Our good friend Christopher Willits album came out today, make sure to stream it and if you’re feeling it use the link below to swipe up a CD or 12″.
SUPPORT: DIGITAL / VINYL / CD
“For years, I’ve imagined the work I do in music, photography, video/film, immersive audio and meditation all coming into one space,” says music-art guru Christopher Willits from his home in San Francisco. It’s an ambition that seems especially befitting of a worldly polymath like Willits. “Sound and light can transform and inspire our imaginations,” he continues. “It can be used as a tool to awaken our consciousness.” And that is exactly what he has set out to do with OPENING, the veteran Ghostly artist’s new immersive audio-visual project.
Across seven tracks of widescreen ambient music, 45 minutes of visuals shot over four years in multiple countries, seven photographs, and a multi-sensory, multiple channel live performance, Willits has created something which might better be thought of as an experience than a simple album. OPENING features Willits’ latest music since Ancient Future, his 2012 collaboration with Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto, and his recent production and mastering work on Tycho’s Awake. The vibrant, enveloping sounds we’ve come to expect from him are on full display. The quiet majesty of “Vision” ushers us into the sacred world Willits creates, a living universe that billows and heaves alongside slow-grooving songs like “Clear” and “Connect,” or with the textural minutiae and harmonic subtleties in “Ground” and “Now”. Closing out the album, “Wide” and “Release” offer the listener a gentle comedown through 15 minutes of transcendent audio, with Willits’ delicate guitar manipulations breathing life into the aether of finely textured atmospheres and soft-glowing synths.
The other integral facet to the experience of OPENING is Willits’ visual work. After building a library of images from his travels around California, Hawaii, Japan, and Thailand, Willits is unveiling an abstract narrative film, with seven scenes that correspond with the seven songs from the album along with seven limited edition photo prints. The 45-minute film interfuses music and a first-person perspective of meditative scenes—inspiring nature sections reminiscent of the films Baraka, Koyaanisqatsi and Planet Earth—to create the space of OPENING.
Willits says, “There are no actors or dialogue in this film. The audience and their perception is the main character, and everyone’s imagination is going to create some meaning that’s relevant to their own experience. My intention is to create a space where people can open up and expand into, relax and recharge.” OPENING is unlike anything Willits has accomplished before, perhaps because the audio-visual project is about expanding one’s mind to invite something new. Or, as Willits puts it, “For me, OPENING is about transformation, the experience of changing oneself to be more of who you know you can be, and, ultimately, the joy that comes with that change.”
Names: Clu = Kev + Sean
Current City: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
ISO50: Tell me about your first musical memory?
Sean – I remember going to collect dj equipment and with my father, he used to dj at partys as a job for abit,
i always remember he used to set the gear and lights up in our sitting room for the fun times, will always remember dancing about to 2 Unlimited – No Limit, we actually just found this on a home video aswell, must upload it.
Kev – Playing Mary Had A Little Lamb using the telephone.
ISO50: Can you list off a 4 song playlist of what you listen to while you’re preparing to work on either Audio or Visual end of Clu?
Objekt – Ganzfeld
Ricky Eat Acid – Inside your house; it will swallow us too
Macintosh Plus – リサフランク
Fez – Disasterpeace
Aphex Twin – Xtal
Oni Ayhun – OAR003
Nina Kraviz and Luke Hess – Remember
Laurent Garnier – Wake Up
ISO50: If the world lost electricity tomorrow, would you continue to make music and how?
Sean – Yes, id get a very nice piano, so nice that i would have to get very good at playing, and then pick up a hang drum or steel drum and slide onto a nice tropical island.
ISO50: What is your favourite sound and why?
Sean – The hiss as i open a fresh bottle of fizzy water
Kev – The sound of yawning – v addictive.
ISO50: Is there any sort of emotional subtext, or something that inspires you to write the music you make?
Sean – Yes everything has a point, some of it instinct with no emotions attached other then the ones i was feeling at the time of making, and there is also things going on and memories in my life that directly make me chase a certain sound/mood to try and portray what i was feeling & thinking about.
ISO50: Something your fans might not know about you?
Sean – If I’m having trouble sleeping i put on a WWF dvd or PPV, like a royal rumble or something, its my white noise.
Kev – I do it all for them.
ISO50: Dream gig (location, mood, pick a show opener or closer) and how important is it to you to have a live show?
Sean – I would also love to do a Blast off to Mars AV show, we could play in the missile silo full of funkion 1s, under the sea inside some sort of aquarium to start, id also like Binary Finary to open and Atlantic ocean to close.
Kev – Let us do the AV show for the people that are being blasted off to Mars. The show has to be live, we’re not RTÉ.
Here’s the video for the single Mirrors:
ISO50: Do you collect anything other than music gear?
Sean – Yea i have collected quite a few video game consoles, i also had a strange obsession with collecting subbuteo, its a minature table football game where you flick loads of little players about who are glued to a semi-circle, on a felt pitch with sometimes a fake crowd.
ISO50: Who would you want to take out of hiding dead or alive and sit in the studio with, even if it was just for one song?
Sean – I have always wanted to work with Gary Numan, or Moondog, both are idols of mine.
Kev – C. Cunningham
ISO50: Why do you think US beat scene isn’t as prolific as Northwestern Europe?
Sean – I actually have no idea, i think it is still quite popular and growing, i just think everyone doing fresh stuff is moving away from genres in general, now artists, if they want to get though on raw talent, have to take their own path, in every single way not just the music, needs to be authentic to fly now which is class or it can just be heavily backed, which is crap.
Kev – No idea, good question though.
ISO50: Whats the story behind the ideas in the “Mirrors” video?
Kev – “A lack of want”
ISO50: Name off 2 records each you’d take to a deserted island, these would be the last 2 records you’ll ever here.
Sean – Bon Iver – For Emma
Aphex twin selected Ambient works V 2 ( Me and my friend Rob used to stick it on before we went to sleep on our shitty burst blow up beds when we lived in a tiny little basement in Vancouver, we put it on for 4 months straight.)
Kev – Oneohtrix Point Never’s R Plus Seven and Kurt Vile’s Walkin On A Pretty Daze
Support: Buy DIGITAL
Inspired by 1980’s science fiction films, contemporary dance and 8 bit computer soundtracks a la Donkey Kong… Dublin born musician Sean Cooley and visual artist Kevin Freeney formed Clu in 2011 as a way to play music and showcase artwork simultaneously to their friends in venues and galleries across the city. Growing up in the 1990s, they witnessed the birth of mass produced 3D computer animations and the conceptual god complexes that came with the internet.
These two very apparent influences made the guys immerse themselves in the ever intertwining mediums of sound and vision, giving Clu a very unique approach to their live AV shows. Cooley’s productions bubble with multitudes of synths and maintain a focus on bass driven twists that create soaring galactic oddities while visually Freeney engages in a surrealist depth that skips on the brink between digital film and generative animations. This connection between the two, forms a symbiotic chemistry that hopes to bridge the gap between the white cubed galleries of visual art and the dark basements of electronic music.
This various artist compilation by Red Bull Music Academy has been up for around 3 months now and never really got any love, almost all of the songs only have about 2,000 plays so I thought it would be a good short relaxing collection to share.
Lets just talk about the style of the genre though, this streak of New Age releases that keep popping up is exciting since the format of the sound has soo much room for remodeling. The sounds that are used would have been throw away 5 years ago while OPN’s popularity helped new fans feel comfortable to dig around in New Age bins. I’m not saying this is anything new but after seeing someone as large as Red Bull giving this a head nod i’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more 20 somethings with tiny waterfalls in their rooms next to their glass cube walls playing songs only made out of pads while scrolling through tumblr.
Bibio has always been skilled in crafting electronica that has the warmth of folk music, and he has now brought that to Tycho’s “Spectre.” The original track was one of the lushest downtempo numbers to appear on his album, Awake, and this version gives it a dreamy, sunny charm that makes me hope we’ll be hearing these two link up again soon.
No words. Just dive in.
But honestly, The Beat Broker can do no wrong. Somehow this man can catch emotion thats floating in a breeze and redirect it into a mix.
The Balearic sound is always expanding, if its not New Age influenced its a bit more world or tribal or even slightly lounge. Either way the sound wasn’t a fad from a few years ago, its definitely here to stay if you are willing to dig.
Some of the better record shops seem to be picking up on posting clips of records that are coming into the shops on Soundcloud which is making it way easier to shop through these hundreds of records that come out every week.
Lusine is back with a crystal clean single that touches on some of his best work he’s done in the past. Always smooth as gloss and driven low end thats a perfect weight, no denying the melody either. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
The jungles surface slowly growing in on hazy planet, Lance Neptune hits us with another single that makes me want to dig up a few of my old favorite EPs on Planet-Mu from a few summers ago.
A Gap Between – “Orange Horizon”
Clark – “Tooth Moves”
Lone – “Karen Loves Kate”
Daniel Avery – “Knowing We’ll Be Here”
Sly-One – “Come to Mine (HNNY Mix)”
Airbird & Napolian – “In The Zone”
Shigeto – Lineage “(Sun Glitter Remix)”
Ulrich Schnauss – “A Long Way To Fall”
The Beat Broker – “Departure”
Atlas Sound – “Washington School”
Jaakko Elno Kalevi – “No End”
Mungolian Jetset presents Jaga Jazzist vs. Knights Of Jumungus – “Toccata”
Christopher Willits – “CLEAR”
Panda Bear – “Untitled”
Benoit Pioulard – “Fluoresce”
Bibio – “Down To The Sound”
Todd Terje – “Snooze 4 Love (Version)”