The four pieces by Carl Stone on this recording span a remarkable period in the history of music technology.
Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties
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Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties presents the soothing, hallucinatory side of Stone’s slow-evolving, time-bending composition. While we can’t always identify the source, we can hear that his sounds come from somewhere, and that there is a “correct” or “complete” version of them in theory; and so we can hear when they are being changed. What drives Stone’s music is the flow that he draws out of those differences: the way an Indonesian gamelan morphs into a chorus built from one female vocalist over the course of “Mae Yao”’s twenty-three minutes, the surprise emergence of a Mozart chorus out of the synths and skip-glitches of “Sonali,” or the slow, ambient evolution of “Banteay Srey”. “Woo Lae Oak,” issued in a single side edit for the first time, is an exception. Its samples – a tremolo string and a bottle being blown across the top like a flute - are simple in the extreme. Yet the Stone hallmark is clearly present, he locates the inherent emotional properties of the sounds – the tingling anticipation of the string and the calm nobility of the wind – and takes them into unexpected expressive territory.
"Mae Yao is almost unbearably beautiful. Over 23 minutes, what starts as choppy gamelan glitching gets smoothed out by a wondrous set of quavering, manipulated tones. Is it a voice, an instrument, the wind? The point is that Stone uncouples it from recognisable timbre, leaving it as pure, contextless sound – a staggering announcement of the universality of beauty." - The Guardian
"the artist constructs oft-ethereal meditations that entangle synthesized and acoustically generated frequencies until they mesh into blanket-like gusts of tone." - Randall Roberts, LA Times
"In recent years, the Unseen Worlds label has performed an essential service by reissuing significant (and too little heard) works of Minimalism and electronic composition. This month, that hot streak continues with “Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties,” the label’s second collection of pieces culled from the catalog of sampling maven Carl Stone. In some earlier works, Mr. Stone relied a Buchla synthesizer. He also tended to favor a disorienting approach to looping and layering. This new compilation shows the composer steadily embracing new technologies as they became available — and exploring some new moods. In notes for “Banteay Srey,” created in 1993, Mr. Stone wrote that “a Burundi child’s song is stretched and recontextualized with an original musical bed,” courtesy of MIDI, a then-new “personal computer,” a sampler and a synthesizer. The end product is far less manic than some of his prior experiments, but no less gripping." - Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times
"The album ends with Mae Yao (1984) which evolves along a hectic trajectory. The gamelan is pushed through the meat grinder, working itself into a heaving mass of Morse Code splinters and jumps. Backwards, forwards, upside down and the right way around, in a hall of mirrors… At the point it seems almost unbearable, it blossoms into a huge nebulous drift. A vast window into deep, active space. An immensely beautiful and soaring finale... Like the previous overview lovingly spot lit by Unseen Worlds, Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties is an amazing point of entry into Stone’s beautifully exhilarating sonic world." - Obladada
"It seems just logical that another handful of Carl Stone’s electronic works follows, at relatively short distance, the brilliant Electronic Music From The Seventies And Eighties issued by the same label in 2016. If that plunge into archival materials was a study in the origins and development of an unmistakable compositional style, this chapter revolves around certain aesthetic principles – neo-minimalist, if you will – which, in conjunction with Stone’s interest for textural organization and form, warrant impressive quality standards." - Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
"As revelatory as the first volume Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties, the temporal shift into the ’80s/‘90s in this 2nd collection opens four hallucinatory new planes of ambient enquiry yielding some of the most beautiful electronic music we’ve never heard before." - Boomkat
"An Aaron Dilloway for the Baby Boomer generation, Stone was known for making unforgiving loop music, taking snippets of sound and slowly replacing their initial meanings with new ones through longform repetition." - Norman Records
DIGITAL TRACK LIST
1. Banteay Srey (14:09)
2. Sonali (16:58)
3. Woo Lae Oak (23:06)
4. Mae Yao (23:23)
Carl Stone is one of the pioneers of live computer music. He studied composition at CalArts with Morton Subotnick and James Tenney and has composed electro-acoustic music almost exclusively since 1972. When New Music was exiting the loft scene of the 1970s and entering the more commercial realm of the 1980s, Stone guided his art through that transition period by fusing his compositional ambitions with systems of live performance that were simultaneously pop savvy, commercially suicidal, and technologically forward-thinking. He moved away from pure electronic sound and was among the vanguard of artists incorporating turntables, early digital samplers, and personal computers into live electronic music composition. An adopter of the Max programming language while it was still in its earliest development at the IRCAM research center, Stone continues to use it as his primary instrument, both solo and in collaboration with other improvisers. In addition to his work as a composer, Stone served as Music Director of KPFK-FM in Los Angeles from 1978-1981, director of Meet the Composer California from 1981-1997, and President of the American Music Center from 1992-1995. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and Japan, where he is a faculty member of the Department of Media Engineering at Chukyo University in Japan.