"Full of fresh, inventive sonorities and often a genuine sense of fun."
The Washington Post:
"This sampler of ten works by seven composers should win many converts."
A to Z offers
ten enticing selections of compelling, engaging electroacoustic music.
It's a specially priced compilation that's an excellent introduction to
the Starkland label. The diverse music ranges from Tod Dockstader's powerful
to the digitally sampled bovine vocalizing in Phillip Bimstein's udderly
charming portrait of a Utah farmer.
The CD opens with three excerpts from
Starkland's two Dockstader "organized
sound" CDs, widely praised in over 25 highly positive reviews. Dockstader
"These excerpts are from works made in the 'classical' period of electronic
music, Before Keyboards. My synthesizer was a test-tone oscillator, played
by twisting a dial, like a radio. Then, it was all a bit haywired and cumbersome,
and involved hard physical work, like painting. At the same time, like painting,
it was invigorating – working in the colors of sound. The sounds I
had often suggested the structures I built, so all three of these excerpts
are unalike: the first part of Luna Park is a trio for an oscillator
and two people laughing; the third part of Apocalypse is a planned
chaos for a toy cat-cry, voices, an oilwell, percussion, and piano; the Tango from Quatermass is
a dance for two oscillators and a balloon, with rhythms of tape-echo
generated by the instrument central to all my work: the tape recorder, itself.
The recorder was always an active player, not, as it was designed to be,
a passive one. All the works were laid onto two-track tape in one pass,
'live' (the invigorating part), and then edited and edited and edited – the
surgical part, with a razor blade, the other essential tool in my work."
Paul Dresher offers
these comments about his piece on this CD:
"Underground was composed in Spring 1982,
and was the first part of a trilogy of works commissioned by choreographer
Wendy Rogers for her work Winter Green. The piece was created and performed
on a multi-track tape loop system designed for live performance and built
by electronic technician Paul Tydelski and myself. This system consists of
a four-channel tape machine with three playback heads located at various points
in the path of a single closed loop. Record/play functions and the mixing
and routing of all sounds are controlled by the performer with an array of
foot pedals and switches, thus leaving the performer's hands free to play
an instrument without interruption. Built in 1979, the system allows a single
performer to develop complex harmonic, polyphonic or polyrhythmic material
without using pre-recorded tapes. The only sound source in Underground was
a very early four octave Casio electronic keyboard. A single 15-band
graphic equalizer was extensively used for altering and transforming the
sounds both directly from the keyboard and those keyboard sounds coming
from the tape loop system. I recorded the work in a single 'live' take directly
"The Rider is a work for marimba, gongs and
digital echo. It is a piece of a larger work, Demeter's Lament,
premiered by Relâche
in 1991, in which musicians become characters who walk through rituals
while their music is altered electronically. Hades, the Greek god of
Death, is a percussionist who reveals his regal nature in the piece. The Rider is
designed to be played in an unchanging electroacoustic environment of a
steady, ceaseless electronic echo. The work gains its character from the
player's ability to 'ride' the time of the echo and to musically control
that time. Hades is able to match his live performance speed with the echo
in proportions of time and prolation which produces many of the aural effects
contained in The
Joseph Lukasik comments:
"Utamaro's Dreams was
commissioned by gifted Japanese-Swiss choreographer Heidi S. Durning.
The original concept for the dance was inspired by the works of Kitagawa
Utamaro, an 18th century Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock printer renowned for
his depiction of women set in scenes from daily life. The dance opens with
six characters from Utamaro's prints meditating as Buddhist nuns. They meditate
to renounce their past lives, but each in turn remembers what they were
before, reliving the joys and sorrows of their lives through dance. The
excerpt on this CD presents the first ten minutes from the overall eighteen
minutes of music. The scenes presented here are: The Monastery, The Courtesan,
The Fool, and The Woman With The Mirror."
Pamela Z writes:
"In Tymes of Olde, recorded
on analog 8 track, combines 'rhythm' tracks (produced by digitally sampling
my voice and either looping the samples and dropping them to a track,
or playing the samples via keyboard live to tape) and 'melodic' tracks recorded
live to tape. The source of all sounds in this piece is my voice."
"Obsession, Addiction and the Aristotelian Curve began
with a work I'd written for acoustic and processed harp. The piece structurally
represents the destructive, insular cycle of addiction. The classic ABA
form presents a gradual take-over by the 4 chord cycle of the processed,
distorted harp track, which becomes a character emerging out the addict's
nightmare state.... Pamela transferred my original stereo mix to her
8-track, filling the remaining tracks with both straight and processed vocals.
The two of us decided the experimental mixdown to DAT was a finished piece."
"The title, Vers Les Anges, comprises several
references to the dedicatee, Nicholas Slonimsky, for whom the music was
composed in celebration of his 96th birthday. A resident of Los Angeles,
(Les Anges, in French), Slonimsky translated Schloezer's life of Alexander
Scriabin, composer of the piano work 'Vers la Flamme.' For this piece, I
assembled a number of musical references appropriate to Slonimsky's life.
As a conductor, the Russian prodigy directed the first performance of Edgar
(1931), which features the sounds of sirens and a battery of percussion
instruments, also heard at the beginning of Vers Les Anges. Other
raw sonic materials include the sound of a German music box (from the period
of Slonimsky's youth), a digitally sampled komungo (played by Korean virtuoso
Jin Hi Kim), and cuckoo clock and cat sounds which recall Slonimsky's home.
Most processing in the work used a Synclavier at Henry Kaiser's Oakland,
CA studio, and the final mix was made with engineer Michael Yoshida at the
24-track Cross-Current Audio Facility at KPFA. The piece was commissioned
by the syndicated public radio talk show 'Heat,' and was premiered on a
coast-to-coast broadcast on April 26, 1990."
"I awoke one morning to the sounds of cows mooing
in the pasture next to my home. Music to my ears, the moos became the
inspiration for a concerto in three 'moo-vements,' Garland Hirschi's Cows,
which premiered at the Salt Lake Alternative Music Festival in October 1990.
The piece, which uses an Akai sampler to make music of the moos, also
includes the voice of the cows' owner, Garland C. Hirschi of Rockville,
Utah, as he tells the story of growing up with cows and what makes them
moo. The work was featured at the 1991 Telluride Composer-to-Composer Festival,
and it received an Honorary Mention in Austria's Prix Ars Electronica '92."