Boomkat Product Review:
Invaluable reissue of a sought-after early suite by "Organised Sound" innovator and electronic music autodidact, Tod Dockstader.
'Luna Park; Traveling Music; Apocalypse' were written between 1960-1961, around the same time as his debut release 'Eight Electronic Pieces' for Folkways, but not released until 1966 on Owl Records. It's connected directly to that LP through 'Traveling Music', which started life as 'Piece #8' before Dockstader decided to use its minimal, monaural construction as basis for new explorations in spatialising techniques - remember, Dockstader was schooled as a film and cartoon editor, not as an avant-garde musician - resulting a brilliantly dynamic sonic sculpture building on the lessons of Edgar Varese's seminal 'Poeme Electronique'.
Here, it's prefaced by the unsettling, arcade-like soundfield of 'Luna Park' - named after a derelict funfair at Coney Island - a hall of mirrors full of demented laughter, low end bass drones and ghostly creaks sounding like the score to Mickey Mouse's baaad trip.
The flipside renders 'Apocalypse', a four-part, 19-minute tape masterpiece made after 'Luna Park' and full of remarkable right turns, unpredictable klangs and stereo dynamics arranged with a far more playful and visual appeal than the more staid, academic experiments of that era. Rightfully available again, this LP should go some way to establishing the importance of Dockstader's work in the electronic canon.