Christopher Willits Opening (2014)

Christopher Willits — Opening (September 2nd, 2014)

USA Flag Christopher Willits — Opening

 EXCELLENT ALBUM Christopher Willits — Opening & NOMINATED for TAIS AWARDS 2015.
ζζ   Willits vytváří působivé zážitky z překrývajícího se zvuku a světla.
ζζ   “Umění je proces vznešené komunikace a vyjadřování, které umožňuje validaci nebo transformaci vlastního připojení ke všemu. Moje práce vyjadřuje a zkoumá mojí zkušenost — vděčnost, úžas a úctu k tomu všemu. The intention is to create a space with sound and light that can be used as a tool for being at peace and recharging with; something that you can breathe into, open up into.”
ζ•ζ    Willits completed a master's degree in electronic music at Mills College.
Opening consist of an album, a 45 minute film, a collection of photos and an immersive performance. Willits has created a complete experience with Opening, that works cohesively together and allows the audience to use their imagination and expand their mind to create their own meaning.
ζ•ζ    Opening be pressed on both standard and limited edition vinyl. The limited edition vinyl is exclusive to The Ghostly Store and pressed on clear wax. It’s limited to 300 copies and will come with 1 of 7 archival pigment prints.
              © Portrait courtesy of Tomo Saito, additional images courtesy of Christopher Willits             Born: April 8, 1978
Origin: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Album release: September 2nd, 2014
Record Label: Ghostly International
Duration:     45:05
1. Vision      4:47
2. Clear      5:44
3. Ground      6:16
4. Now      5:09
5. Connect      7:34
6. Wide      9:15
7. Release      6:16
© All Rights Reserved
Vinyl/CD/Print Notes:
ζ•ζ    8x8 photo print limited to 100 copies
ζ•ζ    Standard weight clear vinyl is limited to 300 copies
ζ•ζ    Standard weight vinyl is inserted in to uncoated art sleeve inside 2 panel matte jacket with 3.5mm spine
ζ•ζ    Vinyl includes download card
ζ•ζ    CD Version: Satin finish Japanese style CD wallet; disc is inserted in to uncoated art sleeve
ζ•ζ    Artwork by Christopher Willits, Scott Hansen, and Alingo Loh
ζ•ζ    “For years, I’ve imagined the work I do in music, photography, video/film, immersive audio and meditation all coming into one space,” says music-art guru Christopher Willits ( from his home in San Francisco. It’s an ambition that seems especially befitting of a worldly polymath like Willits. “Sound and light can transform and inspire our imaginations,” he continues. “It can be used as a tool to awaken our consciousness.”
•   And that is exactly what he has set out to do with Opening, the veteran Ghostly artist’s new immersive audio-visual project. (Ghostly International)
•   Across seven tracks of widescreen ambient music, 45 minutes of visuals shot over four years in multiple countries, seven photographs, and a multi-sensory, multiple channel live performance, Willits has created something which might better be thought of as an experience than a simple album.
•   OPENING features Willits’ latest music since Ancient Future, his 2012 collaboration with Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto, and his recent production and mastering work on Tycho’s Awake. The vibrant, enveloping sounds we’ve come to expect from him are on full display. The quiet majesty of “Vision” ushers us into the sacred world Willits creates, a living universe that billows and heaves alongside slow-grooving songs like “Clear” and “Connect,” or with the textural minutiae and harmonic subtleties in “Ground” and “Now”. Closing out the album, “Wide” and “Release” offer the listener a gentle comedown through 15 minutes of transcendent audio, with Willits’ delicate guitar manipulations breathing life into the aether of finely textured atmospheres and soft-glowing synths.
•   The other integral facet to the experience of OPENING is Willits’ visual work. After building a library of images from his travels around California, Hawaii, Japan, and Thailand, Willits is unveiling an abstract narrative film, with seven scenes that correspond with the seven songs from the album along with seven limited edition photo prints. The 45-minute film interfuses music and a first-person perspective of meditative scenes — inspiring nature sections reminiscent of the films Baraka, Koyaanisqatsi and Planet Earth — to create the space of OPENING.
•   Willits says, “There are no actors or dialogue in this film. The audience and their perception is the main character, and everyone’s imagination is going to create some meaning that’s relevant to their own experience. My intention is to create a space where people can open up and expand into, relax and recharge.” OPENING is unlike anything Willits has accomplished before, perhaps because the audio-visual project is about expanding one’s mind to invite something new. Or, as Willits puts it, “For me, OPENING is about transformation, the experience of changing oneself to be more of who you know you can be, and, ultimately, the joy that comes with that change.” (
•   Christopher Willits is an artist — an electronic music and guitar pioneer, composer, producer, photographer, filmmaker and system designer. Christopher uses his self-designed software tools to “paint with his guitar” (Pitchfork), creating “mesmerizing, intricate electronic soundscapes” (Nowness) and lush audiovisual performances of weaving patterns, texture, and harmony. Willits creates immersive experiences of overlapping sound and light. Working solo and in collaboration with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Matmos, Zach Hill (Death Grips/Hella), Tycho, and Taylor Deupree, Christopher has released over 20 albums within the last decade. Willits is based in San Francisco and has a master’s degree in electronic music from Mills College, working with Pauline Oliveros and Fred Frith. Prior to Mills, Willits focused on painting, photography, video/installation art, and sound art at the Kansas City Art Institute. Willits is also the Founder / Director of the community catalyst
•   “I design experiences of sound and light, with the intention of creating a space for opening and reflection. Art is a process of sublime communication and expression through which the validation or transformation of one’s own connection to everything, can occur. My work expresses and explores my experience — the gratitude, wonder and reverence of it all.”
•   Willits' guitar lines and harmonies are folded into each other using custom-designed software (Willits uses the term "folding" to describe the non-linear, real-time indexing, cutting and re-sampling of guitar and voice).
•   Willits, in an interview, further expanded on the term 'folding,' "It has a lot to do with time. I actually wrote a whole thesis about this, if you want to go to the Mills library and check it out [laughs]. It's a very simple process of recording something to memory and then indexing at different points. But instead of it being a granular process [a form of synthesis in which a sample is separated into 'grains'], I'm actually skating to different locations within this memory. So there's this continuous rupture of time that creates these rhythmic patterns, so these melodic patterns start to emerge out of this time processing technique."
•   Willits uses Ableton Live, Max for Live, and Touch Designer for video processing.
Christopher Willits: OPENING
The Ghostly International artist pushes the album format into a new space with an enhanced meaning
by Hans Aschim in Culture on 19 August 2014
•   We've come to expect Ghostly International to push boundaries. The independent label excels in everything from product design to lo-fi house records, and their roster of artists is deft in crossing creative lines. San Francisco-based multimedia artist Christopher Willits is a shining personification of the curatorial house's DNA. Willits — known for his innovative blend of acoustic and electric methods — created a cohesive seven-piece narrative of visual and sonic art called OPENING, in which the listener and viewer is given a sort of meditative landscape to get lost in and experience anew with each visit. Shot, edited, color adjusted, performed, mixed and mastered by Willits himself, OPENING is a project of many layers. We caught up with the artist to learn more about the project.
Q:  What inspired you to release this album as a film?
A:  I've always imagined creating something like this and I'm so excited that it's all coming together. For a very long time I've been thinking about this and now is the time for it to happen. It's tools, my understanding of those tools and my intention in using them and where I'm at in my life all coming together. It's a convergence of all that I love, my ability to hold it all together and — technologically — the ability to capture, edit, mix and distribute something like this is just amazing to me. I would not have been able to do this on a technical level until recently. The tools I use are a big part of the creative process. I try to limit my tool set and work within those constraints.
Q:  Your blend of electric and acoustic techniques lends itself well to the film. Did the filmmaking inspire the music or vice versa?
A:  The sound and the image definitely emerged together. I usually begin with sound. I'll have a general idea or feeling that I'm going for and explore all angles of it, and just let things happen. There's a lot of improvisation that happens and then I begin to attach images to the sounds that were beginning to live.
Q:  What's your creative process like for each medium?
A:  I set an intention about why I want to create something, and form a clear idea of what that is going to be in my imagination. Then I improvise and play and let things take shape within this kind of environment I've set up in my imagination.
Q:  There's a meditative energy to the tracks I've heard and seen. Is there a narrative?
A:  OPENING is a film and album that are completely connected. The intention is to create a space with sound and light that can be used as a tool for being at peace and recharging with; something that you can breathe into, open up into. Everyone is going to have their own unique experience of these overlapping sounds and images, but the intention is to create a space of opening. The word "opening" was really fitting for this project. The piece is about consciousness opening and expanding and, for me personally, it's the opening of a new stage of my life and creative process.
The story is designed to be subjective: anyone who watches it can come out with their own reading of what it means. For me, in general, it's an abstract narrative about the processing of opening—opening in the sense of letting go and being sensitive to everything around you, the energy that you are made of.
Q:  The piece as a whole is extremely cohesive.
A:  I wanted the whole seven-scene, seven-track experience to be one connected vibration. I intentionally made the imagery and music weave into themselves. The tonality of the music, like movements of one large piece; the images like dreams that reoccur and echo. I like this idea of telling stories of personal transformation on a metaphorical and highly subjective level. I think the story can stay open and continue to change as we change.
Q:  Was doing everything yourself especially challenging?
A:  This was the most challenging album I've ever created, and the most challenging film I've ever created. And it was the most fun and exhilarating project I've ever worked on. I really feel like this has set a new path for myself and I'm excited to approach another visual album like this.
This project taught me about so many technical details, but the main thing I learned was patience. Working with video to this magnitude, doing everything myself, opened up another process of planning and doing. Sometimes the idea would be completed in my mind, but the details of rendering and color and editing still needed to happen. It took a lot of patience to see this whole thing through.
Q:  What's next?
A:  My main projects after OPENING are continuing to develop my new member service at, finish a bunch of remixes, begin more work with aquaponics and urban food growth. I have some documentary ideas, I'm going to develop new classes to teach out of the Overlap Studio, and I want to just keep creating new work in the vein of OPENING.
•   GOLD (Overlap) — 2011
•   Live On Earth — Vol. 3 (self-released) — 2011
•   Tiger Flower Circle Sun (Ghostly International) — 2010
•   Live On Earth — Vol. 2 (self-released) — 2009
•   Live On Earth — Vol. 1 (self-released) — 2009
•   Plants and Hearts (Room40) — 2007
•   Surf Boundaries (Ghostly International) — 2006
•   Little Edo (Nibble) — 2004
•   Pollen (Fallt) — 2003
•   Folding, and the Tea (12k) — 2002
•   :plateaus, centers, stoma... (self-released CDR) — 2001
•   storks and wires (self-released CDR) — 2000
•   Various artists — Idol Tryouts (Ghostly International) — 2006
•   Various artists — SMM vol.2 — Breathe in Seven Sections (Ghostly International) — 2004
•   Various artists — E*A*D*G*B*E — Seven Machines For Summer (12k) — 2003
Collaborations and Band Projects:
•   Willits + Sakamoto (Christopher Willits and Ryuichi Sakamoto)"Ocean Fire" (Commmons/12k) — 2008
•   Christopher Willits + Taylor Deupree — Listening Garden (Line) — 2007
•   The North Valley Subconscious Orchestra — The Right Kind of Nothing (Ghostly International) — 2006
•   Christopher Willits + Taylor Deupree — Live In Japan 2004 (12k) — 2005
•   Flössin — Lead Singer (Ache Records, Yacca) — 2004
•   Christopher Willits + Taylor Deupree — Mujo (Plop) — 2004
•   Christopher Willits + Taylor Deupree — AS08 (Sub Rosa, Audiosphere) — 2003
•   Saturn 138 (HWTBL) — 1998

Christopher Willits — Opening (2014)