Geoff White

Questions and Comments

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Though Geoff White isn't from Detroit, you can tell he's listened to plenty of classic Detroit techno records. The tracks featured on his debut LP, Questions and Comments, feature fairly standard minimal techno arrangements: endless symmetrical loops that employ subtle modulations in an effort to maintain a sense of development and progression -- very hypnotic and undeniably peripheral music. Yet what makes this album far more than fairly standard minimal techno is White's ability to summon classic Detroit techno-like synth sounds, the sort of otherworldly melodies and rhythms that one associates with late-'80s/early-'90s records by Rhythim Is Rhythim and Carl Craig. White saturates this entire album with these synth washes. Sometimes they act as haunting melodies, less often as rhythmic elements -- always being nothing less than beautifully affecting. And that's really what you need to know about Questions and Comments. In addition, the tracks all run fairly long, clocking somewhere between five and ten minutes. The arrangements rarely depart from their basic loops, though they are forever modulating and writhing. The sonic motifs remain fairly consistent from one track to the next in terms of sound, tempo, and tone. And never once does the album move beyond an overall sense of icey tranquility. It's sparse music without much variety, yet that's exactly what you want. Everything here -- from the serene synth melodies to the soothing rhythms -- is nothing short of beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that you'd have it no other way. Any greater degree of ornamentation, complexity, or variety would make this music simply too tangible. By keeping this music so sparse, so peripheral, and so consistent, White creates music that is unattainable, music that you can never tire of, music that will always incite further emotions, music that can never become mundane. It's not revolutionary -- it's quite derived, in fact -- and it's more likely to lull than excite a dancefloor. Yet there is plenty of techno out there that is revolutionary and dancefloor-ready. Rarely do you stumble across something this beautiful, though.

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