Author Topic: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.  (Read 17727 times)

deepspace

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2008, 03:22:35 PM »
QUIRKY. Um,  yes, that's the word I'd use for this, but not in a good way, I'm afraid.  After a few listens I can hear very little in the way of the classics Stokes has created like Zo Pilots and Outfolding, which were experimental, psychoactive, and melodic all at once.  This was a huge disappointment for me, sorry to say, and I'll probably get hate mail, but what the heck, it just sounds like noodling to me.  Maybe that was the point, and that it's not supposed to sound like ZP or Outfolding. Looks like so far I'm in the minority here on this opinion, so go easy on me people.  Sorry don't mean to be a party pooper...

You're allowed to state your opinion, but I'm allowed to disagree with it. :) If your definition of noodling is carefully selected themes which layer against each other in an emotive way, in which motives develop and are transformed subtly over the course of the song, and the end is different yet related to the beginning, and harmonic progressions are simple, yet always thoughtful and interesting, and never cliche, and sounds complement each other to carefully build a big full spectrum of sound, then yep, I guess he was noodling.

That must also mean that the opposite of noodling: composition, would mean some slipshod improvisation over a pongy sounding bassline with a preset sound, and then calling it a song. ;)


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michael sandler

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2008, 06:18:01 PM »
Saul Stokes doesn't use any biscuit tins!

What's wrong with biscuit tins?


drone on

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2008, 09:31:39 PM »
Deepspace--
The problem I have with VG is it leaves me cold.  Play the track "Downtown Inaka" from Zo Pilots REALLY loud.  That sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it.  It drips emotion.  As for quirky, some people like that thing, which I don't generally, I like my space music deep and "serious", VG is "fun" music.  I don't like fun. ;-)

deepspace

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2008, 10:46:55 PM »
Going by his last couple of releases, yes, I agree it is very different and seemingly (at first listen) less serious.  You use the word 'fun' and your dislike for it (which I thought was a very funny thing to say by the way.) and you might see this album as fun, but I don't really see this album in this way.  Maybe I'm different, but whenever I hear a record like Villa, I see it as the author attempting to connect in a truthful way- there's something about "Hello Radar" for example, that is so beautiful and innocent, that it is not 'fun' or 'quirky' for me, but more 'truth' and an attempt to capture (without wanting to sound wanky) the elusive, fleeting nature of joy or innocence.  Joy is one of the hardest emotions to capture in music, without the music coming across too syrupy and too Windham Hill.  Now I'm sure that Lustmord would disagree with that statement, but I hope you see my point, and why I don't see Villa as fun or quirky, but as beautiful and joyful.  Having said that, you're allowed to express your opinion on the Hypnos forums in this way.  It would be dull if everyone agreed just for the sake of it.

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drone on

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2008, 07:22:12 AM »
Hey, don't be cappin' on Windham Hill.  I like a lot of those early WH albums.  Should have said "too John Tesh or Yanni." ;-)

deepspace

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2008, 02:50:08 PM »
Actually, I was referring to the more recent Windham Hill.  I did omit a (late) before the name.  But then it sounded like Windham hill had died.  But hey, maybe it has. :)
George Winstons Autumn (recorded in 1982) was one of the first I guess you could call ambient piano albums I ever heard, and I absolutely loved it.  It reminded me of J.S Bach's Well Tempered Clavier but in this really windswept minimal way.  It really lodged itself into my subconscious, and whenever I play piano, a little bit of it is there.  I never like much of what he did after that sadly- it all became a little too Americana sounding or something, or like music they would use for retirement homes, OR like he was trying to summon Oprah or something. :)

M
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drone on

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2008, 12:38:14 AM »
Absolutely right about George Winston's later music.  Geezer music for moms. My mom loves him, I took her to a GW concert long ago, lots of old people in wheelchairs, and one young guy kept "air pianoing" the whole concert. I wanted to slap him.

Scott M2

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2008, 11:46:12 AM »
Air piano!  Gotta say, that's a new one.     

soma611

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2008, 04:55:41 PM »


"We Resolve," from Abstraction, fits it best, this time of the year; my night painting, that is.  I put my pieces back together on sand roads in pine barrens, miles from anything but sand and pine, windows on the Silverado down, bombarded by the sound of insect chants.  Abstraction screams back.  There are hundreds of miles of these roads which make a perfect escape from the otherwise most densely populated state in the union. 

Zo Pilots, Fields, Edge of the Forest, my broken boxes (still haven't figured out how to open them, Saul), Outfolding, cicadas, katydids, frogs, owls, howling coyotes ...

I dunno.  I might be Saul's first groupie.  I followed him around so much during his pioneering Philadelphia days he would turn around at every live performance and see me there, front and center, and I could read his lips.  "Oh.  Him again."  Stokes fascinated me.  Not being a musician, nor knowing much about the technical aspects of what it takes to be one of an electronic nature, I still managed to see in the artist the genius behind his accomplishments; building instruments by hand, then sculpturing the sounds created from these into unbelievable shapes.



And his compositions speak to me in the same manner as what I hear out there.

Last night, sand roading, and Villa Galaxia setting the mood, I thought of my step father.  Not long before he lost his final battle, and curious about the weird choice of music preference I had a reputation of having, Shep offered me a "five minute window" with which to impress him by playing an electronic music piece of my choice. What I picked then wasn't important ... and there was no chance of impressing him, even if I had 500 minutes to play.  Wish I had another chance.  I think I've heard the song.

"Night Painting."

I played it pretty damned loud last night, repeatedly, remembering one of the last things he said.



"Life was good."  




« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 05:12:29 PM by soma611 »

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2008, 06:15:49 AM »
Always great to read Bill Beck's impressions on the Forum!  Hope you'll stick around.

I can't wait to get this CD—hard to believe it's already been a few years since Vast.

9dragons

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2008, 02:54:40 PM »
I don't know if I'd call the album "psychedelic" really.  The word I always think of when I hear Saul's music is "futuristic," and I'm not completely sure why... there's a science fiction feel to some of the song titles, and of course purely electronic music has a pretty modern feel most of the time. When I listen to Saul's music though I always feel like I'm listening to the kind of music people would listen to it a distant, futuristic utopia.  It's bright and crisp and pure but still very human.

For me, almost all electronic music is psychedelic by definition. But I would say that Saul's music is quite special in this arena. After listening to "Vast" recently, I wanted to describe it as "pimpadelic". It just has this outlandish, weird, and joyous kind of deep cool, balanced with true, unabashed, unironic feeling, that is alien amongst modern electronica. There are just these moments of total retro suaveness couched in a futurist antique/modern sound, that I find absolutely delightful. It is indeed music of the future, in a future where the people are clad in one-piece shimmering jumpsuits with silver tubing down the sides, and finned helmets. I am loving the differences in character between Outfolding, Fields, and Vast. I was wondering why Saul doesn't seem to be as well known (correct me if I'm wrong) as many of the slew of more popular generic electro artists out there. I think it is due to the fact that his music has taken a completely unique path to arrive at what it is, which is not easily describable. It doesn't really reflect the derivative tastes and basic styles of contemporary electronica, but feels like it harks back to an imaginary, ancient electro past. Such a delightful amalgamation, and always moving. Music for the connoiseur...

And that sense of heartfelt beauty, of late night/early morning honing of craft, of an explosive, escapist joy, is so startling to hear. I think we aren't used to hearing these kinds of feelings expressed in the modern world. It can even be off-putting at first. One must surrender to it...hopping on for the ride is richly rewarded.

I am looking forward to Villa Galaxia and late nights with the headphones...

deepspace

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Re: Villa Galaxia - Saul Stokes. Some Impressions.
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2008, 02:30:05 AM »

balanced with true, unabashed, unironic feeling, that is alien amongst modern electronica.


Yes.  The above sentence is probably the most important one for me.  Those emotions are something that I really value, not just in electronic music, but in all music.  Irony and darkness are artistic commodities that have been explored almost to the point of exhaustion in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and I personally love it when an artist goes out on a limb and says something that is "true, unabashed and un-ironic"

There's way to much 'cool' in music.  Frozen.  Time to thaw it out a bit.



« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 03:30:20 AM by deepspace »
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