Keith Fullerton Whitman

Multiples: Stereo Music for Acoustic Electric and Electronic Instruments by Keith Fullerton Whitman

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Because it resembles many of the freely structured, vaguely psychedelic experiments from the 1960s and 1970s, listeners should not expect many surprises in Multiples, Keith Fullerton Whitman's 2004 release on Kranky. These eight untitled studies are overextended concatenations of familiar acoustic and synthesized sounds and pleasant minimalist patterns, without much elaboration or development beyond simple repetition and layering. Such sonic explorations may be fine background music for daydreaming or nocturnal relaxation, but they hold little technical interest and few intellectual challenges for the serious fan of musique concrète or modern electronica. Imagine a loosely constructed and overly long montage of the old Environments recordings; some blips, beeps, and buzzes reminiscent of Subotnik; snippets of keyboard music à la Reich and Glass; and dreamy, ambient washes in the pretty shades and hues of Tomita and Eno -- that quickly sums up the musical content of Multiples. Anyone who seeks revolutionary ideas, startling sonorities, or even an imaginative formal framework will find this CD disappointing because Whitman's music is bland, predictable, and more ephemeral in effect and style than innovative or adventurous. The sound quality is fine, though a little loud in places.

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