Last night, Keith Fullerton Whitman revealed the dark cloud at the center of Ellie Goulding’s undeniable smash “Lights”. Whitman has approached pop with a process before: last year’s Greatest Hits collection applied time-based effects to 24 hours of his personal favorites. His approach to “Lights” is kindred in spirit, but distant in result.

Whitman claims no “precursory analysis” in this “experiment in 4-way recursive real-time manipulation of rhythmic cores.” This might surprise a listener – the rhythmic emphases chosen seem purposeful, expressive, and interrelated. Each element interacts with a specific gravity that seems autonomous to the strain but beholden to the entire, self-forming composition. These “rhythmic cores” nibble at the fringes of Whitman’s experiment while occupying the content with downcast glee.

Underneath the Field-like build, a menacing swarm of reverb feedback grows, feeding off the underbelly of ricocheting synths and vocal stutters. Exhilaration and lethargy carve out equal space. Debris from the percussive bridge adds sludge to the swamp it meant to avoid. Whitman, the puppet master, is making just enough room for us to bear witness.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License(unless otherwise indicated) © 2019