Published on May 1, 2012
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Christopher Willits - Sun Body (The Sight Below Remix)
Artist: Christopher Willits
Album: Tiger Flower Circle Sun [Remixes]
Christopher Willits occupies a unique corner of the electronic-music universe—hovering above the intersection of electronic production's nuts and bolts and a wide-open creative mind. "I am a conduit of the process, a kind of gardener," he says. "I simply imagine, intuit, respond and do the work laid before me." Willits' tireless responding and doing and working has produced 20 albums in 10 years—solo and in collaboration with artists including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Matmos, and Taylor Deupree—and an organic, multi-faceted sound that expands like the vines of an electro-acoustic kudzu plant. Christopher Willits is a teacher, a label owner (the experimental hub Overlap.org), a meditator, a tech geek, a visual/new media artist, and virtuosic musician in one. In other words, there's no one out there quite like him.
Willits designs much of his own software, and his music is a holistic universe in which all elements are interconnected; he folds his guitar
lines into bleary, unrecognizable shapes and polyrhythmic textures, adding strokes of percussion, horns, and his own voice until the whole glows with an earthly inner light. A full list of Christopher Willits' releases and accomplishments would take up considerable column space, but a beginner's guide to Willits includes 2002's Folding, and the Tea (his debut on 12k), 2006's landmark Surf Boundaries (his first full-length on Ghostly International), 2008's Ocean Fire (Willits' collaboration with renowned pianist / composer Ryuichi Sakamoto), and 2009's Live on Earth Vols. 1 & 2 (a pair of self-released live albums dedicated to his fans and supporters).
Christopher Willits' newest record on Ghostly International, 2010's Tiger Flower Circle Sun, is his most technologically complex yet—it's also his most organic, drifting skyward in a swell of ambient hums and subtle polyrhythms. With an imagination as blissfully overactive as our friend Willits', the only place to go is up.
Rafael Anton Irisarri
The reclusive Seattle-based artist known as The Sight Below stays away from the spotlight—instead, he expresses himself through melancholic, slow-moving musical
The music of The Sight Below conjures half-remembered dreams and soft-focus sentiments with elegiac beauty; his video art works similarly, blurring snippets of
film until they're recognizable only as organic objects: black-and-white amoebas milling about, or a sunset rendered in grayscale.
All of The Sight Below's songs are performed live: The artist runs E-bowed, slide, and lightly picked guitars through a series of loopers, 12-bit reverb boxes,
and delay units, kneading and distending the notes until they drone like bees in a tunnel or keen like an orchestra of singing saws. The resulting swirl is
pinned to propulsive, achingly subtle electronic percussion, which guides the listener through the gloom towards the music's hopeful center. The resulting
ambient works seem as effortless as natural phenomena; in fact, they're carefully played, head-nodding hymns to the artist's solitary life.
Glider and its accompanying No Place for Us EP, The Sight Below's 2008 debut releases on Ghostly International, were well-received in ambient circles and in the
music world at large, gaining plaudits from international publications and musicians (including Radiohead's Thom Yorke). The Sight Below spent the year touring
the world, playing a slate of successful shows at DEMF, MUTEK, and SONAR, and collaborating extensively with the legendary Slowdive's drummer Simon Scott. The
Sight Below is currently working on new material with Scott for a future release.
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