Carl Stone - Electronic Music from the Seventies and Eighties 3xLP
Label: Unseen Worlds
Even amongst fans of minimalism, avant-garde and electro-acoustic music, Carl Stone is not necessarily a household name, but he has worked with a veritable who's-who of the scene – studying under Morton Subotnick at CalArts and working with Phill Niblock, Tetsu Inoue, Joan La Barbara, Otomo Yoshihide, Conlon Nancarrow, Stockhausen and more in various capacities in his 40+ year career. His early career from the '70s until the late '80s saw only one commercial release, the highly regarded Woo Lae Oak, but he was a prolific composer and this set makes available for the first time a vast body of work that encompasses nearly 15 years and a wide variety of styles.
Two of his earliest pieces ("LIM" and "Chao Praya") are the only things here composed entirely on synthesizer, the Buchla 200, while everything else incorporates some combination of electronics, live acoustic performances, samples and analog tape manipulation. Of particular interest to Stone has been the manipulation and sampling of LPs, an innovation born somewhat out of necessity as, after graduating from CalArts in the mid-'70s, he no longer had access to their vast studio and instead was working at KPFK radio where the most abundant resources were LPs and tape recorders. The use of LPs can be heard on many pieces in this 3xLP set, but none more powerful and intriguing than "Shibucho" from 1984, which is built entirely out of a Motown greatest hits boxed set. Elsewhere Stone can be found manipulating classical records, Japanese pop singers and Asian folk music. Stone has worked primarily via laptop for many years, but in his early work he used what was on hand – from LPs to tape recorders, Prophet 2002 samplers and early Macintosh computers. The innovative techniques he came up with in that time – showcased here on this beautiful set – make a strong case for Stone being on the short list of electronic pioneers.