Tightly constructed, with not a moment wasted or a single throwaway track, Dream has none of the tangential or slapdash qualities of modern instrumental hip-hop. Alias fashions tunes out of broken synths, sawn-off bits of organ and God knows what being banged together. Whitney's stitched-together quiltwork feels detailed and elaborate and never, well, stitched-together. "Feverdreamin" is like a cross between Forest Swords and Madonna's Ray of Light, and most other tracks find a similar unexpected synthesis through the fusing of disparate elements.
While the break-driven sound is mostly gone, it's not as if these are beatless tracks: rather, songs like "Goinswimmin" or "Revl Is Divad" are powered by complex, top-heavy loops, not unlike the recent work of Eskmo. They're also constantly shifting and evolving, changing from choppy to fluid and back at the drop of a pin ("Lady Lambin," "Boom Boom Boom"). Instead of relying on guest vocalists as on past records, Dream is nearly completely instrumental save for its library of samples (and a meek vocal turn on "Talk in Technicolor,"), whether it be a full-throated singer on the heatstroke heart-wringer "Wanna Let It Go" or choked onomatopoeia on "Sugarpeeee." It's an album that often feels beautifully warm-blooded yet still strangely automated. Aptly-titled, Fever Dream's gentle and imaginative hip-hop beats waft by leisurely, attractive on the surface but substantive and personal on the inside.