Sound Out: Mike Hunter - May 2017
Ombient Fortunately for everyone with access to The Internet, Mike Hunter has decided to share himself with us, as well as with several demanding "in-real-life" activities. Moving along a continuum of creativity, Mike has proven himself to be an accomplished guitarist who has played in a number of bands, as well as a noted Electronic Musician, in pursuit of experiences at the opposite end of the music spectrum. His music project Ombient embraces a fascinating range of styles and situations, with the most recent concentration being focused on Berlin-School Spacemusic. Mike also has a substantial career as a technology professional, as well as a dedicated husband and father. He also hosts Music with Space, the weekly radio program on WPRB Princeton, where he airs a stimulating range of electronic and ethereal music releases, and hosts live-to-air in-studio performances.

As technologically deep as he is, there's more to Mike Hunter than just circuits and wiring. Please find more in this insightful interview. Please read on...

Rene Descarte STAR'S END: What relationship does Consciousness have with The Universe?

Mike Hunter: A very direct relationship. Rene Descartes famously said "Cognito ergo sum", or, "I think therefore I am". I take that a step forward to "I think, therefore IT IS".

After all, without consciousness, to perceive the universe, does it really in fact even exist? Each of us has a different view of the universe through the filter of our own consciousness - does this not mean that we in essence, inhabit our own personal universe?

Robert Fripp STAR'S END: How does Knowledge become Wisdom?

Mike Hunter: Via practical experience applying knowledge. The "practice" or "craft" is the process and path to wisdom. In the words of Robert Fripp, "Understanding is simple. Knowing is complicated."

St Michael STAR'S END: You served in the US Army. Please tell our readers, many of whom have not served and may have no insights, why you enlisted? What your experience was? How it shaped you as a person?

Mike Hunter: The idea of serving my country and my endless quest for adventure. The main lesson I learned is that when you think you have had enough and you can take no more, you are really able push through and accomplish a goal.

Buchla Music Easel

STAR'S END: What is your favorite synthesizer? The best one ever made, the one you love, in your opinion?

Mike Hunter: A tough question as there are many tools for the job. I guess if I had to name one, it would be the early Moog Modular synths or the Buchla Music Easel. If it was to be something mass marketed and more traditional, then the Jupiter 8 by Roland.

Five Films - Mike Hunter

STAR'S END: Five favorite films?

Mike Hunter:

  • Star Wars
  • Wizards (animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi)
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Disney version)
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

If there is a common theme here, it is adventure. This list likely changes daily...


STAR'S END: What is your Porn Name?

Mike Hunter: Missy Monmouth

Five Locations - Mike Hunter

STAR'S END: What five places/lands/cities do you wish to visit/see?

Mike Hunter:

  • Pyramids at Giza
  • Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  • The Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland
  • Antarctica
  • Mons Olympus, Mars


STAR'S END: You are a Husband and Father of two children (11 & 13). Please tell our readers, many of whom may not be a Parent and have no personal insights, how being a Parent has shaped you as a person?

Mike Hunter: My experiences as a parent are quite deviant to the norm due to both my children having severe autism. There is nothing in my life that has not, in some way, large or small, shaped me as a person. Some good, some bad... some for the better and some for the worse... I am not sure I have even begun to assimilate all the impacts of parenthood.


STAR'S END: It seems that most Electronic Musicians have a career outside of music by which to earn a living. Please tell us about yours, and your achievements in this realm.

Mike Hunter: I am an Information Technology Architect that specializes in infrastructure of cloud based computing and storage environments. My current goal is to facilitate the virtualization of almost all aspects of the modern data center, from computer to devices that made decisions about how IP packets flow across networks. Notable achievements was the deployment of an object storage cloud environment across 12 data centers around the world. At the time, it was one of the biggest object storage clouds ever built. Clearly, I am a lover of technology, which plays into my interest in the tools we use to make this kind of music.


Phaerda STAR'S END: Was there a definitive turning point for you with Space Music/Electronic Music, something easily defined that sparked you on a new path? or do you attribute your current position to be a logical place along a life-long continuum of innovation/creativity.

Mike Hunter: Probably a part of a lifelong continuum, which included various art forms: music, writing, digital painting... et cetera

I began as a classical guitarist and swiftly moved into various forms of rock music. The love of music with "space" (meaning music that has a large degree of dynamics, from silence and very quiet passages to orchestra levels of pitch, timbre and meter) and "Space" Music (meaning music about inner-space, in the mind - or outer-space, as in beyond earth and into the cosmos) has existed as long as I can remember. I have always loved musical scores to films, specifically those of films such as Forbidden Planet and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was hearing the soundtrack to the film Legend by Tangerine Dream that led me to listen to Phaedra by the same artist. It was Phaedra that convinced me that Electronic Music was my primary love.

STAR'S END: What things have you learned, insights gained into life, the world, its people, and the music in your years producing Music with Space?

Mike Hunter: I have learned that there are more people out there who are into this kind of experimental music than I ever would have imagined. I have also learned that one person, alone in the basement of a building, in front of a microphone can have far reaching impacts - someone is always listening (not just on the radio), so make it GREAT!


Doctor Cosmo STAR'S END: What does the world need to know about Dr Cosmo? (the late, great host of Nocturnal Transmissions on WPRB)

Mike Hunter: He was, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most creative DJ's to ever grace the airwaves anywhere. His passion for those things he was interested in led him to many places and interaction with many interesting people. (He was in the Philippines, working as a sound recordist for film shoots during the fall of Marcos and was named mayor of a town for one day!) He never failed to inspire those around him, even after his passing from this world. Google "Oswald in a Jam" - he created that iconic image and even met and had lunch with Bob Jackson (who's permission he got to distribute the modification of his original image of Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby).

Hendrick's Gin

STAR'S END: What's so great about Hendricks Gin?

Mike Hunter: There is something very cool and refreshing about Hendricks Gin, which is traditionally served with a slice of cucumber and tonic. I was led to this wonderful spirit by none other than the German space musician Wolfram Spyra! Thank you Wolfram!


Ombient STAR'S END: Compare your experiences playing live music. Between the Irish Band, other bands and Spacemusic?

Mike Hunter: The difference is pretty vast. Irish traditional music has expectations and mandatory repertoire. The audiences of this music tend to not be interested in improvisation or new and unusual interpretations of said repertoire. Space music encourages exploration and improvisation with pitch, timbre and meter that no other musical art form really reaches for. It also contains and inherent sense of mystery, which is sadly lacking in much of modern life.

STAR'S END: Why do people do drugs?

Mike Hunter: For probably as many reasons as there are people who do them. For some, it is self-medication in a world where proper care is out of reach.

For others, perhaps it greases the wheels of social interaction by a slight lowering of inhibitions. For yet others, it is a tool to "shift ones perspectives and see things from that different viewpoint". In the words of Carlos Castaneda, "Moving one's spot".

It is a well-known fact that once the 5 basics, oxygen, water, food, shelter and sleep, are provided for, the next step, #6, is seeking a "buzz". Children do this on their own by standing in a field and spinning until they are dizzy (similarly, the practice of the Whirling Dervish in the Mevlevi order of Sufism to seek the "remembrance of God"). Seeking this "buzz" is a basic human drive and need. It seems likely that mankind has evolved to process some of these "entheogens". It is possible that much of religion is likely due to mystical experiences from exposure to substances like ergot of rye, DMT from Yage/Ayahuasca, cannabinoids and even just plain deprivation of food/water and companionship as in the case of the American Indian vision quest.


STAR'S END: What does Technology want from us?

Mike Hunter: The question implies that technology has "wants" and I tend to avoid anthropomorphizing technology. But if such a thing was possible, I think it would want to "feel very useful" like Thomas the Tank Engine.



STAR'S END: What effect would verifiable contact from an advanced Alien civilization have on Humanity?

Mike Hunter: It would probably call into question the validity of many religions, or at the very least, a restructuring of dogma. This could have both positive and negative outcomes. It could also bring all the cultures of Earth together in a way being alone in the Cosmos could never really engender.


STAR'S END: How would you explain Humanity to them?

Mike Hunter: Since we humans struggle with that, I would probably refer them to a good philosopher. If that was not sufficient, I would just say "42" and tell them to make an appointment with Slartibartfast on Magrathea, who's work on the fjords of Norway is most notable!


-Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END Interview with Mike Hunter - May 2017