Weekly sale Item: Silence Speaks in Shadow

This week we’re bringing you Paul Vnuk Jr.’s “Silence Speaks in Shadow,” sale-priced at $6.99 through September 14th.

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Vnuk ventures out into the solo world with a longform release that blends the environmental sounds of a cityscape with an ebbing and flowing synth atmosphere. SILENCE SPEAKS IN SHADOW gives us a glimpse into the psycho-environmental sounds of a city drenched in rain and industrial sonics. Stating his inspiration for this project, Vnuk says: “The open windows and industrial sounds of a rain drenched city can have a strange calming effect on the soul.”

A pre-release review by Jim Brenholts says: “….expertly mixes somber passages and samples with an expansive drone, nature samples and melodic pastoral ambience. The effect is both chilling and calming. The emotional and spiritual responses are clear and undefinable. The physical response is immediate calm. This CD is essential psychoactive meditation material!”

Hypnos Recordings feels a special fondness for smooth, long-form environmental pieces. We find them full of details which gradually reveal themselves, and transport the listener to unfamiliar locales, or frames of mind. SILENCE SPEAKS IN SHADOW is sure to be a favorite “place” of many who experience it.


“If you ponder for too long the meaning of the album title Silence Speaks in Shadow, the listener will surely fail to have the musical encounter intended by author Paul Vnuk Jr. The concept behind this prolonged ambient stasis is to think about everything but the spinning disc and allow the mind to wander and to wonder… freely. Vnuk facilitates this through the placement of sparse synth pads over recordings of street sounds during a thunderstorm, a skilled combination of pacing, harmony and the relaxing properties of rain on rooftops. The moments prior to slipping into sleep are reassurred with the kind of calm that only one of those sudden summer showers can bring.

Silence Speaks in Shadow is one in a growing number of releases in this field – so its design will be familiar, yet the experience remains as pleasing as watching raindrops splashing or storm clouds rolling. This album is a fitting beginning on a drift out to the fringes of consciousness, through the mist of memory and into the embrace of night. Vnuk’s soundscape provides us with a sonic foundation upon which to build our own unique ambient experience.”
–Chuck van Zyl / STAR’S END

“One half of Ma Ja Le has “gone solo” as they say… taking the lightly atmospheric road, paul vnuk jr. reveals, in a long-form emission of faint electronics and urban ambiance, that silence speaks in shadow. Hushed soundwaves float on a peacefully rainy city night, and Vnuk captures the best of all those elements.

Subtly shimmering synthscapes (sometimes barely there at all) simply drift through Silence Speaks in Shadow (73:58); occasional “real life” incidents (falling rain, chattering people, cat sounds which always have me looking around to see what mine are up to…) add a you-are-there textural element to the whole mix. It should be noted that (except fot the lingering showers) these happenings are few, with plenty of spaciously drifting ephemera throughout. Hinting of danger elsewhere (but not here), sirens pass as lovely chorus-like strands waft through the spattering of raindrops on concrete. Around the 40-minute mark, light chimes sparkle with a cushiony resonance counterbalancing distant thunder. Everything slowly fades in the final moments, like slipping into a comfortable slumber…

Soundscape meets cityscape in silence speaks in shadow, a panoramic blend of shapeshifting ambient streams and subtle occurences which blend rather than intrude. No hustle-bustle here as paul vnuk jr. processes the most subdued audiovisions, transmitting them as these flowing scenes of 9.2-rated beauty. Quite gorgeous! The amazing Hypnos catalog just keeps getting better… ”
–David Opdyke, The AmbiEntrance

“There’s a small quote at the bottom of the insert to this CD, apparently a quote by Vnuk Jr. himself who states that “The open windows and industrial sounds of a rain, drenched city can have a strange calming effect on the soul.” When I first read this little snippet I wasn’t sure what to think, but after my first listen it made good sense. A lot of Ambient/ Atmospheric music compliments or enhances the ambience of a particular space, but then there are some ambient recordings that transcend or alter your space altogether, i.e. Stephen Philips and James Johnson’s Lost at Dunn’s Lake, or Brannan Lane’s Troposphere, Silence Speaks in Shadow is like this as well, but it’s a different, grittier, almost urban ambience rather than the organic natural works of Philips, Johnson, and Lane. Clocking in at 73:58 Silence Speaks in Shadow is a long-running single track that immerses the listener in a blend of natural ambience and harmoniously synthesized chording. With Silence Speaks in Shadow Vnuk Jr. has created an undisputedly great work that emphasizes the harsh undertones of the urban landscape while sonically capturing the mysterious beauty of a rainy night. A fantastic recording that transcends as well as it projects.”
–Matt Borghi, The Organization of Sound

Read more/listen/buy HERE.

Weekly Sale Item: Places of Motility

This week’s sale item is Jeff Greinke’s ‘Places of Motility,’ marked down to $5.99 through August 31st.


Finally on CD for the first time, this “special edition” Greinke classic was digitally remastered and includes the twelve tracks from the original + three other exclusive tracks.

“Jeff Greinke is one of the masters of dark, hypnotic electronic minimalism. He has been performing in that style since the mid-’80s, long before it was fashionable. He recorded Places of Motility in 1986 and released it in 1987 on Dossier Records. Mike Griffin remastered it in 1999 and released it on the Hypnos Recordings label. Greinke added three tracks from 1988 for the reissue. This is a deep set full of experimental sounds and techniques. Greinke took some cues from the avant-garde recordings of Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros, and Mother Mallard and added his own unique processing touches, wide-open atmospheres, and low drones. The resultant soundscape is dark and ominous. This CD is very similar to the minimalist works of Lustmord, Alio Die, Mathias Grassow, and Vidna Obmana. For all fans of dark minimalism, this is essential. Casual fans might find it interesting as well.”

–Jim Brenholts, All Music Guide

“Originally issued in 1987, this album of crepuscular ambience, Zoviet- France-like rhythmic trance-outs and sanctified drones shows why Greinke has become a mainstay in dark-ambient circles.”
–Alternative Press

“Established and well-recognized ambient composer Jeff Greinke, via Seattle’s (sic) Hypnos Recordings has again reshaped his previously recorded tracks and presented them to the world as Places of Motility. The moody dreamscapes emanate dark, almost foreboding images as the melancholic ambient soundscapes float across the horizon, transcending earthly bodies, rising gently into the atmosphere. Most of the intricately developed tracks are beatless sound expanses, allowing the enigmatic rhythms and structured synthetic choruses to scientifically create the shape of the album. Intense instrumentals like “Fallacy,” “A Dank Place” and “Traveling Secrets” move unhindered through elaborate labyrinths. Purebred imagination!”


Weekly Sale Item: Ouroborus

We’ve got another item from our Binary sub-label on sale for you this week, and we’ve marked it down from $10.99 to just $5.99 through August 24th.

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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.


“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

“…a great listen, IMO; lots of variety…”
–Bill Binkelman on the Ambient Music mailing list

“Densely mixed to perpetuate a seething cloud of charged particles, this music layers gritty tones and lush textures, generating a flow that surges with growing harmonics as it moves steadily toward pinnacles of sonic majesty. Keyboards lay down riffs that intertwine to create complex electronic patterns. The synthesized melodies grind and growl on their dedicated paths, mesmerizing and thrilling the listener with the illusion of never-ending cycles that ascend through the air, striving far beyond the terrestrial stratosphere.

This tuneage is propelled by rhythms of a non-percussive nature, utilizing beats generated by rapidly applied keyboards, producing twinkling tempos that are as emotionally evocative as they are devoid of jarring impact.”
–Matt Howarth, space.com


Weekly Sale Item: Sudden Dark

This week we’re bringing you one by Hypnos label founder Mike Griffin, sale priced at just $5.99 through August 17th.

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Subtle and atmospheric minimal ambient by the Hypnos founder. Close your eyes…

“Griffin’s own Sudden Dark is indicative of the label’s high caliber. Multicolored waves of electronics gust and billow across stark, forbidden landscapes; sonic blips sometimes appear on the horizon and form disturbing cyclic eddies (“Gyre”) while on “Atmosphera,” tones that resemble the gradual erosion of heavy metals seep into great aquifers of liquid nitrogen. Griffin’s pieces in fact suggest various sorts of placid states and environments (“The Sound of Ringing Sleep,” “Immobile,” “Displace,” “Almost Invisible”), and the closing of one’s eyes during the immersion in these environments greatly aid in the actualization of the pieces’ titles. Subtle and superfine.”
–Darren Bergstein / i/e Magazine

“Well-thought out drone structures which pull the listener into a pool of rich harmonies and atmosphere dynamics.”
–Vidna Obmana


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.