Guest Reviews: Christopher Willits
San Francisco's Christopher Willits is a bit of a virtuoso—in the past 10 years he's produced 20 albums, both solo and in collaboration with experimental heavyweights, such as Matmos and Ryuichi Sakamoto. His most recent solo effort is Tiger Flower Circle Sun, his second full-length for the Ghostly International label and quite possibly his most organic offering to date. That's not to say that Willits has abandoned his penchant for gear and technology—the guy practically lives in recording studios, designs his own software, and still finds the time to occasionally host our tech-oriented What You Talkin' Bout, Willits? series on XLR8R TV. Here, Willits takes a quick break from—no joke—the next three albums he's working on to let us know about what he's been listening to lately.
Does It Look Like I'm Here?
Years from now, synthesizers will sound even more timeless. If you grew up with synth arpeggio soundtracks in elementary school videos, you know what I mean, and you'll love this record. Synthesizers help us to understand and feel the nonlinear landscape of space/time, and there's so much to explore. If you like this music and you are freaking out, you also need to listen to Richard Pinhas' Variations Sur Le Thème Des Bene Gesserit (on repeat) as soon as possible.
"Does it Look Like I'm Here?"
Taylor's music just keeps getting more natural and at ease with itself. This is a great entry point to his work. There is a effortlessness and natural sway that is more alive than what you usually find in so-called 'ambient' music. This is natural music, unforced and created with a light touch.
Another great solo album by one of my favorite guitarists and people. His noisy band Medicine changed my sonic world when I was in high school. The first time I heard this, I actually thought my friend's tape player was messed up. It's very diverse, with all of the usual Laner twists and turns. He's integrating everything he knows into his solo project, and the scary thing is that Brad Laner has not even hit his prime yet.
"Crawl Back In"
I really respect this band, even when I don't love the hyper-self-conscious music they make. The production is so tight and there's a great use of good-ol' hard panning. Why not have the drums or guitars only on the right channel? The music is almost overly controlled at times, but for me it's all about how they puzzle the arrangements into the production. That dimension is very awesome.
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