From A to Z offers ten enticing selections of compelling, engaging electroacoustic music. It's a specially priced compilation that's an excellent introduction to the Starkland label. The diverse music ranges from Tod Dockstader's powerful musique concrète to the digitally sampled bovine vocalizing in Phillip Bimstein's udderly charming portrait of a Utah farmer.
The CD opens with three excerpts from Starkland's two Dockstader "organized sound" CDs, widely praised in over 25 highly positive reviews. Dockstader writes:
"These excerpts are from works made in the 'classical' period of electronic music, Before Keyboards. My synthesizer was a test-tone oscillator, played by twisting a dial, like a radio. Then, it was all a bit haywired and cumbersome, and involved hard physical work, like painting. At the same time, like painting, it was invigorating – working in the colors of sound. The sounds I had often suggested the structures I built, so all three of these excerpts are unalike: the first part of Luna Park is a trio for an oscillator and two people laughing; the third part of Apocalypse is a planned chaos for a toy cat-cry, voices, an oilwell, percussion, and piano; the Tango from Quatermass is a dance for two oscillators and a balloon, with rhythms of tape-echo generated by the instrument central to all my work: the tape recorder, itself. The recorder was always an active player, not, as it was designed to be, a passive one. All the works were laid onto two-track tape in one pass, 'live' (the invigorating part), and then edited and edited and edited – the surgical part, with a razor blade, the other essential tool in my work."