Saul Stokes

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Saul Stokes was born in Seattle, WA. After adolescent training on both the violin and trumpet, Saul Stokes discovered the tonal possibilities of the synthesizer and started creating electronic music as…
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Saul Stokes was born in Seattle, WA. After adolescent training on both the violin and trumpet, Saul Stokes discovered the tonal possibilities of the synthesizer and started creating electronic music as a teenager in the mid-'80s. At the age of 20, Saul Stokes made a highly impressionable move to Germany where he was introduced to the new blossoming techno movement. Returning to Seattle in 1993, Stokes began writing music and writing about music equipment as a monthly columnist in the early pages of Seattle's XLR8R magazine (now a San Francisco-based electronic music magazine). His fascination with the palette of sounds available via synthesizer led him to learn the basics of analog synthesizer construction. While attaining a degree in industrial design, Saul Stokes used his knowledge of DIY synth and design engineering, to build highly eccentric music devices, and began to restructure his musical ideas focusing on music created purely from homemade synthesizers and sampling technology.

Stokes' early demo Burning Igloo was featured in the December 1995 CD and magazine issue of Future Music (later to become demo of the year), which led to his connection with Hypnos Recordings founder Mike Griffin. Saul Stokes' album Washed in Mercury was also the first album released on Hypnos Recordings, later recognized globally for their high-quality ambient and experimental releases. Washed in Mercury achieved a sound as singular and personal as the homemade instruments used to make it. From the ethnic-tinged techno-funk of "We Found It at IO" to the mechanistic pulse of "Zona," Washed in Mercury was a varied aural journey, a merging of lean, contemporary rhythms and classic analog synth textures. Saul Stokes' second album, 1998's Zo Pilots, was realized one year later and explored new sound ventures made possible by a wide variety of new electronic instruments the artist continually building. Zo Pilots retained Stokes' recognizable sound even as he branched out into new sonic and compositional territory. The arrangements were more confident, the rhythms more open and off-kilter, the soundscapes deeper and richer. Graduating from Bellingham, WA's Western Washington University, where Washed in Mercury and Zo Pilots were written, Saul Stokes moved to Philadelphia and began work on his third Hypnos Recordings release, Outfolding. Throughout Saul Stokes' years of sonic exploration, he has always been an advent live performer using the stage as a vehicle for improvisation and experimentation. Rather than fooling audiences like many typical preprogrammed electronic acts, Saul Stokes focuses his attention on his homemade instruments, and leaves the programming where it should be, in the studio.

Saul Stokes has performed at many locations throughout the United States and Canada, most notably at two Star's End Gathering performances in Philadelphia. In 2001, the album Abstraction was released on Minneapolis' GreenHouseMusic label. Abstraction fuses the best of three years of concert recordings with Saul Stokes multitrack atmospheric work. From Philadelphia to Seattle, this album is a fireball of ambiance. Abstraction isn't a noise collage, or easy listening ambient fluff. It is an incredibly listenable, wildly fresh and inventive continuous-play album. Saul Stokes currently lives just outside of Berkeley, CA. His solo CD titled Fields brings together close to two years of intense multitrack studio work and came out on Hypnos Recording's Binary label, a sub-label devoted to more dynamic rhythm-oriented soundscapes. Prior to the release of Fields, a collaboration between Saul Stokes and Vir Unis titled Thermal Transfer was released on Binary.