Brayton Point

by Howard Stelzer

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Howard Stelzer's "Brayton Point" is a massive slab of slow throb built out of the sounds of the Brayton Point Generating Station in Somerset, Massachusetts.

Brayton Point is the largest coal-fired power plant in New England. A town sprang up around it as the suburbs expanded, so now the complex sits across the street from a park and a baseball field where kids play. Local residents enjoy looming cooling towers (designed to be aesthetically pleasing, believe it or not) blocking the view of the sky above their back yards. Stelzer has always felt ambivalent toward power plants, both amazed and repulsed by their architecture. He explains his goal in constructing music out of the sounds of the site: "I aimed to get across what these structures are like in my imagination... monstrous, horrible, imposing, completely stoic and inhuman and yet also beautiful in a way that's difficult to articulate."

"Brayton Point" is Stelzer's first solo album since 2008's "Bond Inlets"

Howard Stelzer has been making music out of cassette tapes and tape players since the mid-1990's. He ran the Intransitive Recordings label from 1998 to 2012, and currently teaches middle school in Lowell, MA.


"As a hymn to power and a memorial to decrepit industrialisation, 'Brayton Point' is remarkable." - Cyclic Defrost

"Strangest Use for a Giant Power Plant: When you think power plant, the first thing that comes to mind is a musical melody, right? Oh, wait... electronic music composer Howard Stelzer turned the still-operational Brayton Point coal plant into a giant musical instrument by recording ambient sounds at the site and turning it into a 49-minute album" - Boston Globe Business, Massachusetts' Most Offbeat Business Stories of 2014

"'Brayton Point' alternately feels like a noise piece, a drone work, an ambient soundscape, and an electronic composition. What impresses most is how Stelzer can make it so abstract – so much more about subliminal feel than literal creation – yet also tell a story so boldly you can’t escape its reality. What relates the piece most closely to its source is its endless churn, the way these 50 minutes feel like a slice of aural infinity. I’ve always been weirdly haunted by the way power plants grind away, fueling our needs yet oblivious to our existence, as if they’d happily continue without us. In constantly moving 'Brayton Point' forward and filling every second with eerie tension, Stelzer captures this industrial paradox chillingly." - The Out Door

"A behemoth, monolithic as power itself... Subtle changes populate the persistent static ringing. This is definitely not in the 'furniture music' category of noise." - Boston Hassle

"Stelzer plays a sort of power/noise/drone/ambient/industrial piece which sticks right into your brain and grows and grows - right until the very end. It keeps building in intensity. It's a very alive work, very intense and simply beautiful. Loud, raw, wild, full of energy, yet also something that is thought out carefully, planned and thoroughly executed." - Vital Weekly


released August 1, 2014

Cassette music by Howard Stelzer, composed/recorded Winter 2014 at The Hotel Amnesia.

Sounds taken from the Brayton Point Generating Station, Somerset MA (US).

Limited edition CD available from Dokuro Records (Italy):



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Howard Stelzer Lowell, Massachusetts

Stelzer's music is assembled out of cassette tapes, tape machines, and a stubborn refusal to admit defeat. By day, he teaches middle school in Lowell MA, where he and his family live in a really big room behind a power plant. At night, he hunches over stacks of tapes and makes this stuff. No one knows why. ... more

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