I really enjoyed working with Saul on Vast, in particular hearing the album develop during my regular visits to his studio. We discussed his musical ideas,, which was interesting, and Saul also provided some very cogent ideas for the package design which enabled me to do some of my best art work to date. This album is a slam dunk, a great set of tunes from one of the best modern electronic artists... simple as that! - M. Bentley
From the press release:
Saul Stokes returns to the music scene with Vast, a showcase for his personal and unique take on electronica.
While Vast fits comfortably within the continuum of Stokes' work, this new album also explores fresh permutations of style and approach. These compositions are lyrical and harmonically rich, built on the idiosyncratic sound of his homemade equipment. Each track contains a wealth of aural ideas, and these layers of detailed sound retain a clarity that allows the listener to follow all the individual strands that Stokes has woven into the tapestry of Vast. This is a soundtrack for something seen with the mind's eye Ð a theme for the immensity of imagination.
Stokes' sound bears undeniable connections to the electronic music pioneers of the 70s (Tonto's Expanding Headband, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre) but also ties into threads from the 80s post-industrial sound, the 90s chill-out electronica resurgence, and the 21st century pop-ambient aesthetic. With a pervasive melodic sense Stokes is able to channel the strange and deep sounds of his Òhand forgedÓ instruments (as he refers to them) into complex and evolving compositions, pieces which move easily from idea to idea, often ending up in unexpected places. The structures are unpredictable, one moment pop-like, the next textural and meditative, and the next shifting into an impetuous percussive riff. Vast is filled with a multitude of sonic ideas, but its best quality may be the space left within the music for the listener. It is possible to inhabit these pieces and find yourself in a place completely new and other, yet somehow familiar.
Vast is Stokes' Foundry debut, and his eighth album. Past releases include 2003's critically acclaimed Fields, the live recording Radiate, and a number of other titles on the Hypnos, Databloem, and Greenhouse Music labels. Stokes has appeared previously on several Foundry projects, including SUB.TERRA, Bibimbap, and Jonathan Hughes' Fluidities.
released March 1, 2006
Composed, recorded and mastered by Saul Stokes. Photography and design by Michael Bentley.
The Foundry was begun, originally, as an outlet for Michael Bentley's chapbooks in the mid-80s. It grew to include audio releases in the mid-90s, and now serves as an umbrella for artistic ventures from Bentley and his collaborators.