Keith Fullerton Whitman | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., March 10, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: free with RSVP
Over the past few years experimental musician Keith Fullerton Whitman has found a sweet spot, developing a modular synthesizer setup that can process all kinds of input—most such analog rigs are self-sufficient closed systems, but his can manipulate digital sound, field recordings, and anything else he feeds into it. Whitman is a consummate tech geek, and in a recent interview published in the Wire you can practically hear the giddiness in his voice as he describes his byzantine processes. His excellent new album, Generators (Editions Mego), demonstrates his fascination with what's called generative or process music, which is "performed" by machines—the artist changes variables in a more or less fixed system to make each rendition unique. The album consists of the two final versions of the piece "Generator," recorded live in fall 2010: the flutelike tones of "Issue Generator (For Eliane Radigue)" cascade in constantly morphing minimalist patterns, suggesting a cross between a sped-up Philip Glass fragment and a Bach canon, while "High Zero Generator" employs noisier, more abrasive sounds in its relatively spacious first half, then begins to sound like a slightly colder, harsher take on the earlier rendition. Tonight Whitman will give the U.S. premiere of a new work called Rythmes Naturels, which he developed for Francois Bayle's 80-channel acousmonium at prestigious French electronic-music center INA-GRM. It uses field recordings of pinball machines, abstracted by Whitman's modular setup so that the ferocious, chaotic rhythms remain but the characteristic timbres are distorted beyond recognition. He's adapted it for a four-channel sound system. —Peter Margasak

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