This is a very intriguing mood piece in four parts orchestrated by an obscure but well-respected California composer. Stone uses top-notch technology to create a subdued symphony consisting of expensive digital loop technology. In this case, he's using it for a commissioned work involving a Japanese dancer/choreographer and a sculptor.

"Nyala's first section moves from near silence to a soft crescendo of field recordings commingling with wispy strands of extended notes, pseudo-chords and quietly insistent mini-mantras. There's much ebb and flow in all four parts, with the second part laying heavy into the ebb with an odd stereophonic detour into unaccompanied percussion (a light shamanic drop zone in the program). As we shift into the third and fourth parts, carefully crafted sample loops linger far in the distance, coming closer like a thief in the night and subtly evolving (both structurally and tonally), eventually interlocking each chunk with utmost painterly skill.

The sounds themselves are quite distinct and obviously took painstaking hours to sculpt. Carl speaks of difficult digital "zoom- in" techniques to get his sound, using the sampler as an aural microscope to reveal patterns within patterns. You know, microcosm/ macrocosm jive, an audio fractal. Hey, who's writing a thesis? The dude's got flavor. Loop music can get to be a drag with the sheer quantity over quality to muck through. Some have the vibe, more just sit on their can and let their infinite repeat button do all the work. Carl sidesteps boredom not only with a serious toolbox, but with careful planning and deranged dream essence.

Judging from the cover (a vivid picture of a grasshopper on a flower), there's definitely an insectoid subtext running through this CD, like music for genius bugs. Carl's microscopic world sends flashes of an early scene in 'Blue Velvet' where the camera gets under the grass to record the scuffling sights and sounds of a zillion beetles. 'Carl Stone' yields many rewards with patience. (Em:t, Square Center Studios, 389-394 Alfred St. North, Nottingham NG3 1AA, U.K.)

-- Troy Palmer
Alternative Press
November 1996 Issue