Hrvatski and Keith Fullerton Whitman

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Hrvatski: Oiseaux 1996-1998 (1998), 7/10
Hrvatski: Swarm & Dither (2002) , 6/10
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Playthroughs (2002) , 6.5/10
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Darthmouth Street Underpass (2003), 5/10
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Antithesis (2004), 6.5/10 (mini)
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Schoener Flussengel (2004), 5/10 (mini)
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Multiples (2005), 6.5/10
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Yearlong (2005), 5/10
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Lisbon (2006), 7.5/10
Keith Fullerton Whitman: Disingenuity/ Disingenuousness (2010), 7/10 (mini)

Keith Fullerton Whitman, a student of ethnomusicology at Berklee College, began playing drum'n'bass in Boston under the moniker Hrvatski. The music documented on Oiseaux 1996-1998 (Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge, 1999), following a debut LP titled Attention Cats (2008), was actually a kind of digital sound-painting composed out of cut-ups of break-beats, that only marginally promoted dancing (Routine Exercise). He used acoustic and electric instruments, but played in unorthodox manners and then deformed their sounds electronically. His soundscape, though, remained somehow related to the aesthetic and dynamics of dance and rock music, not to the abstract soundpainting of the classical avantgarde.

Glitches a` la Kid606 were incorporated into Swarm & Dither (Planet Mu, 2002), further reducing the ratio of dance beats (Vatstep DSP, 2nd Zero Fidelity Mandible Investigation, Echoes, EWC4) while increasing the abstract ambience (Anesthetize Thineself). The material was recorded over a period of eight years.

Under his own name, Whitman released For Acoustic Guitar (Apartment B, 2001), an abstract piece for guitar and laptop computer that borrows the "phasing" technique of minimalist composer Steve Reich and adapts it to the shrill tones of the digital world. The second part is instead an essay of gentle floating cosmic music. The 7" Live (Tonschacht) captures a 14-minute performance of the same kind.

Electronically-manipulated guitar tones are protagonists on the five compositions collected on the album Playthroughs (Kranky, 2002). Whitman indulges in the massive ambient music of Feedback Zwei and gently droning minimalism of ACGTR SVP before sailing for the 15-minute cyber-journey of Modena, which virtually invents the new genre of "catchy glitch music" by creating the impression of melody out of a thick collage of percussive dissonances.

Swarm & Dither (Planet Mu, 2002) continues Hrvatski's venture into brainy psychedelic jungle.

Darthmouth Street Underpass (Locust, 2003), credited to Keith Fullerton Whitman, is a two-part work of composition/manipulation: the first part is the field recording of the sounds of a tunnel, and the second part is an electronic composition that uses those sounds.

Antithesis (Kranky, 2004), a mini-album again credited to Keith Fullerton Whitman, collects four unreleased pieces composed between 1994 and 2002: the droning trance of Twin Guitar Rhodes Viola Drone (1994), the beehive nebula of Obelisk (1997), the minimalist undulations of Rhodes Viola Multiple (1995), the guitar psychedelia a` la early Pink Floyd of Schnee (2002).

Schoener Flussengel (Kranky, 2004) is the other half of the project begun with Antithesis. This one collects six pieces, mostly short ones, each one exploring a different electronic idea. The centerpiece if the slowly-whirling mantra of Bewusstseinserweiternd Tonaufnahme. The timbric dissonances of Gravicembalo col Piano e Forte, the polyrhythmic fibrillation of El Seny and the suspended music of Weiter (juxtaposition of country guitar and musique concrete) are ideas that need further development.

The electronic and digital ideas of Schoener Flussengel and Antithesis are more fully explored on Multiples (Kranky, 2005). A few of them are still fragmentary and, alas, underdeveloped (the charming three parts of Stereo Music for Serge Modular Prototype, each of which would deserve a much more articulate treatment) The minimalist concerto of Stereo Music For Disclaiver Prototype, Electric Guitar and Computer creates perhaps the most original crescendo of repetition since the time of Steve Reich's early "phasing" techniques. And Stereo Music for Farfisa Compact Duo Deluxe, Drum Kit is one of the most creative essays on sustained tones ever, linking Bach's organ sonatas and modern droning music, i.e. the ancient affirmation of counterpoint and the modern negation of counterpoint. The second part of Stereo Music for Acoustic Guitar, Buchla Music Box 100, Hewlett Packard Model 236 Oscillator, Electric Guitar and Computer is no less intriguing: the process of minimalist repetition is actually a process of blending, that eventually creates a static drone in place of the original pattern.

Hrvatski's Irrevocably Overdriven Break Freakout Megamix (Enschuldigen, 2005) documents a live drum'n'bass jam.

Yearlong (Carpark, 2005) is a live collaboration between Whitman and Greg Davis of laptop improvisations that include manipulations of found sounds.

The culmination of Keith Fullerton Whitman's experiments with guitar and electronics and field recordings and Alvin Lucier-inspired feedback-driven music was perhaps Lisbon (Kranky, 2006), a 41-minute live improvisation recorded in october 2005 that bridged Brian Eno's original ambient ecstasy and Autechre's glitchy soundscapes. It begins with a funereal, icy, melodic drone that revolves slowly around its tonal center. After about 12 minutes, the celestial drone becomes unstable and soon begins to mutate into a satanic distortion. After about 22 minutes, this distortion multiplies into a polyphony, or, better, a cacophony, of unpleasant sounds that cannibalize each other. A louder distortion, the sum of all dissonance, emerges from the chaos, sounding like the bombastic ending of a symphony. After 28 minutes, this massive drone implodes into percussive noises. The soundscape changes dramatically, revealing cracks and crevices, radioactive fields and apocalyptic deserts. The sounds coalesce one more time into a terrifying wall of noise only to finally decay in a last minute of sidereal silence.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Antonio Buono)

Keith Fullerton Whitman, studente di musicologia etnica al Berklee College, inizio` a suonare drum'n'bass sotto lo pseudonimo Hrvatski. Oiseaux 1996-1998 (Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge, 1998) e` in effetti un esempio di dipinto sonoro digitale, che solo raramente conduce alla danza (Routine Exercise). Whitman usa strumenti acustici ed elettronici, ma suonati in maniere eterodosse e poi deformati elettronicamente nel suono. La sua musica, in ogni modo, resta imparentata all'estetica e alle dinamiche della musica dance e rock, e non alle composizioni astratte dell'avanguardia classica.

Disturbi a` la Kid606 sono incorporati in Swarm & Dither (Planet Mu, 2002), per di piu` riducendo la consistenza dei battiti dance (Vatstep DSP, 2nd Zero Fidelity Mandible Investigation, Echoes, EWC4) e intensificando invece le atmosfere astratte (Anesthetize Thineself). Il materiale fu registrato nell'arco di otto anni.

A suo nome, Whitman realizzo` l'EP For Acoustic Guitar (Apartment B, 2001), contenente una piece astratta per chitarra e laptop che prende in prestito la tecnica "phasing" del compositore minimalista Steve Reach. Il 7" Live (Tonschacht) cattura una performance di 14 minuti dello stesso genere.

Suoni di chitarra manipolati elettronicamente sono protagonisti su cinque composizioni raccolte nell'album Playthroughs (Kranky, 2002). Whitman si abbandona alla solenne musica ambient in Feedback Zwei e ai delicati droni minimalisti di ACGTR SVP prima di veleggiare per i 15 minuti del cyber-viaggio Modena, che inventa virtualmente il nuovo genere della "glitch music orecchiabile" riproducendo un'impronta melodica sotto uno spesso collage di dissonanze percussive.

Swarm & Dither (Planet Mu, 2002) prosegue l'avventura di Hrvatski con un'ingegnoso jungle psichedelico.

Darthmouth Street Underpass (Locust, 2003), accreditato a Keith Fullerton Whitman, e` un'opera in due parti di composizione/manipolazione: la prima parte e` la registrazione sul campo dei suoni di un tunnel, e la seconda parte ä una composizione elettronica che usa quei suoni.

Antithesis (Kranky, 2004), un mini-album ancora a suo nome, mette insieme quattro pieces inedite composte tra il 1994 e il 2002: la trance ronzante di Twin Guitar Rhodes Viola Drone (1994), la nebulosa alveare Obelisk (1997), le ondulazioni minimaliste di Rhodes Viola Multiple (1995), la psichedelia chitarristica nello stile dei primi Pink Floyd di Schnee (2002).

Schoener Flussengel (Kranky, 2004) e` l'altra metÖ del progetto iniziato con Antithesis. Questa raccoglie sei pezzi, in prevalenza brevi, ciascuno dei quali esplora una diversa idea elettronica. Il brano centrale e` il mantra che volteggia lentamente di Bewusstseinserweiternd Tonaufnahme. Le dissonanze timbriche di Gravicembalo col Piano e Forte, la fibrillazione poliritmica di El Seny e la sospensione di Weiter (intreccio di chitarra country e musique concrete) sono idee che necessitano di un ulteriore sviluppo.

Le idee elettroniche e digitali di Schoener Flussengel e Antithesis sono pió esaurientemente esplorate in Multiples (Kranky, 2005). Alcune di esse sono ancora frammentarie e abbozzate (le seducenti tre parti Stereo Music for Serge Modular Prototype, avrebbero comunque meritato un trattamento pió articolato). Stereo Music For Disclaiver Prototype, Electric Guitar and Computer escogita forse il pió originale crescendo di iterazione dai tempi del primo Steve Roach. E Stereo Music for Farfisa Compact Duo Deluxe, Drum Kit e` uno dei pió creativi saggi di toni prolungati di sempre, ponendosi al fianco delle sonate per organo di Bach e dei droni moderni, cioe` l'antica affermazione del contrappunto e la moderna negazione del contrappunto. La seconda parte di Stereo Music for Acoustic Guitar, Buchla Music Box 100, Hewlett Packard Model 236 Oscillator, Electric Guitar and Computer non e` meno intrigante: il processo di ripetizione minimalista e` in realta` un processo di fusione che alla fine crea un drone statico piuttosto che un pattern originale.

Irrevocably Overdriven Break Freakout Megamix (Enschuldigen, 2005), firmato Hrvatski, e` una jam drum'n'bass registrata dal vivo.

Yearlong (Carpark, 2005) e` una collaborazione tra Whitman e Greg Davis per un'improvvisazione di laptop che include trattamenti di found sounds.

Il culmine degli esperimenti di Keith Fullerton Whitman per chitarra, elettronica, registrazioni sul campo, musica di feedback ispirata da Alvin Lucier ä stato forse Lisbon (Kranky, 2006), un improvvisazione live di 41 minuti registrata nell'ottobre 2005 che unisce l'originale estasi ambient di Brian Eno alla glitch music degli Autechre. Inizia con un funerale, un drone gelido, melodico che ruota adagio attorno al suo fulcro tonale. Dopo circa 12 minuti, il drone celestiale inizia pian piano a mutare in una distorsione satanica. Dopo circa 22 minuti, questa distorsione affluisce in una polifonia, o meglio, in una cacofonia di rumori sgradevoli che s'inghiottono a vicenda. Una distorsione pió forte, la somma di tutte le dissonanze, emerge dal caos, suonando come il pomposo finale di una sinfonia. Dopo 28 minuti, questo drone imponente implode in rumori percussivi. Il paesaggio sonoro cambia drammaticamente attraverso scoppi e fenditure, campi radioattivi e deserti apocalittici. Il suono si raccoglie in un terrificante muro di rumore solo per disintegrarsi nell'ultimo minuto in un silenzio siderale.

The mini-album Track 4 2waysuperimposed (Room 40, 2006) documents his art of digital soundsculpting. He reworked an older track and extended it to be "bi-directional" (it can be played forward as well as backwards).

July (GM/KFW, 2009) documents a live collaboration with Geoff Mullen (recorded in 2006).

The mini-album Disingenuity/ Disingenuousness (2010) collects two tape collages reminiscent of Pierre Henry's musique concrete. The seventeen-minute Disingenuity evokes vocalnic eruption, running steps, robotic dialogues, cosmic landscapes, and so forth. Then voices escape from a menacing black hole and swirl in a melasse of hostile timbres. The sixteen-minute Disingenuousness stages an apparently trivial game of digital drones and frantic beats until it evolves into a minimalist-style repetitive pattern of harsh tones. Keith Fullerton Whitman has mastered the art of polished electronic/digital tone poems.

070325 b/w 080409 (2011) is a split LP that contains Keith Fullerton Whitman's synth improvisation 070325 (recorded in 2007).

Aggregatepulseripper (Amish, 2011) was a split LP with Ben Vida.

The cassette Generators (2010) contains robotic warped vignettes of ordinary electronic madness.

Generator (2012) collects two live performances of that piece: Issue Generator (17'30") and High Zero Generator (17'30"), recorded in september 2010.

Ben Vida, Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis collaborated on Esstends-Esstends-Esstends (Pan, 2012).

Occlusions (february 2012) documents improvised live electronic music.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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