Thursday, September 14, 2006

CHRISTOPHE WILLITS: Surf Boundaries (Ghostly International)

CHRISTOPHER WILLITS
Surf Boundaries
GHI54
Ghostly International 2006
12 Tracks. 37mins23secs




Buy it: CD
Christopher Willits | Ghostly

Download Yellow Spring (MP3) courtesy of Ghostly International
Album preview


There is something opulent and comforting in the smooth tones and processed sounds of Christopher Willits’s new album. Hailing from San Francisco, Willits has released records on labels as diverse as 12K, Fällt, Sub Rosa, Nibble and Plop, as well as collaborations with Brad Laner as North Valley Subconscious Orchestra, and with Kid606’s Miguel DePedro and Hella drummer Zach Hill, with whom he is currently recording as Flössin. If this wasn’t enough, he also regularly contributes to diverse multimedia projects and installations.

Ever since he appeared on the music scene at the tail end of the nineties, Willits has developed a delicate blend of layered processed guitars, glitches and statics, which have placed him somewhere on the accessible vicinity of Fennesz. With this first album for Ghostly, his ninth altogether, Willits dips his experimental range in breezy Californian pop to produce a record that sends the Beach Boys into orbit with no intention to ever bringing them back down to Earth. The songs on Surf Boundaries are colourful expressions of various emotional states, which build up deep within each piece to add to the weight of the complete work and form a rather suggestive collection. Allegedly recorded ‘during the rise and fall of an intense personal relationship’, Surf Boundaries bears few emotional scars on its sleeve. Instead, Willits applies sumptuous soundscapes and soothing melodies to appease the mood.

Although Willits’s work is in majority of instrumental nature, the addition of vocal harmonies throughout the record, albeit buried under dense layers of guitars and brass sediments, reveal a blissful dimension to his work that had, until know, only been expressed with parsimony. Here, Willits dares simple melodies and drifts into introspective pop, at times flirting with shoegaze (Love Wind, Finding Ground, Yellow Spring), or stripping down to near-acoustic (Like Water), at others blowing a digital breeze over intricate constructions (Colors Shifting, Orange Lit Spaces).

As the album progresses and Willits redefines his soundscapes with each new track, he manages to retain the peaceful atmosphere all the way through by seamlessly bringing together his compositions with constant sonic touches. Surf Boundaries is one of these records that gradually reveal more depth and relief with each listen and ends up sticking in the mind.

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