Full Review of HIMALAYA in The Wire’s December 2019 Issue

Carl Stone made the wise decision to split his latest creations over several releases.

Carl Stone Himalaya Unseen Worlds CD/DL/2xLP

 

It takes 35 minutes to reach the summit of Carl Stone’s new Himalaya. To arrive there, you ascend through manically cut up and overlaid Afrobeats, funk and hiphop grooves together with a tasty disco riff that reassembles the very molecules of your being. Then, having hit the apex, Stone throws you into idyllic freefall for the next half hour, into a balmy environment of slow moving and ethereal tones, music that is as voluminous and prayer-like as the opening part is compacted and hedonistic.

The relationship between Himalaya and Stone’s release from earlier this year, Baroo, mirrors that between Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way – the later album building on the textural and harmonic palette of all that went before, while clawing open fresh expressive possibilities. The opening piece “Han Yan” tells you what to expect as high-speed Afrobeats hallucinate on their own existence. Musically, two things are happening. Stone has the beats on intense fast-forward, while little microedits snip out crucial supporting notes in the harmony, which spins the music relentlessly forwards – it has no brakes.

A strutting rock beat kick-starts “Bia Bia” before it lurches towards ebullient chaos, with broken-up trumpet fanfares randomly puncturing the texture like Lester Bowie is wandering in and out of earshot. “Kikanbou” is grounded by a mesmeric disco beat that keeps rolling for 17 minutes, a motor around which auxiliary beats circle. Around the six minute mark, and for no other reason than he can, Stone suddenly turns everything upside down and inside out, and upside out and downside up, leaving beats coiling in other directions and soaring upwards. The world’s pop music has become putty in Stone’s hands. Each piece could, in theory, keep reassembling its particles infinitely. But Stone applies his composerly voice with a noticeably light touch, making conscious decisions about his material without ever suffocating its freedom.

Had he signed off after “Kikanbou” Himalaya would still have been exceptional, but the final glide through spacious textures and rarefied tunings – leading towards intonations from the Japanese vocalist Akaihirume – reconnects your soul with the stuff of sound itself as you ruminate on an epic journey, both exhilarating and affecting.

Philip Clark

The Wire December 2019

The Wire’s review of Himalaya, my latest release

Happy to report, The Wire’s review of Himalaya, my latest release, is pretty much a rave.


Excerpt: It takes 35 minutes to reach the summit of Carl Stone’s new Himalaya. To arrive there, you ascend through manically cut up and overlaid Afrobeats, funk and hiphop grooves together with a tasty disco riff that reassembles the very molecules of your being. Then, having hit the apex, Stone throws you into idyllic freefall for the next half hour, into a balmy environment of slow moving and ethereal tones, music that is as voluminous and prayer-like as the opening part is compacted and hedonistic.
The relationship between Himalaya and Stone’s release from earlier this year, Baroo, mirrors that between Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way – the later album building on the textural and harmonic palette of all that went before, while clawing open fresh expressive possibilities.

You can read the entire review here, or of course in The Wire’s December 2019 issue.

BANDCAMP:

https://unseenworlds.bandcamp.com/album/himalaya

https://unseenworlds.bandcamp.com/album/baroo

APPLE MUSIC

https://music.apple.com/us/album/himalaya/1473870763

https://music.apple.com/us/album/baroo/1452006426

Two Releases Now Out on Unseen Worlds


Two albums just released on CD. HIMALAYA, the newest of them (featuring title track with @akaihirume), is now out on CD and DIGITAL formats. BAROO joins the physical realm today on CD, as well. Both HIMALAYA and BAROO have delicious vinyl platters forthcoming. Please enjoy this first course… artwork by Sam Lubicz

“Stone makes music that can hit your ear holes like a DMT flash.”
– Richard Gehr, Relix

“Stone is still ahead of the game when it comes to his knack for discovering a world of music in a grain of sound.” – Julian Cowley, The Wire

“It’s another hall of mirrors but this time, its every surface is in a packed lysergic night club. Strings stretched, fragments jackhammer, and thick synthetic arcs swarm….Stone is on fire here” – John J Nicol, Obladada

https://unseenworlds.bandcamp.com/album/himalaya
https://unseenworlds.bandcamp.com/album/baroo

Latest Release Gets Picked by The Wire as Best Album of the Year 2016 (Archival Category)

wire-magazine-rewind-2016

“West Coast composer Carl Stone was one of the first to plug in to the possibilities of digital synthesizers, samplers and effects. Electronic Music included “Shibucho”, an audacious sample flip of The Temptations’ My Girl that connects Steve Reich’s Come Out to Chicago footwork, and two explorations of the possibilities of the Buchla synth. Julian Cowley said “While Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa were flamboyantly promoting sample based hip-hop, and Joh Oswald was openly flaunting the art of plunderphonics, Carl Stone developed his own idiosyncratic take on sonic bricolage.”

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Boomkat Loves Our New Release and Makes Us Laugh Telling Us So

“lights up our pleasure centres like a quid in a fruit machine, using a palette of eastern-tuned scales, processed vocals and pop samples to conjure a majorly playful array of idiosyncratic, angular and intriguing arrangements that resonate with Robert Ashley’s mercurial cut-ups as much as The Automatics Group’s incisive dance pop detournements and the proto-glitch music of Nicolas Collins. 

It’s all totally new to us and feels like somebody just opened a big skylight onto our listening lives, flooding us with new sensations between the baroque computer music of Sukhothai (1977) and the wormholing drone of Chao Praya (1973), taking in the soothingly ethereal Shing Kee (1986) and strobing structure of Don II Jang (1982), along with the haunting nocturnal transition of Kuk Il Kwan (1981) to lay out whole new worlds before your ears.”

You can read the full review here

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Our Latest Release Score’s Bandcamp’s “Best of Contemporary Classical” November 2016

“This astounding anthology collects two-and-a-half hours of the early electronic experiments of Carl Stone, an L.A. composer who studied under Morton Subotnick and James Tenney and worked with Buchla synthesizers back in the ‘70s before finding his true passion: a kind of experimental sampling approach that presaged the developments of folks like John “Plunderphonics” Oswald and Paul Lansky. There are a couple of those early analog synth pieces—thick, long tone drones—made as a student at Cal Arts, included, but the real thrills come from the sample-based work. Stone’s work relied on tape machines, building layer after layer of the same passage of music—like the minute or so of Renaissance harpsichord music in “Sukothai” that folds in on itself until there are 1024 simultaneous layers of the music piled up, and rhythms disappear in a buzzing haze of abstract sound. Towards the end of 1982, he began working with the now-primitive Publison stereo digital delay unit to create dizzying hall-of-mirrors refractions built from tiny fragments of Asian pop, American R&B and classical records that he manipulated with a maniacal rigor to generate sound profiles that drifted toward fleeting recognizability—such as the lick of “My Girl” in “Shibucho”—before pushing off into different chopped-up patterns. Today’s technology could tackle these time-consuming time experiments with ease, but Stone’s resourcefulness and originality is unmistakable, and these sounds remain fresh decades later.”

Bandcamp is a global community where millions of fans discover new music, and directly connect with and fairly compensate the artists who make it. Their mission is to provide all artists with a sustainable platform to distribute their music, while making it easy for fans to directly support the artists they love. This review is from the Best of Bandcamp Contemporary Classical: November 2016 listings

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Textura Reviews Our New 3-LP Release

“The only prosaic thing about Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties is its title. Otherwise, the eight pieces (one a digital-only bonus) on this three-LP collection of pioneering work by American electro-acoustic composer Carl Stone constitute an oft-mesmerizing two-and-a-half hours; in fact, of the seven album tracks, five are so extensively explored they each take up a full album side. What makes the release especially significant for students of electronic music’s history and development is that all are previously unpublished pieces, the sole exception being “Shing Kee,” which surfaced on a 1992 New Albion CD release.”

Full review here

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