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Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis: Yearlong

Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis: Yearlong


By Tony Ware | Posted 3/9/2005

Hey. Hey. Something’s wrong with the Cuisinart, again. It’s making all these jumpy little wheezing noises. Oh, look, now it’s humping the espresso maker, hissing and spurting like there’s a finger on its prostate. Now the silverware is chiming in, cheer-clinking them on. It’s a KitchenAid orgy. Hey, do you remember when you saw Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis tinker with their laptops live?

Making sounds as wiry as their complementary beards, Whitman and Davis toured throughout 2001-’02, hitting such stops as New York, Cologne, Utrecht, Washington, and Charm City itself. The accompanying document is Yearlong, which collects 13 swatches of live improvisation averaging three-to-four minutes but culled from more than 18 hours of sound puréed by the hirsute New England duo.

Having recorded for labels including Schematic, Anticon, Lex, and Planet Mu, Whitman and Davis are no strangers to isolating and decimating sounds. Yearlong, however, captures them in their most symbiotic mode, weaving an opalescent latticework. This is laptop from the hip, and the results vary from the above metallic coupling to the resonant, resolute pluck of acoustic strings flecked with shimmying mica (Kontor Gallery, Cologne, Germany). Sounds are resplendent as rounding the dark side of the moon in a slo-mo space module (Knitting Factory, New York) to hearing the wind chimes of a mechanical ant farm (WFMU radio session, Jersey City). There’s also regurgitated source material from an alien locust invasion (Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco) and what sounds like a jaunty street parade (Impakt Festival, Utrecht, the Netherlands). The underlying thread is a murky ensemble of tone poems, whether the sounds feel beamed from the heavens or merely the microwave.

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