstract ambient noise. This record is very dissonant — or, like Claude Debussy, Reuter really pushes the envelope on consonance as it relates to the melodic and harmonic relationship within the context of a respective piece. Reuter’s music is marked by dissonant melodic runs and streaks through whole-tone scales and other modes that are quite hard on the ears. Perhaps the strangeness of this recording has something to do with the apparatus that he’s using to make the recording, which is described as a tap-style eight-stringed guitar-like instrument, which is played less like a true guitar and more like a Chapman Stick. The tracks on Digitalis seemingly run together with little or no comprehensible order, almost as if they were completely improvised. In a lot of ways, this recording may remind listeners of some of Sun Ra’s work, but there is more dissonance and less use of silence as a compositional tool. From an experimental and stylistic perspective, this recording is a gem.”
–All Music Guide