Ambient music you can time to a sunset, from Christopher Willits
Tuesday June 18, 2019. 05:55 PM , from Create Digital Music
Drop the inane Spotify “chill” playlists, forget the meditation app that isn’t working … what you need to really feel some peace is the gorgeous new Christopher Willits outing, Sunset. He even suggests hitting play just as the sun starts to come down.
And, yeah, you could do that. I mean, in my fantasy life, I have an incredible villa just off the Pacific Coast Highway where I watch the sun sink into the waves through my enormous glass-bottomed pool on the cliff.
In real life, I’ve already just scheduled some mental sundowns at any old time. (I might take some listening device that still has a headphone jack and go lie somewhere and watch the sun set here near home, though.)
Have a listen to the opening cut in full:
I’ve known Chris’ music a long time and – I think this is perhaps the most beautiful thing he’s ever done. It’s a real ambient landmark, each fuzzy tide of sound precisely detailed. It’s almost impossible not to experience some unusually focused color synesthesthia as you listen. (It’s not an accident that Mr. Willits is a designer and photographer, too.) There are tonal and textural nods to Brian Eno, but as pads melt into one another and oscillate across the stereo field, this also seems unique to this artist. Rather than chill as opioid as is so often peddled to us in today’s algorithmic streaming effluent waste, here letting go as focus as clarity, like breath.
It makes sense, too – Christopher is a talented musician as well as sound designer, so the sounds here are gestural as well as calculated. His live work builds on instrumental practice and pedals; here that background just reaches some clarity.
Christopher Willits. Photo Alingo Loh.
Reasonable view. Photo by the artist.
It has the sound of something you’ll want to actually keep and listen to with some real intention – the way you did when you first fell in love with albums.
It’s a salve for times when we feel the heat of the sun more than ever. He writes:
“When I was 13, I understood that my life’s path was to make music in the service of love, peace, and spiritual healing. Music is a medicine that allows us to feel, listen and surrender to the present moment. The compositions I create move through my imagination, heart, and hands, like guitar through a speaker, and light through a lens. I am continuously learning and evolving with the process; a practice of letting go of all that I create, as it creates me.”
Living stereo is how you’ll most likely experience this, but of course Chris is also using the Envelop spatial audio system he’s led in San Francisco, too. And sure enough, you can get immersive files that are 3rd order ambisonics for listening in other speaker configurations. (Someday, that should also mean more options for even personal mobile listening, as we get more headphone options.) You can even use Envelop Software in Ableton Live.
He’s also been narrating this release on his Twitter account – and why this is for his dad (and mom):
My new album, Sunset, is now available.
Dec, Sat 5 - 12:15 CET