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willits + sakamoto - ancient future (album preview)

Experimedia with Scup on July 19, 2012 02:08

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    *Excerpts from the album. Now available at Experimedia.net.* Certainly no strangers to nearly all who visit this website, legendary pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and guitar/laptop alchemist Christopher Willits follow their 2008 collaborative debut, "Ocean Fire," with another set of stretched chords and minimalist tendencies. They both share an innate sense of how to control spatial qualities and grandly illuminate small musical details. "Ancient Future" is abundant with evidence of this approach as most of the tracks feature Sakamoto's soft piano chords while Willits' skittering fragments and electronic textures flicker on the periphery. The template does vary, however, as Sakamoto's keys disappear for entire stretches ("Levitation") and unabashed melody, nearly romantic in feeling, is explored ("Completion"). It is slight, introspective music, but "Ancient Future" is still a highlight in both musicians' vast, extensive discographies. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia
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    *Includes Download Coupon* Ancient Future is the second collaboration between composer and visionary pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and electronic pioneer Christopher Willits. Built around a series of piano pieces that Sakamoto sent to Willits after the release of the duo's first record together, 2008's Ocean Fire, the six tracks that make up Ancient Future are entirely instrumental—and yet, they speak about the very essence of what it means to be human.

    As a whole, Ancient Future functions as a piece about the creation, acceptance and completion of one's fate and all of life's experiences, following a trajectory through inner conflict, resolution and, ultimately, acceptance. The six-song cycle moves through a narrative of sorts, each piece with a story to tell and an aspect of life to explore.

    The album opens with the restless energy of "Reticent Reminiscence", an energy that subsides into the introversion of "Abandoned Silence" and "I Don't Want to Understand" and, eventually, the cold disassociation of "Levitation". A certain warmth returns with "Releasing", its guitar arpeggios like washes of sunlight, and the album's journey finally resolves into closing track "Completion", a piece that's full of quiescent tranquility, perhaps reflecting the experience of finally coming to know oneself.

    Despite its conceptual coherency, contradictions lie at the heart of Ancient Future, as the album title might suggest. Even within the confines of each track, opposing forces are at play—loops of static and feedback provide the backing for delicate melodies that develop and evolve like ripples on a placid lake. And yet the contradictions never feel like conflicts—instead, the diverging elements come together to create something with its own internal logic, perhaps reflecting the way that we are all the sum of our experiences, both light and dark, positive and negative.

    Released by: ghostly
    Release/catalogue number: gi159
    Release date: Jul 18, 2012

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