The Tod Dockstader Web Site: compositions
James Reichert

James Reichert

All images © Starkland, ReR Megacorp, Tod Dockstader. Used by permission

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Apocalypse [1961]

Apocalypse followed Luna: I wanted to do something heavier, thicker in texture, more unruly and alarming - a concrete Deis Irae. The slowed (creaking)doors and the cat-cry toy are central to it: they provided the threat and despair I wanted (the cat-cry toy was a little round box with a picture of a cat on it which, when you turned it upside down, emitted a thin, pathetic little cry - slowed[on tape], it became, I thought, heart-wrenching). The passage of Gregorian chant, in Part Two, was used as a vocalization of the door sounds - I'm always looking for sounds of different timbres that express the same emotion. The inclusion of Hitler (tape-echoed into gibberish) in the last part is from my radio childhood, when I heard his broadcasts in the late thirties: I didn't understand a word, but the terrifying sound of it (made stranger by the shortwave phasing) stayed with me. The sonic boom(s) were almost the only sounds I had that had originally been recorded in stereo: the sound materials in all my work were, originally, almost all monaural, recorded all over the place in a time before portable stereo tape recorders (the "live" cat in Part Four sang one night outside our apartment window in the Village: I hung a mic out the window for most of the night, recording his arias).

Sound Sources

First Part

Second Part

Third Part

Fourth Part