Whitacre gets points for avoiding the worst tricks of the style (the incidents of bassploitation all occur near the beginning of the piece, and it’s not completely homophonic). Yet in his harmonic audacity, Whitacre goes one step further than most of his contemporaries, embracing a style where dissonance has absolutely no syntactical meaning whatsoever. Added notes can be inserted into any chord at any pitch level, approached by any interval, and never have to be resolved. Because the structure has no soundness or logic to it whatsoever, the result is a voyage of unending, merciless prettiness. To say that listening to the piece is like taking an aural bath is an understatement—it’s the aural equivalent of sitting in the bathtub for eight hours, playing with the bubbles while eating ice cream straight out of the pail with a spoon.

Osbert Parsley, “Playing the Sniper”