Beautiful post post
Our friends over at Ghostly International almost slipped this one by me. See, I've had this new album by Christopher Willits, Surf Boundaries, sitting amongst my to-review stacks for a minute now, but kept passing it by.
But this weekend, as the haze of turkeystuffingcranberryconfitpiepiepiepie was wearing off, I made a point of going through said stacks of CDs, and pulled Willits' album out, with a knowing hunch that it would be worth listening to, and probably worth writing about. That hunch paid off, big time. Today, still in a haze, I felt the need for something soothing to pull me out of it, and Bingo! Surf Boundaries is full of gorgeous, hazy, glitchy, multi-layered tone poems that are totally soothing the savage beast in me and making this Monday so much more bearable.
Willits has been making music for years now - he is a guitarist and sound-artist who has released a number of abstract and experimental albums, he has collaborated with a number of musicians (Kid606, Matmos, Paul D'Amour, and Ryuichi Sakamoto among others) and multimedia artists from his home base in San Francisco. On top of this, he custom designs all the signal processors he uses with his guitars, so the sounds he coaxes out of them are entirely his own creation. He has a number of other folks working with him on the album, providing additional vocals, as well as horns, drums, viola, vibraphone and other percussion, rounding (and filling) out his compositions. There's lots more info about him and the album on his Ghostly page.
One of his songs - "Colors Shifting", a beautiful and subtle slow burning dreamy pop song - previously appeared on Ghostly's Idol Tryouts 2 from earlier this year, so it makes sense that the mostly-techno Ann Arbor label would give him free reign on his full length, which came out a few weeks back. The album is, as I said, soothing and beautiful, but there are also a few tracks, like this one, that are real doozies - all clash and clatter, but melodic and captivating. Reminds me of Four Tet or Manitoba at their best. Very highly recommended.
Also, Willits is on tour right now - he'll be here in NYC tomorrow night at Joe's Pub - see the tour flyer here for more dates. AND (I think this is one of the coolest ideas I've heard in a while) there is a remix competition for the song "Colors Shifting" - Willits will select the best remix, and the winning mix will be included on an XLR8R Incite CD compilation, which will be included in copies of a future issue of XLR8R Magazine. The song - in multi track form - is available via a Creative Commons license, so this is all totally legit. The contest and all necessary information is available right here. Get cracking!