Country:   USA
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Tod Dockstader was born in 1932 in St.Paul, Minnesota. After majoring in psychology and art at the University of Minnesota, he went on to study painting and film, earning money by drawing cartoons for local newspapers and magazines. In 1955, Dockstader moved to Hollywood to work as an apprentice film editor, cutting picture and sound for animated cartoons including Mr.Magoo and "Gerald McBoing Boing." He then moved on to writing and storyboarding cartoons. Dockstader became a self-taught sound engineer and sound effects specialist and apprenticed as a recording engineer in 1958. It was around this time that he started to use his off-work hours at Gotham Recording Studios to experiment with musique concrète. By 1960 he had amassed enough material to assemble his first composition Eight Pieces (later to be used in the soundtrack of Fellini's Satyricon), the last of which was re-worked into his first stereo piece Travelling Music. His last piece at Gotham was Four Telemetry Tapes in 1965, after which he left to work as an audio-visual designer on the Air Canada Pavillion at Montreal's Expo '67. It was around this time that some of Dockstader's pieces were released on three Owl L.P.s, and his work became known to a larger audience (he had previously released some pieces on Folkways). However, he no longer had access to studio facilities and was denied access to the major electronic music centres because of his lack of academic credentials. He therefore concentrated on educational audio-visual productions, and has written and produced hundreds of filmstrips and videos for schools. Dockstader on Dockstader I don't remember just when I first heard musique concrète; it must have been in the early 50s. I think I liked the idea of it more than the Toonerville-Trolley sound of the early pieces. In Pierre Schaeffer's original definition, it meant working with the sound in your ears, directly with the sound, as opposed to "abstract" music in which the sounds are written. Like Schaeffer, a working sound engineer, I had the training to be a "worker in rhythms, frequencies and intensities." As a non-musician, I couldn't write music, but this "new art of sound" didn't need notation. In the beginning, musique concrète wasn't even agreed upon to be music; Schaeffer's first presentation of his work was called "a concert of noises." It also seemed to me, this new art of sound, a very democratic art. I'd studied painting for five years and gave it up, primarily because I came to dislike the exclusivity of it; a painting became the property of one person, one institution. I liked the idea that Schaeffer's first work was created in a (public) radio studio; his first premieres were broadcasts, not the "narrowcasts" of concert hall performances. And, when you bought a recording of it, you owned the work just as much as anyone else, because the work was a recording. So, I pursued that. Any art is, of course, not just all the possibilities; it is also choice - organization. That this new sound-art could be rigorously organized I first learned by hearing Edgar Varèse's Poeme Electronique of 1958 - a powerfully dramatic work in which the strength and personality of choice among all the possibilities is very evident. My choice of the term "Organized Sound" for my own work was, in part, a tribute to the Poème and Varèse. I also chose it because, in the '60s, the term "electronic music" was coming to mean music made purely of synthetic sound, and I was working in both "concrete" and electronically generated sounds. Accessed 15.11.06 from
20 Selected Statements
      Worktype Info Year Country Admin
Mr.Magoo Sound Design for Animation American TV USA Edit
Gerald McBoing Boing Sound Design for Animation American TV USA Edit
Travelling Music Tape Composition - 1960 USA Edit
Apocalypse Tape Composition - 1961 USA Edit
Eight Electronic pieces Tape Composition LOCUST 36 [2003] Reissue of Dockstaders crucial and remarkably advanced early concrete pieces, originally released privately and then reissued by Folkways in 1961. Tod Dockstader did the analog-to-digital transfer from the original tape, and Ernst Kar 1961 USA Edit
Luna Park Tape Composition - 1961 USA Edit
Drone Tape Composition - 1962 USA Edit
Water Music Tape Composition - 1963 USA Edit
Quatermass Tape Composition - 1963 USA Edit
Two Moons of Quatermass Tape Composition - 1963 USA Edit
Interview Spoken Word 1963 USA Edit
tango Tape Composition - 1964 USA Edit
Four Telemetry Tapes Tape Composition - 1965 USA Edit
Omniphony Tape Composition ReR TODD1 [2002] Reissue with a stereo version of Study No. 7 of the Eight Electronic Pieces and Past Prelude. 1966 USA Edit
Animated Khartoum - - 1970 USA Edit
Pond Tape Composition ReR TDDM1 [2004] 2004 USA Edit
Bijou Tape Composition ReR TDDM2 [2005] 2005 USA Edit
Aerial #1 Tape Composition - 2005 USA Edit
Aerial #2 Tape Composition - 2005 USA Edit
Shout Composition - 2006 USA Edit