Vital Weekly 367
April 10 2003 by T.J. Norris

CARL STONE, Nak Won (Sonore)

The title track starts off as a 'test' - an aural Rorschach experiment. What turns out to be a quite lovely play of primary tones is collaged and replicated over the course of 24 minute-long MAX/MSP dissertation. At times like Speak & Spell for adults, at times simplified tonalities that percolate the unused portions of your brain stem. Cage would be quite proud of Stone's latter-day approach, breathing new life into minimalist composition, while filtering out even minute traces of excess. On Nak Won he has created a barren horizon line that hosts thousands of sound spheres, hovering and kinetic. This is the work of a clear mind filled with sketches. Stone has applied his work to the worlds of dance, museum and theater. Parts of Nak Won were recorded live at the 2000 San Francisco Electronic Music Festival. This new real-time piece was performed using a G3 Powerbook and rectifies his love for pure digital synthesis and the exploration of atonal dimensionality. "Kreutz" brings things down to a quieter space, with heightened cinematic qualities it deals with space as an elipse, a curve in time. Now living and teaching in Japan, Stone has found special tensions that can be perceived in his sound. Filled with delicacy and enchantment "Kreutz" appears to be an alien visit to a lost world, using tonal chambers as hiding slots in an ambient game of musical chairs. The final of three pieces is "Darul Kabap". Hinting at traditional Japanese strings, this out jazz investigation is sparse and uses sampled wind instruments as fractals. In its lengthy 28 minutes the track introduces and layers a concocted synergy between analogue and digital. The result is quite funny, slightly messy, but all purposefully warped. "Darul Kabap" tests our perceptions of physical and virtual. When Stone introduces mesmerizing eastern influenced vocals and piles on Western dance mixes, all sped and cut-up the listener is jolted by the immediacy of the pure polarity of it all. This is a record for discerning academics and aspiring super users of all things electronic.


T.J. Norris
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