Thursday, June 11, 2009
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Dream House Variations
I can't tell you how lucky I feel to live within the same vicinity as electronic grandmaster Keith Fullerton Whitman. This guy is an honesttogod genius and I get the opportunity to see and talk to him frequently at shows and the like. I feel like I get some residual cool rubbed off just by living within 20 miles of him.
Dream House Variations, his newest solo release, is a real doozy. I'm talking super epic here. It's 4 tapes, which is cool enough, but they're meant for simultaneous play. You're supposed to play all 4 tapes at once. Now, forget the practical conundrums for a minute (who actually has 4 tape decks?), and just imagine the grandeur of such a thing. It's a fucking dream come true! 4 times the KFW, 4 times the electronic mayhem, 4 times the beautiful artistry!
But wait, it gets even better. Each tape is a different length (C44, C40, C36, C32) so one tape will stop and flip over while the A side on the others is still going. I'm no math wizard, but I can tell you that it would be a very long time before you reached the original starting positions for all 4 tapes again. So that means the possibilities are endless and you can listen to these tapes for, like, ever and never hear the same thing twice. In the liner notes, Whitman recommends putting the 4 sets of speakers in each corner of a room and to use different brands of tape decks and boom boxes. "Use of fast-forward, reverse, & tape-speed manipulation encouraged." I love him so much. Fucking brilliant.
Now, the problem with this is actually trying to review the music. The fact that it's constantly changing makes it difficult to say concrete things about it. Yes, it's electronic based. It's pretty unsettling, lots of throbbing and whistling and static and modular this and that. You get the idea. It's Keith Fullerton Whitman. And that should be all you need to know.
What I did for you, instead of putting up one side of one tape, I made a single track with each tape starting simultaneously so you get the idea of what it sounds like when they all play at once. What you're missing with this MP3 (besides everything) is the looping concept. Because when the shortest tape ends, I didn't restart it. It just ends and you're left with the sound of 3 tapes. Then 2. Then the last few minutes are just the end of the longest tape. Obviously, this is not the way you should listen to it. What you need to do is go and fucking buy this thing already. There's only 150 of them and you know you need one.