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Friday, March 18 on Test Pattern

This week DJ Susanna, your host here at Rare Frequency, will be hosting a Test Pattern devoted to the music of Tod Dockstader from 6-7pm on WZBC. Test Pattern is ZBC's artist spotlight hour, a weekly show in which one of the station's deejays plays the music of a favorite musician, record label, or genre. The Dockstader Test Pattern will feature classic 1960s recordings (8 Electronic Pieces, Quatermass, Apocalypse), as well as selections from two new works, Pond (with David Lee Myers) and the forthcoming release, Aerial. In addition, we'll be playing a Dockstader score for the 1961 Tom & Jerry cartoon, Switchin' Kitten.

About Tod Dockstader:
Tod Dockstader is a a pioneering figure in electronic music. A self-taught composer, Dockstader worked outside the academy and had no affiliations with any of the major electronic music workshops and studios. He began his career in Hollywood, doing sound and film editing for cartoons, before becoming the sound engineer at Gotham Studios in the late 1950s. Inspired by the work of Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaefer, Dockstader used the sound studios at Gotham to work on his own music, using a combination of oscillators and field recordings, which he called "Organized Sound."

In 1960, Dockstader's first LP, 8 Electronic Pieces, on Smithsonian Folkways (the record was recently re-released on Locust Music). For the next six years, Dockstader composed a series of simple, but innovative electronic music works, including "Quatermass," "Water Music," "Telemetry Tapes," and "Apocalypse," many of which were released on a pair of Owl Records LPs in 1966 and have since been reissued on Starkland.

When Dockstader left Gotham Studios in 1967, he all but ceased composing, since he no longer had access to the equipment necessary for his work and, because of his lack of formal credentials was turned away by institutions such as the Columbia-Princeton center. In recent years, however, Dockstader has resurfaced and is again composing pieces, now working with computers rather than oscillators and tapes. Last year saw the release of his first full-length recording in over thirty years, a collaboration with David Lee Myers (a.k.a. Arcane Device) called Pond. This year a three-part set of recordings titled Aerial is slated for release on the Belgian label, Sub Rosa.

Listen to an early interview with Dockstader here.


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