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
hypnos-sp-itd

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.

Weekly Sale Item: At the Still Point of the Turning World

Our sale item for this week is Robert Scott Thompson’s “At the Still Point of the Turning World,” priced at just $5.99 through December 30th.

AT THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD
still point

This is 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.

Reviewed by Bill Binkelman for windandwire.com:
“Robert Scott Thompson writes some of the most provocative ambient music currently available. By provocative, I mean it literally provokes a reaction. His latest release, At The Still Point Of The Turning World, is a wondrous fog-shrouded excursion into melancholy minimalism that can be both eerily calm and forebodingly beautiful. At times reminiscent of Harold Budd or Tim Story, yet never overtly derivative of either of them. On At The Still Point…, Thompson paints sonic landscapes in muted colors, using impressionistic strokes and techniques that demonstrate his mastery of subtlety, nuance, and neo-classical textures. It’s hard to believe this artist is still relatively undiscovered. On the other hand, Thompson’s recordings are almost always unusually sophisticated and intelligent; he does not record “mass market” ambient music. However, At The Still Point…is, most likely, his most accessible recording for novices, although it still challenges jaded listeners (such as yours truly) with unexpected twists and turns and moments of juxtaposition that can startle and amaze.”

READ MORE/LISTEN/BUY HERE.

Newly Arrived: Steve Brand – Over-soul

We have the latest special limited edition CDR from Steve Brand newly added to the Hypnos store.

Steve Brand – Over-Soul (Ltd CDR)
(Steve Brand category)

(Price: $16.99 LTD CDR) Limited First Edition CDr in 5×7″ bi-fold booklet, first edition limited to 50, signed, hand-numbered and assembled.

The long form version of Over-soul began as a seed of an idea—a track just over 9 minutes on my 2011 self-released album, “Upwelling.” The original inspiration for this long form piece was my readings from various esoteric sources, and the idea that although we may see ourselves as separate, isolated and alone, in fact we all are individual expressions of one unifying, all-encompasing source, and therefore linked to that source and ultimately to one another.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve expanded and elaborated on this original idea. The result is this 61 minute long form piece, divided into three seamless dexpanses of driftscape: i-The Wise Silence; ii-The Collective Heart; iii-Unity. Over-soul was created entirely with keyboards and medicine drum.”
-Steve Brand

“…a haunting drone piece that is awash with sound & texture, a piece that moves and evolves throughout the hour — Steve Brand is a consistently excellent musician and Over-Soul is a timely reminder.”-Headphonaught…..(MORE/BUY)

Weekly Sale Item: Twilight in the Offing

Our sale item for this week is Chad Hoefler’s “Twilight in the Offing,” on sale for just $5.99 through December 22nd.

TWILIGHT IN THE OFFING
twilight

This is the Hypnos debut, and in fact the CD release debut, of an fantastic 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.

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:

“Hailed as a great new talent before his debut CD came out, Chad Hoefler lives up to the advance billing on Twilight in the Offing. “Crimson Lost” flows smoothly from silky synth pads to crisp percussion that is equal parts modern and primitive. It compares favorably to Patrick O’Hearn’s Trust CD. After a strongly tribal first half, this piece changes significantly, downshifting completely into a formless silky slab of ambience, more like Robert Scott Thompson from The Silent Shore. The title “Enveloping Shadow” is evocative of its nature, dark spirals of sound radiating outward and downward into the caverns. Steve Roach’s disc two from Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces comes to mind. Despite the many comparisons already made, this is not derivative music. Hoefler’s music has strong reference points to these and other worthy ambient artists, but he builds upon the foundation laid before him and offers his own worthy contribution to the genre. “Substrata” has a steady, unsettling pace with very dark underpinnings. The sound that provides the rhythm here is otherworldly, like something knocking on wood but defying easy description. Nicely juxtaposed is the markedly brighter “Refugia,” a more ethereal gossamer piece with touches of Jeff Pearce or Jonn Serrie. Still, no one is going to mistake this for new age, it is serious ambient. “In a Marooned Moment” again uses a simple steady beat to effectively create a sense of unrest. The last two tracks continue to mine the depths, although “Orchard of Stone” brightens some at the end as a relaxed beat carries it along in a unique ambient-meets-easy-listening mode, a surprising but perfect finish.”
–Phil Derby / Electroambient Space

“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

Read more/listen/buy HERE.