Tagged: Steve Brand

Steve Brand’s Avatara, Reviewed by DeWaard and VanZyl

Steve Brand’s Hypnos release AVATARA has been getting some nice radio airplay, and we also have some reviews to share. Congratulations to Steve on the great response to his first Hypnos release, following two albums on our Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint. We’d also like to thank Chuck VanZyl of Star’s End Radio, and Frans DeWaard of Vital Weekly, for helping us spread the word.

“To state that AVATARA (61’16″) is “Experimental” is only half the story. While it is an album of sonic experiments, it is not just a random organization of sound. Ambient artist Steve Brand tells a story – although AVATARA does bring more questions than answers. As it wanders the terrain of the possible this work asks you to adjust your sensitivity to music and its possible variations. Some of the pieces are controlled collisions of carefully rendered tones, while others breathe and expand beautifully across a brain-churning expanse of space. Opening with a curious metallic clamor Brand sets an unusual atmosphere. By continually introducing new timbres and captivating designs, across six tracks he sustains a striking sense of wonder. Moods range from dark and questioning to luminous and hopeful. Born of digital, this experience gets better with each pass. The mind seeks patterns, in the world and in music and art. Works like AVATARA at first seem formless. But one must tolerate being lost to appreciate this music. Through active listening we find this work’s structure and then its meaning – grasping the whole from the sum of its parts.”

–Reviewed by Chuck VanZyl, Star’s End Radio

.

“Following the abundance of the name Augur, Steve Brand now works under his own name. I must admit I didn’t hear a lot of his solo music, which was released solo as well as in collaboration with Ishq and Disturbed Earth, and hearing Augur is a long time ago, but there have been some changes in his music too. Augur was more on the experimental edge of ambient music, whereas his current direction is more along the lines of what Hypnos is in general about: long sustaining patterns of sounds, based on synthesizers or perhaps any type of sound processing which goes on for quite some time (maybe field recordings?) and on top there is the rattle of percussive sounds. ‘Avatara’ means ‘descent’ in Sanskrit, ‘in the sense of a deity’s descent from heaven to earth’ and this the main idea behind the album, the descent of avatars in various cultures. Now that sounds all a bit too new agey for my liking, but its easy, I guess, to see the music by itself. On a somewhat grey and cloudy day, like today happens to be, this ambient music in which the element of percussion is kept to a minimum, compared to his previous ‘Children Of Alcyone’ (see Vital Weekly 712), in favor of more drone like music, makes perfect sense. Majestically it unfolds itself. Great one.”

–Reviewed by Frans DeWaard, Vital Weekly

Purchase for $12.99

New Releases from Relaxed Machinery (Corbacho, Brand, Disturbed Earth)

Two new CDRs now ready to go from Relaxed Machinery, for sale through the Hypnos Online Store.

Max Corbacho – Lost Links (cdr)
(Relaxed Machinery category)
(Price: $9.99 cdr)
First release by Max Corbacho, co-founder of the AD21 label and well-established European ambient music practitioner. Deleted, unreleased and forgotten tracks.

All these pieces were created to appear on previously published albums. For various reasons, they were not included, and remained in my archives. I usually do not delete any of my pieces; I know that, at some point, simply because of the passing of time, they acquire a special character, and their time to be revealed appears.

Track List: (mp3 sample medley)
1. Earthflow Trance 7:19
2. Sky Resonance 6:07
3. Third Exposure 5:41
4. One True Light 16:12
5. Mandala 12:33
6. After Dream 5:54
7. Slow Thunder 13:15
Total Time: 67:01…

(more/buy)

Disturbed Earth / Steve Brand – What is Memory? (cdr)
(Relaxed Machinery category)
(Price: $9.99 cdr)
69 minute extended track — mp3 sample clip collage

Notes by Steve Brand:
What Is Memory? is a 69-minute aural exploration by Dean Richards/Disturbed Earth (Australia) and myself, Steve Brand (U.S.) of the nature of memory and time, utilizing keyboard atmospheres, flutes and voice. The impetus for this piece was born out of personal phone conversations between Dean and myself. We both have experienced how time can transform memory, how memories can become distorted, built-up into almost legendary proportions, clouded with sentiment. We also know that looking back into memories, with a clearer mind in the present, can transmute once-painful memories into those which empower and propel us into a new future….

(more/buy)

April 2011 News Archive

(all April 2011 news updates are combined to one entry below)

2011.04.29

We were sorry to see the Foundry label cease operations a few years back, but we’ve just obtained copies of their last 3 releases for sale through the
Hypnos store, including items from some of our favorite artists.

Saul Stokes – Vast
(Foundry category)
(Price: $13.99)
Saul Stokes returns to the music scene with Vast, a showcase for his unique brand of electronica. With Vast Stokes explores new territory utilizing a highly
developed lyrical sense built, as ever, on the idiosyncratic sound of his hand-forged equipment. These tracks are truly multi-faceted, and the many detailed sonic embellishments,
as well as the fluid structures, set Vast apart….
(more/buy)
Forrest Fang & Carl Weingarten – Invisibility
(Foundry category)
(Price: $13.99)
Invisibility emerges from a collaboration between Forrest Fang and Carl Weingarten, built on the strong and distinct musical personalities of these two artists.
Carl Weingarten displays his assured guitar playing, a unique style that exploits a variety of sounds and a penetrating melodic sensibility. Forrest Fang builds well-balanced
arrangements and develops intricate textural tapestries with a sonic palette drawn largely, but not exclusively, from Weingarten’s guitar work. The result is a series of enthralling
landscapes and tableaus, subtly, but definitively, coloured by the musical insight of Fang and Weingarten. And while the integration of guitar, synthesis and processing may suggest
a kind of invisibility in terms of seamlessness, the music is anything but invisible. On first hearing Invisibility is beautifully simple, but repeated listenings will reveal the strong
underlying texture and structure that makes this release special…
(more/buy)
M. Bentley – This World
(Foundry category)
(Price: $13.99)
This World gracefully integrates M. Bentley’s various approaches to sound design and composition. Created with a combination of DSP tools, field recordings
and more conventional synthesis, the suites Chronos & Kairos and Import are related thematically and conceptually. These pieces are extended audio snapshots, sonic gestures
towards narrative and story-telling. In one sense this is programme music for the 21st century, or perhaps a soundtrack for memoirs never written….
(more/buy)

2011.04.26

Yet another new batch of additions to the Hypnos store, this time from the Projekt label. Included
are a new one from Forrest Fang’s Sans Serif Project (whose first release came out on Hypnos Secret Sounds) and a classic Vidna Obmana album I can’t
believe we never carried until now.

Jeff Greinke – Cities in Fog 2
(Projekt category)
(Price: $11.99)
Sequel to the classic “Cities in Fog” album by Greinke.

Jeff writes:
After arriving in Seattle, I settled in an apartment on a hill overlooking a warehouse district. I became fond of taking late-night walks and listening to the activity in the valley.
At that hour most of the everyday buzz of the city was hushed, so the distant clankings of the industrial area were more audible. I found the resultant soundworld mesmerizing.
Experiences like these come home with me and find their way into the studio, inevitably working their way into my music. Cities in Fog 2 represents my ongoing interest in everyday
sounds and in working with such sounds to construct surrealistic late-night urban musical landscapes
….
(more/buy)

Vidna Obmana – Ending Mirage
(Projekt category)
(Price: $11.99)
I can’t believe we never listed Ending Mirage for sale here before now, but it’s true. Here’s a great classic ambient
album from before the birth of Hypnos! Recorded January-June 1992. Originally released in a limited edition on the ND label, then released as part of The Trilogy set.

Tracks:
1. Siren
2. Mellow at heart
3. Luxurious fragment (in two parts)
4. Ending mirage
5. Monumental dreaming
6. Mellow at heart (vocal reprose)….
(more/buy)

Forrest Fang – Phantoms
(Projekt category)
(Price: $13.99)
Phantoms is Forrest Fang’s 9th solo album and the follow-up to his Projekt release, Gongland. Nearly eight years in the making, Phantoms builds
on the gamelan-influenced soundscapes of its predecessor by weaving organic sounds of non-Western stringed and percussion instruments and filtering those
sounds through a rich melodic tapestry of warm and vaporous atmospheres. Fang’s subtly layered and continually evolving textures combine his Asian influences
with his love of fractal algorithms that reflect the chaotic beauty of nature. The ambiences of Phantoms evoke a state of contemplation within a world in flux. The
centerpiece of the album is a 23-minute ambient suite “The Hallucinations of Hung Tung” inspired by the otherworldly paintings of a Taiwanese fisherman and outsider artist…
(more/buy)
Forrest Fang’s Sans Serif: Unbound
(Projekt category)
(Price: $13.99)
Unbound is veteran ambient musician Forrest Fang exploring lush and abstract terrain under the Sans Serif moniker. Using very small – at times microscopic -
sounds as source material, Fang utilizes a vocabulary of long shimmering tones that gradually warp, mutate and transform over the course of a piece….
(more/buy)

2011.04.25

New stuff flowing like a river into the Hypnos store! We bring ‘em in, you buy ‘em!
This one’s a nice looking and great sounding indie release by a new artist named Hollan Holmes. It has a bit of a Steve Roach flavor, because
it was mastered by Roach, but aside from any influence it’s very nice work in its own right. We love discovering new names like this, and
hope to hear more from Hollan in the future.

Hollan Holmes – A Distant Light
(Miscellaneous category)
(Price: $9.99)
Hollan says:
A Distant Light, my debut CD, is the result of a dream that started as a young man, to create music that would capture people’s imaginations. While my music is always a
deeply personal journey, I derive great joy from sharing it with others. My love of synthesizers and the creative process have inspired me to compose music that transforms
my consciousness and feeds my spirit. It is a form of expression, of prayer and meditation, and reflection. The music on A Distant Light was composed between 2007 and
2010 and was mastered by Steve Roach at the Time Room in Arizona. It is with great honor that I share my work and I thank you for listening

(more/buy)

2011.04.21

We’re picking up steam with our new CD releases, and it’s only been a little more than a month between our last and our new one, Avatara by Steve Brand.
It’s yet another digipak format CD release (similar to recent releases by Herion and NebulÊ), and our first Steve Brand release on the Hypnos label proper after two releases
on our Secret Sounds imprint.

Artist: Steve Brand
Title: Avatara
Label: Hypnos CD (digipak)

Steve Brand - Avatara

Steve Brand got his start releasing experimental music under the name “Augur,” and more recently switched
over to releasing music under his own name (both solo and in collaboration with such artists
as Ishq and Disturbed Earth) on the Atmoworks, Hypnos Secret Sounds and Relaxed Machinery labels. He’s quickly established
himself as one of the more interesting and distinctive artists working in ambient music, and having released two
albums Bridge to Nowhere and Children of Alcyone on Hypnos Secret Sounds in 2008 and 2009, we’re very
excited to follow up with Steve Brand’s new album Avatara on the main Hypnos imprint.
This album has a ritual feel common to many of Brand’s recordings, though Avatara is more ambient and less percussive.
The recording starts out in a place of low-key contemplation and evolves through distinct stages and moods, though it is always gentle and meditative.

Steve Brand describes some of the inspirations behind this album:
Avatara is Sanskrit for “descent” in the sense of a deity’s descent from heaven to earth. Avatara is inspired by the various avatars of various ages and cultures…Yeshua,
Quan Yin, Buddha, Brigit, Krishna, Saint Germain, White Buffalo Calf Woman, and others. Iím fascinated by the idea and the various stories in various ages and cultures of
humans becoming “ascended masters,” or avatars, non-human beings that still are attached to humans and choose to returns to Earth to assist them. The stories vary, and
almost every culture has its masters, but one thing is consistent throughout each of their stories, they’ve realized a more expanded expression of being and awareness, of
what we are and what we are capable of, and return to assist other human beings.

Track listing, with mp3 sample clips:
01 – Avatara – 5:09 MP3 clip
02 – The Far Shore – 8:45 MP3 clip
03 – Morning Glory – 12:09 MP3 clip
04 – Still Here (breathing space) – 13:38 MP3 clip
05 – Act of Creation – 14:26 MP3 clip
06 – Avatara (deathless) – 7:10 MP3 clip

Purchase for $12.99 on Hypnos Online Store

Avatara digipak exterior

Avatara digipak interior

Purchase for $12.99 on Hypnos Online Store

2011.04.20

Another new item in the Hypnos store, this time from Resonant Drift. It’s mastered and with additional “enhancements”
by Steve Roach so you know it sounds good!

Resonant Drift – Passages
(Resonant Drift category)
(Price: $12.99)
This release has the feel of being made from the moment while at the same time woven with layers of subtle innerplay and amorphous, shifting spaces.
The 10 pieces or passages find inspiration in part from the challenges faced when traversing a path to enlightenment. Mastered and sonic enhancements by Steve Roach…
(more/buy)

2011.04.19

For a lot of you, all I’m going to need to say is “new from Steve Roach,”
and you’re going to high-tail it over to the Hypnos store to buy.

Steve Roach – Immersion Five: Circadian Rhythms (2CD)
(Steve Roach category)
(Price: $20.99 2CD)
The Immersion series takes a compelling turn, moving towards a new perspective on Steve\’s Immersion experience. Disc one, Circadian
Rhythms explores a sensual flow of harmonic suspension and sparse melodic mantra-like patterns hovering over rhythmic spaces and mercurial zones. Opening up
within an organic analog modular garden of sound, a pulsing undulating groove spiral emerges, creating a suspended sensation of constant flow while hovering in the
now. Circadian Rhythms moves through a continuous 73-minute flow in three phases.

Disc two, Shroud of Night was created from a blend of Steve\’s unique textural electric guitar and harmonic synth alchemy. The strands of emotion contained within
this long-form atmosphere take on a feeling of clouds illuminated by full moonlight wafting into the deep hours of the night. This is a place of pure immersion and sonic
warmth. Tested on infinite-repeat mode for over a year throughout all times of the day, into the night and beyond. Immerse thyself, once again…
(more/buy)

Steve Roach/Brian Parnham – The Desert Inbetween
(Projekt category)
(Price: $13.99)
Steve Roach’s unique soundquests continue to take him and his listeners on powerful journeys to worlds at once alien and familiar. On The Desert
Inbetween, Roach teams up with fellow synthesist/percussionist/didgeridoo player Brian Parnham to explore a hybrid electronic acoustic soundworld sure to please listeners
of Suspended Memories and Origins-era tribalism as well as The Serpent\’s Lair-styled electronics…
(more/buy)

October 2010 News Archive

(all October 2010 news updates are combined to one entry below)

2010.10.15

Wednesday we announced sale prices on CDs from our Binary sub-label, but someone pointed out to me that the mp3 audio clips for the first two,
Dweller at the Threshold – Ouroborus and
Paul Ellis – Into the Liquid Unknown were
broken. I’ve fixed those clips now, so if you’d like to check out those mp3 clips, follow those CD-listing links above, or these direct links to the mp3 clips below.

Ouroborus track list with MP3 samples:
1 Circular Logic 03:38 -mp3 excerpt-
2 After Logic Fails 10:41 -mp3 excerpt-
3 Ouroborus Part 1 13:04 -mp3 excerpt-
4 Ouroborus Part 2 08:01 -mp3 excerpt-
5 Worlds Without End 08:00 -mp3 excerpt-
6 Resolution 17:54 -mp3 excerpt-
7 Automatic Writing 08:57-mp3 excerpt-

Into the Liquid Unknown track list with MP3 samples:
1 Bend in the River 06:52 -mp3 excerpt-
2 Into the Liquid Unknown 13:35 -mp3 excerpt-
3 Moonlit Stream at the Mouth of a Cavern 00:58 -mp3-
4 Under the Waves, a Sky of Water 05:15 -mp3 excerpt-
5 Slowly Rowing Through Ghost Melodies 05:49 -mp3 excerpt-
6 Undines 03:38 -mp3 excerpt-
7 A Roaring Player Piano Left Burning on the Beach 06:04 -mp3 excerpt-
8 Glistening 09:11 -mp3 excerpt-
9 Drifting Shards from an Ice Floe 03:22 -mp3 excerpt-
10 Luminous Depths in a Sapphire Sea 04:53 -mp3 excerpt-
11 Suspended 03:48 -mp3 excerpt-
12 The Underground River 02:55 -mp3 excerpt-
13 Dissolve 02:47 -mp3 excerpt-
14 Alexandria 03:14 -mp3 excerpt-
15 Drop Becomes Ocean 02:03 -mp3 excerpt-

Browse the rest of the Binary sale items, if you like.

We appreciate your support of Hypnos and our sub-labels, as well as our general mail order business! Your
patronage helps support our release of more interesting music in the future.

2010.10.13

We’re having a Binary sale!

The Binary sub-label of Hypnos releases more dynamic, percussive or energetic
sounds than the usual low-key style of the Hypnos label proper. Right now we’re
making available all the Binary releases at temporary price reductions.

You can browse our Binary
category or proceed to direct links to individual Binary releases (prices from $7.99 to $10.99) below.

Dweller at the Threshold – Ouroborus
Paul Ellis – Into the Liquid Unknown
Vir Unis & Saul Stokes – Thermal Transfer
Synthetic Block – Sonic Approach
Saul Stokes – Fields
John Duval – Hell’s Canyon
Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves – The Range
Saul Stokes – Villa Galaxia

2010.10.12

Back to the new
Hypnos Store additions, this time from Nextera and Alio Die. We also have
some other Nextera restocks as well.

Alio Die – Music Infinity meets Virtues, Live in Prague 23th May 2009
(Nextera category)
(Price: $13.99)
Performed live at Church of St. Simon and Juda, Prague , Old Town, May 23, 2009 and presented as
part of the concert series Music Infinity in association with the Italian cultural institute in Prague

Track listing
01 Axis Mundi II 6:19
02 Brace di Trasformazione 6:35
03 Sine Tempore 11:26
04 Innamorato 4:57
05 Password for Entheogenic Experience 10:56
06 Duello con l’Incommensurabile 8:18
07 Raag Drone Theory 25:28
Total Time: 74:02….
(more/buy)

2010.10.07

Another batch of recent Hypnos release reviews, for Viridian Sun’s album Infinite in all Directions. I’ve abbreviated these reveiws, because there are
quite a few but you can read the full reviews on the CD page or on the
Hypnos store listing.

“The relative wild card of the four, Viridian Sun’s Infinite In All Directions is a different animal altogether. The group itself is a joint venture into abstract improvisation
involving Hypnos founder Mike Griffin and Hypnos solo artist David Tollefson, whose last Viridian Sun album, Perihelion, appeared a decade ago. Eschewing
synthesizers, Griffin and Tollefson build the album’s seven tracks from electronically treated and looped guitars, basses, and percussion. On the surface, there’s
not a radical degree of difference between Viridian Sun and the other artists in terms of sound — tones stretch out as extensively on Infinite In All Directions as they
do on the other recording …
The rawness of Viridian Sun’s attack may give Infinite In All Directions a visceral edge over the three other recordings, but again it’s all quality stuff that
more than enhances Hypnos’s reputation for distinguished soundscaping.”

–Reviewed by Textura.org

.

“Recorded live using just guitars, voice, percussion and looping and processing tools, Viridian Sun’s Infinite in All Directions is a nicely varied wash of drones and
textures, a disc that can challenge the ear one moment and deeply engage the mind the nextñoften in the same track.

Mike Griffin, head of Hypnos Records, and collaborator David Tollefson coax an array of noises from their instruments as they go, building moments and movements in
dependent, largely minimalistic layers, always with the sense that they are waiting for the next correct place to assail and mutate the sound. Vaporous guitar washes
discover sudden-but-fleeting moments of solidity, the actual, recognizable sound of a guitar, unfiltered, coming in like a beacon in the sonic mist. And this mist is
dense, often quite deep and, across the breadth of the disc, dark. There is an intensity to Viridian Sun, an edginess of feeling, which is where the more challenging
aspect of it comes from. As you’re being wrapped in sounds that can range from feedback to static in points, if they can be defined at all, there is a sense of this
piece, this moment, being inescapable — an understanding that no, this is not easy and yes, you are expected to see your own way through to the other side and then keep
going.

Infinite in All Directions will set better with listeners who like their stuff dense, abstract and droning, with heavy doses of darkness and experimentation. Griffin and
Tollefson have crafted a constantly moving, beatless and expressive space that welcomes only the committed listener. But the rewards are worth the time and effort it
takes to fully dive into this disc.”

–Reviewed by Hypnagogue

.

“Roughly ten years ago, the Hypnos ambient label was a ‘magical’ discovery for me: I had progressed from the
obligatory, lyric ridden rock-n-roll of my generation into the obscure & somewhat marginalized musical
world of King Crimson, Robert Fripp, David Bowie & Brian Eno.


The album’s seven tracks, clocking in at just around sixty-three
minutes, are a gritty, grainy collection of electronic ambience &
drone-scaped, ethereal goodness — playing off morphed/processed bass
&electric guitar as well as percussion & voice (not that you’d recognize any of the preceding in their
final state), the listener is at once transported into a systemic sound world, leaving one looking for
said world’s limitations or edges… and finding them not.”

–Reviewed by G.A.B. on ambient_landscape@yahoogroups.com

.

“Although Hypnos may not seem to appear as prolific as they used to be, its always good to see their releases. M. Griffin, responsible for the label, doesn’t set
out to innovate the world of music, but has carved out a niche of his own, which he likes to explore, either through his own music or that of others. Together
with David Tollefson he plays music as Viridian Sun. They both take credit for playing guitars, bass, percussion, looping, procession and Griffin also for voice.
… Seven tracks, clearly apart, perhaps that’s the extent of these
things that make them time based. According to the cover, this was all recorded live in the studio, which made me think that these boys should be on the road
and play all night concerts, endlessly improvising and exploring the depths of the synthesized ambient music. Warm music in cold days.”

–Reviewed by Frans DeWaard for Vital Ezine

.

Infinite In All Directions is another fantastic cosmic space trip into the dark and unexplored regions–true “space music” in every sense of the phrase.
Without synths this time, the sound is much more dense than the duo’s debut Solar Noise (still one of the best Hypnos releases ever), but no less atmospheric.
You gotta love guitars (which I do) and all the magical new sounds that can be coaxed out of them with delays and other processing goodies, to appreciate this music.
I imagine this release is what may have resulted had Slowdive dropped the girl and the drummer, and decided not to make pop music anymore, but rather sit around
their own bedrooms and make trippy soundscapes for their own personal enjoyment. There is that intimate vibe present on this recording. Music not for the casual listen,
but immersive music that demands your full attention to appreciate every nuance of the sounscapes. One of the very best of 2009, and worth the 10-year wait.”

–Reviewed on the Hypnos Forum by Drone On

.

“I am listening to the new Viridian Sun cd, “Infinite In All Directions”, and I now think guitars in ambient music are cool!
If a listener expects country twangs or shredding solos or similar sounds, these may not always be found on the cd, but what you can find are deep,
meditative, immersive waves of sound that shimmer, pulse, and move about. I suppose some comparisons might be drawn– the duo floats synchronously like
Roach and Obmana, but it is more mobile and hopeful music than the aformentioned duo often made. An occasional guitar note sounds a little like the
famous “singing” guitar of Robert Rich, but not enough to be an imitation. Sometimes I feel a little like I am listening to an early Zoviet France composition,
but it’s nice because the sound is better. And I like Zoviet France.


Loops are used, and in a very active way. They shift, grow and move around. They are not just loops of stone, they are loops of cloth or light, flexible and intriguing.
… A comparison that somes to mind is with Rapoon’s excellent “Fires Of The Borderlands”. Melodic, inspired, with lots of movement, but also a little dark and edgey.

I would say that “Infinite In All Directions” is a really cool album and definitely worth picking up. I recommend it highly.”

–Reviewed by ambient recording artist Mystified, on the Hypnos Forum

This CD in special vellum paper sleeve with heavy booklet, is available for $10.99
here

2010.10.06

Next installment of recent reviews for Hypnos releases features several for Primal Mystification by Mystified.

Mystified - Primal Mystification

“Brand-new list member Thomas Park has a very fine new album out on Hypnos’ CDR sub-label “Secret Sounds”, combining rather than merely contrasting light and dark,
often ushered along with discreet, quasi-ethno beats.”

–Stephen Fruitman on the ambient@hyperreal.org mailing list

.

“The fifty-minute Primal Mystification is the first release by Mystified (aka US ambient-electronic musician Thomas Park) to appear on Hypnos Secret Sounds. Park is
no novice, as he’s collaborated with artists such as Nunc Stans (One Thousand Dreams, Dataobscura), Robin Storey (Rapoon), and Nigel Ayers (Nocturnal Emissions).
The four tracks on Primal Mystification are restrained in character and induce a state of calm in the listener — which isn’t to suggest they’re uneventful, as there’s lots
of activity and detail on display. Likening the mercurial drone sounds to the emergence of human beings from the ‘primordial ooze,’ Park shapes minimal elements
(some of it created from field recordings) into ten-minute-plus settings of placid design using ringing ambient washes, willowy synthetics, elemental percussive
patterns, and simple melodic phrases voiced by piano. In “Massive Turning,” elegant piano playing drapes itself across long-form droning tones anchored by a gently
swinging rhythm track made up of acoustic-sounding percussive elements (hand drums, bells). “Departing Certainty” exudes a ghostly, even tribal quality in its
crystalline swirls and cavernous rumble, while both “Not Knowing Where,” its nocturnal whistling tones animated by a midtempo rhythm track, and “Back to the Primal,”
its ethereal shimmer augmented by Eastern-sounding percussive pulsations, are energized by comparison.”

–Reviewed by Textura.org

.

“The idea behind this 2009 release from Mystified is simple: foggy drones glide slowly past, shifting and rolling as they go, while light touches of percussion lend a
faint tribal air. While I stand by that as an accurate description of how it’s done, I’ll also tell you that it sorely downplays what Mystified (aka Thomas Park) is able
to do and convey on this disc with that formula as his starting point. Primal Mystification is one of those ambient CDs that innocuously burrows its way into your
subconscious mind, persistently but patiently setting up its space in your head — and by the time you realize it’s there you’re really quite okay with it. Park’s drones are
warm, grey things that move in otherworldly waves. He varies his approach, track to track, to keep each of the four long pieces here fresh. The opener, “Massive Turning,”
takes its percussive sense from a gently played tabla, a sharp, solid and rhythmic snap over the wash. An echoing piano, played two simple notes at a time, wanders
through. At first I found this an odd choice for a disc that’s so drone-based, but in Park’s hands it quickly becomes an integral element in the piece’s definition.
“Departing Certainty” is abstract, shadowy, beatless and a bit foreboding. It’s the dream you can’t wake up from. I’m intrigued by Park’s choices of percussion in the
last two tracks, “Not Knowing Where” and “Back to the Primal.” The first has a hand-drummed feel, a fire’s-edge rhythm with a strong tribal sense. I like the way he puts
it up against a throbbing bass swell that, in its tone, is as unwavering as the drumming. (I’ll get back to this in a moment.) The percussive element in “Back to the
Primal” is two-pronged: a flangey and metallic electronic beat squares off with more hand drumming. It is the sound of the computer-age tribe calling back to its
ancestors, perhaps — and getting a distinct answer in kind.

Park drives home his musical intent in the form of repetitive motifs that change only slightly across time. Between the often-mellowing touch of the drones and the
insistent metronomic pulse of the drumming, in any form, the listener doesn’t have much choice but to follow his or her brain as it slides and sluices down into Parks’
umbral constructs to touch the primal memory in all of us.

I enjoy this disc more with every listen, and the deeper I go, the more I like it. Primal Mystification is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.”

–Reviewed by Hypnagogue

.

Primal Mystification alternately conjures thoughts of settling in for the sleep of machines in the sub-
rumble of a boiler room; the aurora borealis toying with the audible spectrum; alien conquerors come to claim their
stake — our echoing fear; finally cracking the door to the secret spirit realm; the day that machines gain sentience
and blink up at their gobsmacked creators; and a group of motherless children beating out a post-apocalyptic drum
circle in desperate hope.
Truly, a sonic headphone journey that removes one far from the physical. Perfect for the Hearts of Space radio
program, too.”

–Byron Kerman, freelance reviewer

.

“The unbelievably prolific Thomas Park returns to us once again with a rather lovely full-length offering (as Mystified) on Hypnos Secret Sounds–’Primal
Mystification’. Mr. Park’s more free-form (or perhaps it is more appropriate to refer to it as “formless”? I refrain from using the genre terms “ambient” or
“drone” as they have been over-referenced for decades) work often touches on something powerfully inexplicable and nebulous–magickal. This particular
release would be no exception.

The album starts out with a piece entitled ‘Massive Turning’. It’s a bit deceptive if one thinks they have the Mystified sound pegged–as one expects gassy,
shimmering atmospheres. It delivers just that… only it is coupled with an organic percussion that is unheard to me in the work of Mystified! An instrument such
a tabla would have been too obvious, so what sounds like bongo is appropriate and more enthralling. Layered along with these sounds are also piano chords.
‘Massive Turning’ seems to be literal–a massive turning POINT in the direction stylistically. And it works like a charm.

Next is ‘Departing Certainty’. And that it certainly is–a departure from the banalities of life into an almost hallucinatory, emotional transcendence. The piece
feels like walking in someone else’s shoes of their past , blurred and fading melancholia.

‘Not Knowing Where’ is the apex for this gem of a disc. This is the most potent track of all–and the one I am the most familiar with (seeing that I produced the
video for it). Every time I hear it I get the sense of being lost BLISSFULLY in the cosmos… but full of wonder. Music for lysergic inner-space travel.

Concluding this release is ‘Back to the Primal’. Despite an almost “electronic feel” at times, it is re-entry music for returning to the mundane tribe/masses
perpetuated by consensus reality–the primal of the flesh prison we are born into. Or is it vice-versa? Either way, it is a trip beyond this world (and beyond
genre traps) you wish would NEVER end! But until we leave this mortal coil and its restraints of the physical body, it is only possible to touch on these realms
with the aide of such ART as that of Mystified…”

–Reviewed by Allan Zane, musician and video artist, Jan 5, 2010

This limited CDR is available for $9.99
here

2010.10.05

OK, trying to catch up on posting some recent reviews of Hypnos releases. For starters, two reviews of Children of Alcyone by Steve Brand.

Steve Brand - Children of Alcyone

“A supra-terrestrial theme also runs through Children of Alcyone, the second release by Steve Brand (who’s also issued recordings under the Augur name) to appear
on Hypnos Secret Sounds. The inspiration for the work came from the writings of Barbara Marciniak whose books supposedly channel information from the Pleiadians,
distant ancestors of ours from the Pleiades constellation (Alcyone, incidentally, the name of the constellation’s ‘central sun’). Initial sound sketches for the recording
were produced in September 2007 during a master class taught by Steve Roach and were refined subsequent to it at Brand’s studio. The material on Children of
Alcyone is minimal, even simple, by design but is alluring nonetheless. Lonely tones whistle to one another across immense expanses, and a melancholy spirit
shadows the four calming meditations. A brooding epic of long tones and ringing percussive flourishes, “Outside the Grid of Time” forcefully draws the listener into its
murky depths, but the recording’s coup de grace is the stirring “Light Age” where minimal synthetic tones unfurl gracefully for an entrancing twenty-three minutes.
Showing a deft and pitch-perfect touch, Brand skilfully weaves the elements into hypnotic form, never hurrying the material along nor slowing it down too much either.
The result is that rare thing: ambient music that’s both artful and moving.”

–Reviewed by Textura.org

.

“I have drifted my way through the four pieces in Steve Brand’s new release, Children of Alcyone, four times nowñand by that I mean the recent now, in the past few hours,
letting the thing loop quietly through my space, shaping the air, and quite content to have it do so. ChildrenÖ is a straightforward ambient disc, designed for this sort
of quiet, repeated and almost inattentive listeningñbut, as can be said for most good ambient discs, offering a lot of depth and interest to the focused listener. The
content here is crafted in familiar, deep-sigh synth pads rolling in slow waveforms toward the horizon. Shifts in tone rise up infrequently to pull attention back to the
music. (Again, as good ambient music does.) Brand shows equal strength in developing calming flows, as in the first two tracks, “Golden Cloud” and lush, 22-minute “Light
Age,” and tenser, more dramatic musical scenes, evidenced by “Outside the Grid of Time,” which can at times be almost discomforting in its edginess. With the fourth
track, “Into the Central Sun,” Brand folds in sparse percussion for a low-level, unobtrusive tribal feel. In handling all these sides of his ambient self, Brand
effectively creates a sense of narrative, movement and completion of thought. Outside of the opener, which comes in just under nine minutes, these are long, patient
tracks. There is movement within each, with Brand exploring and developing their distinct personalities and themes with a certain hand. This is my second exposure to
Brand’s music, and my appreciation for the quality of his work grows, not just with each new CD, but with each listen.”


Children of Alcyone is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.


–Review by Hypnagogue

This limited CDR is available for $9.99
here

2010.10.04

It’s been a while since the last CD release on our own label(s), but here’s the next installment in the Seren Ffordd
reissue series.

Artist: Seren Ffordd
Title: Arhythmia
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds
hss31, limited cdr edition of 300

Seren Ffordd - Arhythmia

Reissue of out of print 2005 recording by Seren Ffordd, an ambient artist residing in Wales. This is the second in our series of reissues by this artist, following
Stellar Nurseries, and we previously released his album Veils, Shadows on Hypnos Secret Sounds a few years earlier.
Arhythmia is hypnotic and at times restful, yet often has an “edge” or a discordant quality. It’s more “active” than most other Seren Ffordd music

Cycles, patterns and rhythms, the world is full of them. Not the steady beats prevalent in most music, but subtle interlocking rhythms that dance and move through each other. The flow between the monthly phases of the moon and the daily tides. Stellar precession and the turning of galaxies. The pulsations of our blodd, neurons and breathing.
In five parts, Arhythmia is an exploration of such shifting patterns that can be heard and felt but not danced to. Rhythms and movements of sound that draw the mind and spirit into other places of dreaming. Arhythmia is a mixture of light and dark textures that contain both flowing and hypnotic elements.
All the sound sources on the CD are acoustic in origin. They include field recordings of Thunder, rain and other things. The rest of the music is created on singing bowls, voice, gourds and chimes. All the effects and sound manipulations are performed on a Korg D16 digital portastudio. Recorded in June and July 2005.

“Interestingly with a title like Arhythmia, the artwork on the front of this one looks much like the inside of a heart valve, albeit softened in both texture and color.
As for the music, hopefully it won’t give you any cardiac trouble. Darker and more experimental than his other discs, here Benford takes us into what he calls ‘an exploration
of rhythms that can be heard and felt but not danced to.’ Rumbling and churning sounds are joined by a steady rain in the background. Benford notes that the music is divided into
five parts, although it plays as a single track… Arhythmia is daring adventurous fun.”


–Review by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space

Track listing, with mp3 sample clips:
Part I – 10:15 mp3 clip
Part II – 14:45 mp3 clip
Part III – 17:00 mp3 clip
Part IV – 14:00 mp3 clip
Part V – 14:50 mp3 clip

This limited CDR release, on the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint, is available for purchase for $9.99
here

2010.10.01

New additions to the
Hypnos Store from First Fallen Star, a relatively new label.

Mystified – Passing through the Outer Gates, Eulogy Series Volume 1
(Miscellaneous category)
(Price: $12.99)
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. Limited to 500 copies…
(more/buy)
Secret Druid Society – Restless
(Miscellaneous category)
(Price: $12.99)
Long after we are all dead and gone, the planet will continue to go about its business. The duo of musicians that form Secret Druid Society
carefully carved, molded, and eroded drones and minimal dark ambient soundscapes, finally recording what had evolved from the process, in order to tell a story
not of human misery, not of an apocalypse, but of what Earth has always done and will continue to do for periods of time wholly unfathomable by the human mind.
Limited to 500 copies, Secret Druid Society’s Restless is presented in digipak format with an 8-page booklet, featuring short poems penned by the hands of the
project’s musicians….
(more/buy)

August 2010 News Archive

(all August 2010 news updates are combined to one entry below)

2010.08.31

We’re now selling the latest from Relaxed Machinery and Steve Brand on the
Hypnos Online Store.

Steve Brand – Coniunctio (2CDR)
(Relaxed Machinery label)
(Price: $19.99 2CDR)
Coniunctio is the joining of two longform ambient works. “Pale Blue Orb” is very celestial, spacious,
glowing in the warmth of enveloping light and consciousness while “The Beginning of Days” is more terrestrial, Earthy.

Track listing:
Disc 01 Pale Blue Orb – 61:06
Disc 02 The Beggining of Days – 72:45
Audio clips available here….
(more/buy)

2010.08.20

Lots of new Hypnos Store listings just arrived from Dark Duck, the label run by Stephen Philips.

Stephen Philips – A Distinct Line on the Horizon
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
This time using an electric piano, an organ, synths, and a few other things, Stephen crafts an exploration as unique as life itself….
(more/buy)
Stephen Philips – Eternal Recurrence
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
With Eternal Recurrence, Stephen Philips returns to classic ambient drone form with this fresh blend of new tunes. The music on this release ebbs and flows through a variety of alien landscapes, machine drones, glacier bells, and dark dream worlds. Another cold, stark statement from Stephen Philips….
(more/buy)
Stephen Philips – Fugue States Volume 1
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
This musical exploration revolves around the idea of the Fugue State. Fugue, in this sense, not resembling the musical fugue, but rather the fugue state, being defined as: A neurological state in which a person denies memory of activities for a period of hours to weeks; to external appearances these activities were either completely normal or the person disappeared and traveled extensively; most are functional In other words, he has created music with a jarring sense of disorientation through the use of experimental themes, exotic textures, and ambient music….
(more/buy)
Stephen Philips – Fugue States Volume 2
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
The first exploration revolves around the idea of the Fugue State. Fugue, in this sense, not resembling the musical fugue, but rather the fugue state, being defined as: A neurological state in which a person denies memory of activities for a period of hours to weeks; to external appearances these activities were either completely normal or the person disappeared and traveled extensively; most are functional In other words, he has created music with a jarring sense of disorientation through the use of experimental themes, exotic textures, and ambient music.\”
This release represents Volume 2 of these explorations and picks up right where Volume 1 left off…
(more/buy)
Stephen Philips and Peter Bolander – Lost Nightmares
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Stephen Philips and Peter Bolander team up for the first time in what is essentially a exotic nightmare of sorts. Lots of experimental textures and disjointed sounds blend with micro ambiances to create these lost nightmares….
(more/buy)
Drone Forest / Stephen Philips – Blurring the Edges
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
More than two years in the making, this first collaboration brings together five monarchs in drone. Drone meister Stephen Philips and fellow drone masters, Drone Forest, aka Ian Stewart, Mike Bowman, C. Reider, and Davie Blint. These talents seamlessly blend to create an ooze of textural goodness previously unheard on any level….
(more/buy)
Deep Chill Network – Antarctica
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Deep Chill Network return to the same frozen tundra themes that began with the series of CDs including Heart of the Tundra, Deep Freeze, and Yukon CDs. This time, they venture south of the equator and bring you the first of a set of CDs simply titled Antarctica. Deep (and we mean deep) minimal drones predominate throughout with icy textures and deeply chilled ambient….
(more/buy)
Deep Chill Network – Cyber Sleep 4
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
The long-awaited re-issue of the 1997 classic drone CD, Cyber Sleep 4. The music here varies from the deep drone of volumes 1-3 and features textures and arrangements that vary significantly from the first three….
(more/buy)
Deep Chill Network – Cyber Sleep 6
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Deep Chill Network return to their sleep roots with all new music done in the similar slow and chilled out trademark sound they pioneered almost 15 years ago. Deep atmospheric dream themes is the tone….
(more/buy)
Deep Chill Network – Cyber Sleep 7
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Deep Chill Network return to their sleep roots with all new music done in the similar slow and chilled out trademark sound they pioneered almost 15 years ago. Deep atmospheric dream themes is the tone….
(more/buy)
Lucette Bourdin – A Thousand Voices
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
This CD is Lucette\’s seventh release on Dark Duck Records, and with each subsequent release her musical craft gets more and more focused. This release again features her trademark ambient style, and once again, she throws in some gentle beats and rhythms. A variety of vocal samples and \”voices\” help fill out the sound….
(more/buy)
Lucette Bourdin – Drum-atic Atmospheres
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
This release again features Lucette Bourdin\’s trademark ambient style, and once again, she throws in some gentle beats and rhythms to help fill out the sound. This is a companion piece of sorts, and if you liked what you heard on Drums and Repercussions, you will find this album just as warm and welcoming….
(more/buy)
Rigel Orionis – Creative Sociopathy (A Journey into the Mind of the Distant Future)
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Rigel Orionis returns for another CD full of tasty drones and exquisite minimal beauty. Deep, somber drones predominate and otherworldly textures ebb and flow throughout. (originally recorded in 2007). Additional mixing and mastering in 2010 by Stephen Philips….
(more/buy)
Rigel Orionis – The Drone Tone
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Rigel Orionis returns for another CD full of tasty drones and exquisite minimal beauty. Deep, somber drones predominate and otherworldly textures ebb and flow throughout. (originally recorded in 2007)….
(more/buy)
Perimeter – Beyond the Perimiter
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
This debut album from Perimeter explores gloomy soundscapes filled with exotic samples and atmospheric noises. This is an album for people who like their ambient dark and highly textured.
Perimeter is 31 year old Andre Buter. After long time exposure to all kinds of electronic music and specifically ambient, all the way back in the earliest Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre periods, Andre decided to create his own music. With a preference for all things dark and gloomy, he formed Perimeter to explore the boundaries of dark perception as he calls it….
(more/buy)
Bolander – First Things Last
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Composed and performed by Peter Bolander. This is Peter\’s second full-length CD on Dark Duck Records. Hot on the heels of his recent collaboration with Stephen Philips, titled: Lost Nightmares, Peter returns with another stellar set of ambient drone. This CD is another set of sublime minimal drone ambience with some beats thrown in for flavor…
(more/buy)
Palancar – Enlightenment
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Darrell Burgan is a prolific artist hailing from Texas who releases electronic ambient music under the project name Palancar. He is also the founder and owner of internet radio station StillStream, commercial record label Blue Water Records, electronic soundware vendor Spirit Canyon Audio, and is a member of ambient groups Copal River and Cluster Balm. Finally, he is also the founder and owner of Earth Mantra Netlabel. Several years in the making, this CD showcases the vast skill that Darrell possesses behind the keyboard. There is a fair amount of soul-searching going on here, and Darrell really lets his guard down with this deeply personal statement….
(more/buy)
Frore – The Nameless Place
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Frore is music that evokes a dark thoughtful, primitive, atmosphere for reflection and /or dreaming….
(more/buy)
L:|t – Falling Apart
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
L:|t is about that bug smear streak thingy on your windshield, the thumb prints left on the back of the iPod that won\’t go away no matter what, that little rattle your DVD player keeps making, the flickering street lamps and that weird, shiny gravel that accumulates at the edge of the interstate. Tiny things that don\’t matter at all. . . or matter quite a bit? Surrounded by a world that never seems to work out quite right, L:|t is a mix of melancholy melodies swaying to and fro and stuttering beats on the edge of breaking down. It\’s all falling apart around us. . . But it sure is fun to watch….
(more/buy)
Orion\’s Belt – Ecumenicals: The Mysteries of Time
(Dark Duck category)
(Price: $12.99)
Orion’s Belt (aka Jim Brenholts and Darren Rogers) teams up again for another stellar set of ambient, drone, and spacemusic blended in seamless fashion. This set of new music, recorded during the spring and summer of 2009 and completed just 1 month before the untimely death of Jim Brenholts, firmly grasps the concept of time and the urgency of life. This CD is dedicated to the memory of Jim Brenholts and his love and passion for music and the music makers in the ambient and spacemusic communities…
(more/buy)

2010.08.06

Here are some more recent additions to the
Hypnos Store that we forgot to feature here at the time we added them. This time,
they’re from the Relaxed Machinery label.

Chris Russell – Frozen (cdr)
(Relaxed Machinery label)
(Price: $9.99 cdr)
Frozen recalls the stillness and silence of a winter snowfall transitioning into spring, celebrating the rebirth and renewal of life.

Track listing: 01 aurora / 02 thaw / 03 time lost / 04 tundra / 05 numb / 06 frozen / 07 otzi / 08 slowly drifting…
(more/buy)
Bob Ohrum – Elevated (cdr)
(Relaxed Machinery label)
(Price: $9.99 cdr)
Elevated is a journey through heartbreaking loss and the celebration of a spirit set free from a broken body.

Track listing: 01 song for you (i‚Äôll never forget) / 02 while they slept / 03 everytime i close my eyes / 04 elevated / 05 diwedd / 06 the wasteland…
(more/buy)

2010.08.01

We have two new featured items on the Hypnos Store from Steve Roach.

Steve Roach – Sigh of Ages
(Projekt category)
(Price: $13.99)
Emotions quietly stir and resonate in this deeply self-reflective album exploring the terrain between melodic electronic/ambient and modern
minimalism. These six pieces utilize gentle melody, harmony and sonic tonality to poignantly reflect upon the passage of time, life lived, lives passed and a time
of renewal: a sigh of the ages expressed in sound…
(more/buy)
Byron Metcalf/ Dashmesh Khalsa/ Steve Roach – Dream Tracker
(Steve Roach category)
(Price: $13.99)
A full-blown dreamtime alchemy of all the elements. The living, breathing percussion, didgeridoo and soundworlds are unified in a single
purpose: to open to the door out of the ordinary world, initiating the listener into an empowered journey of infinite possibilities for spiritual rebirth, illumination,
and transcendence…
(more/buy)