back in stock as of
april 26th, 2013
first in stock on
april 4th, 2005
|sub rosa (belgium) #sr 223 cd|
tod dockstader “aerial #1” compact disc
- second song
|contemporary work from the master !.|
you have no idea how excited i was to hear about this entirely ambitious three-album series... sitting here now, listening to the first installment i am completely bowled over by the staggering quality of these pieces, all of which reside in the same hoth-frozen wasteland mapped out on everything from dockstader’s own early 60s ouput on through the contemporary work of composers such as thomas köner, gilles gobeil, and troum.
which is to say... yes, it does live up to my somewhat unreasonable expectations. i honestly can’t think of another composer whose 60s/70s work resonated at such uncharted depths that has continued to make relevant singular music with current technology (most get lost along the way: see pierre henry, stockhausen, even our beloved mimaroglu)
unequivocally awesome... grand in scope, colossal in sound. let’s start holding our breath now for the next two installments...
note - the slipcase 3cd-blank-jewelcase version is sold out. this is simply a compact disc w/artwork in a jewelcase...
|sub rosa press release...|
|notes on aerial|
i've written before of my interest in shortwave radio, in the notes to the quatermass cd. also, in the notes to the omniphony cd (which has my first 'aerial' mix, 'past prelude' in it), i mentioned 'the aerial etudes', which was my working title for what became the three cds you have. and, at the end of an interview with chris cutler (which can be found in the 'unofficial td website'), the piece i mentioned i was starting to work on at the time became 'aerial'.
when i was very~young, people got most of their entertainment from radio. they called it 'playing the radio', as if it were a musical instrument. that's what i've tried to do in this piece.
the mixing of the work began in 1990. before that, i'd been collecting the sound-materials from an old shortwave radio i had. i worked at night because that's when the best reception occurs; during the day, short-wave sounds are limited and scarce - at least the kind i was listening for: the kind that occur when there are so many stations on the air, they over-ride each other and something strange emerges from the conflict.
because shortwave am radio is of the lowest possible fidelity (little better than a telephone), i recorded on ordinary audiocassettes. it was also for economy, because i knew i'd have to do a lot of recording to capture the momentary events i was looking for. periodically, i would transfer the best (most potentially useful) of these recordings to 1/4 inch tape, turning them into 'hi-fi stereo' as i did, with a variety of techniques.
slowly, eventually, i made a library of 72 reels of tape and 35 dat cassettes, for a total of about 90 hours of sound. each track was given a descriptive name, and catalogued.
i found that many of the tracks, . though they were 'electronic' by nature, sounded not unlike the sounds i'd used before in my work: bells, voices, drums, strings, trains, water, wind... and, in the mixing, i went for that physical sound.
i began mixing in october of 1994. for this, i had two old ampex 2-track tape machines and two, newer, dat decks - giving me the possibility of eight tracks of feed. (this is the same amount i had for my 'quatermass' and 'apocalypse' lps.)
everything was sent, analogue, to a third dat: my first digital pieces (or parts of pieces). eventually, i had 580 2-track mixes, on 16 dats, and i was facing transferring the best of these back to analog tape, for final, physical editing - the old razor-and-splicing-tape technique, which was all i knew.
about this time, a few people encouraged me to look into using a computer for this work.i’d never used one, but i saw it would allow me to keep my mixes digital - no more transfer losses. so, at the end of 2001, i got a computer and an editing program for it, and spent what seemed a long time learning it. i began selecting mixes and loading . them into the computer in late march, 2002.
out of the 580, i selected 90 'best' mixes - eventually reduced to 59, the ones on the cds.
i found the computer program i was using allowed me to deepen and expand the surprisingly 'acoustic' sound of many of the mixes: even 'choirs' emerged, shouting voices, calliopes, detonations, whispers. so that the sound, as before in my work, dictated the form of each piece.
finally, in assembling the cds, i followed david myers' suggestion to allow each piece to flow into the next - making a continuous journey to the end.
tod dockstader, 14 september 2003
the realisation of aerial was helped by a grant from the connecticut commission on the arts