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Christopher Willits MP3s

Sorry for the two-week break. I was traveling (in Tokyo, for the first time — notes on that trip at a later date, as time allows), and then the holidays hit. In any case, we return to your regularly scheduled, free and highly recommended downloads:

In the future, Christopher Willits‘ surname will likely become a verb, at least among musicians, for the technique that most succinctly distinguishes his work: the cascades of computer-pixelated guitar that make each of his records a must-listen. The “Willits sound” is so remarkable that it’s amazing a technophilic pop star like Bjork, Cher or Madonna hasn’t already licensed or aped it for one of their state-of-the-art singles. That his sound lends itself both to extrapolative, nouvelle-classical composition and to imaginary radio hits says much about its appeal.

Willits recently posted three MP3s on his site, all worth checking out: “The Fall in Love Machine,” off EADGBE (a guitar + computer various-artists compilation on the 12K label, also featuring Fonica, Keith Fullerton Whitman and Sebastien Roux); “Your Face Looks Like a 15th Century Carpet,” off Little Edo (Nibble); and “Touch Me and I End Up Singing,” off SMM Vol. 2 (a compilation on Ghostly International, also featuring Cepia and Lusine). That the latter two of these are vinyl-only releases in the physical world makes their free online availability, even as extracts, an added bonus. “Love Machine” is the most characteristic of Willits’ recordings in general: the lilting sway, the pointillist spray of melody, the bridge-like breaks that lend some of his compositions the quality of vocal-free songs. “Touch Me” shares “Love Machine”‘s pointillism, but with its deliberately uncertain rhythmic center it’s considerably less easy to pin down, even with the addition of a discernable, unmolested bass line and what appears to be lightly disfigured vocals. “Your Face” tempers the rush of the other two tracks in favor of a lacey, vocal-oriented piece featuring the processed soulful ahs of Latrice Barnett. They’re all on the “audio” page at christopherwillits.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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