Archive for May, 2011
‘Engaged Touches’ in Electroacoustic Tales
The discography of Celer is quite impressive. Some dozens of releases – self-released or released through numerous labels – have been pressed on CD, CDr and vinyl and received a lot of critical acclaim. ‘Engaged Touches’ is an even orchestral drone work based on field recordings and tape that could be placed somewhere between William Basinski, Janek Schaefer and Leyland Kirby as The Caretaker.
The two long-form pieces of ‘Engaged Touches’ come in one of these well-designed Home Normal digipaks, with a cover photography by Danielle Baquet-Long. Both long-form tracks could be divided into several chapters or themes. All of them are based around a certain loop that is constantly repeated with slight modifications, more or less experimental sometimes. The string-laden drones they created with (probably) processed tape recordings are textured with beautiful field recordings like a train or fireworks. The arrangement of all this is excellently used to image a heartwarming story of travelling. A discreet uncertainty alternates with unleashed romanticism, but never leaving a minimalistic and even abstract level. In ‘Part 2′ especially there is more silence, maybe loneliness, uncertainty but also maybe quietude. The story might depend on the listener’s view, it could be both tragic or melancholic. With some thin drones the arrangement moves to the lower frequencies, brightens shortly and gets back to the lower drones again. Then – appearing from the nothingness – the bright and somehow peaceful strings return. After nearly 70 minutes the story slowly fades out, disappears with a final orchestral loop. A beautiful journey.
A last personal note: it’s always sad when a young and talented person passes away far too soon. With Danielle Baquet-Long also a truly outstanding artist passed away in 2009. So we have to thank Will Thomas Long that he still continues releasing their work as Celer to keep the talent at present. And ‘Engaged Touches’ might be one of their most beautiful albums.
‘Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness’ on Sonomu
Anxious and disoriented, a pair of ears weave down the sidewalk in rush hour. A fortunate, random turn around the right corner and they slip through a tear in the fabric of geography and enter a cavernous space, clammy and poorly-lit, true, but a place of rest, where panoramic glimpses collapsed from far-flung points on the compass roll by one after the other.
The dreams recalled on the first track of this album unfold faster and change scenery more often than on most of the suites Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long composed in their short but intensive time together. This is hardly to say that their hazy, looped aesthetic has been abandoned; rather than a collage, it is more like a mood board of aspiration.
“Collection of Fogs and Lading Clarities” is vintage Celer, a lengthy drone which passes by a temple filled with chanting Nepalese, lifts one foot, then the other off the ground and ascends. “Who Feels Like Me, Who Wants Like Me, Who Doubts Any Good Will Come Of This” follows (though concise in sound, Baquet-Long is wildly verbose in naming things), capturing this flight as an effortless cruise upon rising thermals. It is a singular Celer ambient moment.
Which is possibly only trumped by the closing, twenty-minute vision of Utopia, in which a sweet, flute-like melody slowly emerges in quiet relief against an otherwise rain-heavy, cloudy sky.
In all fairness, Jerome Moncada ought to be listed as collaborator for his beautiful arrangement of Dani´s photography, which makes “Panoramic Dreams” an audio-visual experience several notches above the norm.