A subtle, moody, rich and wide-ranging work, in which atmosphere, emotion and dramaturgy lead the ear far beyond music into a world of hints, evocations, anticipation and association and, in passing, reveal a complex metonymic language that, at a deep level, invokes that mostly unconscious lexicon of sound we have all absorbed collectively and subliminally in the course of a century of movie-going, television viewing, documentary recording and electroacoustic experimentation.
Once sounds have been abstracted from events, they are free to act and interact as signs; they are no longer indications of the real. and from their use as indicators we learn new meanings (the low drone from jaws, the shower strings from psycho, a tv theme, these are all as directly meaningful to us as a barking dog or an approaching train; after 1000 movies, the sound of a helicopter has as many fictional as factual meanings, and these accretions make experience imaginatively richer).
This is the language dockstader and myers explore, and although, in a sense, such signs are weightless (there is nothing there), nevertheless we cannot unhook them and inevitably they conjure fragmentary narratives, events, places, situations and meanings. where their last cd (pond) abstracted sound from the life (in fact, documentary recordings of frogs), this one invokes a fictional life invoked in a language of purely mediated abstraction.
First reissue of this legendary 1966 loudspeaker composition for concrete sounds, chamber ensemble, electronically processed chamber ensemble, razorblades and tape.
The legendary collaboration between leading american musique concrète composer Tod Dockstader and an instrumental ensemble directed by James Reichert where, for I think the first and to date only time, there was full integration of the written, played and manipulated sounds.
The instrumental parts were derived from ‘cells’ of concrete sound and in turn were electronically transformed (in Robert Moog’s then state of the art studio), then the whole mass of material was organised together. A true hybrid, and a one-off. Long out of print since it’s appearance on vinyl in 1966.
With two extra pieces by Tod Dockstader - a new stereo version of no.7 (from the 1961 ‘Eight Electronic Pieces’ and very late and very different - piece from 1990 which has never escaped his studio until now. A classic and a milestone in the evolution of electronic, mediated sound.
Life meets art. Born of a long written correspondence and a mutual affection for frogs between David Myers (the artist formerly known as Arcane Device) and Tod Dockstader which eventually spawned this programme of electronic/concrete pieces derived almost entirely from field (and swamp) recordings of frogs - choral and solo - processed, manipulated and organised in a million ways.
This release also marks the welcome return of Tod Dockstader to the lists; it’s his first large-scale new published work for decades.