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Dockstader, Tod: Aerial II [VINYL 2 LPs] (Important Records)

The second in a 3-part series of vinyl releases for Tod Dockstader's "Aerial 1-3", his major work of electronic drone environments developed over 15 years, using over 90 hours of shortwave radio sources, cross signals and fragments, creating vast atmospheric clouds from which emerge voices, mutated conversations and unexpected patterns; amazing!

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product information:

UPC: 793447549415

Label: Important Records
Catalog ID: IMPREC 494LP
Squidco Product Code: 32713

Format: 2 LPs
Condition: Sale (New)
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Double LP in single Sleeve


Tod Dockstader-mixing, composing

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Artist Biographies:

"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 California with his partner, Beverly, who had got a job teaching at an elementary school in Hollywood. He went looking for work and was rejected by Disney, but welcomed by United Productions of America (UPA) 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.Early Recordings

Dockstader moved to New York in 1958 and became a self-taught sound engineer and sound effects specialist and apprenticed as a recording engineer at Gotham Recording Studios. It was around this time that he started to use his off-work hours to experiment with mixing and manipulating sounds on magnetic tape (musique concrète). By 1960 he had amassed enough material to assemble his first record Eight Electronic Pieces which was released on the Folkways label in 1961 (this would later be used in the soundtrack of Fellini's Satyricon). The last of the eight pieces was later re-worked into his first stereo piece [Traveling Music]((/compositions/traveling-music/).

In 1961 he applied to use the facilities at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and was denied access by Vladimir Ussachevsky. Ussachevsky's official reason was the "overstrained" scheduling of the studios, although many suspect that Dockstader's lack of academic training was a factor in the decision.

He continued to create music throughout the first half of the 60s, working principally with tape manipulation effects. 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 in 1966 that some of Dockstader's pieces were released on three Owl L.P.s, and his work became known to a larger audience. He achieved modest recognition and radio play alongside the likes of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Edgard Varèse, and John Cage.

Westport Communications

After leaving New York in the late 1960s he formed the audio-visual service Westport Communications Group along with business partner, and former Gotham executive, Fred Hertz. The company produced award-winning educational films for the American Heritage series, which Tod wrote, directed, and created sound for. By that time (late 60s) Tod and Beverly had a daughter, Tina who recalls her father immersing himself into each new project, becoming an expert on the subject at hand, be it the Civil War, the Roaring 20s, or some other aspect of American History.

Through his own company he was able to purchase the equipment, including at that time a Moog and two ARP Synthesizers. His only musical output of this period were two L.P.s of short, synth-based pieces released by Boosey & Hawkes and intended for film, radio, and television use.Late Recordings

In the late 90s, Tina, who was now starting a family of her own in Massachusetts, convinced Tod to get a computer so that they could keep in contact via email. He quickly realized the computer's potential for creating music and set about transferring hours and hours of DATs that he had accumulated over the years. During this time he released the three disc set Aerial and collaborated with David Lee Myers on two albums.

Later in his life, Tod cared for his wife Beverly, who suffered from Alzheimer's, and passed away peacefully at the age of 84 on February 27th, 2015 surrounded by his friends and family while listening to his own music."

-Tod Dockstader Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Approach 1:52

2. Omaggio a fellini 1:50

3. Pipes 4:05

4. Orgal 3:38

5. Babbel 3:54

6. Yaya 4:21


1. Ba loon 3:17

2. Clocking 3:37

3. Wail 8:34

4. Bottom 3:34

5. Feeder 1:36


1. Spindrift 3:35

2. Surfer 5:00

3. Low roller 3:24

4. Still 4:56

5. Beating 3:51


1. Picolo 5:41

2. Wire 2:07

3. Knock 6:21

4. Wah 3:02

5. Aah 1:40
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Tod Dockstader's Aerial series, an electronic/drone masterpiece, is cherished among fans of the artist's work and this second volume is available in an audiophile quality double LP. Tod Dockstader's Aerial series is sourced from his life-long passion for shortwave radio.

Dockstader collected over 90 hours of recordings, made at night, and comprised of cross signals and fragments plucked from the atmosphere. Opening with airwave drones, Dockstader gradually allows elements to slowly come and go, summoning an ominous atmosphere of ethereal cloud clouds. Malignant placidity continues, giving the feeling of eavesdropping upon late-night audio activity not unlike discovering number stations while sweeping the dials. These sounds pull you in as their density and rhythms come and go. Backward voices, deep echoing choruses of conversations flowing under the surface, ocean sounds, pulsing electro-rhythms, all seem to be created via the collaging of many hours of source recordings.

A masterwork of collage and juxtaposition by an overlooked pioneer of American electronic music. Artwork by John Brien (Imprec) is inspired by the propagation of shortwave radio signals throughout the earth's atmosphere."-Important Records

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