Got a coupla newies on the ole Blackest Rainbow label this week and this be one of ’em. A brand new Celer album of previously unheard recordings which were recorded between 2006 and 2008. You kinda know what you’re getting with Celer these days. You either love ’em or hate ’em but to me they’re a benchmark of quality when it comes to ambience as there’s not really many other folks doing it much better. Though they have been known to dark it up like those 2 CD’s they did on Students of Decay which were kinda noisy for Celer. This album sounds lovely. It’s only been on for 5 minutes and I’m into it…. beautiful drones which are both tranquil and warm sounding…. it reminds me a wee bit of Discourses of The Withered which I was only listening to the other night. This one features field recordings from Katmandu (sounds like a busy hectic market or something) and it adds an extra dimension. It’s a very dense sounding record but one I think you’ll love if you’re fan of Celer. Excellent!
Outstanding side of enigmatic ambience from Celer, recorded between december 2006 and july 2008. Added to their usual, almost incapacitating layers of drone and gaseous textures are field recordings made in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2002, providing a visceral, bustling counterpoint to the elegiac sensitivity of their harmonic blurs fashioned from cello, violin, pipe organ and various bits of electronics and post-production enhancements. The compositions are typically austere and minimal yet thick with evocative dream tones and that beautifully fragile feel for inert melody which makes time feel like it’s about to stop. Perhaps the most intangible yet integral element of these recordings is the shifting sense of spaces opening and closing like an undulating topography, articulated especially well in the vivid contrasts between the field recordings and their organically textured tones. Stunningly immersive stuff, pressed on 140gm virgin vinyl and housed in thick, old style tip-on hardback jackets. Limited to 500 copies.
Newly released Celer LP from Blackest Rainbow in the United Kingdon, now available!
Second vinyl LP from this formerly active American duo of Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long, which also happens to be the second LP from Celer on Blackest Rainbow. Vestiges Of An Inherent Melancholy follows on from the recent pairing of releases on Basses Frequences and features 2 sides of unearthed recordings that were created between December 2006 and July 2008. These two sides find the duo creating some truly beautiful drone works with their use of an organic and electronic palette of instrumentation; cello, violin, pipe organ, electronics, tape, field recordings, samples, and mixing board. This really is a standout side from Celer, pulling together their variety of sounds to make a heart breaking collage of sounds falling between beautiful dream tones and heavier dark moments. Vestiges Of An Inherent Melancholy again pushes Celer further to the front of modern minimal composition, proving that they were one of the most interesting, consistently outstanding, and intriguing acts around in recent years, creating some of the finest and most beautiful, fragile drone records around. The full experience of a Celer release is complete with accompanying titled fragmented sections for the side long pieces, and striking cover photography by Danielle. Limited to 500 copies in thick old style tip-on hardback jackets with LPs pressed on 140 gram virgin vinyl.
Available directly from me at email@example.com or from Blackest Rainbow in the UK
Malgré la disparition tragique de Danielle Baquet-Long l’an passé, le souffle du duo américain Celer ne s’éteint pas. C’est la plus belle déclaration d’amour qui soit, une lettre sans fin que formule disque après disque la passion de son mari Will Long, qui fonde aujourd’hui Two Acorns, micro-label à la mémoire de ce qui n’a pas encore disparu. Les objets, les souvenirs, les sentiments. Generic City, première référence et nouvel album réalisé en collaboration avec le japonais Yui Onodera, est tout sauf un essai anecdotique sur le thème de la ville et de l’environnement. C’est une gueule d’atmosphères. Une chanson de la ville silencieuse. Une redécouverte de sons ordinaires et d’expériences ambient. Les sources s’y trouvent là où s’arrête le béton, dans le fantasme du citadin : la redécouverte du silence, du soi et de l’environnement à travers une société anonyme qui s’agglutine, d’un point à l’autre du globe. A l’image des premières minutes d’An Imaginary Tale Of Lost Vernacular, un essaim d’oiseaux qui piaille. La ville, le nombre et le bruit, remèdes miracles contre la solitude ? Certains reconnaissent la vie à travers le vacarme. D’autres y découvrent les bienfaits de la nature et du silence. Generic City se développe à la croisée de ces deux visions. Une madeleine de Proust.
Salvaged Violets is the latest release from Celer, a work which once again highlights the twin themes of beauty and tragedy that personify Will Thomas Long and his late wife Dani Long’s art…
This latest release is a 2xCD work containing a pair of long form tracks which provide the usual evocative Celer experience and is measured in hours rather than minutes. To successfully encapsulate the emotions which one feels when listening to the two and a half hours of music in Salvaged Violets is difficult, but for those familiar with Celer’s previous output, there will likely be but one question; ‘is this another essential Celer release?’ the answer of course, is yes.
Salvaged Violets was written at a time when Will and Dani were working on almost opposite schedules, the pair composing their contributions separately, then leaving a piece of music for the other to discover upon the end of each working day. A longing is present in each refrain and every moment of music, though to be sure, Salvaged Violets is not a morose work, rather it accentuates the worth of Will and Dani’s life together.
Perhaps owing in part to the length of time which the listener must invest in Salvaged Violets, the ensuing payoff is all the greater, the two pieces becoming a soundtrack to one’s day and thus linked forever by memory to the time spent listening. In a period when concentration is at a minimum and multi-tasking the norm, Salvaged Violets compels one to stop and enjoy this uniquely intimate portrait of Dani and Will’s time together, a work which will be returned to again and again.
Salvaged Violets is available now from Infraction Records and is released in a run of 998 2xCD copies, in mini-lp gatefold sleeve, with twelve art prints and photographs by Peter Lograsso.
– Adam Williams
What are you running away from? This question is one the last phrases of the new release of Celer. Celer is Danielle Baquet – Long and William Thomas Long. The married couple released an enormous amount of music all over the world and their music has a deep ambient and meditative atmosphere. This composition starts with dark threatening soundwaves and moves to melancholic tones and accords. The repetitive elements of the music works very well and droning and the mood develops more open and hopeful. But than the mood slowly changed.
As known, I guess for the readers of Vital, Danielle Baquet – Long died in July 2009 of a heart-failure. I do not know for what the lasts words are standing for. I think the source is from the conversation between a man and a woman is sampled from a movie. She asked him for many times just one single question: “What are you running away from?” Is this question meant for William and for all people who had to deal with the loss of a beloved person? (JKH)
Those acquainted with the name Celer may know it signifies a strong and steadfast voice speaking for Cottage Industry Artisans in a Loop-U-Like Plug-in Age. No Luddites, mind, for their string-driven textures find fellowship between organic instrumentation and digital manipulation. This craftsmanship brings with it sonorities of particulate richness, albeit remaining within the dynamic of a languorous sprawl of narrowly navigated sound colour, with some interesting internal variations across three recent specimens from the field surveyed below.
Will Long’s narrative of his and partner Dani’s recording of Salvaged Violets trails its release. Briefly, their incompatible work schedules meant a period inhabiting a world apart, during which a modus operandi akin to file exchange developed. Untypically for Celer, no concept drove SV – none but a decision to begin and see what came of it. Each night, on return home, Will would find and fiddle with what Dani had left from her afternoons; each afternoon, she’d discover a different version left for her to work on, this continuing for some time. No re-arrangement on finishing, simply sequencing in the order it was first played, rolling multiple miniatures into two long-form tracts, with nothing discarded; despite sound changes over time, original form was preserved. On final completion, first listen was attended by a sense of familiarity, but with a certain unknown undefined quality. Over a year later, Will revisited the recordings, again finding something familiar, but much unrecallable, unrelateable. This narrative – all the more poignant knowing of Dani’s subsequent demise – makes a congruent companion to the release of Salvaged Violets, imbuing it with the same mixture of familiar and ineffable. This their second coming for Infraction makes for an interesting contrast, sounding sparse, almost lowercase, next to the weighty wellings of 2007’s Discourses of the Withered. Perhaps closest to a stretched-out Nacreous Clouds, these are intimate epic vignettes, lowlight symphonies by a toy-orchestra dissolved in digital light, long meditative motifs, suspended and revolved, bleeding one into the other. Though Violets may seem to dwell obsessively on its loops and chord progressions with their endless recursion, the deep listener will be rapt at the shuttle of the pair’s scrutiny and retooling, from his to hers, dark materials and light alike.
As if Celer’s output had not been prolific enough spread over a range of imprints, Will Long now has his own, Two Acorns. Naturally, it’s Celer that inaugurate it, this a collaboration with Yui Onodera. The usual droning introspection is present but Generic City is distinguished by its extensive deployment of field recordings – from both Los Angeles and Japan. Pitched tonefloat cedes much of the sonic ground to unpitched – migratory birds, ice breaking on a frozen lake, temple bells and restaurant ambience, public transport systems. Synergies come from Onodera, representing Japan’s variety of customs – children playing, temple bells, voices in prayer to Buddha, interspersed with guitar, electronics, violin, cello, theremin and ocarina. Rather than standard enviro-drone practice, where found sound is threaded liminally through the music, the locative input is given its head, with music minimised to punctuative sparse layers of resonant drift. The whole is poised between luminous ambience and transformative acousmatic in an absorbing portal into the audio topography of urban spaces. Generic City alludes to the idea that musicians are subconsciously influenced by their environment, and the way that the artists’ music blends with nature strongly represents this idea.
Finally, good things coming in threes, a dainty Celer 3″ courtesy of Miguel Tolosa’s con-v label plopped serendipitously atop the review pile, just in time for inclusion. The Die That’s Caste is housed in a mini DVD case enfolded with a Scots shoreline scene. A narrative between light dawning and turning dark suggests itself, the more tenebrous hue perhaps brought out by conspirings with con-v’s curator: M. Tolosa’s Ubeboet met with approval in fn’s Twenty Hertz profile, and there’s a certain shared sensibility evidenced in the dark-light ambiguities of its single track, “The Die That’s Caste.” Within the recursive build-up and fall-back movements of the piece come microvariations in tidal timbre. Vari-pitched string tones, edged with delay-haloes, well up into slow-motion eddies, a light keynote darkening late in the day with a wooze of billowing spirals gathering. Undercurrents in dark water swirl beneath a deceptive serenity, as a silver cloud sky is inkily smeared. Diaphanous plumes outfold in timelapse, sighing under a barely suppressed welter of sonorous sustain. A finely choreographed seventeen minutes.
Review by Alan Lockett
Three Celer releases in three different formats—CD, cassette, and ten-inch vinyl—round out a year in which a veritable mini-library of recordings by Danielle Baquet-Long and Will Long appeared. As always, each of the three leaves its own unique mark on the ever-expanding Celer universe.
The cassette-only release (111 copies), Honey Moon, was recorded at the Celer home on the Autumnal Equinox, 2008 and is reminiscent in style and spirit of the tape loops-driven style of the duo’s early, hand-made recordings. The recording’s six pieces distill into aural form the experience one might have of gazing into the night sky for an hour, as waves of tones ebb and flow, gently shuddering as they stretch their sonic tendrils across the upper expanses. From the deep space drone of the opener “Clinging to the Breath Under Our Blankets” to the lulling streams of shimmer and pulsation in “Moon Scrap” and delicate, evanescent swirls of “Bathing in Brilliance,” Honey Moon provides a two-sided excursion (the first twenty-four minutes, the second thirty-four) into immersive ambient-drone splendour.
Weavings of a Rapid Disenchantment (a limited edition of 350 copies), which splits two tracks across seventeen minutes of black vinyl and uses strings, electronics, and field recordings of thunder and a freight train as source material, whips up a powerful rumble and gritty industrial churn during side one’s “Retreading Obsessions.” Laid down in Mississippi during 2007, the piece relentlessly barrels forth until it disappears into a blurry cloud mass. Though created in New York City, the B-side’s “The Acceptance of a Paralysed Infinity” takes the listener on a blissed-out and starry-eyed tour through the upper spheres in the form of a black hole drone from whose center buried melodies struggle to escape. The release could be regarded as a summative portrait of Celer in miniature form.
Though every Celer release is notable in its own right, Generic City is especially notable, not only because it’s the debut release on Will Long’s Two Acorns label, but because its sound-world is opened up dramatically due to the collaborative involvement of Japanese artist Yui Onodera. What enhances the material even more is the wealth of field recordings that Celer and Onodera compiled from Los Angeles and Japan, respectively, and integrated into the recording’s four pieces. Onodera contributes sounds of temple bells, voices in prayer, breaking ice, migratory birds, subway footsteps, construction site machinery, vehicles, trucks, children’s voices, and so on, while Celer weaves sounds of rain, cars, airplanes, bicycles, restaurant conversations, and the streets of Los Angeles into the mix (strings, ocarina, theremin, guitar, electronics, and piano are also used as sound sources). With Celer’s customary drone shimmer threading pathways through the field recordings, the resultant sound-scapes inhabit geographical spaces that collectively transcend their Western-Eastern origins and become, therefore, quite literally a Generic City.
“An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular” opens with an aggressive blend of seagull calls before, firstly, transmuting into a classic Celer drone of iridescent shimmer and, secondly, a sparkling wonderland of bells, chimes, and tinkles before a gleeful music box melody and crunchy footsteps bring the piece to a close. Much like the opening piece, “Waiting Until Something Else Happens” exudes the character of a travelogue, with the initial ambient-drone pulsation gradually giving way to airport boarding announcements, crowd noise, and the overhead roar of airplanes. In keeping with its title, “The Street of a Rainy, Gray Day” feels like a sound portrait of a city’s denizens going about their business despite the nuisance of a nonstop drizzle when construction machinery operates and conversations persist amidst the rain-soaked streets. During its opening minutes, “A Renewed Awareness of Home” parts company from the album’s other tracks in being so stripped-down. A ghostly ambiance is generated where even the tiniest sound is amplified—until, that is, the rhythmic chanting of voices in prayer emerges to fill the space. Generic City stands out from the Celer canon for being such a deft integration of field recordings and ambient-drone elements; the forty-eight-minute result acts as an engrossing boarding pass that allows one to experience the expansive vision of its creators.