Boomkat Product Review:
Stunning electronic investigations from Massachusetts’ finest, Keith Fullerton Whitman, debuting on Editions Mego. The LP consists of two live takes on a piece called Generator, composed for and with analogue and digital modular synthesis, which KFW toured extensively in 2009-10. The A-side ‘Issue Generator’, dedicated to Eliane Radigue, captures a performance given at New York’s Issue Project Room. Its burbling, aquatic arpeggios – hypnotic but lively, and ever-shifting - that will appeal to fans of Monoton, Jurgen Mueller, Stella OM Source and pretty much anything on the Spectrum Spools catalogue. As musically satisfying as it is sonically interesting, with momentum and internal structure redolent of techno. On the flip, ‘High Zero Generator’, recorded at Baltimore’s High Zero festival, is a far more abstract, out-there workout, reminding us of his instant-classic work on PAN. According to Whitman, Generator was “an attempt to wrest a viable performance-based music out what had until then been a solitary set of sound-design tools. The piece grew out of a frustration with the limitlessness of computer-based real-time synthesis & algorithmic / generative systems vs. their utter failure as performance solutions. It hinges heavily on the ideology of the ‘Playthroughs’ system (in that the subtle tuning inconsistencies of a physical instrument - the electric guitar - could be amplified & multiplied) through the use of multiple layerings of different topologies of oscillator, yielding an unstable array of modal canons that drift in & out of ‘tune’, causing all manner of inter-voice beating & assorted psycho-acoustic effects.” Even if that exposition has you scratching your head, don’t worry – all you need to enjoy this remarkable record is a pair of adventurous ears.