St. Mary's Hamilton Village
3916 Locust Walk in Philadelphia, PA
Admission: $20 cash at the door/night of show
Sonic Innovator Saul Stokes returns to the remarkable setting of St. Mary's Hamilton Village and The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 17 November 2018. Local modular synthesizer performer Chaka Benson will provide an opening set
Performing with custom designed, hand-built synthesizers alongside retro-synths and modern sampling technology, Saul Stokes creates sonic landscapes somewhere between the floating textures of Vintage Spacemusic and the focused rhythms of Modern Ambient.
With several critically acclaimed albums to his credit and represented on a number of prestigious compilations, Saul Stokes is recognized as one of the leading voices in modern Electronic Music. Described as "fresh and inventive," Stokes brings together elements of Space, Ambient, Industrial and Intelligent-Techno to forge a sound all his own. An avid concert performer, a Stokes show will often begin at a point of reference familiar to most and gradually lead the us far out into the sonic universe.
The immediacy of the live setting brings out Stokes' talent for creating floating spacemusic. Appealing to our intelligence instead of insulting it, his best live moments have a delicate beauty that lingers with his audience. Bridging and binding the opposing energies of raw electricity and accomplished art, his music aligns perfectly with the beat and pulse beneath and behind everything. The sensitive ear of the sincere listener will acknowledge the live, vibrant timbres present at every level of a Stokes' concert. He is not arranging for the dance floor, but for the place in the mind where sensory detail becomes thought. The limit of effect is merely the limit of the musician's imagination. Versatile, alluring and inventive, with a fine ear for every novel discharge of the great modulators, Saul Stokes makes music for our time - and for all time.
Saul Stokes returns to Philadelphia and The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia on Saturday 17 November 2018.
Following this public event, Saul Stokes will play a live-to-air radio concert on STAR'S END Ambient Radio: www.starsend.org
Saul Stokes - Live at The Gatherings 16 November 2013 (excerpt)
Review: Local Crowd (2018) by Saul Stokes
The work of Saul Stokes is always somewhat of an identity statement. His many substantial releases never fail to relate how he is feeling, in both heart and mind. Appealing to our intelligence instead of insulting it, their best moments have a delicate beauty that stays with you. Stokes' whirring intellect again finds focus in the eight tracks of Local Crowd (62'45"). This wonderful album bridges and bounds the opposing energies of crude electricity and accomplished art, and aligns perfectly with the beat and pulse beneath and behind everything. The sensitive ear of the sincere listener will acknowledge the live, vibrant timbres present at every level of Local Crowd. Using the studio platform, Stokes is not arranging for the dance floor, but for the place in the mind where sensory detail becomes thought. Listening consciously to the sound we find that there are two moods, with drums and without. While the precious pastels of divided oscillators enrich the arrangements in several sonic specifics, they also dissipate the force of well-timed snare hits. Unexpected bass progressions, and other devices of drive, refine and soften the throb of rhythm. In a harnessing of the mind of the composer, the most imaginative and productive of arrangements are still to be used for the delicate, more tender moments found on Local Crowd. Blooming synth notes sustain just beneath the lead line in expressive tone colors and flights of imagination. Stokes' high vibrant main synth voice becomes fairly sparked with melody - as a harmless counter voice enhances the general mood of enjoyment. If we think of this music as electrical, a thing made of electricity, then we find it to be always remaking itself, changing in every instant, yet never changing at all. The limit of effect is merely the limit of the musician's imagination. Versatile, alluring and inventive, with a fine ear for every novel discharge of the great modulators, Saul Stokes makes music for our time - and for all time.
Review: Objects and Phenomena (2016) by Saul Stokes
While authors fly with symbols and metaphors, Saul Stokes makes his ascension with sound - shining most when the artistic and the technological intersect. His epic Objects and Phenomena (95'19") is the kind of album that reminds us why we like EM, how it can push boundaries and break open tradition. Stokes has a genius for locating truths buried in raw aural abstractions - and shaping them into infectious, free-spirited, fanciful compositions. The nine tracks on Objects and Phenomena provide a peculiar pull. Vividly electric, this work is hugely pleasurable to consume. Mind music, which settles in your body - its percolating drum machines, glitteringly clean synths, tumbling rhythms and shuffling tension all combine perfectly with the verve and color of effortless playing and production. A progressive sensitivity at work, Stokes reveals anew his independent spirit and artistic daring. Nervy sparkly sonics sing in rhythmic cohesion and gentle musical experimentation. Buzzing tones lean against lush, rushing chords, winding their way from the wall outlet to the listening space - all above the ticking, tickling pulsation of bass notes and e-percussion. As the surging current recedes into quieting calm, a humming consonance momentarily holds us - a gentle rest before a surging sequencer emerges to lead our thoughts into echoing mental realms. Engaging and assured Objects and Phenomena demonstrates an inexhaustible originality and precision. His journey of invention has added provocative new dimensions, as Stokes seeks to discover how close music may bring us to the truth and feel and force of life. Realizing good Electronic Music requires dealing with some of the most intricate and convoluted processes in all of art. For Stokes, it takes the cool dark and sweet detention of his music studio to learn anything. Taking two years to sweat out Objects and Phenomena, he appears to have successfully dissolved the lines between primitive sonic innovation and cultivated contemporary tastes. What is out there beyond the world of rules? And can we survive it? Saul Stokes knows, and believes we can too.
Chaka Benson plays with an ear for color, motion and texture, forsaking conventional narrative clarity. It is an experience by way of the senses, rather than through pure mental interpretation. Our focus expands beyond sound, to the sources of that sound, to its imminent fragility, and a state of un-being.
It may be difficult to lose one's self in Benson's work, as its negative space is constantly asking us to make sense of it. One moment triggers the next so seamlessly that eventually chaos is re-engineered into the illusion of a natural order. Throughout these realizations, tones flicker lightly across the surface, or burrow deep into it - come into focus, or all but disappear. The gentle descent into incandescent timbres and rambling, fearsome energy has the ability to stir the imagination. Throbbing with texture, then snapping into focus, lessons on loudness, denseness and sonority, enmesh the listener in aural events that are impossible to live aloud.
An avid concert performer, Chaka Benson will make his The Gatherings Concert Series debut on 17 November 2018.
Coinciding with this performance, Chaka Benson will play a live on-air radio concert on the 11.11.18 broadcast of STAR'S END Ambient Radio. Please tune in for details.
Chaka Benson - Live at Modular on the Spot (Philadelphia) 15 July 2018
The Gatherings Concert Series presents Saul Stokes plus Chaka Benson live in concert on Saturday 17 November 2018 at 8:00PM(doors open at 7:30pm) in the church sanctuary of St. Mary's Hamilton Village3916 Locust Walk (just east of 40th & Locust) on the Penn campus in West Philadelphia. Admission: $20 cash at the door, night of show; $10 for full-time students with proper ID (available at the door).
CIMA of PA - The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania
Saul Stokes plus Chaka Benson at The Gatherings Concert Series on 17 November 2018 is funded by CIMA of PA(The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania), the all-volunteer, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and producing The Gatherings Concert Series. The basic mission of CIMA of PA is to bring innovative music concerts to the public and further the advancement of this form of art.