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
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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.

THE ARTISTS:

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
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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.

REVIEW:
“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.

DIGITALIS
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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.”

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

“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

READ MORE/LISTEN/BUY HERE.

Weekly Sale Item: Into the Dark

This week’s sale item (and personal favorite of mine) is Stephen Philips’ “Into the Dark,” priced at just $5.99 through January 5th.

INTO THE DARK
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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:
“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.”
–Phil Derby, ElectroambientSpace

“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.”
–gearsofsand/Hypnos Forum

READ/LISTEN/BUY HERE.

Updated MP3 Samples for At the Still Point…

Someone pointed out there were glitches in the sample MP3 clips for this week’s sale CD, At the Still Point of the Turning World by Robert Scott Thompson. We’ve created new MP3 clips and embedded them in this nifty little jukebox player.

Track list (with MP3 sample clips):

still point

The album remains on sale for the all-time low price of $5.99 through Sunday, Dec 30 — available here.