Tagged: Reviews

Two Reviews of The Martian Chronicles by Seren Ffordd and Oophoi

Our second-to-newest Hypnos release, The Martian Chronicles by Seren Ffordd and Oophoi, has received some positive reviews. If you’d like to order the CD, you can follow the link at right (just click on the cover), or go here.

Two drone purveyors are unlocking the gateway of the Void, enter now!!!

Seren Ffordd, in Wales based drone master, has released since 2006 several albums and EPs on Oöphoi’s Umbra and Penumbra labels. Now teamed with the Italian drone king for their first collaborative work, “The Martian Chronicles”, on Hypnos, where both artists have released several albums (Seren Ffordd on Hypnos Secret Sounds). Sculpted during 2006-2009 and inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short science fiction story from 1950, “The Martian Chronicles”, released in October 2011 and packaged in attractive 4-panel digipak, is an adventurous and deep sonic exploration merging the talents of Andy Benford aka Seren Ffordd and Gianluigi Gasparetti aka Oöphoi. Nearly 15 minutes long overture, “The Long Years”, opens this grandeur voyage with colossally deep drones with invading bells, gongs and extraterrestrial-infused rumblings and resonations. A truly immense soundwalls designed for all aficionados of ultra deep, massive ambience, magnificent!!! With the next, again 15-minute composition, we dive straightly into a chasmic void. “Dead Cities” are painted in the first half with extremely freezing drones and mechanized breathings climbing into the throne of drones, while in the second half the breathings slowly dissolve and some, rather distractive and ominous effects step into the fore and color this ultimate giant drone wizardry. This is stunningly stellar and powerful sound sculpting evoking wonderful sense of spatial emptiness!!! “Blue Fire”, another longer piece, keeps on the more active, emerging route, where assorted, mostly otherworldly, at times oddly sounding effects and outbursts enrich the drone. Also few recognizable sounds can be heard, for example something like a trot of a horse. “End Of A Changeling” is shorter, eclectic piece featuring extracts from each track, cut and mixed. “Canals” opens with watery and distant storm sounds that support more free floating drifts, quite relieving and relaxing when comparing to preceding adventurous sonic alchemy. The next composition, “Flamebirds Waiting For The Storm”, as its title tells, is flavored with processed bird calls, later the rain and thunder shake the heaven to achieve the most organic environment. Deeply echoed, slow-motion drones with occasional rumblings escape into the darkness of sinkholing “Unremembered” and provide the closing part of this truly absorbing and fantabulous sonic mystery and mastery. “The Martian Chronicles” is purely transcendental listening experience!!! Two drone purveyors are unlocking the gateway of the Void, enter now!!!”

–Review by Richard Gurtler

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“‘The Martian Chronicles’ by Seren Fford + Oophoi, apparently inspired by Ray Bradbury’s story collection of the same name, is a haunting and deeply immersive sonic voyage to multiple alien worlds. While certainly evocative of the Martian setting, TMC is just as easily placed closer to home, say, in the romantic lost cities of ancient Mesoamerica or the Central Asian Silk Road; or even within the microcosm of our own minds, in the uncharted bottomless regions of our unconscious, peopled by numinous forces and archetypes, beings as foreign from our normal selves as the remotest galaxies.

Since I’m unfamiliar with Bradbury’s work, I enjoy the music best with a sort of visualization.

For example, as the music starts, let’s imagine ourselves transported to a bleak wind-swept land/mind-scape (Track 1 – The Long Years). In the wind’s furious howls, we make out voices: murmurs(?) or incantations(?) in an unknown vanished tongue.

When the wind dies down and the dust settles, we see the crumbling fantastic architecture of great cities, the ruins of a civilization long forgotten (Track 2 – Dead Cities). As we touch the decaying walls, we feel like walking in a dream or witnessing some secret shamanic vision (Track 3 – Blue Fire). The voices are growing louder; the buildings are taking on a newer sheen. The silent cities are coming back to life!

Night falls; the shadows stretch and disappear into the darkness (Track 4 – End of a Changeling). The weird vision continues, bringing back long-gone sounds and memories, the unfamiliar ghosts of the vanished people (Track 5 – Canals).

Suddenly, our trance breaks. It was just an illusion after all. This world is long dead. Its only inhabitants now are grotesque bird-like creatures that watch us threateningly from the collapsing roofs (Track 6 – Flamebirds Waiting for the Storm).

Yet why do the faces of these beasts bear mournful, almost human expressions? Are they perhaps reflecting on life’s brief span, on the vanity of existence and power, as if too much fallen glory had softened even their brutish hearts? No, the noxious alien atmosphere is just playing tricks on our sensibilities. This world died long ago (Track 7 – Unremembered). If there had been any mourners, they didn’t have long to await their turn.

End of visualization. Well, you get the idea now. ‘Mars’ is not a planet, it’s a state of mind. The setting could really be anywhere strange and special to your imagination. Wherever you find yourself, TMC, this ambient masterpiece, will work invariably well.”

–Review by JLP on amazon.com

Intangible Review on SonicCuriosity.com

We’ve been meaning to post the soniccuriosity.com review of Intangible by A Produce & Loren Nerell… here it is!

“This release from 2011 offers 55 minutes of ethereal ambience. Melodic elements lurk within these harmonic electronic compositions.

Many of the electronics are keyboard generated in contrast to the sustained drone backdrops that ripple like environments of cloud throughout the pieces. The keyboards introduce pacific patterns, often twinkling like luminous fish swimming through a murky medium.

While a certain gentility is pronounced in the majority of the sonics, some sounds possess a subtle density which injects a dramatic flair to the otherwise floating mien. At other times the auralscapes feature heavenly pulsations, drawing attention to a positive radiance from above.

Some pieces feature ethnic percussives; in one case that influence is tempered by winsome flutes, creating a pensive diversity. Other pieces utilize synthetic beats to introduce languid rhythms to the songs. And there are some songs devoid of any tempos altogether.

These compositions are tailored to induce a trance state in the listener, removing them from the heyday of their mortal routines and relegating their consciousness to a region of deceptively intangible (but artfully prevailing) potential. The insertion of melody into the harmonic fabric results in highly engaging tuneage.”
–Reviewed by soniccuriosity.com

Intangible can be purchased for $12.99 direct from Hypnos.

Soniccuriosity Reviews Steve Brand’s Avatara

Here’s a nice review from soniccuriosity.com of Steve Brand’s Avatara:

“This CD from 2010 offers 61 minutes of cosmic ambient music. Synthesist Brand is accompanied on one track by Matt Hiller (from Ishq) and Charity Masters (from Holon).

Pensive percussives match introspective electronics to produce gentle auralscapes of a cosmic milieu.

The electronics are mainly textural in nature, harmonic vapors that generate a seamless realm of celestial clarity. These atmospheric vistas are augmented by additional tonalities that flesh things out without achieving an intrusive density. Changes deceptively occur in the flow, hidden by their gradually evolution.

These tenuous drones approximate an extended breathing pattern for reality, allowing the listener to slip through gaps between molecules and find themselves adrift outside of space and time. The listener’s perceptions of the textural flow becomes intensified by this removal from conventional tangibility.

While rhythms are present in one track, they generally manifest in processed form in other pieces, often transformed into beatless sounds (like gongs expanded into infinite stability) that suitable fit with the textural sonic foundation.

These compositions exhibit a stately character, a soft authority that derives its puissance from subliminal influence rather than any boisterous bias. Presented in songs confined to lengths of five to fourteen minutes, this music doesn’t indulge in protracted growth but instead swiftly establishes its gist and elaborates on that ethereal structure without undue delay.”
–Reviewed by soniccuriosity.com

Avatara can be purchased for $12.99 direct from Hypnos.

Textura.org Reviews Intangible

Great review here from the textura.org review site of A Produce and Loren Nerell’s Intangible:

“Intangible explores broader stylistic ground and features tracks that are less meditations than compositions characterized by thematic development and rhythm. Interestingly, it’s also the first time A Produce (Barry Craig) and Loren Nerell have collaborated, despite the fact that both have been releasing music for about a quarter of a century: A Produce has issued ten albums, two of them on Hypnos, while Nerell has released work on Amplexus, Soleilmoon, and Side Effects. Multiple landscapes are evoked in the album’s seven tracks, ranging from the imagined ambiance of a newly discovered planet to the earthy exotica of a humid Middle Eastern setting. The opening title track develops progressively into a stately synth-heavy meditation, with a forlorn demeanour that’s somewhat offset by softly bubbling percussive elements. As if transcribing an exploration into sonic form, “Planet Atmo” conjures a spectral lunarscape of mysterious and enigmatic character that gradually discloses a faint percussive presence beneath its surface. Considerably more earthbound by comparison, “String Theory” grounds itself in a gamelan percussion rhythm and exotic instruments (flutes, hand drums), while “Area 51.1” punctuates a slow-motion driftscape with gently wailing extraterrestrial transmissions to foreboding effect. The album is at its most natural during the closing “Pot Covers at Dawn,” which augments the dense thrum of insects with peaceful, late-night murmurings. Cumulatively, Intangible’s material, equally ethereal and earthy, covers multiple bases in its fifty-five minutes, and Craig and Nerell come across as nothing less than electronic shamans dispensing mystical potions to listeners along the way.”
–Reviewed by textura.org

Intangible can be purchased for $12.99 direct from Hypnos.

Avatara Reviewed by Textura.org

Here’s a recent review from the always excellent textura.org site:

“Brand follows two previous Hypnos recordings (on Hypnos Secret Sounds), Bridge to Nowhere and Children of Alcyone, with Avatara, a Sanskrit word that stands for “descent” in the sense of a deity’s descent from heaven to earth; the title also takes its inspiration from avatars such as Buddha and Krishna and from cultural myths about humans who’ve become “ascended masters,” non-human beings who choose to return to Earth to assist others. In keeping with such concepts, the album’s six tracks are deep ambient in style, often long-form in design and conducive to meditative drift and elevated states. “Morning Glory” unfolds in a series of irradiated exhalations with pauses generously spaced between them, while the aptly titled “Still Here (Breathing Space)” arrests the pace to near-stillness, with percussive rustling seeming even more active when heard alongside the track’s streaming washes and tones. At fourteen minutes the album’s longest piece, “Act of Creation” perpetuates the meditative mood with the quiet chatter of newly born life-forms audible in between church-like synth tones. Largely downplaying percussion, Brand’s becalmed material emphasizes long trails of synthetic chords, their ethereal character heightened by their pristine synthetic design, throughout its epic, hour-long journey.”
–Reviewed by textura.org

Avatara can be purchased for $12.99 direct from Hypnos.