The Boosh.Zone

Tod Dockstader - Eight Electronic Pieces (1961)

December 30, 2018

Tod Dockstader - Eight Electronic Pieces (1961)

Retro-Futuristic Spaceport Music

As ahead of its time as this is, the soundscape is actually pretty fitting. The space race was in the midst around this time along with the vast amount of sci-fi B-movies coming out that reflected these Cold War tensions. If anything, this albums soundscape is all encompassing of a space feel.

Beeps, whirls, whistles, and warbles and all sorts of percussive noise (for example, items falling to the floor on “Piece #4”) are the main components here. I appreciate just how cohesive each piece is, even though the instrumental pallet is fairly static. Each piece does well to separate itself off from the rest. It is a sort of weird comparison but I can’t help thinking of this as field music recorded in a futuristic spaceport. Spacecraft launching and landing are the visions I see when listening to this album. I particularly liked “Piece #6”, with it’s accelerating and decelerating “vrooms”. “Piece #7” was a extremely jarring track. More than any of the others exuded a very dark atmosphere. I thought I knew all it was giving through the five minute mark but then it took a huge left turn with some nightmarish scattershot of sounds. If anything could detract from this release, it is that it is very back loaded. I enjoyed the first half but the back half seemed to have the most interesting ideas.

Overall a very interesting experience, probably one of the better albums in this genre I have heard. Maybe it is a personal preference, but I feel some artists get a little to exuberant with the vast amount of different sounds used to the point where the piece lacks any sort of emphasis. Credit where credit is due, this has such an alien sound for 1961 that it deserves it’s acknowledgement. A retro-futuristic album that while sonically was ahead of it’s time, really fit in well in context of the overarching “Space Race”.