Bryan Tewell Hughes began taking piano lessons at age 6, and immersed himself in visual arts and amateur film-making as a young man. His passion for science fiction and fantasy films and their soundtracks would later help set the tone for his musical pursuits.
Hughes credits his grandparents for introducing him to Electronic music in the 1980's, and names Kitaro, Ray Lynch, Tangerine Dream, and Vangelis as some of his early influences. These vintage roots are deftly melded with current recording technology and an appreciation of organic and acoustic elements to produce a refined, fresh sound not heard until now. AeTopus has been compared to Berlin “active” space music, to the Mystique releases of the Narada label, and to old-school New Age electro-instrumental a la Jean-Michele Jarre and Popol Vuh.
A former tattoo artist, Hughes holds degrees in Fine Arts and Psychology. He currently creates music and visual art in his Bellingham, Washington studio.
AeTopus' sound combines both synthesized and recorded elements, and often features sound bites and spoken human vocalizations that are used to solidify each album's theme. The music is reminiscent of early Electronic New Age in that it contains many common synthesizer motifs, yet has an exotic presence due to the use of orchestral and ethnic instruments.
The music of AeTopus has generally been described as a blend of several Electronic music subgenres. Jim Brenholts of Ambient Visions refers to Memories of the Elder as a "hybrid", describing it as possessing "...elements of the Berlin school, pastoral new age, dark ambience and droning minimalism. At the same time, it is none of those styles." In a 2008 review of Tempula, Bill Binkelman of Zone Music Reporter noted that "...Hughes has fashioned a type of music that belongs to no country and yet also [sic] all countries."