Carl Stone – Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties (Unseen Worlds)

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Carl Stone is a legendary American composer who divides his life between Japan and San Francisco, and has been making music since the ’70’s and releasing it since the ’80’s. The avant garde imprint Unseen Worlds released his ‘Electronic Music From The Seventies And Eighties’ in 2016, and after its success now they are launching ‘Electronic Music From The Eighties And Nineties’. This release is the first time on vinyl for some of his most beloved pieces of music, plus an unheard composition.

Consisting of 2LP’s, the album aims to give each piece a proper space to hold the extended works. We have the unfolding ambient gem ‘Baentay Srey’, the only piece that we already knew, on Side 1 of the first disc. Its meditative development based on repetition and soothing tones turns it into the perfect beginning of a journey, and the melodies at the end are as nurturing as all the places that the composition took us while getting there. On the other side we have ‘Sonali’, a playful dialogue between processed vocals and what seems to be a toy organ, you can feel the Japanese influence here, and as the tempo switches it gets even more colourful. Reminding us of some of the best of Yasuaki Shimizu, its a feast for the senses, and its ending, crashing the chorus is just epic.

The intensity is left for the second vinyl, with a flute turning into a drone full of vibrating elements in ‘Woo Lae Oak’, a palindromic composition that hypnotises the listener and cleans the perception before it gets back to its main element. And ‘Mae Yao’, the previously unheard work, is completely mind-altering, as it rises with intensity, reaches the zenith, and ends in nothing less than total glory with its advanced manipulation of voices. Thumbs up for one of the best records that we’ve heard this year. Hopefully Carl Stone will keep diggin’ in the vaults for more masterpieces like this one.

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