WAT DONG MOON LEK Makes The Wire’s REWIRE -Best of 2022

Once again we’re honored to be included in The Wire’s “REWIRE” Best of 2022 list. This release on Unseen Worlds keeps Carl’s unbroken streak going since 2016.
“Carl Stone is a half-century into his career – so how is it that his music still sounds fresh? Wat Dong Moon Lek sees the West Coast composer working in Max/MSP, taking scraps from disparate genres – pop, country, jazz – and pasting them into anarchic, hook-packed pop collages. Claire Biddles said: ‘The tracks are all made so methodicallty, and yet there’s such alchemy here, each track feeling fizzy and alaive with potential directions.'”

BoomKat Reviews Wat Dong Moon Lek

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Avant-garde computer music pioneer Carl Stone’s newest is a Max/MSP powered deep dive into unsettled dreamworld sampledelica, warping pitch-fuct pop garbles into hiccuping noise spirals and quasi-techno ethno-pop bumpers. Properly off the dial material that sounds like a plunderphonic take on the Sublime Frequencies catalog, or ABBA reworked by Oval.

‘Wat Dong Moon Lek’ might be the oddest missive we’ve heard yet from Stone. The Californian computer music vanguard has long been notable for his dissections of electronics, minimalism, world music and hip-hop, and this latest set melts his history into a barely discernible soup of chattering drums, veiled vocals and stuttered melodies. “Stone ‘plays’ his source material in the way Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ ‘plays’ an ensemble,” reads the press release – and it’s not far off the mark. There’s a freewheeling charm and humor to Stone’s approach that’s hard not to love, it’s uncompromising and deliciously bonkers, but struck thru with a level of knuckle-crack’d expertise that lifts it a few inches from the ground at all times.

At its best, ‘Wat Dong Moon Lek’ sounds like a shortwave radio interrupting a skipping J-pop CD: almost aggrevatingly loopy but texturally inviting at the same time. And while the music is assisted and driven by software, it sounds organic and human, as if Stone is answering the ubiquitous algorithmic playlist age with an arched eyebrow and a double helping of glitchy mischief. Whether you’re into John Oswald, Farmers Manual, DJ Screw or Steve Reich, this one’s for you.


Baroo & Himalaya Albums Both Named “Best of 2019” by The Wire, Pitchfork, Artforum, Bandcamp

Both Carl Stone album releases from 2019 found their ways onto a number of Best of the Year lists, from Artforum to The Wire.

Himalaya: Best of 2019 14/100
“The world’s pop music has become putty in Stone’s hands. Each piece could, in theory, keep reassembling its particles infinitely”


Baroo: Best of 2019 27/100
“Like a vivd and recurrent memory of somewhere you have never been, or an everday experience suddenly made inexplicable and strange”


Himalaya: Best Music of 2019 5/10

How much music do you really need? Stone’s work suggests that sometimes a second is enough. As he shows on Himalaya, real-time manipulation of tiny samples can yield extraordinary results, ranging from shattered-beat mosaics to oceanic stillness.


Baroo & Himalaya: Best Experimental Albums of 2019
The two albums released by Carl Stone in 2019 bubble with ideas and careen with dizzying juxtapositions. He has an uncanny knack for cutting up songs and samples in ways that retain structure and melody yet still sound deconstructed and disorienting, as if the floor beneath them is bending and warping and could collapse at any time. Baroo and Himalaya both engage with pop music by rearranging its DNA, constructing a new kind of catchiness through circular edits. He can build arcs that rise and fall, and ride loops that hypnotize as they expand. The process is brainy, but both albums are also full of glee, as fun to listen to as they are to contemplate.

Baroo: Best Experimental Albums of 2019
“Like a vivd and recurrent memory of somewhere you have never been, or an everday experience suddenly made inexplicable and strange”


These titles available through UNSEEN WORLDS as well as on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and finer music stores.

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