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    Tod Dockstader – Quartermass

    July 13th, 2008

    Tod Dockstader - Quartermass

    Tod Dockstader (1932-2015) was a sound engineer and effects specialist at Gotham Recording studios in New York City from the late 1950s to the mid-’60s who, with no formal musical training, secretly composed some of the best electro-acoustic music of all time on company equipment after hours. [Insert evil laughter here.] My ears now thank him. Tod’s vintage material ranks right up there with the best of the late-night drive accompaniment wafted out by major mid-century composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Henry and Iannis Xenakis.

    “Water Music” is quite obviously built of dripping water sounds and squeaky balls knocking together, along with twirling, buzzing electronics; percussion, and other sped-up ideas. “Two Moons Of Quartermass” is an insect dormitory chock-full of flittering, droning electronics with sounds of skipping, tapping balls. Everything is all layered and skewed, sped-up, slowed-down, flittering, tittering, hammering, winding up, tightening and letting loose. “Quartermass” is a raging field of squeaky squawks and electronic cries punctured by ultra low-pitched smashes with high-pitched descending melodies—way dense, dramatic and dark. “Tango” continues with a slew of thudding, skittering, beeping, pulsing and winding-up sounds.

    “Parade” is a classic storm full of dull stabs with corroded rocket engines taking flight. “Flight” flies away with humming drones and dull, low voice sounds, plus plenty of echo-pulses with some stuttering, piping cold skipping and tapping. Various wind instruments float in with background drones and change into something a little less comfortable in the form of an array of severe ice stabs. “Second Song” starts out majorly muted and solemn, then turns super heavy and low with rising, high-pitched tides of massive drones and descending harsh hammerings, plus low-pitched stabs and crying—for crying out loud. Apocalypse is the second similar yet equally necessary volume.

    Label: Starkland Catalog Number: ST-201 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 13 Total Time: 73:09 Country: United States Released: 1992 Related Artists: Luc Ferrari, Pierre Schaeffer More: Forced Exposure, Unofficial, Wikipedia