Carl Stone

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Carl Stone performing at Cité de la Musique, Paris, November 1, 2003

Carl Stone (born Carl Joseph Stone, February 10, 1953) is an American composer, primarily working in the field of live electronic music. His works have been performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and the Near East.

Stone studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts with Morton Subotnick and James Tenney and has composed electro-acoustic music almost exclusively since 1972. As an undergrad at CalArts, he had a work-study job in the Music Library, which had many thousands of LP records in the circulating collection (this was 1973). The collection included a lot of western classical music of course but also a really comprehensive world music collection, avant-garde, electronic music, jazz and more. Because the librarians were concerned that the LPs, many of which were rare, would soon become unlistenable at the hands of the students and faculty, his job was to take every disc and record it onto cassette, a kind of back-up operation. He soon discovered that he could monitor the output of any of the recordings he was making and even mix them together without disturbing the recordings. So, he began to experiment, making musical collages, and started to develop habits of combining disparate musical materials. In addition to his composition and performance schedule, he is a faculty member in the Department of Information Media, School of Information Science and Technology at Chukyo University in Japan.

Stone utilizes a laptop computer as his primary instrument and his works often feature very slowly developing manipulations of samples of acoustic music, speech, or other sounds. Because of this, as well as his preference for tonal melodic and harmonic materials similar to those used in popular musics, Stone's work has been associated with the movement known as minimalism.

Prior to his settling on the laptop, in the 1980s, he created a number of electronic and collage works utilizing various electronic equipment as well as turntables. Prominent works from this period include Dong Il Jang (1982) and Shibucho (1984), both of which subjected a wide variety of appropriated musical materials (e.g. Okinawan folk song, European Renaissance music, 1960s Motown, etc.) to fragmentation and looping. In this way his work paralleled innovations being made in the early days of rap and hip hop (e.g. Grandmaster Flash, of whose work he was unaware at the time). It was during this period that he began naming many of his works after his favorite restaurants (often Asian ones).

His first residency in Japan, sponsored by the Asian Cultural Council, was from November 1988 to April 1989. While living in Tokyo he collected more than 50 hours of recordings of the city's urban soundscape, which he later used as the basis for his radio composition Kamiya Bar, sponsored by Tokyo FM radio, and released on a CD of the same name by the Italian label NewTone / Robi Droli.

Stone has collaborated frequently with Asian performers, including traditional instrumentalists such as Min Xiao-Fen (pipa), Yumiko Tanaka (shamisen), Kazue Sawai (koto), Michiko Akao (ryuteki), and those working with modern instruments, such as Otomo Yoshihide (turntables, guitar), Kazuhisa Uchihashi (guitar, daxophone), Yuji Takahashi (computer, piano), and vocalists such as Reisu Saki and Haco. He has also collaborated on an album with Hirohito Ihara's Radicalfashion and recently with Alfred Harth who partly lives in Korea.

Beginning in the early years of the 21st century, Stone began to compose more frequently for acoustic instruments and ensembles, completing a new work for the San Francisco Bay Area-based American Baroque.

Stone served as president of the American Music Center from 1992 to 1995, and was director of Meet the Composer/California from 1981 to 1997. He also served as music director of KPFK-FM in Los Angeles from 1978 to 1981.

For many years, Stone has divided his time between San Francisco and Japan.

In 1999 he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.

Works[edit]

Solo recordings[edit]

Al Noor (2007) – Explorations into the dismantling and re-composition of global song and melody

  • Al Noor
  • Flint’s
  • Jitlada
  • L’Os à Moelle
  • Dino’s (Bonus track, available through iTunes only [1])


Nak Won (2002) – Real-time music for lap-top computer

  • Nak Won
  • Kreuz
  • Darul Kabap


Resonator (2002) – Soundtrack for the works of sculptor Seiji Kunishima

  • Sapp


Exusiai (1998, released 1999) – Music for contemporary dancer Akira Kasai

  • Solo 1
  • Unconsciousness
  • Violence
  • Meteors
  • Moon Dance
  • Violence
  • Solo
  • Liquid Body
  • Echoing
  • Bomb


em:t 1196 (1996) – The musical part of a three-way collaboration between the composer, dancer Kuniko Kisanuki and sculptor Satoru Shoji

  • Nyala, Sections I–IV (1995)


Kamiya Bar (1995) – Excerpts from a sound collage assembled in 1992 from TV commercials and field recordings made in Tokyo in the late 1980s

  • Gild
  • Axis
  • Young Jump
  • Big Gold
  • Cue
  • Cooking Papa
  • Val


Mom’s (1992)

  • Banteay Srey (1991)
  • Mom’s (1990)
  • Gadberry’s (1989, recorded in performance 1990)
  • Shing Kee (1986) A re-issue of the track on "Four pieces"
  • Chao Nue (1990)


Four Pieces (1989) – Playful explorations and transformations for Macintosh computer

  • Wall Me Do (1987)
  • Hop Ken (1989)
  • Shing Kee (1986)
  • Sonali (1988)


Wave-Heat (1983) – Piece for digital delay/harmonizer and an LP record; released on audio cassette

Woo Lae Oak (1981, released 1983; re-issued 2008 as a single continuous track) – A concrete symphony for the tremolo of a rubbed string and the tone of a blown bottle

  • Woo Lae Oak, Part I
  • Woo Lae Oak, Part II

Some unreleased recordings[edit]

  • Shibucho (1984) – Piece utilizing samples from Motown recordings
  • Torung (1983) – Piece for Synclavier
  • Dong Il Jang (1982) – Piece for digital delay/harmonizer and vinyl records
  • Sukothai (1979) – A sample from Henry Purcell's Rondo from Adbelazar, building in multiples to 1024 layers
  • Maneeya (1973) – Piece for tape
  • Plastics (1972) – Film soundtrack
  • LIM (1972) – Piece for tape

Other released collaborations[edit]

Pict.soul (2000–2001) – Long-distance collaboration with Tetsu Inoue
Monogatari: Amino Argot (1994) – Long-distance collaboration with Otomo Yoshihide
Over-Ring-Under (1992) – Soundtrack to a videogame CD-ROM, with visual artist Teckon

Other commissioned works[edit]

  • Luong Hai Ky Mi Gia (2001) – DVD-Audio/Video piece for 5.1 surround sound system; commissioned by Starkland
  • Sa Rit Gol (1997) – Piece for disklavier and pianist; commissioned by Bay Area Pianists and Cal Performances, as part of the Henry Cowell Centennial Celebration at UC Berkeley
  • The Noh Project (1996) – A collaboration with choreographer June Watanabe and Noh master Anshin Uchida
  • Yam Vun Sen (1995) – Network duel piece for the internet; commissioned by NTT as part of IC95 Festival, Tokyo
  • Sudi Mampir (1995) – Contribution to compilation album "em:t 5595"
  • Banh Mi So (1994) – Piece for ondes martenot and piano; commissioned by Takashi Harada and Aki Takahashi
  • Mae Ploy (1994) – Piece for String Quartet and computer accompanist; commissioned by the Strings Plus Festival, Kobe, for the Smith Quartet
  • Lumpinee (1993) – Installation for computer-operated MIDI system; commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles for the exhibition "John Cage: Rolywholyover: A Circus"
  • Du Pars (1993) – Soundtrack for interactive laserdisk "L.A. Journal", produced by Voyager
  • Ruen Pair (1993) – Piece for electronic chamber ensemble; commissioned by the Paul Dresher Ensemble
  • Rezukuja (1991) – Piece for bass marimba and electronics; commissioned by Sumire Yoshihara
  • She Gol Jib (1991) – Piece for ryuteki (flute) and electronics; commissioned by Michiko Akao
  • Recurring Cosmos (1991) – Piece for High Definition video and electronics, including Banteay Srey; commissioned by Sony PCL
  • Made in Hollywood (1990) – Soundtrack music; commissioned by ZDF Television, Germany
  • Thonburi (1989) – Part of the radio series "Territory of Art"
  • Spalding Gray's Map of L.A. (1987) – Soundtrack for videotape produced and directed by Bruce and Norman Yonemoto
  • Vault (1984) – Soundtrack for videotape produced and directed by Bruce and Norman Yonemoto
  • Mae Yao (1984) – Piece for live electronics, multiple bagpipes and pipe organ; commissioned by The Art of Spectacle Festival
  • Se Jong (1983) – Piece for tape; commissioned by the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival as part of the radio series "Sounds In Motion"

External links[edit]

Listening[edit]