Greetings! I hope this finds you well! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Welcome to the first Noozletter of 2019 (or the last one of 2018, depending on your time zone). As we cross over into the new year, I like to pause and reflect on the one past. It was in many respects a great year, but with a couple of serious bad points that cannot be ignored. The Good The Bad The Ugly
For the good:
I enjoyed virtually all of my 2018 gigs, but there are a couple of standouts. The audience rising up and dancing spontaneously to my music in Lima Peru thrilled me to the core. Being able to share the bill with Yasuaki Shimizu at the Barbicon Center in London was a distinct pleasure. Any chance to collaborate with Sankaijuku dancer/choreographer Dai Matsuoka never disappoints. And playing my compositions on a mostly-folk series in a small village in Scotland where the audience had little to no exposure to live experimental computer music yet gave me a rousing ovation and bought all my merchandise, was like a dream come true.
While still based in Japan I had a number of overseas tours and run-outs. Two tours in Europe, one solo and one with my musical partner Miki Yui as Realistic Monk. It was tremendous fun to visit Peru for the first time – wonderful people, great audiences, and some terrific food. I was able to follow up my first visit to Scotland by a second trip two months later. Both were great fun – and despite any stereotypes, I had a number of excellent meals there.
- Red Bull Radio : My Fireside Chat w/ Mark ‘Frosty’ McNeill was premiered in January and remains available at https://www.redbullradio.com/shows/fireside-chat/episodes/carl-stone
- The BBC recorded my entire solo performance at Cafe Oto/London and is broadcasting+streaming it, along with an interview I did with the estimable Robert Worby, on January 19th 2019. This too will be available in the archives of BBC 3 on the “Hear and Now” page. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00022k6
- On the critical front, I am glad to report that my latest release on Unseen Worlds, in addition to being ranked #3 out of 100 on The Wire’s Best of 2018 list, has garnered near universal praise, with only one stinker review <cough-pitchfork-cough> . Just a sampling:
- Boomkat: “Four hallucinatory new planes of ambient enquiry yielding some of the most interesting electronic music we’ve never heard before.” https://boomkat.com/products/electronic-music-from-the-eighties-and-nineties
- The Wire: “Can an album be un-turnoffable? If so, this one is!”
- The Hum: “So beautiful and accomplished, that words can only fail….unquestionably one of the most important releases of 2018. Absolutely essential. Stunning on every count. I can’t recommend it enough.” https://blogthehum.com/2018/07/18/on-carl-stones-electronic-music-from-the-eighties-and-nineties-issued-by-unseen-worlds/
- Vital Weekly: “Four quite different pieces, all made with then-current technology and with some fine imagination, and none of this sounds out of date.” http://www.vitalweekly.net/1140.html
- Obladada: “A vast window into deep, active space. An immensely beautiful and soaring finale.” https://obladada.com/2018/06/26/carl-stone-electronic-music-from-the-eighties-and-nineties/
- In October Obladada published an extended interview with your truly, spread over two parts, and also featured my music in their year end Aventuro roundup. https://obladada.com/2018/12/05/aventuro-5-carl-stone-l-os-a-moelle-2007/
- In June, Unseen Worlds released the follow-up to my 2016 release of archival works. This one is called New Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties. As before, I was very happy with the response from both the public and the critics. The first pressing sold out in a matter of weeks, and some of the reviews are quoted in other parts of this letter. I couldn’t be happier working with IUnseen Worlds, and am looking forward to a new release with them in 2019, featuring my recent work from the past couple of years. http://www.unseenworlds.com/releases/electronic-music-from-the-eighties-and-nineties
- In September, Meakusma released Realm, the first album of REALISTIC MONK, my duo project with Japanese born, German based sound artist Miki Yui. With liner notes from David Toop, this release has proved a hit especially amongst lovers of experimental ambient cinema sonore. https://meakusma.bandcamp.com/album/realm-2
Big thanks to all my wonderful collaborators this past year! It has been so great working with each and every one of you.
Akaihirume, Pearl Alexander, Altered States, Anna Irite, Soo Yeon Lyuh, Dai Matsuoka, Ned Rothenberg, SAEBORG, Yasuaki Shimizu, Aki Takahashi, Ami Yamasaki, Miki Yui – Bless you all!
For the Bad:
Without question the darkest moment in the year was the sudden passing of my longtime friend, critic Jonathan Gold. Not only was he a good friend and great eating partner but always a staunch supporter of my music. He plugged me numerous times in his columns, wrote program notes for my concert at the Getty Center and did the liner notes for my first LP release on Unseen Worlds. But more than that, he was a just a great guy in every sense and his disappearance is a terrible loss for Los Angeles in particular. I was heartened by the tremendous outpouring of love that the city showed after he passed, from changing the lights at City Hall and LAX airport, naming a plaza in front of Grand Central Market, and many other tributes. It is going to be very strange to visit LA next time without him there. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/obituaries/jonathan-gold-dead-los-angeles-food-critic.html
For the Ugly
What, Donald Trump is still president? Are you kidding??? We really have to do something about that PRONTO.
On the horizon:
A three city tour in Taiwan with Akaihirume in January. Performing in New York and at The Big Ears Festival (Knoxville) in March. Berlin in June. DUBLAB will be hosting a serial presentation of some of my composer interviews originally broadcast on KPFK in the 1980’s, including Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Chen Yi, Toru Takemitsu and more.
Keep your ears peeled!
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