Friday, May 14, 2010
Tod Dockstader, 8 ELECTRONIC PIECES
Folkways, 1961; reissued by Locust; available
8 untitled tracks (of course!), 36:45
With this album, Tod Dockstader's unique brand of electronics was introduced to the world. Using both purely electronic and concrete sources, Dockstader brought his expertise at editing (picked up while working for cartoon companies!) to his music. It's impossible to tell what sounds are what. Different elements weave in and out, always giving way to fresh noises. It's not as random as this sounds; these are definitely electronic PIECES with a set structure and detectable progression. "Organized Sound" (the title of a later Dockstader LP) sums it up nicely. The lengthy seventh and eighth pieces are definite highlights, but there's not a single wasted moment on this whole collection. Even the monophonic recording doesn't blunt the impact of this disc! Folkways sure was bold to release this, but kudos to them. Dockstader would make more records, retiring for a long time after the stressful sessions for OMNIPHONY 1 (a story to be told in later reviews*). He's recently been active again and creative as ever. This is a pretty brief review, but know this: If you like early electronic music and you're unfamiliar with Dockstader, GET THIS NOW! For that matter, anything by Dockstader is guaranteed to please, so pick it up on sight.
*I have yet to acquire OMNIPHONY 1 or the compilations QUATERMASS and APOCALYPSE, but once I do they'll receive reviews as well.