Christopher Willits – OPENING

Fresh off the Ghostly label line comes this very ghostly-esque album from multi-talented photography, producer, and musician Christopher Willits, filled with faded, droney, ambient, slow, intertwining harmonies. This is the kind of music that slows you, and everything around you way down. It’s great for the incoming cold weather too. The atmosphere and emotions evoked in “OPENING” are superb. It’s also got an accompanying film which is great to behold. This video is of travels captured over four years in Japan, Thailand, Hawai’i and California by Christopher Willits himself, and is the inspirational source for the music on this album.

“Opening” is easily a front runner for being placed high in 2014 album rankings, at least for me. It meanders through various forms, like the varieties found in nature, from the simple, vast, and seemingly endless, to more complex, intricate, and flowing landscapes. It’s hard to gauge what the focus in each song is, or the album itself, but maybe this is the point, as it is this approach that to me is refreshing, especially in a widely involved and varied genre that seems to have many releases aiming to center on one key element, as opposed to the much larger sphere of things.

As Willits remarks, regarding “OPENING” and the accompanying film,

“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.”…”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.”

This isn’t an album to jam too. I wouldn’t even say this is an album to vibe to. To call it an “experience” is overdone and a characterless way to explain albums like these. Just listen to it. Be amongst it.

– Nick

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DJ Quik – “That Getter”

DJ Quik

While another Compton-based Producer/Rapper has spent more than the last decade messing around with overpriced headphones and teasing an album that may never come, DJ Quik has quietly been been putting in work that’s flown completely over your head. Quik, now over 20 years deep into the game, is a G Funk pioneer that has had his fingertips printed over dozens of hit records without even getting a fraction of the shine he deserves. It would be foolish to think that a smart man like DJ Quik lacks any sort of self-awareness, so naturally his 2009 collaboration with Death Row legend Kurupt BlaQKout felt like the coming out party of his late-career renaissance. At this point, it’s clear Quik doesn’t give a fuck if you buy his record and he doesn’t give two fucks if you give him the Grammy that he should have gotten by now.

Quik continued this late-career stride with The Book of David, a personal and highly experimental offering complete with dense production and revealing lyrics detailing his role in the rap game, as well as tales of betrayal (and also plenty of the typical funk). What’s interesting about this new record, titled The Midnight Life, is (from what I’ve heard from the released snippits) the fact that Quik seems to be more or less returning to his roots, rather than push his sound further to the left. Just looking a the pen-and-pixel album art evokes memories of Quik is the Name or Way Too Fonky. Does this mean the fire isn’t still lit? Absolutely not. The smart-ass humor is still there, as well as the relevant social commentary. It’s just a sound that Quik is a master of, that he clearly feels like refining even further. “That Getter” details a rapper that isn’t too old, but rather “too funky” and one that noticed “motherfuckers in my neighborhood that grew up to be nothing/I went around the world stuntin/they still there doin nothing”. Stream the first single of Quik’s new album below, and check out some Quik cuts below that.

— Daniel