||Christopher Willits & Ryuichi Sakamoto|
Ocean Fire expends more energy than it recycles, and it seeks an evolution rather than a transfusion of the respective backgrounds of composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and musician and multimedia artist Christopher Willits. Sakamoto is the elder of the two - a founding member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, he has provided scores for over twenty films, and has more recently undertaken a fruitful collaboration with Christian Nicolai. Markedly younger, Willits himself already has the beginnings of an accomplished career, his custom-made signal processing of his versatile guitar playing has amounted to a distinctive style that has surfaced on several solo works, as well as notable collaborations with Taylor Deupree and video artist Scott Pagano, amongst others.
A clear homage to the power and mystery of the ocean, much of this work hums with an itch for revelation and transport. The album consists of seven tracks, each of which features an inspired array of sustained, purring multiphonics, plosive popping, breathy fluttering phantom notes and contorted melodic fragments. As with the ocean, even when these works reach their stillest moments, the sounds remain mobile, and the creativity and attentiveness with which the pair shift the speed of these sounds is often invigorating. "Toward Water" begins in a deeply lyrical state, with a gorgeous breath-in-breath-out motion that is both calming and brimming with life.
The album then plunges down towards darker, more abrasive depths, where tactile whorls and eddies jostle with fragments of rusted texture and knawed melody, hidden in trailing clouds of echo and reverb. These works are all but relentless in their complexity and unfurling energies. Willits and Sakamoto negotiate with them skillfully, however, working in a new pulse of textures and tones before any one arrangement solidifies, and thus rearranging the sense of space, tempo, and structure. Along the way, a number of avenues open up which are not wholly explored. But even so, in a short life-span, Willits and Sakamoto mark out a detailed and immersive underwater environment.
'Ocean Fire' - REVIEW