Tod Dockstader was a tape manipulating musique concrete pioneer and a contemporary of Stockhausen, Varese and Cage. However, the first phase of his musical career came to a halt in 1967 when he left his job at a recording studio. Since he had no academic credentials in avant-garde music, he was not allowed access to the equipment at any of the academic centers for electronic music. So he went back to his previous career in film.
He did not compose again until 1990 and it wasn't until the '00s that his new material was released. In 2005, he released "Aerial #1," the first third of the most important composition of the second half of his career. "Aerial #2" followed later that year and "Aerial #3" was released this year. The "Aerial" cycle is built out of fragments of sound taken from short-wave radio and was composed on a computer rather than using tape.
The 23 tracks on "Aerial #3" are quite wide ranging, ranging from nearly imperceptible drones to rhythmic cut-ups of shortwave blips to almost melodic washes of sound. But they all share a strong very musical compositional structure that belies their noisy exterior. Dockstader's strong technical background in sound design allows him to give all these pieces a sense of warmth that makes even the roughest sounds feel pleasant and inviting. 8/10 -- Ed Corcoran (11 December, 2006)