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Various Artists - Sounds of a Universe Overheard (compilation)

CD release announcement from Hypnos Recordings
Various artists
Title: Sounds of a Universe Overheard
Hypnos Recordings (hyp2752)

Various Artists - Sounds of a Universe Overheard (compilation)

2007. Long-time Hypnos listeners may recall that we released a couple of compilations in the early years, The Other World and Weightless, Effortless, which included exclusive tracks by many of the all-time greats of this music scene. Both those compilations were very well-received by critics, DJs, and all kinds of listeners. So you could ask, and many have, why hasn't Hypnos released any more compilations recently? Maybe because they're a lot of work, much more work than a regular CD by a single artist, and time is always a constraining factor when running a small label by yourself. Do you do one compilation album, or do you spend that time putting together two or three regular CDs? Well now, Hypnos is no longer a one-man operation, so more time is available, and that has allowed us to take on the task of putting together these compilations.

The first compilation is Sounds of a Universe Overheard, a collection of ten tracks exclusive to this CD, created by a cross-section of ambient, experimental and soundscape artists from around the world. Included in this diverse group are more established recording artists who will be known to most listeners to these genres, as well as new, emerging names. We feel a compilation is most interesting when it varies from the familiar to the new. This disc covers all sorts of territory in terms of sound, from more musical and soundtrack-like sounds, to darker ambient, to pure sonic experimentation.


Jonathan Block, better known as Synthetic Block, has released electronic music on such labels as Hypnos/BInary and Gears of Sand.

M. Peck, based in Tennessee, has recently released two collaborative CDs with Mark Mahoney, but his Glacial on Gears of Sand is a great solo debut.

Freq. Magnet is an alter-ego of one half of ambient/experimental duo Austere, working entirely with treated electric guitar, who has two solo full-length CDs, Étoiles du Couvrecle and Principium Somniferum.

Kirk Watson appeared previously on a compilation, Passing Strange, on the short-lived Broad Vista label.

dreamSTATE, a duo from Toronto, Canada, have released several CDs and have been active in collaboration with other artists, and on compilations on such labels as Umbra, The Foundry, Dark Duck, and Atmoworks.

Seren Ffordd is a sound artists working in Wales, who has released several CDs on the Umbra & Penumbra labels, as well as a recent release on Hypnos Secret Sounds.

Dwight Ashley is a long-established ambient composer with several solo CDs as well as well-received collaborations with Tim Story.

Justin Vanderberg is a relatively new name, but his debut CD In Waking Moments on the Hypnos Secret Sounds label has been well-received, and marks him as a name to watch.

Igneous Flame is a British ambient/soundscape artist who has come on very strong in just the last few years, with his self-released albums gaining positive notices.

Tau Ceti is an Italian ambient minimalist, and frequent collaborator with his countryman Oophoi, on whose labels Umbra & Penumbra the majority of Tau Ceti's delicate works appear.

THE TRACKS (with MP3 samples)

Jonathan Block "The Language of Rocks" MP3
M. Peck "Somna" MP3
Freq. Magnet "Nitrous" MP3
Kirk Watson "Scarecrow" MP3
dreamSTATE "Ghost Nebula" MP3
Seren Ffordd " Strange Attractor" MP3
Dwight Ashley " Behold the Trampled Wheat" MP3
Justin Vanderberg "Infection" MP3
Igneous Flame "Pandora" MP3
Tau Ceti "Float" MP3

Purchase direct


"Sounds Of A Universe Overheard is a really fantastic compilation, and easily one of my top CD's of the year. In fact, I played it up against your other comps (Other World, Weightless) last week and they went really well together."
--Scott Raymond, WVKR radio


"Sounds of a Universe Overheard (70'10") complies works by a cross-section of artists working in the field of Ambient Music. As no mainstays of the genre are present, the ten names should rouse only nominal interest from the less adventurous. Good thing too that the heavy-hitters are absent as this group has collectively asked itself, "what can I do differently from what has come before?". This resulted in ten distinctly different tracks, yet all reside well within the region of introspective space. At one corner is Dwight Ashley. His "Behold the Trampled Wheat" is teasingly arcane, yet invites endless analysis. Moving between digital dissonance and symphonic consonance it brings nothingness and being into equilibrium. Although "Ghost Nebula" by dreamState seems to sustain an atmosphere, it is delicately changing colour and tone throughout its course. The arrangement of synth pads and reverberant effects provide a beautiful and sophisticated drifting experience. M Peck descends into himself on "Somna" to conjure up a coarse sonic environment. Through the placement of manipulated samples and electronic detritus around the rising and falling of drones, this piece creates a sense of place - one that is entirely within the listener. After over an hour of intriguing music, the disc closes with "Float" by Tau Ceti. A warm and airy work for analogue synthesizer, this piece does not mean to further distort reality. With its lovely chords and lilting melody, this composition is a welcome resolution to a fascinating aural exploration."
--Reviewed by Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END


"The new Hypnos compilation Sounds Of a Universe Overheard is another of those disks that are hard to review cogently because it’s another of those disks where somewhere in the middle you suddenly realize just how far you’ve drifted along the soundcurrent without realizing it. And then, noting same, you try to be more mindful but within a short while you’re floating again, quite pleasantly so, and you wonder how you’re ever going to comment on something you can’t entirely recall, other than to say it was so lulling and lush that you can’t entirely recall listening to it. Hypnos head M. Griffin has done an amazing job not only of culling together from disparate sources a soft and dark blend of slow-moving ambient, but of seamlessly melding them one track to the next. There are no bumps here, no abrupt switches in styles. Griffin opens the disk with the geometic precision of Jonathan Block’s “The Language of Rocks” before fully immersing us in the flow. The listener is carried through the shadow-cave depths of M. Peck’s “Somna” and “Nitrous” by Freq.Magnet, the latter coming dangerously close to inducing a hypnotic state, and on through the descriptive aural text of Kirk Watson’s “Scarecrow” as it glides from its creepy beginning to a more soothing sense. From there, dreamSTATE launches into the spacey drone textures and sighing distances of “Ghost Nebula,” depositing the listener in the nervy, penumbral landscape of Seren Ffordd’s “Strange Attractor,” perhaps the darkest and sparsest track on the disk. The dark continues through Dwight Ashley’s “Behold the Trampled Wheat,” painted as always in the artist’s beautifully murky palette. This track takes the listener briefly out of the drone zone toward the end with some gracefully orchestrated string sounds. Justin Vanderberg dials it all back down with the smooth, drawn-out washes of “Infection.” Glimmers of light peek through the well-drawn shadows across the span of Igneous Flame’s gracefully soaring “Pandora” and Tau Ceti brings the disk to a gentle close with the soft fluidity of “Float.” Universe is dense, rich, and heavily layered with sonic imagery. I cannot call out a highlight here, despite the inclusion of several artists I rank as my personal favorites, because the disk simply has to be taken as a whole—a whole and wholly engaging voyage through a universe which does, indeed, deserve to overheard. Often. Sounds of a Universe Overheard is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD."
--Reviewed by Hypnagogue, hypnagogue.netfirms.com