Compositions » Eight Electronic pieces

Original Sleeve notes for the Smithsonian LP release

The old battles over the use of the term music in electronic music have given place to new ones over the term electronic. Electronics are now generally accepted as a means to musical ends. But just what is ‘electronic’ and what is not is hotly argued by the composers now working in the technique. The Germans and Dutch have been insisting on the purity of their electronic music by using only oscillators as sound sources. To the French, such insistence on purity is a typically Germanic fanaticism; they prefer natural sound sources (concrete). The Americans have generally taken a middle ground, and this promises to be the most fruitful – a combination of oscillator and natural sources. The eight pieces in this album represent this combination. The fine ‘Poème Élèctronique’ of Edgar Varèse is a combination in his ‘Kontaktes.’ So the combination technique suggests it may become the international style in electronic music, as the serial technique of composition has in orchestral music.

Why combination? Each source of sound has its limits and advantages: pure oscillator sounds are usually dry, harsh, sharp, limited in timbre and without much harmonic complexity – they can, however, be controlled much more easily than natural sounds and can produce any tune the composer wants. Natural sounds have their own ‘tunes’ and are difficult to control, but they have a great range of timbre – just a dropped plate has all kinds of harmonics to explore. To realise these harmonics, however, a natural sound must usually be transposed electronically into a concrete sound. This process abstracts the sound enough to make it usable in a piece of music. Music that uses only these transposed sounds is called Musique Concrète from the French, who claim to have invented it – although the first work in this technique was done in Russia long ago in the adventurous days of Formalism, before such activities were banned as not being in the public interest. This concretization of sound involves slowing down or speeding up the recorded sound through several generations of tape, filtering it, adding various kinds of echo - a process that often takes the bite out of it, so it lacks the cleanness and impact, the presence of pure oscillator sounds which can be used directly from the oscillator with little or no doctoring.

Music must have both range and definition, and in a sustained electronic piece, both of these sources are needed. Each source has its own general sound, a perspective that becomes monotonous if unrelieved. Oscillator sound is usually small and close up – a string quartet sound - while concrete sound is usually large and distant, a little veiled. A simple example of both is to be found in the first part of the eighth piece on this record: the gong which starts the piece is a natural sound - a concretized saucepan hit – while the tempo series laid over it is electronic. In this case, the two different perspectives have been blended somewhat with added echo. Echo doesn’t affect concrete sound much – such sounds have their own acoustics built in – but it does soften the sharpness and flatness of electronic sound, giving it a little ‘room’ to sound in. An example of this effect is the little oscillator tune which starts the first piece – without echo it would sound flat and dead. Thus, the electronic composer has to provide his own hall along with his own orchestra.

In listening to this music, it is usually impossible, and most pointless, to sort out the sources as electronic or concrete. It is their use, their arrangement, upon which the success of these pieces as music depends. Varèse calls his electronic work Organized Sound, and the term indicates the importance of organization in this new music. The composer is confronted with a potential orchestra of thousands of instruments, and control is a major struggle. Building a piece is like improvising with a huge orchestra, recording as you go. Something starts, develops, and you’re never sure of where it’s going or how, even if, it will end. In the early pieces on this record (numbered in order of composition, one to six) I simply set two or three tapes of sounds going at once – chance combinations, accidental themes, chaos – all were recorded. Then I sat down and edited the half-hour result into three or four or five minutes, into something that seemed to be a ‘piece.’ This process led to a gradual disenchantment with the novelty of my sounds, and this disenchantment led to greater control from the start. A sound had to work into the piece under way, or it would be excluded before it got in. So, the seventh piece is much less cut up than the sixth was, and the eighth was not cut into at all, except to join the sounds and passages into a time relationship.

I had 12,000 feet of taped sounds when I started my first piece; I now have four times that amount to work with. Existing as they do, at random on reels of tape, they are little more than a unique sound-effects collection. Only organization: selecting, mixing, cutting – can turn them into music. Electronic music must be listened to, finally, not for the novelty of its sounds, but for the sense of its composition – its ideas. The novelty will wear off in time for the listener as it did for the composer. If it doesn’t, the piece has failed the listener as music, or he has failed the piece. If the novelty of a jet plane in a piece of music continues to be its chief interest for a listener, he has shut himself in with people who play the ‘Pines of Rome’ only for the nightingale in it. These new sounds are exciting, but they shouldn’t obscure what the composer is trying to do with them. A composer working in this new way is taking chances, if he’s any good. A composer who plays a traditional toccata on a square-wave oscillator, using it as a substitute for an organ, is taking no chances; much electronic music today is simply using new instruments to play old musical ideas, using the novelty of the new sound to make the piece ‘modern.’ But a composer who deals with wind, riflefire, water, jets, is flirting with chaos; the excitement of his music lies in his control of this near-chaos, as the excitement of Stravinsky’s ‘Sacre’ is held in his control of an orchestra that constantly strains toward chaos. These new sounds demand new ideas from the composer willing to wade into unknown regions. It is appreciation of chances taken and results gained that the listener must try for.

It seems unlikely to me that electronic music will ever replace the traditional orchestra, as come critics and composers have feared. Even when it has been designed to supplement the orchestra, it suffers in comparison with the live sounds, and the combination is usually cumbersome: the orchestra plays, then sits in resentful silence while a loud-speaker roars and whispers fuzzily. But the speaker can’t roar as loudly or whisper as quietly as can the orchestra, and until tape recording and reproducing is improved dramatically, resulting in much wider dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio, electronic music can’t match, much less replace, the clear voice of the orchestra. Electronic music is recorded music – it exists only in a recording. The cuts on this record are not performances that have been recorded – they are the performances; you perform the piece when you play it on the phonograph. No recording of more than a few instruments can compare with the real thing. Electronic music can compare favorably only with other recorded music. The few successful combinations of electronic and live music have involved only a few live instruments, playing with, not in between, the taped sounds. Perhaps the future of recording – the use of thermo-plastics instead of magnetics, for instance – will change all this, but until then the orchestra has nothing to fear from electronic music. The traditional orchestra still holds worlds of new sound for the composer willing to explore it. Webern’s ‘Six Pieces for Large Orchestras’ has been around for over fifty years as an example of such new exploration, yet few composers have even tried to duplicate the adventurousness of this work.

Perhaps the orchestra itself is responsible for its fears of obsolescence. A large orchestra is a conservative body; it is governed and administrated. New works submitted to it by unknown composers must pass a long gauntlet of administrators before acceptance for performance – a discouraging process for young composers who want to work on a large scale. Most of the new music being performed today is chamber music, sometimes involving only a solo percussionist. So, too, it is difficult for the new composer, whose ideas are unorthodox, to get his work recorded. Record companies, with a few brave exceptions, release only oft-performed works: the catalogue lists eleven collections of Kreisler, two of Varèse, one of Webern. Electronic music offers a way out of this stalemate: the new composer can compose – record – perform (one process) works of large scale and unorthodox ideas. He becomes administrator and conductor; the performance will match exactly his concept, and there are no worries about other interpretations. All that stands in the way to realisation is the technical aspect. But this is a mountainous difficulty for most composers; put them in a room with a lot of machines and they only want to get out. But the machines can be learned in a much shorter time than it took the composer to learn the techniques of traditional music. The composer who wants to do an electronic piece must either become also a good technician, or have the assistance of a creative technician – and there are more of these around than most composers think. Many of the best mixers and tape editors in recording studios are also musicians who read and know music. And the composer who begins his work with a technician can, if he will learn as they go along, soon be doing his own mixing and editing. This new man – the composer-technician – is in the best position to realize the full potential of electronic music, and the control so necessary to the work.

Europe has been quicker to realise aid to composers who want to work in electronics than has America. Electronic works are often commissioned by radio stations and record companies, who supply their facilities and technical assistance to realise the commissioned piece. NWDR and Deutsche Grammaphon in Germany, Philips in Holland, RTF in France – all have been assisting composers with electronic works for years. But in America this kind of aid is difficult, if not impossible, to come by. With the only electronic center – that at Columbia University – limited in its ability to accommodate more than a selected few composers, the independent composer must turn to record companies and radio stations for facilities – and these have shown no interest in such sponsorship. Yet here they have a unique opportunity to originate new music for air or disc. In the same way an orchestra commissions new works for live performance in its hall, they can commission works for their station or record label, works that would exist in no other way – and as aid, they can offer use of facilities they already have. In my own case, I had use of the facilities of the Gotham Recording Corporation in New York City, and as composers acknowledge more traditional grants and aids, I would like to acknowledge the aid this studio has given me toward realising these eight pieces.

Tod Dockstader, July 30, 1961

Score for Eight Electronic pieces from Folkways liner notes

Sleeve notes for the Locust CD issue

Tod Dockstader’s Eight Electronic Pieces is an unqualified masterpiece of Musique Concrète, a transmission from a reality that is strangely familiar yet completely removed from everyday experience. It is chaotic yet surgically precise, otherworldly in its sound and scope yet unmistakably the product of human innovation and discovery. It is most of all a challenge to the musical form - Dockstader eschews traditional melody, harmony and rhythm - but in cutting, pasting and manipulating recorded sounds he evokes genuine drama and emotion, properties that distinguish the finest music regardless of its origins and elemental makeup.

Born March 20th, I932 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dockstader worked for animation production houses UPA and TerryToons before accepting a job at New York City’s Gotham Recording Studios. There he created Eight Electronic Pieces, first privately issued and later picked up by Moe Asch’s Folkways Records in I96I. Subsequent efforts including Luna Park, Apocalypse and the epic Quatermass, followed. Dockstader operated, in large part, outside the sphere of the music world record labels commonly rejected his efforts, and his attempts to join the famed Columbia-Princeton Canter for Electronic Music were summarily dismissed. In the wake of the agonizing Omniphony project he stopped making music altogether.

Tod Dockstader effectively disappeared from music several decades before his recordings were rediscovered and celebrated by successive generations. On May 7, 2003, I spoke with Tod about his life before, during and after the creation of Eight Electronic Pieces.

Jason Ankeny, May 2003

Peeps and Beeps: Open Ears in Gotham City

I had a regular Depression-era childhood. It was very ordinary. My only experience with music was the radio, because in those days, there was a lot of music on the radio. Classical music. Serious music. That’s where I started to listen. I was interested in radios-how they worked and magic like that. It was an odd combination: I was fascinated by the electronics of the radio, and I liked serious music. When I was 12 or 13, I got a federal license, and I was a radio amateur for a while. So I learned electronics that way - it was all tubes and all very primitive.

I went to public school, and then I went to the University of Minnesota, so I was exposed to a lot of good live music because of the Minneapolis Symphony. It was a quiet time - we went right from the Depression into the war. I had three majors: I was majoring in Art, English Lit and Psychology, particularly Abnormal Psychology. I was interested in thought and the brain, and Abnormal Psychology was a great way to study it because of the extremes - what goes wrong tells you a lot about the process of thought. I almost got nabbed for Korea, but I managed to weasel out. I got a psychiatric 4-F. I’d had allergies all my life, so I went to the guy who had treated me most of my life and he had saved all my records and he was very much against the war so he wrote up a sealed document that I presented to the inspectors at the exam. The Army would have driven me nuts if I hadn’t already been nuts.

After I left the university, my wife and I went out to L.A. We just got in an old car and drove. My wife taught school, and in a way, I supported us by doing cartooning for all kinds of trade publications. Whatever they wanted illustrated, I would illustrate. Then I decided I wanted to make movies. Everybody does, out there. The way it is now, you can major in film and get real experience, but in those days there wasn’t any of that. I had a portfolio of my cartoons, and I carried that around with me, so I went to Disney Studios and they were looking for somebody to work in the sub-sub-sub-sub-basement, filing ancient film cels: the celluloid stuff that cartoons are based on. They said, ‘Leave your book here with the secretary, and it will be here when you come back.’ When I came back, my book was gone, and it turned out some animators came by and they said, ‘Who is this? Send him to our place when he comes back.’ So I talked to them and they said I should go to UPA, that I’d die at Disney. There was a director at UPA called T. Hee and he was doing the ‘Mr. Magoo’ stuff. I went over and he looked at my book and said, ‘I’ll tell the manager to hire you.’ UPA had a little ad in The Hollywood Reporter looking for editors, and that’s what I wanted to do - I thought if I could get into editing, that was the way to get to be a director. I had already made an appointment to apply for an apprentice editor job, and the manager said ‘Wait a minute, you’re supposed to be here tomorrow for the editor’s job, and here you are now and you’re an animator.’ I said, ‘I’d rather be an editor,’ so I edited film.

I was at UPA for about a year and a half. The studio went upside-down: They went into television and failed miserably. The only thing that happened out of all that is I learned to edit film, and part of that in those days was optical tracks - the sound was optical. As it turned out, learning to edit film and to mix soundtracks was the first training I had in sound. From there I went to TerryToons in New York. The guy who ran TerryToons, Gene Deitch, wanted to save money on soundtracks, which were costing him a lot of dough, so he asked if anyone knew how to run a tape recorder. I started doing tracks for him, and that was the first time I worked professionally in sound. I had to teach myself, because no one there knew how to do it. By day I did storyboards, and at night I did soundtracks.

I saved up some money, and I decided I’d write a play, write a novel, that sort of thing: Greenwich Village aspirations. I took time off and stayed home and wrote. Nothing went anywhere, and I said, ‘Well, I’ll go back to work.’ But there was a recession, so I was living on unemployment for a long time. In order to get unemployment, you have to keep a log that you’re looking for work, and I had nowhere to look-the animation had dried up. So I remembered my experience with tape at TerryToons, and I landed a job at Gotham Recording in New York City as an apprentice sound engineer. That’s where the music started.

I really enjoyed sound. There were a lot of funny sounds in radio that always fascinated me - squeals and peeps and beeps, all kinds of mysteries. I don’t know why it fascinated me - it just did. Gotham wasn’t a big music studio - it was really a medium sized factory. Very small studios and editing rooms. We were doing all kinds of taping for radio and commercials, training films, plays, whatever. We used a lot of sound-effects, and I just started saving sounds. I could store them, and with tape editing, I could do all kinds of things to them. It happened that at that time appeared the first Musique Concrète - the Schaeffer “Etudes,” the little Toonerville Trolley train things, the saucepan songs. It was very modest and monaural, the things he was doing. That really interested me, but I thought the music was kind of … dull. Extremely simple. And I never did like repetitive loops. But the fact that it was being taken seriously interested me, and so I thought, ‘Maybe I can do something.’ A composer, all he needs is a paper and pencil - you just write. But in this world that I was interested in, you needed some pretty heavy equipment - very expensive. I was lucky because I had this engineering job, and I was always willing to work at night, so they finally gave me a master key to the whole place. I would do the paying job as fast as I could, and then I would start wailing - doing my own stuff.

So that’s where the Eight Electronic Pieces came from. I’d record some sounds - water, wind, whatever made a noise - and then I’d go play with them in the editing rooms. At home, I’d put a microphone out the window when the wild cats were calling to each other, or, as I used to do in the apartment that I lived in, I would climb up into the elevator shafts and record the motors. You find sounds, you see. And that’s your raw material. It’s more or less random - it’s a matter of luck finding sounds, and walking around with your ears open. From doing the work, then you get selective, and you know ‘No, that’s no good, that’s not going to work, but that’s a good sound, and I can use it.’ It’s from doing it and failing, and then remembering the color the sounds have in them for what I needed to make a piece. It’s a matter of going around and tapping on things. I remember I’d spend time at dimestore toy counters, because they had little noisemakers. Halloween was a great time to find stuff, too. I’d listen to it and I’d imagine because I knew what I could do with it. In my mind I could pitch it down or pitch it up or imagine running it backwards - I’d done so much of it that I had kind of a cerebral circuit, like a preview. I’d just collect all these things, and I’d get favorites, and then I’d look for sounds that would go with those favorites. And that’s when the piece would start to form- when I started to get judgmental.

Why I chose the sounds I did, I really do not know. I liked dramatic music - I liked modern as opposed to classic. I liked jazz, and I liked eccentric music. I don’t remember thinking this at the time - it’s all in retrospect - but I went for dramatic sounds, dark sounds, something with some theater in it. To me it was all finding out - I had no preconceived ideas. I was working intuitively. I just wanted to make some music that I liked, and this was the only way I knew how to do it because I happened to have a background in the technology of recording. In those days, there were no synthesizers - it was just tape recording. I’d just start things going and see what happened. I’d wait for something good, and I cannot tell you why I decided something was good or something was bad. I was in it, but I was not predetermining anything. I had no goal. I just wanted to make something I liked. I just listened, and if it seemed to work and seemed to move and the tempos were good and there were good surprises and it had an atmosphere, then I kept it. A lot of times it just wouldn’t work, but it worked enough.

The first seven pieces were on 7½ IPS tape, and it seemed to be working, so I took it seriously and did 15 IPS, which is the professional speed, and I think that was on Number Seven or Eight. In New York at that time, FM radio was much more adventurous than it is now - even staid stations like WQXR, which is the New York Times station, would play some pretty adventurous music, and some of this musique concrète was appearing on the air. I knew how to make lacquer masters, so I made 50 pressings - I could do it cheaply, because I was an engineer so I got discounts. I sold them door - to - door and sent them to every record company in New York or anywhere, and the only one who responded was Moe Asch at Folkways.

I did want people to hear it. I wasn’t in a cave someplace. I wanted them to hear what I was doing because I liked it, and I thought maybe somebody else would too, just as I liked other people’s music. I did everything could, but nobody took it. I was outside the circles. I didn’t know anybody in music at all. I had no correspondence with anyone. I was considered a primitive, you know, kind of a joke - somebody who just did this stuff. And then I just quit - I just disappeared. There was an orchestral work called ‘Omniphony’ It was an expensive thing to do: I don’t know how many people played - 25 musicians or something like that. Owl Records was a hobby of a wealthy fellow in Colorado. He funded the recording, and I had this collaborator - he transcribed some of my sounds. That was the whole idea. It was a lousy experience, and I stopped making music after that. I said, ‘I don’t want anything to do with music.’ I just walked away I guess I’d done what I wanted to do.

I worked for an industrial design company specializing in exhibits. For that kind of work you use everything - film, sound… it’s a kind of Theater in that way. From that I went into business with another fellow from the Gotham days, and we started up a company, Westport Communications Group, and we did a lot of educational audio-visual work, starting out with filmstrips. We went from that into doing videos - I did a lot of American history videos for American Heritage. I wrote them and found the pictures - it was all archival material. It was a great job. I did that for years, and did very well in it.

I had built a studio for the purpose of producing these audio-visuals. It was a mixing studio. So I had this equipment - a couple Ampexes, a mixing board, this, that and the other thing. The business went bankrupt, so instead of getting money, I just took the equipment as the liquidation, and I brought it home and put it in a little room. I still liked to do the work - I loved to put my hands on the tools. But I didn’t have any of my original source materials because I destroyed them all in the bankruptcy - there was no place to store it all. I had hundreds of thousands of feet of tape, but I didn’t want to do that kind of thing anymore, so I just started out from scratch. I thought, ‘What can I use for an idea source?’ I always need something. Sometimes it was a balloon, or a toy, or a faucet - there was some germinal thing that would start me thinking.

In this case it was shortwave radio. One of the pieces of equipment that I had saved was an old analogue shortwave radio that I had used in one of the educational audio-visuals that I did - communications was the subject. So I turned on the radio and went back a million years to when I was very young and I became fascinated again with the potential of not the broadcast, but the atmospheric sound. In between the broadcasts or the signals there is sound - it’s kind of electronic. It can sound like cosmic breathing. I remembered it from my days as a radio amateur - I was always interested not particularly in the broadcasts but some of the odd things between the broadcasts. You tune across and there are really miraculous sounds in the silence. I thought, ‘I think I can do something with that.’ It took me about ten years to do it, and now I’ve got about three CDs worth of stuff. I call it ‘Aerial’ - I always had to have a name first, because you pile up a lot of tape, and you’ve got to have a project name or everything gets lost.

Tod Dockstader

as told to Jason Ankeny, May 7, 2003

Tod Dockstader: Eight Electronic Pieces, 1960

This is not “pure” electronic music in the German use of the term - not oscillator-music, synthetic music, laboratory music. It is not pure concrète music - natural sound, transmuted by re-recording. It is a combination of both. The American term “tape music” covers it, but poorly. “Tape music” suggests any piece of music recorded on tape, the traditional use of tape. Here, there is no performance to preserve; the recording is the performance. These pieces can only be played by a phonograph or tape recorder. Without electronics, the electronics of tape recording, they would not exist. So they are electronic music in the technical sense that Varèse’s “Poeme Electronique” is electronic music: a piece combining concrète and electronic sources, dependent upon electronics for its realization. Although the Germans insist on the purity of their electronic music, Stockhausen’s “Gesang der Jünglinge” is a combination of concrete children’s voices with oscillator-generated sounds - a combination that gives this piece a range of ideas his “pure” pieces do not have. This and the Varèse piece are the two major works so far produced (and available in disc release) in the medium, and both are combinations.

Why combination? Each pure source has its limits and advantages: pure electronic sounds are often dry, harsh, sharp, limited in timbre, without much harmonic complexity. Concrete sound, while having a range of timbre as great as natural sound itself, tend, for reasons of the extensive re-recording they must go through, to lack cleanness and impact - the presence of pure electronic sound. Music must have both range and definition; in electronic music, a sustained piece calls for this combination. I use electronic sources for percussion, tempo, accent, and concrete sources for thematic and “full orchestra” passages. For instance, the eighth piece begins with a series of sustained bell-like sounds, over which a sharp snare-like tempo is laid. The bell sound is concrete; the drum, electronic. The source of the bells was a single hit on a saucepan; the drum was a single switch arc, reverberated into tempo by tape-echo. In the case of the arc, prolonged reverberation turns it into a flute-like flutter and this flutter is used, in various pitches and tempos, in several of these pieces. This is a simple example; in most places it is impossible, and pointless, to sort out the sources as concrete or electronic. It is the use of them, the composition, on which the success of these pieces a music depends.

In composing these pieces, I used a library of tape cells (sound units, such as a single pitched vibration, a piece of concretized wind, a passage of voice vibration) that grew to 12,000 feet of tape before the first composition was tried. In the early, exploratory pieces (numbered one to six), I simply started two reels of tape cells going and waited for a happy accident of combination. From the first “happened” theme, I proceeded to build the piece with more control, trying to keep it related to the first accident. Still, accident was responsible for much in these first pieces. In a medium as wide and unruly as this, where anything is possible, control becomes a major struggle, and a piece is not so much built as torn down into form. Some of these early pieces ran half-an-hour originally. As I went along, a gradual disenchantment with the cells set in; a cell had to work into the piece under way or it would be excluded, no matter how interesting it was as a sound by itself. This necessary familiarity with my cells is a continuing labor that goes on between compositions, as the collection of cells goes on between compositions, too. In electronic music, the composer is also not only conductor and performer - he is the musical director as well, charged with collecting an orchestra of thousands of instruments, remembering where each one is and how it sounds, and keeping each of these virtuosi under control.

The new listener to this music will run into a major difficulty right away: identification. For instance, the listener whose first experience in electronic music was “Forbidden Planet” will have a hard time keeping science-fiction images from coming to mind. Along with this, he will probably be identifying some of the sounds he is hearing: “That’s a jet; that sounds like someone with a bad heart”; or “that sounds like my icebox.” These associations take control of the piece, and put it into the realm of sound effects for the mind’s eye, or, at best, program music like “Peter and the Wolf.” There is nothing wrong in this, as long as the listener can progress beyond it. In this apparent wilderness of strange sounds, such identifications will often be the only way the listener can begin to know the piece, or even stand it. However, if the novelty of a jet plane in a piece of music continues to be its chief interest for the listener, the piece has certainly failed him as music, that would be like playing the “Pines of Rome” only for the nightingale in it. This problem of “significative noises” (Stravinsky’s term) will become less as electronic music is heard more, and as composers naturally come to use fewer such sounds.

For me, the best use of electronic music is not in concerts, which are usually harrowing to sit all the way through, - nor with orchestras, where it suffers from the “live” vs. “canned” comparison - but in performance on the listener’s own playback equipment. These pieces are meant for that use, are meant to be listened to close up. As with any recording, the better this equipment is, the more will emerge from the piece played. This is particularly true of electronic music, since the techniques of concretization often produce harmonies in the sub and supersonic frequencies - sounds that are more felt as a presence in the room than heard. The basic structure, however, is in the middle frequencies, and so these pieces can be explored on the simplest phonograph. The test of a small speaker playback is a good way for the composer, too, to explore the ideas of his piece; it’s like writing out a quartet reduction of a symphony, to find out if there is a real structure to it, or if it’s all just orchestration. This contention between the natural chaos of the sources-the anarchy of noiseand the realization of their order in a piece of music, is the tension and excitement of electronic music.

Jason Ankeny, May 2003

Study no.7


Eight Electronic Pieces (Smithsonian Folkways, 1961)

Folkways SM 3434

Dockstader's crucial and remarkably advanced early concrete pieces, originally released privately. This particular recording has been re-issued on the Locust label with new liner notes. Tod Dockstader did the analog-to-digital transfer from the original tape, and Ernst Karel mastered the recordings for the Locust CD.

Eight Electronic Pieces (Locust Music, 2003)


Reissue of Dockstader's crucial and remarkably advanced early concrete pieces, originally released privately and then reissued by Folkways in 1961. Tod Dockstader did the analog-to-digital transfer from the original tape, and Ernst Karel mastered the recordings for CD.

Omniphony 1 (ReR MEGACORP, 2002)


Reissue with a stereo version of Study No. 7 of the Eight Electronic Pieces and Past Prelude.