Carl Stone is one of the pioneers of live computer music, a composer with heavyweight CalArts credentials (he studied at the LA art school with Morton Subotnick and James Tenney), who operates with a rare sense of mischief and intrigue. Across a career spanning five decades Stone has proven a prolific and imaginative voice in electronic composition, mashing together notions of high and low culture and playfully re-contextualising diverse ethnographic materials. To this day he finds consistently engaging ways to present his live performances via real-time processing, multi-channel works and collaborations.
Now dividing his time between Toyko and LA, Stone’s formidable canon of work has recently been in the spotlight via the masterful collection of early material collected on 2016’s Electronic Music from The Seventies and Eighties released on Brooklyn imprint Unseen Worlds, which sits alongside the fertile sonic realms explored on his stunning 1992 LP Mom’s and the later deconstructivist take on global song and melody that was Al Noor (2007).
When New Music was exiting the loft scene of the 1970s and entering the more commercial realm of the 1980s, Stone guided his art through the transition period by fusing his compositional ambitions with systems of live performance that were simultaneously pop savvy, commercial suicide, and technologically forward thinking. He moved away from pure electronic sound and came to be at the vanguard of incorporating turntables, early digital samplers, and personal computers into live electronic music composition. An adopter of the Max programming language while it was still in its earliest development at the IRCAM research centre, Stone continues to use it as his primary instrument, both solo and in collaboration with other improvisers.
Electronic Music from The Seventies and Eighties is an acclaimed 3LP set containing a selection of seven early works by the composer. The collection includes notorious, formerly elusive recordings like Sukothai, Shibucho, and Dong Il Jang alongside a carefully restored archival recording of Kuk Il Kwan (recorded at The Kitchen in 1981), which documents his live performance practice. The earliest works of the collection, LIM and Chao Praya realised on the Buchla 200, date to the early 1970s while Stone was a student at CalArts, and represent a rare glimpse of Stone working with purely electronic source material.
In addition to his work as a composer, Stone served as Music Director of KPFK-FM in Los Angeles from 1978-1981, director of Meet the Composer California from 1981 1997, and President of the American Music Center from 1992-1995. He currently works on the faculty of the Department of Media Engineering at Chukyo University in Japan.
“Of the serious composers to come out of 1980s California, Carl Stone is the one who has always performed in nightclubs as well as concert halls, for spiky-haired punks as well as the Ph.D-and-ponytail set – his brand of electro-acoustic bricolage was probably better known among jazz musicians than it was to the blue haired Monday Evening Concerts crowd” – Jonathan Gold, from the liner notes
“West Coast composer Carl Stone was one of the first to plug into the possibilities offered by digital synthesizers, samplers and effects… While Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa were flamboyantly promoting sample based hiphop, and John Oswald was openly flaunting the art of plunderphonics, Carl Stone developed his own idiosyncratic take on sonic bricolage” – The Wire Magazine #1 Archive Release of 2016
“Stunning …. full of purring drones that at first appear to hardly be moving, only to have them slowly slide and reveal infinite amounts of overtones…lovely, prickly, meditative, and maddening” – Pitchfork
“Stone’s Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties is a missing link, not only in the history of avant-garde and electronic music, but within the entire body of arranged sound (popular or otherwise).” – The Hum
“one of the foremost electroacoustic composers of the last decades” – Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
“The eight pieces ….on this three-LP collection of pioneering work by American electro acoustic composer Carl Stone constitute an oft-mesmerizing two-and-a-half hours (Shing Kee is) spellbinding.” – Textura #1 Reissue of 2016
|09/07/17||Carl Stone in Paris, FR||Musee du quai Branly|