Ambient drone is a niche musical genre but one that I find really interesting when its paired with a feeling, a story or an event. Christopher Willits released his new album ‘Sunset’ last month and it’s a spacious ambient soundscape designed to be played as the sun sets.
The five-track, 32-minute album is meant to be played exactly 15 minutes before sunset. I decided to listen to the album for the first time doing just this sat on a bench in a nearby field. ‘Pacific 1’ opens with gliding beams of audio light. It feels optimistic and grand. That soon turns to peaceful dusk in ‘Coast’ and choir-like drone synths, slow panning cymbal sheers and looping guitar echoes take over. It reminds me of the open-ended music Michael Sterns made for the Baraka soundtrack. As the sun fades, the tracks of ‘Pacific 2’, ‘Transpire’ and ‘Pacific 3’ dial away the light and airy synths and bring in lower hums and drones. Field recordings of muted mosquito sounds and room noise filter in. It’s really clever in that the music sounds no less wonderous or joyous – but you feel tuned into the night sky.
Christopher Willits has made a curious oddity with ‘Sunset’. There are no melodies to speak of. It’s frequency hums wax and wane without any song structure too. Yet listen to it as a backdrop for the daily wonder of a sunset and it really adds to the experience. This is absolutely not for everyone, but ambient lovers and those who are looking for a meditative background for moments in nature will love it. What a fantastic way to integrate music into the world around you.
Recommended track: Coast
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