Of the serious "classical music" composers in Los Angeles, Carl Stone is the one who has always performed in nightclubs as well as concert halls, for spiky-haired punks as well as the Ph.D-and-ponytail set. Like Philip Glass, he has a substantial pop audience, guys who have gone beyond Eno records to appreciate Stone's sophisticated pulsing sound collages, and like primo Glass, much of Stone's music is easily mistakable for great rock 'n' roll.
He'd digitally slice and dice two bars of a Temptations song into a pointillist raga of Mahlerian proportions, foreshadowing avant-garde hip-hop artists like Eric B. and Public Enemy by several years. These days, he is working with a "band," and if the combination of computer, bass and drums at Club Lingerie on Sunday sometimes sounded closer to the dancing-elves mode of ELP than it did to his earlier stuff, tinkly syncopated eighth notes and the warm bark of art-rock bass, Stone's "rock set" also betrayed the kind of formal complexity Frank Zappa only wishes he could muster. Stone constantly toys with the fringes of perception.
A Mussorgsky flourish organically mutates into a hunting chorus, then into a P-Funk disco groove as if that's the way it was supposed to go all the time; an awesomely funky hip-hop scratch reveals itself after 10 minutes as a chorus from "The Magic Flute." And you can dance to it: a Stone gas.