czwartek, 26 listopada 2009


"The first full album that prolific, multifaceted electronic composer Keith Fullerton Whitman released under his birth name (following 2001's 21:30 for Acoustic Guitar, but also several releases by his breakcore/drill'n'bass alias Hrvåtski, among others) contains five similar-sounding, decidedly minimal extended drone pieces. The entire album consists of nothing but processed guitar tone, though since the guitar is all but imperceptible as a point of origin for this music, the emphasis is squarely on "process" and "tone." The process, which involves running a guitar-generated signal (not the actual guitar sound) through a carefully arranged sequence of programmed Max/MSP modules, effects pedals, and other signal processors, is described in loving detail by Whitman, at heart a true academic, on his website. For the vast majority of potential listeners, of course, the explanation is just that -- academic -- but, unlikely though it may seem, this is an album that richly deserves many listeners, because the tones it contains are nothing short of breathtaking in their beauty and simplicity. There's not a whole lot on the surface to differentiate these five pieces, but each eventually reveals a discernible identity. Opener "track3a (2waynice)," the shortest and simplest, sets the tone with a glacial, gradually mutating collection of warm, lucid, harmonious drones. "Feedback zwei" introduces slightly more movement and progression with a subtle, cyclical pulsation, occasional points of feedback, and a slowly building field of muted, engulfing static. "ACGTR SVP" stands out as perhaps the most distinct, with its dense accumulation of tones and slightly buzzy, organ-like texture, while both "fib01a" and "modena" return to the placid drones of the opener, embellishing their steady hum with gentle, burbling, vaguely aqueous fluctuations. It's difficult to qualitatively distinguish Playthroughs from much of the ambient, drone-based music that's out there, although it does have a conspicuously unpretentious and inviting quality -- a sense of openness that must be ascribed to the unabashed consonance it retains (there are strikingly few instances of true dissonance to be found here) in spite of its constantly shifting harmonic content, which creates the sense of a continual unfolding or blossoming. It's equally hard to comprehend the evocative and emotional effect of this music, and harder still to describe it: it seems to function on a fundamentally different, precognitive level. But simply put: this is some of the most soothing, stimulating, and spellbinding sound that has ever been put to plastic. Without doubt, a masterpiece of modern minimalism. Emphatically recommended." AMG



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