FEATURED REVIEW: DEUPREE/WILLITS "LISTENING GARDEN"

October 01 2007
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TOUCHING EXTREMES (IT) (by Massimo Ricci)
Let me get straight to the point: "Listening garden" is one of the best ambient music releases of the last decade. Not only because it truly respects the basic principle of what "ambient music" means, but especially in consideration of its functional stimulation of that sense of "one-in-a-million moment" that many of its gradually morphing combinations will elicit in the most sensitive listeners. That's all the more noteworthy if we think that the CD lasts only 33 minutes (that's right, infinite repeat is a must) and was entirely made with altered snippets of location recordings that Deupree and Willits realized during their stay at Yamaguchi's Center for Arts and Media in 2004. There, an installation consisting of two indoor/outdoor tea spaces was prepared, the artists willing to build a "sonic bridge between the digital world of sound and the audiosphere of nature". Sparse clouds of electronic-enhanced guitars appear and disappear like superimpositions of different states of mind; concrete sounds (announcements, children, walk-around visitors) and illusory modulations lift our being towards those rare luminous spots where a resonant chord of indefinable nature and a five-second absence of air in the lungs let us glimpse at what will happen in every single frame of our future existence, without allowing a true comprehension. I'm used to listen to this kind of material in the early hours of the afternoon, with a modicum of distant human activity penetrating my room from outside. In the right moments, even for a lone instant, one quietly vibrates in a way that can only be described as heartbreaking. Not only Deupree and Willits have managed to achieve their goal of "enhance the experience of simply sitting and enjoying one's place in time", they also know the way to extend that fragment of life to infinite without succumbing to the desperation of knowing that the real world doesn't look or sound like this wonderful place at all.
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