CHRISTOPHER WILLITS OPENING LP VINYL NEW 33RPM
"For years, IÃ¯Â¿Â½ve imagined the work I do in music, photography, and video all coming into one space," says music-tech guru Christopher Willits from his home in San Francisco. It's an ambition that many musicians have aspired to, but nonetheless seems especially befitting of a worldly polymath like Willits. "I believe that sound and light, when used intentionally, have the power to transform and inspire our imaginations," he continues. "I believe that art has an ability to awaken our connection to everything." And that is exactly what he has set out to do with OPENING, the veteran Ghostly artist's immersive new audio-visual project. Across seven tracks of widescreen ambient music, 45 minutes of visuals shot over four years in multiple countries, seven bespoke photographs, and a multi-sensory live performance, Willits has conceived and produced something which might better be thought of as an experience than a simple album. Of course, OPENING does feature Willits' latest music since Ancient Future, his 2012 collaboration with Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto, and 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 created, a living universe which billows and heaves in the corners of slow-grooving songs like "CLEAR" and "CONNECT" or the textural minutiae and harmonic subtleties in "GROUND". Closing out the album, "WIDE" and "RELEASE" o!er the listener a gentle comedown through 15 cumulative minutes of transcendent audio, with Willits' delicate guitar manipulations breathing life into the aether of prickly atmospheres and soft-glowing synths. The other integral facet to the experience of OPENING is Willits' visual work. After building a library of footage and images from his travels around California, Hawaii, Japan, and Thailand, Willits will unveil for the first time a portion of his videos as an abstract film, the seven scenes of which each correspond with a song and photo from the album. The 45-minute piece uses music and a first-person perspective to tell what Willits calls "a very ambiguous story," much in the vein of ground-breaking experimental films Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka. Taken as a whole, OPENING is unlike anything Willits has accomplished before, and maybe that's because the audio-visual project is about expanding one's mind to become something new. Or, as Willits puts it, "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."