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WHITMAN, KEITH FULLERTON - Generators

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Editions Mego demego 024
Release Year: 2012
Note: two different live-versions of "Generator", rec. Sept. 2010 in Washington DC and Brooklyn NY, based on a special concept for multi-layered digital & analog modular synthesis
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"Over the course of a year, Keith Fullerton Whitman performed a piece of live electronic music a few dozen times entitled "Generator." The debut was given in San Francisco at Root Strata's On Land festival at Cafe Du Nord on September 19th, 2009 -- over the months that followed, stagings took place in venues ranging from flooded basements to festival stages in Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Easthampton, Iowa City, Jamaica Plain, Northampton, Raleigh, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Somerville and Washington D.C. This LP covers the final two performances of the piece over two consecutive evenings; the opening solo set from the final night of the High Zero festival in Baltimore at the Theater Project, September 26th, 2010, then the performance during the "For Eliane" night of the Propensity Of Sound festival dedicated to Eliane Radigue's work at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, September 27th, 2010. These recordings show the piece in two different iterations, taking two different trajectories entirely. They're considered the definitive versions of the piece. Composed for, and realized with a scalable selection of digital and analog modular synthesis equipment, "Generator" was an attempt to wrest a viable performance-based music out of 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 and 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 and multiplied) through the use of multiple layerings of different topologies of oscillator, yielding an unstable array of modal canons that drift in and out of "tune," causing all manner of inter-voice beating and assorted psycho-acoustic effects. Artwork by Graham Lambkin." [label info]

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"Its been quite a while since I last heard solo music by Keith Fullerton Whitman. Late 2009 he started to play 'Generators' in concert, 'from flooded basements to festival stages', a few dozen times. The final two performances are captured on this record. It uses digital and analogue modular synthesis and Keith wrote about it: "Generator" was at 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." What it means to me, I think, is that he has a set of modular sound generators which he can freely play around with, deciding on the spot which direction he will take. This flexible approach makes that no night is the same when he performs his 'Generators'. The two pieces here quite different. 'Issue Generator (For Eliane Radigue)' is a low droning affair in which tones start to oscillate against eachother and create nice 'beatings' inside the material. On the other side we find 'High Zero Generator' which is a more heavy beast of pulsating tones, piercing and loud. In both of these pieces we are dealing with a microphone recording, which adds a nice subtle nastiness to the music. Great cosmic music on one side but with strong edge and more noise based on the other, with a likewise strong edge. Excellent music for those who like their cosmics being a bit more different. Who wouldn't want that?" [FdW/Vital Weekly]