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Monday, November 20, 2006

my neglected namesake...




Christopher Willits- Surf Boundaries
Its been ages, I know. And tomorrow I leave sunny LA for an albeit brief, but much needed hiatus. To rural pastoral America I go, swing state by swing state until we've won em all! No voting public left behind! Or something...
Anyway, I wanted to drop this CD to the masses as it skyrocketed to one of my new favorite albums of all time. Its hard to describe, and I know little to nothing about this Christopher Willits fellow, but you've gotta check it out. I caught wind of this through an amazing musical ear, one belonging to Desmond of Mowtown. He always has good shit. In this batch, he sent me this disc and Phoenix's Its Never Been Like That, a disc I gave a perfect 10 some time back. You can relive that magical moment here.
In any event, that disc was old news. This one though...wow. Here's a review he sent along with it initially...
"California-based guitarist Christopher Willits settles near the shores of pop with Surf Boundaries. On his breakthrough LP, Willits merges the patterns of his signature guitar sound with treated strings, brass and five-part vocal harmonies for a sonic vision that draws upon elements of shoegaze, jazz, ambient and noise. Recorded during the rise and fall of an intense personal relationship, the album's spectrum of emotions naturally emerged from the sea changes of lovers' boundaries, and the ultimate necessity of freedom and letting go. The vocal motif of the aptly titled "Colors Shifting" (sung by Willits and Ultra Records' Latrice Barnett) appears in three variations, giving the album a rough beginning, middle and end, while other tracks full of electrified drones, intertwining melody lines and smooth guitar loops weave into the album's structure seamlessly."
Now, I'd love to credit that to someone, but I can't. Seems like a good review though, right? This guy or girl ain't even close...
Call it Pet Sounds for a modern audience. Just throwing the word surf into the title immediately lends itself to make the assumption that this music is meant to be listened to on the back of a surfboard, standing up to catch the break at its' peak. And the cacophony of digital noise and harmonic instrumentation creates a synthetic feeling that you're there already.
The obvious metaphorical analysis is easy to find...written when he was in a rollercoaster of a relationship...so the ebb and flow of the waves echoes the drama in his real life yada yada yada. Forget all that BS. Just listen. This disc is a surfire "who is this" CD, one that will go overlooked all year. Unless you take a chance.
Much like the glitch DJs of today, or even the DNTEL/Ben Gibbard pop-style glitch that has become highly popularized (running the gamut from Prefuse 73 to Caribou all the way back to something as mainstream as Beck or Broken Social Scene). Point being, he finds as much music in dischord and audio blather as in his formed structured pieces. And while some critics find that self indulgent, I love it. Let a musician find something he loves. Let him dwell within in and create whatever makes sense to him or them.
Don't come into this expecting anything. I didn't. I just took the advice of a music lover's taste that I respected. You should do the same. I think you'll find that between most of the commerical trash of today, and the narrow minded folks over at Pitchfork that this album will be a keepsake, an eyrlum, a faded photograph. A moment in time when you didn't think about a thing...
except catching that next break and riding it to shore.
Download: "Yellow Spring"
Rating: 9 / 10
Now, onto the meat of whats been going on. As I mentioned, I'm heading to a different time zone tomorrow for the break. Between my last post and today though, I've been dividing my time through a multitude of activity, work and recklessness. First of all, I've been keeping up with the extra work. And really, for those of you who've ever heard otherwise- ignore it. Anyone can take the steps to becoming an actor out here. After those baby steps though, its up to you to be the one that shines.
In light of that, I really take extra work seriously. And I know that sounds lame in some ways, and for those of you who have done extra work, you know that 90% of the kids there could give a shit. They want their pissant paycheck, and they want to leave. They bitch the whole time, and really annoy the hell out of me. Because most extras are like that, most 2nd ADs tend to babysit them, treating them all as if they were 2 years old. And rightly so, they've never been given a reason to do anything otherwise. But there's a difference sometimes. Sometimes an actor comes along- an actual actor- and really shows the crew that they are there to work.
Most 'actors' out here will say, "if my agent knew I was doing extra work, they'd tell me to stop." Why is this mentality the norm? Because if you have faith in yourself...if you're an actor who can cut it, then you're not an extra. You know that, you embody it, and your agent knows as well. Why waste time in the background when you want the foreground.
I agree with that after someone has paid their dues, but I've also walked into an auditon where the casting agent said, "Now, do you know what 'back to 1' means?" I got up and walked out. Hey- non actors who are reading...read that aloud. What do YOU think it means? That's right! Return to your start position, we're shooting it again.
Sadly, many MANY extras can't even do that. So one tends to stand out by asking informed questions, knowing when and when not to talk, and following directions. Cause after all, a DIRECTOR gives DIRECTION. If you can't do it as an extra, you just plain can't do it. Nuff said. Its like Clint Eastwood's school of thought: he gives his actors 2 takes. If they can't get it in 2, then they weren't meant to do the scene.
Anyway, that was a total tirade, sorry. Aside from extra work, I've been doing some freelance in the reality TV world, working on pilots for HGTV, Rachael Ray, and even The Biggest Loser 3 technically. Reality ain't my bag, but sometimes it pays the bills. And speaking of- I interviewed to work for Mark Burnett. Don't know the name? Get your shit together. He's only THE NAME in reality. Still waiting to hear, and apparently the desk has yet to be filled. Keep those fingers crossed kids.
Gish and I have been working on a script. We're quite pleased. More to come later.
And finally, a few former Arrested Development alums have created something hysterical. Check it out, its worth you're time. Safe for work, and one hell of a good laugh. Peep them Tom and Sam are Stuck.
Other than that, I am pumped to hit the road. Call me for a thanksgiving wish- love to you and yours.
And I promise kids, I'll be back in full effect soon. Satz- 1 week bitch!