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Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis - Yearlong

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Artist: Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis

Album: Yearlong

Label: Carpark

Review date: Apr. 10, 2005

Keith Fullerton Whitman, a.k.a. Hrvatski, and Greg Davis both have burgeoning solo careers with releases on the Kranky, Carpark, Locust and Planet Mu. Together, they’ve gone the “have laptop, will tour” route; this record boils down from a year’s worth of recordings made in music clubs, dance studios, art galleries and radio stations.

Their music stands apart from either man’s individual efforts; there are no pop songs, no investigations of minimalist processes, no celebrations of hyperactive beat madness. Even when the sound sources on Yearlong’s 13 tracks are as natural as a struck bell, their organization is in-your-face digital. This stuff is all about the possibilities of point-and-click music making.

The two men juxtapose and re-scramble sped-up squiggles, dropped-cartridge thumps, forlorn piano phrases and humid gamelan clatter as though they were thumbing back and forth through a tome surveying the development of audio collage techniques from early musique concrete to recent hip hop. Ironically, the album’s progress evokes an analog process; as the tracks count down, they narrow in on the sounds the same way that the view magnifies as you twist the knobs on that old science-lab microscope.

But then it ends with a drastic spin in the opposite direction, as stuttering brass band samples struggle to escape from an exploding auditory maelstrom that seems to exist for no further reason other than it makes a swell racket.

By Bill Meyer

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