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Willits-Laner MP3

Christopher Willits uses his laptop as a time-shifting effects pedal for his electric guitar. In the past, that guitar has distinguished his solo work (notably the full-length Folding, and the Tea and his tracks on the guitronic EADGB*E compilation) as well as his many collaborations, which have teamed him with singers (Latrice Barnett), drummers (Gabriel Coan) and other electronicists (Taylor Deupree most often, despite Willits being based in California and Deupree in New York), just to name a few.

But one of his latest group efforts is a duo that amps up the guitar quotient considerably: the North Valley Subconscious Orchestra. Despite the expansive name, it’s a duo, pairing him with someone even more closely associated with the guitar: Brad Laner, best known for his work with Savage Republic, Medicine and Electric Company. (Laner’s involvement with Electric Company means both he and Willits have played in groups with Kid 606, Willits as part of Flossin.)

The North Valley Subconscious Orchestra has completed an album, apparently titled A Brief Pause, though no release date is set. Willits has said the album also includes “weird pop songs” and some acoustic material, and he’s posted online a single track, “Neutral Buoyancy” (MP3), which opens with a nod to the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” before diving headlong into rich shoegazer territory, all hazy shades of infinite guitars and deeply subsumed vocals.

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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