Compositions » Drone

Drone started one way and went another way (like the Telemetry Tapes did, three years later). I had collected recordings of racing cars in motion, because I liked the droning sound they made, the Doppler-effect of pitch change (without timbral change) as they passed the microphone. To find an equivalent sound that would be “playable” - more controllable - I recorded a lot of sustained tones on an acoustic guitar, “Dopplering” them with tape speed changes. But, in use it all became, for me, boring. It was the sort of sound that later became the material for minimalist music.

So, in the process of working on it, the cars just drove away, though some of the guitar survived, along with the title. The musical impetus for the piece was Japanese court music, Gagaku, which I’d heard a lot of and liked. I tried to combine that sort of sound with some violence - the violence I felt that was lurking, almost unheard, under the restraints of Gagaku. So the piece goes back and forth between drone and demolition, a kind of desert demolition derby.

Two generators, water (in motion), guitar (played and hit), coil spring, white noise (from FM), piano (struck), toy flute(“penny whistle”)



Apocalypse (STARKLAND, 1993)


Luna Park, Traveling Music, Drone, Apocalypse, Two Fragments from Apocalypse, Four Telemetry Tapes.

Organised Sound by Tod Dockstader (Doxy Records, 2014-06-02)


Drone, Water Music, Two Fragments from Apocalypse.

Organised Sound by Tod Dockstader (OWL Records, 1966)


Drone, Water Music, Two Fragments from Apocalypse.