I discovered Tod's stuff in 1967. Record stores would actually put on music you asked them to, and when I saw the Owl discs I had to hear them. I was floored--I still remember what I was wearing when those sounds spilled out into the store. What's incredible is that the CD reissues prove that there's virtually no tape hiss on these recordings. With no noise reduction technology and many, many track bounces (he worked on 2-track), it's still clean as a whistle. What engineering! If you don't have these two CDs on Starkland, you are missing out Big Time. BTW, after 40+ years Tod has seen barely a dime from these releases. Shame!
Although Omniphony was the last release of the bunch, it was actually the reason there were any releases at all. Based on its production, Owl agreed to do the others. For me (and I think for Tod as well), it was a bit disappointing. As if the traditional instruments justified the other, "weird" sounds. I thought it watered down Tod's stuff.
Uh, to respond a bit.... "Destroy Graeme Revell"? Wow, thanks. He's come a long way since SPK, and doing so many movie soundtracks he must be loaded. If you didn't know, Tod's music was used by Fellini ("Satyricon", as I remember). He told me that his music was also used in a Spanish porn film!
Tod has certainly done a variety of material. He spent many years on Aerial, which is totally different from the Owl stuff, and he was very open about our working together. As an aside, we began Pond with the intention of doing it in surround. One piece was completed in this way, and it was great, but the difficulty became exhausting since we worked at a distance, and on totally different software and hardware.
Bijou is certainly not everyone's cup of tea. We are both film nuts and couldn't resist using soundtracks as a source. I think it's fun, and the notion of it being a Halloween record is agreeable. I wonder if anyone has identified any of the sources? But there's plenty of original sounds as well. One piece is entirely my feedback sounds, and I even played guitar on one track. Tod had some obscure Ukrainian software that totally destroyed some of the soundtrack sources, so that was in effect completely original material, too.
Expect Aerial disc three to be out before too long, maybe summer or fall? Sub Rosa has to fill out that box!
And if there's any aspiring artistes on the list, be warned that in Tod's nearly 50 years doing this music, and my 26, between us we haven't earned enough to cover a (very) used Volkswagen. Just so you know.
As noted on the list, Tod's fansite is
and you can find me at
David Lee Myers
― David Lee Myers, Saturday, 20 May 2006 18:18 (6 years ago) Permalink
― guess papers (eman), Saturday, 20 May 2006 22:18 (6 years ago) Permalink
I know Dockstader isn't as keen on Omniphony as his solo stuff -- I'd agree with that -- it's definitely more a record of its time than his solo stuff which still sounds like it could have come out tomorrow. And the liner notes make it clear it was a very stressful collaboration. But it's still a great piece.
'Destroy Graham Revell' is board-specific lingo and not meant as harsh as it sounds, i.e. "search and destroy" -- I love that guy's early contributions in SPK. And you're right about Bijou saving the weirdest, most abstract moments for the last stretch of the record. I hope you guys are going for a trilogy.
― milton parker (Jon L), Saturday, 20 May 2006 23:29 (6 years ago) Permalink
have only listened twice, it's far more ruptured, more tracks, shorter sections, more turns. then coming together in the last third for a long slow burn.
still have to listen more, volume 1 still the one I listen to the most because I have a lot of time for the deepest drones in the world, but the violent scree on volume 2 grew on me, and volume 3 is different again still. yet is also clearly the overview ending stitching all of the strands together. definitely best to come to each disc in order for that reason. although each one feels like an independent, coherent piece.
many reviews online in places you usually trust to read about actual good music
― milton parker (Jon L), Saturday, 26 August 2006 22:45 (6 years ago) Permalink
― the dow nut industrial average dead joe mama besser (donut), Saturday, 26 August 2006 23:40 (6 years ago) Permalink
― the dow nut industrial average dead joe mama besser (donut), Friday, 8 September 2006 06:08 (6 years ago) Permalink
― hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 8 September 2006 14:47 (6 years ago) Permalink
― milton parker (Jon L), Friday, 8 September 2006 16:55 (6 years ago) Permalink
catchin' up with my woebot posts
― Milton Parker, Thursday, 11 October 2007 21:36 (5 years ago) Permalink
I wish I wouldn't have read the liner notes to Quatermass. Now whenever I hear "Water Music" I only feel stunned admiration that those are BALOONS. Hopefully this phase will pass with time.
― s. morris, Thursday, 11 October 2007 21:43 (5 years ago) Permalink
I've got one of those "Aerial" albums - don't know which one - I must admit it didn't impress me much, bit bland I thought
― Tom D., Friday, 12 October 2007 09:07 (5 years ago) Permalink
OK, I checked, it's #3 I've got
― Tom D., Friday, 12 October 2007 09:09 (5 years ago) Permalink
scott's thread revival got me searching, and sure enough
not that great a cartoon, but the stretch of sfx at 4:30, definitely him
― Milton Parker, Thursday, 10 May 2012 06:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
Great thread... I should pick up those Aerial volumes before they disappear.
― Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Thursday, 10 May 2012 07:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
― Milton Parker, Thursday, 31 May 2012 19:08 (11 months ago) Permalink
― Lil' Kim Philby (Call the Cops), Friday, 1 June 2012 21:13 (11 months ago) Permalink
milton, thank you so much for the tom & jerry 'toons. i am a huge old school 'toon shorts fan. i love t&j, and i never knew dockstader did some of the sfx.i need a good T&J dvd collection. the looney toons golden collections are some of the best stuff i've ever bought. the stuff just make me grin from ear to ear.
― one dis leads to another (ian), Saturday, 2 June 2012 02:28 (11 months ago) Permalink
A big piece I wrote on Tod Dockstader (includes a rare interview with the man himself)
― geeta, Thursday, 7 June 2012 22:22 (11 months ago) Permalink
the man. great work.
that forthcoming documentary you linked to is fairly intense; the preview suggests that it is much more a documentary about living with alzheimers than anything else; Todd listening to a recent work of his that he has already completely forgotten. but reading the director's notes about 'late period works', it seems like the focus will be on how underneath the symptoms this isn't just your typical patient. plus: two unreleased post-Aerial works in the trailer alone, with apparently quite a lot more to come
― Milton Parker, Thursday, 7 June 2012 23:46 (11 months ago) Permalink
this new collection of his 1979 library music is one of the coolest reissues of the year:
some of it is "hauntological" in the boards of canada sense -- i feel like that's a red herring tho. there's not much here that screams 1979 except for the technology. most of it feels like '60s synthpop records by mort garson or dick hyman, with the breeziness but without the middlebrow kitsch.
― sriracha bishop (get bent), Sunday, 30 September 2012 22:32 (7 months ago) Permalink
oooh sounds amazing!
― Trip Maker, Sunday, 30 September 2012 22:49 (7 months ago) Permalink
Yeah amazing. Wish the samples worked for me.
― Half Jaglom Half Winkler (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Monday, 1 October 2012 03:12 (7 months ago) Permalink
the last track, "soft aurora," is an early favorite. breathable/unhurried spaghetti sci-fi.
― sriracha bishop (get bent), Monday, 1 October 2012 03:48 (7 months ago) Permalink