Saturday, November 6, 2010

HARTLEY C WHITE "Run the Gauntlet" c60? (Whopazootic Music, 1991/99)



Hartley C White's body of recordings is like a hug in the face -- it's pretty alarming to jump into this music, with its ultradeveloped internal language of martial-arts-inspired snare rhythms, extreme-front multitracked vocals, keyboard bass & dissonant-consonant treble attractions. "Who-pa-zoo-tics": it's a cold pool at first but you can really, really swim in it.

Hartley's freaked out about various salient factors of modern existence but this album isn't a political treatise or anything. It's more like a series of extremely funky martial arts exercises inflected with an existential politics. The music is challenging but not in the ways I think listeners are used to being challenged. The production & arrangements are slick and clear and definitely not hard on the ears. These are nakedly, blatantly good songs, unencumbered by their complex rhythms & strange forms. What's challenging is being with this guy as he puts himself in the danger zone -- White is on the edge of himself.

"The mode of operation isn't hard to see, it can be put to work on you or me." Recorded in 1991, Run the Gauntlet is only the first of 4 albums White's released. His latest Under the Radar was released this year and it expands his already huge world even more. Check out his myspace here to hear samples, get in touch and find out how to order his music. As far as I know all of his albums have been self-released w/ gorgeous art and extensive liner notes / photographs etc. from White's Corona NY "Whopazootic Music" label, and it looks like they are also available as downloads -- support this guy and his amazing music!