Reviews » Review of Starkland releases in Revue et Corrigee (France), by Jerome Noetinger (trans. by J. Frey)

Another discovery is the music of Tod DOCKSTADER, at least for me, although some already know his music on LP. Born in 1932, this American composer started out studying painting and film making. By 1955 he was combining sound with images and working on some cartoons. In 1958, working as a sound engineer in a commercial recording studio, during off hours he made himself a collection of sounds, and began to try doing musique concrète which he had heard about on the radio. He prefers the term “organized sounds” from Edgar Varèse’s organisation sonore, for it short circuits questions like “Is it still music?” His organized sounds are mainly acoustic in origin, but Tod DOCKSTADER also uses some oscillators, a kind of early ancestor of synthesizers. “A worker in rhythms, frequencies, and intensities.”

Apocalypse (1961) and Quatermass (1964) to me have a place as veritable references, notably for his work with space, most astonishing for the time. Each of his compositions is different, accentuating in one case detail, in another mass, in a third huge ranges of volume. In Luna Park, from the name of the amusement park, he plays with recorded laughter; in Four Telemetry Tapes, three test-tone generators furnish the sounds, recorded on tape in minuscule bits to create weird rhythms. Two CDs you should urgently get to discover an unrecognized, forgotten composer from a country where there has never really been a musique concrète school. Now when will they reissue some work by Ilhan Mimaroglu?