Transcription: 0364 - Carl Stone

Released: September 12, 2021

Darwin: Okay, today I have the great opportunity to meet someone who I have been wanting to... I've been actually working myself up to ask him to be on the podcast, I've been following him for a while on Facebook, I finally was like, "I've got to do it." And so I reached out and he was very happy, it seemed like to have a chat. So the person I'm talking about is Carl Stone. And with that, I'm going to stop talking and start conversing. Hey, Carl, how are you?

Carl: Hey, nice to talk to you, Darwin.

Darwin: Yeah, I mean, I want to thank you so much for taking the time. I have followed your work - it seems like for a long, long time, it's always been so influential to me, I want to thank you for doing that stuff. And for being willing to talk about it. For people who might not be super... I think most of the people listening to my podcast will know who you are, and know some of your work. But why don't you talk a little bit about what some of your most recent work has been?

Carl: Well, I mean, my most recent work sort of fits in to my overall kind of compositional strategy and approach. Going back to when I started, which is gosh, when I think about it, almost 50 years ago, using found - some might appropriated music, or some might even say stolen music - as a starting point for creating my own unique works.

So back in the beginning, I was working with tape recorders taking LP records and using tape recorder techniques to radically modify them. And today, I do that in the digital domain using the technique of sampling and programs like Max. But typically the starting point is familiar or perhaps unfamiliar piece of music, which serves as a jumping off point for my own particular creativity.

Darwin: Now for me, you were one of the people that in a very, maybe modern way you really represented the beginning of sampling from one aspect. So it was like sampling, on one hand was kind of coming in from the hip hop genres and stuff like that. Or pop music, they used it for very emulative tasks. But you were very early on the scene doing things that were very creative and kind of more abstract way.

Now I would say that for me, this has been really reiterated by two compilations that were recently put out. And by recently, I mean in last few years. One called Electronic Music from the 70s and 80s, and one Electronic Music for the 80s and 90s, which to me was great, because they sort of like put in one place that material for me to go over again. And it was really amazing. Because in a lot of ways, some of that early stuff, even the stuff from the 70s I can imagine that being produced yesterday.

When I listen to your current stuff, that thread line of how you manipulate stuff has kind of stayed the same. It's really clear that rather than just a technical exercise, this was a voice that you had in your head.

Carl: Yeah, I think that's very true. It really is been something that's sort of consistently stayed with me, for better or worse. For lo these many years. It is kind of my singular approach. And, of course, the technology has changed. And that's sort of enabled new ways of doing what I do. But whether I do what I do, this way, or I do what I did that way, it's still what I do. And that's been a pretty consistent through-line in a long time.

Darwin: Right. Sure. Now you are currently located in Tokyo, correct?

Carl: That is correct. I've been in Tokyo for 20 years.

Darwin: That's what I thought. And what caused you to go there and stay there? What drew you there and what makes you want to stay?

Carl: I started going to Japan in the 80s. I had a residency grant in 1988 for six months from a support institution called the Asian Cultural Council to live in Tokyo. And my stated purpose was to... I had actually had sort of threefold purpose. One was to meet with composers and people on the musical scene in Tokyo and find out what was going on there. Number two, sort of introduce myself and my particular music to the Tokyo scene or the Japanese musical community and number three, maybe the most important for me was to document the urban soundscape of Tokyo.

At that time, I had a portable digital recorder and a stereo microphone and I wandered around the city fascinated by the soundscape. While being in Tokyo I did meet a lot of people. And it was sort of at a high point in the Japanese economy, the so-called bubble. So there was a lot going on, it was very, very active, the town was "hot". And I had, after I finished my residency found a certain degree of success and appreciation from the Japanese audience. Sort of like a "Tom Waits - big in Japan" kind of thing.

And being unknown in the US, but somehow popular in Japan, I have many invitations to return to work on projects. So I was going back every year, and had developed friends and started to learn the language a little bit, and so on and so forth. And then this continued even after the so-called bubble burst. Things were not as deluxe economically, but I still find myself visiting Japan at least once a year.

Until I did another residency back in the year 2001 at a media art center, in the middle of the country, a place called Yamas. And while I was there, I was headhunted by a university who was looking for someone to fill in for a teacher who had just left to go to Paris, Atau Tanaka. So Atau Tanaka was at university, he left to go to Paris, and they found me and made me an offer. And I decided to stay.

I mean, it was 2001. Bush was the president. The attacks had just happened, things were getting very weird politically. And I thought, well, maybe it's... I had never imagined living as an expat anywhere. And I had never... I had definitely never imagined being a professor at a university - I was kind of proud to not be affiliated with the university. I thought that being a professor sort of takes off your edge, you don't really have to find things too secure.

But I did it. And so that happened in 2001. I've been here ever since. I've been a full professor at a university. And still, they gave me enough latitude... I mean, part of the deal that I negotiated, I would still be able to travel and tour and perform. I could still go back to the states to see my parents who were alive at the time. And I didn't have to fight for tenure. I came in with full tenure from day one.

And so I thought, well I guess they really want me and maybe I'll stay. And I like it here. I mean, the most important thing is that I really like the life in Japan. And have been able to make a go of it. So the soundscape is remains fascinating. It's changed, but it's still interesting. The lifestyle fits to my personality. The music scene is interesting. The food's great. And so here I am. Before COVID happened, I was coming back to the States a couple times a year. I kept a place in... I got an apartment in California, where I'm from originally, and I was visiting fairly regularly. So I mean, I was an expat, but I didn't feel like I'd severed my ties.

And now with COVID I haven't been able to go back for a while. So it's a little more of an ex-patriotic feeling. But nonetheless, still I have a lot of friends in the US and still keep in touch with them. I'd like to go back see how my apartment's doing.

Darwin: Yeah. Well, and I mean, you were kind of like well known for being not only a laptop performer, but one of the first actually. But someone who would do... You do live performances with your laptop system. Have you been able to do any performances at all since the beginning of the pandemic?

Carl: Well, I've done some, but not a lot. I mean, much, much less. I haven't been able to tour with any regularity. I mean, at the time the pandemic hit I had a full tour booked in the US and in Europe, everything got canceled. By the fall of 2020 I had a few remaining festival gigs, which we're able to convert to online performances. And since then I've done a couple of things here in Japan, I haven't been able to go outside.

Darwin: Yeah, what is the situation there? Are the borders fairly well locked down? I mean, the Olympics just happened. And I guess I should even remember from that - it was pretty clear about them not wanting people traipsing in and out of the country too much.

Carl: Yeah, basically, the borders are closed for people without sufficient rationale. I mean, family emergencies or work obligations, or if you're a permanent resident, with the so called, what in America would be called a green card.

Darwin: A work permit thing.

Carl: A work permit, which is... I'm a permanent resident here. So I could go out if I wanted, and I could come back and would have to quarantine I suppose. But people from... It was on the news yesterday said that, compared with two years ago, 2019, the number of foreign tourists is down 95%.

Darwin: Oh Jesus.

Carl: 95%.

Darwin: Wow.

Carl: So that gives you an idea. It's basically pretty closed. I mean, I feel very sorry, for the tourist space businesses, a lot of them have folded, it's definitely an economic crisis. But as someone... it's been very nice, actually, to be able to wander around without a bunch of tourists everywhere. Sorry to say.

Darwin: No, I hear you. I was lucky enough to be able to be a tourist in Japan sometimes. And it was an amazing place to visit. But there were an awful lot of people plowing their way through it. So one of the things I like doing in my podcast is talking to people about their background and how they got to be the artists that they are. And in your case, I'm particularly curious, because you sort of, you came from kind of, from what I can tell kind of a classical background. But you really kind of adapted to working with technology as kind of a core of your sound. So I'm kind of curious, growing up, how did you get engaged in music? How did you get engaged in technology? And what was the impetus to combine the two?

Carl: I was kind of a music enthusiast from very early age as a small child. I seem to love music - my parents reported. One of the first gifts I got, as a little child was a record player, like a 45 RPM record player and a set of discs. And I sort of stepped through, I loved classical music as a little boy. Eventually I grew to appreciate opera, Italian opera like Puccini, and then later Wagner.

And so yes my earliest instincts were... I loved also folk music, but classical music was kind of my main hit. And then in the mid 60s, the Beatles came out, I was kind of interested in them. Although I was sort of actually I was kind of a classical music snob, actually at the age of 11.

And so I liked the Beatles secretly, but I didn't tell any of my friends at school. And would listen to AM radio late at night in Los Angeles, KFWB was, and so I developed an appreciation for Motown and things like that. Technology, I don't know. I mean, my parents gave me a tape recorder. And I fooled around with it recording my voice and shifting the speed up and down, and it actually had as sort of an over... They call this sound-on-sound, you could overdub.

And I experimented with that a little bit. But what happened was in 19, I guess it was '68 or '69, Paul Beaver and Bernie Kraus. Bernie Kraus I think people know today because of his fantastic collection of environmental recordings. At the time, he was partnered with a guy named Paul Beaver who is maybe a little less known. And they put out an anthology, a box set of I think two LPs of nothing but Moog synthesizer sounds.

Darwin: Not songs, just the sounds.

Carl: It's been so long since I've revisited this, that said that I don't remember if they did any songs maybe as one side, but certainly the majority of it was just, "this is a sine wave", "this is a square wave", "this is a filter". That kind of thing. I was just kind of fascinated by the sounds. And I actually dug some of them on to tape recorders and tried mixing them together. I wasn't like composing per se, I was kind of experimenting with what these sounds would be like if you combined them.

And just at that time, I heard that a place in the Los Angeles area, which was where I grew up, a place was opening up is called the California Institute of the Arts. Morton Subotnick was going to be in the music faculty. And they were going to have not one, not two, but three synthesizer studios.

And I thought, well, this sounds pretty interesting. Maybe I should apply to go. And I did apply. And I didn't get in, because I didn't really have any formal training. And they were looking for someone who knew something about the history of electronic music other than a Beaver and Krause record. So I got rejected, but I went anyway, on the advice of a friend, a family friend. I went and went to all the classes signed up for studio time, used the studios.

And I started to kind of find my groove. About a little less than a year later. Because the studios were under such heavy use they were also very heavily damaged, just from overuse, I guess. And the decision was, instead of letting 60 people sign up for studio time, they were going to limit it to 12. And Mort Subotnick was going to make the decision who the 12 we're going to be.

And I guess he had noticed that I was working diligently and I was doing something. And so he put my name on that list of 12, having forgotten that he was the one who rejected me in the first place. So he submitted my name to the registrar's office, and they got the message back, "This guy isn't even a student." So he took a second look at my situation. Made me a student, they gave me a scholarship. And then that really opened the door to my work with technology.

Darwin: Got it. All right, that makes sense. So, I mean, there wasn't really any bridge between the Beaver and Krause album and Morton Subotnick? I mean, because that seems like a really big chasm. Or was it just the synthesizer, just getting in front of a synthesizer?

Carl: It was mostly the synthesizer. It wasn't like, I got to go to a school where Morton Subotnick is. I didn't know that much about Morton Subotnick. Maybe I had bought Silver Apples of the Moon at that point. I don't remember exactly when I got it. But I did get it. And it was very interesting to me. That was his first kind of debut album.

It was, I think the first album that was commissioned, especially... It was the first electronic music commissioned for the medium of the LP record. And so, what came first I can't recall. But somehow that gap was bridged. I mean, when Subotnick said "I'm sorry, you can't be a student here, go home, and learn about electronic music, learn about new music." Which I really didn't know anything about. He said, read Die Reihe, which was... I don't know if you know Die Reihe.

But this was a very, very academic European take on new music. I mean, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Ligeti. People like that. So I did take it seriously, his advice seriously and I did study up. So this was all part of kind of bridging the gap that - I was doing the bridging while I was attending these classes, auditing the classes really as a non-student back in the earliest days of the school.

Darwin: Right. Interesting. Interesting. Now again, I recently got the vinyl copies of your early music collections. And there is a period where it's kind of like synthesis, synthetic stuff. But relatively early, you also started working with appropriated sound samples and sample manipulation.

Carl: Yeah. Yeah.

Darwin: But when I look at the dates of when that happened, and I'm like really familiar with all the sampler technology, there's a mismatch. Because you were doing some of this stuff before I feel like there was viable sampling technology to be able to do that kind of work. How were you approaching it? I want to talk more about the process you use to do this. But it's hard for me to even imagine like that there was a framework for you to even build this on.

Carl: It's true that my earliest work was strictly with synthesis. I was using the Buchla synthesizers that were installed at Cal Arts. And that's what everyone was doing. That's what Subotnick was teaching, it was de rigueur. And two of the pieces on that compilation album you mentioned are from that era, '72 and '73, I guess. What happened when I think about it, the first thing that happened was, I was working with a longtime friend, someone I knew, since junior high or high school. A guy by the name of Stephen Weisser, who later became known professionally as Z'EV.

And Z'EV is known mostly as a kind of action performer using percussion and a lot of found metals and things and coming from sort of a punk/noise sensibility. But he's a very creative artist and a poet. I don't remember, I think maybe he proposed or somehow we had the idea to record his reading his own poetry and that I would manipulate it with the equipment in the studio. The synthesizers had a certain amount of... They had some things you could do to modify microphone-collected sound, and there were tape recorders and things like that.

So I began to experiment with the techniques. I had heard a little bit of the text-sound poet's. Lars-Gunnar Bodin came through the school and introduced the idea of text-sound, poets working in sort of an extralingual way with electronically manipulated voice. And so his lecture and my friend's impetus led me to experiment with these microphone-collected sound.

And at the same time, I was working at the music library at Cal Arts and discovering all sorts of fantastic material. Early music, pre-Baroque music, 20th century avant-garde music, and a lot of world music, because Cal Arts had a fantastic world music department. And this was just a complete revelation. And somehow, I just thought that it might be interesting to take the voice of this child singer from Burundi and record it and see what would happen if I looped it or did some other thing to it.

So I began to experiment with those things. And that really started me on my path to the point where sort of the first piece that I consider the sort of my breakthrough piece from 1977 was a piece called Sukothai, which took an LP recording of harpsichord music and just multiplied it again and again, to build up a very, very rich texture. So that kind of was a path from synthesis to using found sound.

Darwin: Sure, sure, that make sense. Now, were you using physical tape loops?

Carl: Yes, everything was done with tape. Everything was done with tape until the late 80s. Well, everything was done with tape until maybe 1982, at which point, I started to work with a digital delay/harmonizer. A box called a Publison which I acquired and used for live performance with a stack of LP records and a turntable.

Carl: But up till that point I did... I worked at reel to reel tapes in a studio. And then when I did live performances, I worked with cassettes, and did pieces like Kuk Il Kwan, which is also on that Anthology. Which is all cassette recordings that I made while on tour and the tour was such that every day in the daytime, I would record sounds from whatever city I was in. Belgium or Paris or wherever I was. And then I would incorporate those recordings plus other recordings from previous days on the tour into a performance. And so the piece would significantly evolve over time.

Darwin: Morph over time. Wow, that's cool. So what had you doing all this traveling? Was it literally touring to perform these works?

Carl: Yeah, at the time, I was fairly aggressive and sent a lot of letters out to Europe, and so on. Just saying, "Hi, my name is Carl Stone. Is there any chance I could do a performance?" And 90% of the people wrote back either no or they didn't write back at all. But that's kind of the scale. I did the first tour, I don't remember exactly where I went, but it was not insignificant, especially for a guy who was 28, 29 in a market that is completely different from today. Played in Holland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy.

Darwin: And this is mostly performances in academic environments.

Carl: Academic environments, or in some cases, the actual venues might be churches or galleries.

Darwin: Right, right.

Carl: Sponsors might be universities or performing societies like Gaudeamus in Holland, which would support performances by Dutch composers, and as well as visiting artists. And so they gave me a couple concerts. And I also did radio... Because I was working as a music director of a radio station at the time. And so I kind of played that card as well. And so I would go and do lectures on new music from California, new electronic music from California and introduce artists like John Bischoff, and Paul Drescher, Maggie Payne, and people like that.

Darwin: Right, right. Now, one of the things and we talked about right at the front end, that a lot of what you're known for is working with found or appropriated sounds and particularly working with... The way I would say is, it's like the space between granular and looping. There's like this other thing that's sort of like stuttering or high repetition stuff, but where you can... There's still a significant amount of the actual sound to be understood.

Darwin: Now, the range of things that you used for as source material is all over the map. I mean, on one hand, it's like, it sounded to me like you saying, "Test one, two, three." And it was actually funny, because when you first listen to it, you hear two and then you hear tooth, and then all of a sudden you realize, okay, that's actually part of test one, two three.

Darwin: Because it actually has kind of this neat narrative flow to it. But in other cases you're using musical tracks. Sometimes they sound like pop music, sometimes they sound like world music. I'm really curious, what is it that in your mind when you hear something says that would be good source material? Or is it just experimentation? Or is it just like, I happened to be in Antwerp today. And the sound of Antwerp was like this. And here's the sound of the piece. I mean, I'm curious, what draws... What makes you say, that's the source.

Carl: That's what I'm trying to find out, in every piece is what it is that has fascinated me about some piece of music that I've heard. Whether I've heard it coming up randomly on a playlist somewhere, or whether I've heard it walking around on the street and it's playing as background music in a store, something will catch my ear. And I won't know what it is actually, but I know that it's something. And the process of figuring out what that something is the process of making the music.

Darwin: Got it.

Carl: So what I think my music does, in a way is attempts to sort of microscopically examine what's going on in a piece of music or just a sample, a phrase of music or just a note itself. What's going on in that unit that has got me intrigued. And finding the answer is basically composing the piece. So I don't care, my tastes are fairly broad. And it's not necessarily music that I respect. It just is music that I love somehow. And the two things are different. In fact, I made kind of a matrix, a two dimensional two by two matrix of music I love and respect, music I love but don't respect, music that I respect but don't love and music that I neither love nor respect. And I can fill those quadrants in.

Darwin: Would you say that your pieces are pretty well speckled throughout all four quadrants?

Carl: Well, music that I neither love or respect usually doesn't make it in. Unless I've been conditioned to do a [crosstalk 00:29:55]. In which case I'm a whore, I'll do it baby.

Carl: But no, I mean, it's usually... I mean, the love is the most important thing, of course. And it's very hard to quantify. I mean, I've figured out some things about music that I'm attracted to, but they're not universal. And really the process of figuring out why I like something is why I choose to deal with it in the first place as a musical sample.

Carl: But also, I mean, that's one thing. But another thing is working with iconic music, as I have done from time to time, there's a kind of philosophical level and a level of sort of a postmodernist approach of deconstruction, of the familiar, to create something new. And so if you hear Ariana Grande a sample or you hear Motown and you hear it radically reconfigured, you're using the original as a reference point, and that is giving you certain guidances as to how to interpret what I'm doing.

Carl: And for better or worse. And so in that way, I see myself very much coming from a postmodernist tradition. As I had mentioned, I grew up in California, the California, both the light artists, people working with light, like James Turrell, or some of the other light artists, but also the post modernists from the US, like Rauschenberg, or even Duchamp and people working with pop iconography. And re-fashioning it into their own was very interesting for me. So that's happening at another level as well in my music.

Darwin: Right. Sure. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Now, if I were to talk about how I feel like your music has changed over the years, I feel like a lot of the sort of ways that you explored the music are similar. But in a way the sources have changed. I guess one of the things I would say is that your current music seems a lot more oriented around percussion and percussive sounds than I felt like earlier work was. Does that sound right or am I misreading it?

Carl: Well, I don't know-

Darwin: Or is that just not part of even your consideration.

Carl: It hasn't been part of my active consideration, it may be on a subconscious level, something that's happening. So you're saying there's more percussion now than before?

Darwin: It feels that way to me, yes. I think of stuff like, well, I've been listening to a Stolen Car a bit. In fact, that's become kind of a... I listened to it while I'm bicycling, which makes for a very interesting soundtrack for my neighborhood.

Carl: You're not using headphones, you're just blasting it out.

Darwin: No, I'm using headphones. But nevertheless, for me it's an interesting soundtrack. And certainly there's a lot of percussion, a lot of kind of typical percussion with your manipulation of the sound onto it. That's not what I tend to think. I tend to think of some of your older stuff as being a lot more explorations into voice and vocal sounds, stuff like that. There's still from that now, but this percussive stuff is just something that to me, seems more current.

Carl: Well, it's true that there is a strong rhythmic impetus to a lot of the music on the Stolen Car release. And a lot of the samples that I use come from pop, which, as a lot of drums or drum machines, so that's inevitable. But there's a lot of voice too. I think a lot of female voice, I've always been attracted to the voice, especially female voice for some reason.

Carl: And while earlier pieces like Banteay Srey, or Shing Kee, both based on female voice have really no percussion, no drums. It's true, that in Stolen Car, it's voice plus drums. So in that sense, I think you're right, but it's not a conscious decision that I made. I just kind of... I don't set out to say, "Okay, today I'm going to use a piece with a lot of drums."

Darwin: This is my drum album.

Carl: My drum album. I never do that. I simply kind of follow the news and whatever hits me in the morning will be something that I'll be taking apart later in the day.

Darwin: Got it.

Carl: And I guess we're recently it's been more pop, that's for sure. And with pop comes drums, and there's no way around that, I guess.

Darwin: Yeah, right. So, from my perspective, you're kind of on the forefront of playing around with samples in the way that you did. I mean, there was there's obviously the music and [inaudible 00:35:22] people and stuff like that had come before you in terms of working with recorded sound manipulation. But there wasn't, I don't know who were people that influenced you, and who are people that still influenced you from an art standpoint.

Carl: Early on, when I was a student Subotnik was an influence through his synthesizer work. James Kenny was also a teacher of mine. He was also an important kind of theoretician, and he had done a kind of breakout piece that most people don't know. But used Elvis samples, it's a piece called Blue Suede. And he used the Elvis Blue Suede Shoes and cut it up and looped it and things like that. And I thought something going on. It's interesting.

Carl: Then Charles Amirkhanian came through the school and introduced the text sound people. So did Lars-Gunnar Bodin. There was one German by the name of Ferdinand Kriwet, who he came to New York, and just recorded a lot of television sound. And refashioned it into a piece called Voice of America.

Carl: And I recently sort of rediscovered the piece. It was an important for me back in the day. But I thought about it recently and dug it out.

Darwin: What was the name of the piece again, Voice of America?

Carl: Voice of America.

Darwin: I have to look that up at some point.

Carl: And Ferdinand is like Ferdinand, and Kriwet is K-R-I-W-E-T. These pieces were influential. I found Steve Reich and Philip Glass both came through Cal Arts and did performances with their ensembles right there in the central atrium, the so called music gallery or gallery space at Cal Arts. That was very influential.

Carl: Some of the world musicians that were brought by the music department, Sheik Chinna Moulana came through. He's a Nadhaswaram performer and totally blew my mind. Fantastic stuff. So these are all influential. Did I mention Bernard Parmegiani I should because his music pitch me very deeply. From all the people from the GRM he was my favorite composer. So I knew a bit about music [en crete 00:38:01]. As sort of part of the history courses that I took at Cal Arts and also just familiarizing myself. But I didn't really study them in a way.

Carl: And then by the time I started working with my pop samples, my Motown things like that. Hip hop, and rap were happening on the East Coast, and maybe in LA too, but I had zero awareness of it. I was working with turntables, I was cutting them up, looping them with my stereo digital delay. Who is Grandmaster Flash? I had absolutely no idea.

Carl: Of course, those guys didn't know anything about me. That was the zeitgeist. I think people were starting to turn to the media as source material. This was a big turning point in late '83, '84 and so on. For a lot of people. And by then sample sampling technology was just starting to take hold. I think that by, I don't know when it was '85 or so commercial samplers were trying to hit the market. There was expensive ones like I'm blanking on the name. Well the Synclavier of course was everybody knew but nobody could afford. Then there was-

Darwin: The Fairlight and then the emulator.

Carl: An emulator. Okay, so that was kind of getting into the realm of affordability. And then by the time... I had the stereo digital delay and it was pretty expensive machine it cost about what a car would cost at the time. $5,000. You could buy a Honda Civic for $5,000. But I got a grant to buy one, but then I got stolen.

Carl: And so I used the insurance money to buy another one. And then it got stolen. And then I said to hell with it. And by then this is 1986. By then MIDI had arrived. A portable Macintosh was on sale, a Mac plus. And so I took my $5,000 or whatever I bought a Mac, I bought a Profit 2002 sampler I bought a Yamaha TX 816 and a DX7. And that's really was kind of the turning point, that's where I developed the pieces that I brought out of my first CD, I think all four pieces, which had the original recording of Shing Kee. And some other MIDI pieces.

Carl: And that was 1986, '87 the influences that I had by then. I had listened a little bit to, there was a group called The Art of Noise, they were using either a Fairlight or an emulator, I don't know. And they use these short little musical samples. Just the opening three notes of the Peter Gunn, televisions theme. And people are like, "Oh, wow, they're not just using, like a sample of a note. They're using a whole phrase." Wow. And so I'll see your phrase, and I'll raise you the whole piece. Which was kind of my content. But nobody folded.

Darwin: So no, you said that your current listening tastes are pretty broad. But I mean, what... Now if you got stuck on a desert island with inexplicably a stereo and like five albums, whose work would you pick now?

Carl: That's a tricky question. Yeah, that really requires thought, because there's music that I love... Let's limit it to music, I love and respect I think would be reasonable. But music that would also stand just the test of many, many repeated listenings. So it would probably have to be Bach, a lot of Bach in there. I would think. And Ray Goldberg, Radiations would probably be in there. And what I consider to be the classic Philip Glass like music in 12 Parts.

Darwin: I was going to say, in my head, I was thinking I bet Philip Glass is going to be one of those people.

Carl: I could listen to that in many years until I got rescued.

Darwin: Sure.

Carl: I'd have to think a little more about what the other three would be, but not my own music. Well, maybe no, I don't think I would include my own music.

Darwin: So unfortunately, our time is already up. But I have one very important question I asked you before we go. What's up with you and food? So first of all, I'm not a big fan of Facebook, but I keep up on it. And I have a very carefully curated group of friends in that almost none of them will do pictures of food. So whenever I see a plate of food come across, I know it's coming from you. But also my understanding is like the name of a lot of the pieces, especially early pieces, were like named after your favorite restaurants or something.

Carl: All of them. All of them, to this day.

Darwin: To this day.

Carl: It's a stupid idea that I... Well, basically, to get back to the meta question, what's up with food? I love food. I love to eat it, I love to chew it. I love to look at it. And I'm a person who really enjoys good food. So there's that. But as it ties into my music, to the extent it does, or to my titles. I was struggling with titles back in the early days, trying to come up with a way to sort of represent a piece in words that had... That the title of the piece would have some relation, some clues, some insight into the music itself.

Carl: And I really just had a rough time with that. And so I thought, well, I need maybe a more arbitrary system, just give each piece a number or just call it like A2 and number, opus, whatever. That really wasn't really satisfying either. And plus, it really wouldn't help people distinguish. Titles are just kind of markers. They're signifiers.

Carl: And so I was in... This is, I think I started to do this '74, '75, something like that. And I was even then and I was like really into I like so called ethnic food, like Thai food had just started to become a thing in Los Angeles. The Thai community was coming into its own, they'd open up these restaurants, the food was a revelation, I really liked it. Especially when they were just creating food for the Thai clientele.

Carl: And so I thought, well I love this restaurant. And so I think probably I just gave my piece that title of Chao Praya, which is also the name of river in Thailand. And then I gave another piece of name of another restaurant. And then I thought, well, this is a kind of a good arbitrary system. I can randomize it. I'll just create a sort of a database of the places I've gone to that I like. Most of them are Asian anyway. So the titles don't have any inherent meaning to a Western audience. Like Dong Il Jang, or Se Jong, or Kuk Il Kwan, or Woo Lae Oak or Chao Praya.

Darwin: Also it's divorced from that source material, too. So there's a bit of mystery involved as well.

Carl: That's right. And there's no connection. There's no Thai music in the piece called Chao Praya. And so I started doing it. And then it was working for me, and I've never stopped. And the only thing that happened really, is that as I continue to fill up my database, it's not just Asian restaurants. And so you'll have a piece called Mom's, or Dadburry's or something. It can happen.

Darwin: The Jugged Hare. I think that was one of them, from [crosstalk 00:46:49].

Carl: Which one.

Darwin: The Jugged Hare.

Carl: The Jugged Hare. Yeah, yeah, that's a great pub in London. You should try it.

Darwin: I think will try it next time in London. Well the other thing I would say, is that connection to food. And again, like on Facebook, seeing the places though, there's something about that just like really communicates of joy of life too, and I have to say that. I really appreciate that. And I appreciate the joy that you've brought to my life.

Carl: Oh, wow. Wow, that's really nice to hear. Thank you.

Darwin: All right. Well, with that I am going to, I'm going to say goodbye. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to have this chat.

Carl: Really great talking with you Darwin. Thanks so much.

Copyright 2021 by Darwin Grosse. All right reserved.