Willits + Sakamoto Ocean Fire

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Groundbreaking guitar tweaker Christopher Willits and Japanese electronic guru Ryuichi Sakamoto are more concerned with exploring sonic textures than they are with blowing minds on their first full-length collaboration. Billed as a tribute to the beauty and fragility of the oceans, the album unfolds as a set of long tone pieces that mimic the languid, dreamlike motions of sea life bobbing in the ocean’s currents. Not much happens, but like Brian Eno’s Music for Films or Peter Gabriel’s Rabbit-Proof Fence soundtrack, the abstract washes of sound create such a sense of movement and space that they can still be mesmerizing. Rumbling, almost sub-bass tones dominate “Sea Plains” and “Chi-Yu,” while “Ocean Sky Remains” evokes something mystical with its whale-song cries and cascades of processed guitar and keyboard drone. Ultimately, despite all the technology deployed, the album feels ancient, vast, and more than a little unsettling–not unlike the depths of the ocean.