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Net Feature/ Christopher Willits: "Surf Boundaries Addendum"

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Thanks to his airy touch and effortless fluency, it is so easy to forget that Christopher Willits has studied with some of the outstanding experimental composers and performers of the past decades and continues his analytical research into sound on releases with artistic labels like Room40. An album like „Surf Boundaries“, for example, reminded many of the Beach Boys and had reviewers dreaming up new genres such as polyphonic Indie Pop. Behind the wonderously shimmering surface of that record, however, lurked a darker and more complex side – which comes to the fore on this gratuitious „Addendum“.

Fans of Steve Reich and John Cage, famous names which have made it into Christopher Willits' biography through the backdoor, will nonetheless have to turn somewhere else. These two remixes of two of the more obvious highlights of „Surf Boundaries“ are not going to cause a paradigm shift or cause mass hysteria among fans. They do, however, shed some light on the myriadic structures the originals were made up, picking out one or two ideas to embark on new, but related journeys.

The Dead Texan, semi-celebrities themselves through their work for Kranky, take even the last ounce of surplus-ballast out of „Colors Shifting“ and rebuild the piece as a heartfelt collage of high bass impulses, string chords and fluttering backwards loops, which gradually fades into a whispering drone-embrace. Robert Lippok of To Rocco Rot opts for a more linearly progressing approach, chosing to leave the band-structure intact through digital pastework. Majestically, the track builds up momentum over a glowing analogue bassline and angelic glockenspiel-melodies, taking vocals on board and growing with each pounding of the subdued kickdrum beating like an expecting heart inside the music's fragile womb.

Three video contributions by Scott Pagano, Christina Vantzou and Nobuko Hori are there to remind listeners that Willits is just as much interested in the visual presentation of his work as he is in refining its audio aspects. Needless to say, they too come with minute care awarded to his entire oeuvre, defining an aesthetic that is as far from the superficial High-Def nirvana of MTV as it is from low budget underground purism.

Downloading this short, but rewarding release does not feel anything like a loveless act of taking what you can get. Through his website, Christopher Willits has not only informed visitors about his activities, but also given back to his audience wherever he could: „Surf Boundaries Addendum“ is a gift from a man who has remained incredibly greatful to his audience in everything he does.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Christopher Willits
Homepage: Ghostly International Records

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