“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.”
“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
“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
“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.”
“Jaw-dropping maximalist achievement, done so through a minimalist methodology…..compositions that, much like the CalArts music library Stone spent many of his hours in, reveal endless surprises and delights upon each listen….incredibly rewarding album.”
“Stunning indeed, full of purring drones that at first appear to hardly be moving, only to have them slowly slide and reveal infinite amounts of overtones. It’s evocative of some of my favorite minimal music from this era.
“By-turns lovely, prickly, meditative, and maddening, these eight extended compositions (some two and a half hours of music) showcase drastically different sides of Stone’s work, which previously was relegated to small batch cassette releases in the ’80s and early ’90s. An early adopter of the computer, which he used to create his pieces, Stone’s also worked with turntables and manically manipulated samples. He has electronically elongated source sounds until they take on entirely new topographies. These techniques anticipated later trends of all sorts, from the dense slivers of samples informing the Bomb Squad’s productions to Plunderphonic’s trash-compacting of pop music to Justin Bieber 800% Slower.
From Andy Beta, published October 1 2016. You can read the complete review here
In September 2016, The Hum blog, long a favorite even before we found out that Bradford Bailey was aware of our existence, published a review of “Carl Stone – Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties” that was thoughtful, historical, well-researched, and – best of all – could really only be categorized as a rave. Full review can be found at on-site at The Hum, but here are some tantalizing excerpts:
Stone’s Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties is a missing link, not only in the history of avant-garde and electronic music, but within the entire body of arranged sound (popular or otherwise). As Leger’s realization of Cubism was to the visual, these works become a metaphor of the contemporary operation of sound. We are saturated with chaos, barraged with an ever present, but uncountable of number sources – each vying for a place in the world. This is the fruit and consequence of a technological age. This is that sound encountered at a crucial point in history – the tipping point between the optimism of exploration and progress which defined the High-Modern spirit, and the fatigue, saturation, inward reflection, and slowing which marks our own.
Dong Il Jang (1982) – the collection’s third track completely knocked me over. It’s incredible – sonically to the coming digital era, what Steve Reich’s It’s Gonna Rain is to the analog. It was recorded the same year the CD debuted, anticipating sounds we all know too well (and eluding to an aesthetic yet to be pioneered by Yasunao Tone, Nicolas Collins, and others) – skipping and skittering micro-loops. Remarkably, it was created on an early analog sampler. It’s prescience and achievement is mind boggling.
Sukothai is a sound collage with 1024 layers, built from a single source – a recording of the harpsichord. It grows from faithful representation, toward a writhing chaotic sea of sound, until it progressively becomes so complex that it evolves into one of the most beautiful drones imaginable.
CARL STONE Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties
“a missing link, not only in the history of avant-garde and electronic music, but within the entire body of arranged sound (popular or otherwise).” – The Hum
“stunning …. full of purring drones that at first appear to hardly be moving, only to have them slowly slide and reveal infinite amounts of overtones…lovely, prickly, meditative, and maddening” – Pitchfork
“The eight pieces ….on this three-LP collection of pioneering work by American electro-acoustic composer Carl Stone constitute an oft-mesmerizing two-and-a-half hours…(Shing Kee is) spellbinding.” – Textura
“Astounding …dizzying hall-of-mirrors refractions built from tiny fragments of Asian pop, American R&B and classical…. Stone’s resourcefulness and originality is unmistakable, and these sounds remain fresh decades later.”
Best of Bandcamp Contemporary Classical: November 2016
“It lights up our pleasure centres like a quid in a fruit machine….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……Not to be missed by anyone with a taste for innovative electronic music of the rarest order.” – Boomkat
“Jaw-dropping maximalist achievement, done so through a minimalist methodology…..compositions that, much like the CalArts music library Stone spent many of his hours in, reveal endless surprises and delights upon each listen….incredibly rewarding album.” – Zurkonics