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Schöner Flßengel

Keith Fullerton Whitman
Schöner Flßengel

Like his Antithesis release from last year, Schöner Flßengel is an vinyl-only release consisting of various tracks that simply didn't fit elsewhere. Whereas that last release has a loose conceptual tie of being all organic-based drone pieces recorded over the course of nearly a decade in different apartments that Whitman was staying in, this newest effort is tracks that he started creating for his follow-up to Playthroughs that simply didn't feel like they would fit within the sounds of that release.

Given the almost death-metal cover art of the release, one might assume that these 7 tracks take on a slightly darker mood than some of his previous work, and that assumption is mostly correct. While he's dabbled in all kinds of genres to date, Schöner Flßengel is one of those releases that sort of pulls all those different threads together into something that jumps around a bit without feeling too schizo.

The disc opens with "Lixus (Version Analogique)" and mixes slightly-glitched delicate acoustic guitar strumming over droning metallic scrapings that never quite gel and fall apart even further as analogue synths mingle with some loose drumming towards the end. It's anticlimactic, yet it somehow works fairly well, and it leads into the more droning "Bewusstseinserweaternd Tonaufnahme," a track that mixes backwards glints of electronics with almost chantlike drones of keyboards and rolling waves of feedback. "Gravicembalo Col Piano E Forte" is even more strange, taking individual notes of prepared piano and filtering them into digital meltdowns that wouldn't be out-of-place in the movie Tron.

After a slightly different variation on the first track of "Lixus," the album closes with what is probably the best track on the entire disc. "Weiter" starts out with the same elements as the end of "Lixus" but the harsher metallic sounds morph into beatiful electronic washes while the acoustic guitar also slides into an electronic melody that at first sounds almost Steve Reich-ish but then takes on an almost playful IDM feel before the whole thing just dissipates into the vapour. As a whole, the release shows yet more widely-varied output from Fullterton-Whitman, and while it's probably not his best moment overall, there are still some outstanding tracks. With another full-length (Multiples) on the near horizon, he's certainly not sitting still.

Rating: 7