Christopher Willits' Floral Reverie

The Meditative Muso and Digital Artist Takes Us On a Head Trip

San Francisco’s Christopher Willits is part tech geek, part guru. With his fair, shoulder-length hair and piercing blue eyes he could pass as a scrubbed-up (and uncharacteristically cheerful) Kurt Cobain, but there’s nothing grungy about the mesmerizing, intricate electronic soundscapes that constitute his latest album Tiger Flower Circle Sun, out this month from Ghostly International. The record, he sermonizes, is "an expression of the connection of all things. We are from the plants, the plants from the sun. All is light. Everything is connected and this music is my expression of love for all." He himself is something of a universal talent, not only a virtuosic musician but an adept computer programmer—to create his shimmering walls of sound he uses his own custom software (he began inventing his own guitar effects when he was 13), and accompanies live performances with interactive visuals, the latest of which are controlled via the stroke of an iPad. In the past decade he’s recorded an astonishing 20 albums, collaborating with musicians such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Matmos and Kid606 (a former-member of his band project Flossin), but he describes his latest offering as “the most concise statement that I have made as an artist to date.” For each track on the album, he’s created a corresponding piece of digital video art, blending a series of super-colorful portraits of the natural world with subtle, soporific manipulations of focus and transparency. Today we premiere the video to accompany the album’s closing track, “Flowers into Stardust.” "I'm really loving how the lens shifts and morphs our perception of what is light and what is a flower," he says. "I'm thinking about the threshold and relationship between light and shape, symbol and memory."

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