Taylor Deupree + Christopher Willits, Invisible Architecture_08
Audiosphere, a sub label of Belgium's Sub Rosa, features live, unreleased, and collaborative performances by a variety of electronic artists. Among the many artists featured on Audiosphere's Invisible Architecture series include Mika Vainio, Christian Fennesz, Scanner, Microstoria, and Janek Schaefer. The latest entry, featuring San Franciscan Christopher Willits and New Yorker Taylor Deupree, is a combination of live performance and studio collaboration.
The final two tracks on this release are taken from a November 2002 concert at New York's Tonic. Deupree's Stil. and Willits' Folding, and the Tea had just been released on 12k, and the concert served as a release party of sorts. The artists did not perform together, so the two live tracks feature each artist exploring many of the themes they explored on their recent releases. I really like the churning, crunchy noises and shortwave-like dissonance Deupree used to layer his 19-minute work, but I found the synthesizer-laden melodies that dominate to be a bit too reminiscent of Stil. Willits' work featured a number of interesting variations on his "folding" guitar-computer technique (where he plays guitar into his computer, and software programs then "fold," or reshape, the sounds into something entirely un-guitar like). While patches of this track are wonderful, the bulk of the work seems too reminiscent of his studio creation to really resonate (in my mind) as a separate, unique entity.
Ah, but the other six tracks are different. These were created through a rather unusual collaboration between Willits and Deupree. Both went over to Deupree's studio in Brooklyn. Willits improvised some guitar sounds, then "folded" them through his software (just like his concert track). Deupree then took the resultant "folds" and resynthesized them live using his own software. The two artists then edited the hours of sound down to ten distinct "foundations," which each artist took away and finalized individually.
The six tracks that appear on this disk represent the six best bits from those original hours of processed weirdness. It's fantastic stuff, particularly because it manages to take the best parts of both Willits' and Deupree's own music and mesh them together into something that resembles both artists' work without copying either. Deupree's melancholy fuzz blurs seamlessly with Willits' pinprick guitar explorations, while deep, piercing bass tones slide up and down, chirpy bee snaps in and out of existence, and a thousand other sounds creep in and out of the soundscape. In short, there are a lot of interesting sounds here, but what makes the music so interesting (what makes it music , not a lot of noise) is the way that each work, each collection of sounds, captures a specific mood, be that antagonism ("Simple Sleep"), sleepy confusion ("Morning Mochi"), or happiness ("Jasmine"). Deupree and Willits, in their separate works, are each capable of creating nuanced, delicate soundscapes using their own, distinct musical pallets. Here, however, sharing their musical tools with one another, they've managed to create something that neither could create on his own. This is the definition of collaboration.
The bottom line for this work is simple: the first 22 minutes of this album are essential; the second 29 minutes aren't. But you should get this anyways, if only because those six collaborations are as good as just about anything else you're likely to hear this year.
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