Carl Stone

Kamiya Bar

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Composer Carl Stone, known for his advanced work in sampling collages, was commissioned by Tokyo FM to construct a piece consisting entirely of sampled "sounds of Tokyo Life." Many of the sources are clear: street sounds, snatches of conversation, and TV commercials. But Stone has a track record of taking the familiar and stretching and distorting it to almost unrecognizable lengths, as well as combining disparate sounds into a surprisingly cohesive whole. This is done to fairly good effect here, as on "Axis," where a whirlwind of chatter is given a funky rhythmic accompaniment, giving one the sensation of giddily loping down a crowded Tokyo street. Similarly, "Cue" takes samples of male Japanese speakers (street-sellers?) and loops them into rounds that have a techno-y dancehall quality. Other pieces, like "Big Gold," are closer to pure musique concrète work, very reminiscent of Luc Ferrari. But there's a bit of a tentative, lab-experiment quality to some of these pieces, as intellectually fascinating as they might be. It's only with "Cooking Papa" that all the elements come together into a wonderfully rich stew, beginning with isolated shards and ultimately congealing into a driving, irresistible groove. Here, the dizzying, kaleidoscopic nature of what a Westerner might imagine when plunged into the vastness of contemporary Japanese culture becomes viscerally real. While the entire album is enjoyable enough, this one work makes it a must-buy both for Stone fans and for those who generally enjoy all the magic that can occur at the hands of a composer who knows what a sampler is capable of.

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