February 28, 2008

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Willits + Sakamoto, Ocean Fire
12k Records, Feb. 26
In this, Grammy award-winning piano soloist Ryuichi Sakamoto hooked up with newcomer guitar experimentalist Christopher Willits in one-take improvisations bent on soundtracking the ocean world. A mainframeís worth of processing later, itís emerged as a man-made Songs of the Humpback Whale, gently menacing jaunts into unknown, alien environs, notes held forever whilst being modulated at unhurried leviathan paces. More than anything itís a headphone experience and thus not unhesitatingly recommended for an intro meditation class, as itís cumbered just a bit too often with nerve-rattling glitch-static from Willitsí guitar. Those sounds, however, can be gotten used to; I canít say for certain, but the duo must have stumbled upon a few theta-wave-inducing combinations as they tried to stare each other down. ďSentienceĒ would appear to have been inspired by the alien-encounter scene in The Abyss, a downward-spiraling set of notes that eventually bursts into a slo-mo revelation both eerie and soothing. B- ó Eric W. Saeger