Archive for November, 2011

My solo ep ‘Rosy Reflections’ is now available directly from Avant Archive!

Press release:

Celer’s Will Long takes a rare break from that prolific and now universally renowned moniker, and he gives us Rosy Reflections. This pair of pieces wallows in minimalism, churning slowly through loops of obscurity and lulling us into a daze under which we can’t quite tell whether this next bit has changed in texture from the last. Pure, simple, and hypnotic drone music by a man who is easily identified as a master of the style. Rosy Reflections is the first in a series of limited-edition releases from Avant Archive, produced in an edition of forty-eight with full-color glossy j-card that features some of Milwaukee’s finest flora in rosy blossom.

Order here! Limited to 48 copies. Thank you for your support..

‘Foolish Causes of Fail and Ruin’, the second in the black vinyl series is now being pressed, and should arrive here in Japan in early December.

Now available for pre-order, ‘Relief and Altruism’, the third in the self-released black vinyl series.
*Please note that the records will not be pressed until I have received the first 30 orders.
Limited edition of 100 copies, on black vinyl, in a black matte sleeve, with handwritten credits. It is available to pre-order immediately from the Celer Bandcamp page, and upon order of a physical copy, you will receive an instantaneous download in any format you choose. Thank you for your support!

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A truly astonishing work recorded by Will Long in Fall 2010 in Jakarta, Indonesia. This album combines warm, oceanic drone with Indonesian field recordings. Even though track titles are listed, the entire album is a single 51 minute track. There’s no liner notes explaining what the recordings are, but the titles provide some clues; “Circular Square, Exhaust, Anti-American Protest” sounds like helicopters, some shouting and possibly some gunfire. Elsewhere, there appear to be train sounds, crazed laughter, and an advertisement for Singapore Airlines. And the music itself is just absolutely gorgeous and immersive. I’ve only heard a scant few Celer recordings before this one, but I don’t remember those ones being anywhere near as full and rich as these. There’s such a distant, spaced out, yet completely human feel to these drones. The last part, in particular, reminds me of Tomita’s rendition of Debussy’s “Clair De Lune”, which is completely awesome. I can’t recommend this one enough!

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Dani Baquet-Long undeniably had her personal demons to deal with, living with an illness which she knew left her with desperately little time. But she was not afraid to face the dark. If so many found solace and inspiration in an oeuvre so obviously connected to themes of mortality and decay, then perhaps this is precisely because she didn’t look away and managed to infuse unspeakable horror with hope, poetry and meaning. Imagination, her biography claims, was her greatest muscle and to people with such an inclination, it is always the smallest events that inspire the greatest anxiety: the cracking of the floor at night, saying goodbye for the last time, the fear of bad things happening to a loved one. At the same time, she would courageously stand up to seemingly far bigger challenges. Her work with Celer often felt like fighting the inevitable with beauty, like sitting safely on top of a cloud while gazing into the abyss that would swallow her. Still, despite these philosophical ponderings, she hated pretension. In her solo oeuvre as Chubby Wolf, she would mock her own courage and resolve, laughing in the face of life, death and pride. Somewhere in between Laura Palmer’s diary and a lyrical sketchbook, there was always enough room for a little humour – not many are capable of instilling notions of the sacred into a piece called „Short Dick“.

With just her debut full-length L’Histoire published posthumously, the Chubby Wolf catalogue poses many questions, but will forever leave the answers to posterity. In an interview with Joseph Kyle of the Big Takeover, husband Will Long has emphasised the astounding diversity of her solo material, how it was mostly born out of utter boredom and with the intent of trying out as many approaches as possible: That pieces could either be culled from tape loops, voices and a variety of instruments; either be carefully constructed over the course of hours of editing or recorded on the fly; that they might have been based on toy piano tinkerings or focused synthesizers improvisations. Still, these are merely superficial observations. Even the fact that Dani would minutely finish her albums, painstakingly arrange every little detail and then file them away without any intent of publishing or sharing them – or that her handwriting on the cover of this, her latest release in a series that is bound to proliferate over the coming years, clearly denominates the album as Los que no son gentes („Those, who aren’t people“) but replaces the last word with the (objectively) meaningless „gentos“ – aren’t particularly revealing facts. Regardless of how much you read, think or know about it, the music is the mystery here and you’ll need to listen closely to unravel it.

It’s a hard enough not to crack as it is. Everything on Los que no son gentos is deepness, flux and haze, the music withdrawing almost entirely into the lowest imaginable regions of the human ear’s perception, where chord changes register as tectonic plate shifts and a seemingly gentle melody sends ripples through one’s entire body. Only occasionally will the subsonic celebration be pierced by soft, otherworldly choirs and angelic harmonics or engage in a dialogue with fragile, glassy overtones grouped into tender melodic spiderwebs. The purity of the timbral palette – comprising the complementary groups of bass-, bell- and analogue-synth-sounds – belies the fact that the underlying compositions are really of a bewildering complexity: Different themes or chords will be stacked on top of each other and gradually melt, as its constituent notes are shortly held, before drifting away from each other again. Most of the material accordingly takes on the form of seamless transformation processes, of one dense harmonic conglomerate merging into the next and solid shapes dissolving into its liquid components and into vague aural scents. The result is as indisputably tonal as it is chromatically diffuse, as intriguing as it is hard to penetrate: „Existence is both a Horizon and an Indictment“, Baquet-Long claims on one of the track titles, but so is her music, conveying sensations of great calm and suppressed tension, peaceful consolation and anxiety alike.

In fact, everything contained on the album is marked by the underlying duality of witnessing beguiling beauty right before one’s face and the inability of being able to grasp it. The impression is reinforced by the fact that, with the exception of two slightly more expansive cuts around the six minute mark, most compositions contained on Los que no son gentos are all but miniatures – songs in their brevity, if not actual arrangement – expressing just the necessary amount of notes. And yet, the aim of these small-scale operations is not so much precision but freedom. Unlike many clichéd drone pieces, Baquet-Long’s music is all about changes, not continuity, about surprise not sustain, about liberation through ambiguity rather than comfort in numbers. Nothing is set in stone in her world, everything could literally go into an entirely different direction at any moment. Even the act of continuing and the necessity of there being any sound at all turn from being a matter of course to a decision. When trust and doubts are becoming hard to distinguish and any note could be the last, there is weight in even the tiniest of gestures: „My Intermediary“ opens with nothing but a delicate four-note theme, which leads into a sustained breath and a long decay into near-silence. A few pulses at the outer edge of sound, a slow glacial fade-in – then the piece is over.

Of course, it is hard not to see the ephemerality of the music as a metaphor for the finiteness of our lives. And yet, it never feels threatening: If one can speak of mortality and decay without succumbing to its horror, there really is nothing left to fear.

By Tobias Fischer

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Danielle Baquet-Long´s graceful waltz with the stars, a weightless, moving ambient suite recorded at home and in hotel rooms, completed and filed away as she turned her attention to the next thing. To everyone´s great misfortune, she passed away tragically young, before letting anyone know why she made it or even if she planned on releasing it.

So Los Que No Son Gentos is unadulterated by meaning and allowed to just be.

Chubby Wolf was Baquet-Long´s solo project coexisting with her duo work with husband Will Long as Celer, or perhaps extension. Or maybe “contraction” is the better word, for though her modest solo discography boasts the same interminably long list of instruments which are somehow blended with great craft into a muted rainbow of never-seen colours, solo work is still solitary and more private than collaboration.

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2011.11.18(fri) open18:30/start19:00 | 下北沢THREE
音を眺め風景を響かせる。
INFORMATION
日時 | 2011 年 11 月 18 日(金) 18:30 open / 19:00 start
会場 | 下北沢 THREE http://www.toos.co.jp/3/
料金 | adv / door 2000 / 2500 (+1d)
問合せ | soultunefactory (horhythm18@gmail.com)

The latest in the ever growing Celer catalogue comes Black Vinyl Series, a highly limited series of self-released vinyl, packaged in simple black sleeves. As a duo long-associated with hand-made, highly personal releases, each album will be individually numbered with handwritten credits.

Working within the limits of one side of vinyl per track, the series as planned so far consists of eight tracks spread over four LPs. Born from a search for inspiration and recorded over a few months, each composition consists of a single reel-to-reel tape loop. The analogue processes used to create the sounds, along with the relatively quick recording process makes for a freshness and intimacy that can often be lacking in more produced works.

Ever, Irreplaceable Beauty is the first in the series. The title track consists of a drawn out loop that stretches and yawns as though awakening the listener from a deep sleep. ‘Exclusively Above’ takes on a slightly darker edge, with an unsettling ebb and flow that lurches suddenly before briefly returning to a more static space.

Second in the series is Foolish Causes of Fail and Ruin, consisting of two further tracks of epic beauty. ‘Approach Me and Find Me This Way’ has a startling quality to it; both meditative and arresting in equal measure. A shimmering melodic line soars high above a static backdrop, allowing the focus to shift throughout the soundscape. ‘Glow and Beginning’ inhabits a far sparser space, its melancholic harmonies drifting gently through the ether, offering a chance for reflection.

As the four tape loops are only around 30 seconds each, there is plenty of space to allow for complete immersion in the sounds, with intricate details only becoming apparent after several repetitions. The listener’s attention is able to move from one feature to another; from a slight shift in harmony or a distant crackle, providing an intimacy with the sounds.

Once again Celer deliver the goods. The warm quality of the analogue recordings provides four beautiful pieces, each with a character of their own, paving the way for the rest of the series.

– Katie English for Fluid Radio

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The flood of unreleased Celer material seems to have subsided a bit in recent months, but a steady posthumous trickle of Dani Baquet-Long’s solo recordings has now appeared in its wake.  To my ears, the aesthetic difference between Celer’s drifting drone and Chubby Wolf is negligible at best, but Turkey Decoyreaffirms my belief that most of the best Celer-related material is reserved for their vinyl releases (of which this is one).  This easily stands among Dani’s finest albums.

Articulating the difference between Baquet-Long’s excellent work and her lesser work has always been an extremely difficult task, as the individual instruments are almost always processed into an amorphous, warm blur of sustained drones in either case.  I guess great Celer/Chubby Wolf songs simply sound a bit deeper, darker, and more finished than usual, traits that several of these songs possess  Additionally, Turkey Decoy boasts some subtly enhanced variety for a Baquet-Long release.

For example, Dani sometimes allows natural-sounding piano notes or unexpected interludes of dialogue or field recordings to emerge from the haze, but such elements tend to be used only for color, texture, or transition: the heart of these pieces is still invariably glacially swelling sustained drones.  Dani was obviously no slouch at composing excellent drone music, but I find any divergence from the Celer template to be especially welcome after so many similar releases.  Aside from the novelty factor, however, I genuinely  enjoy the “non-musical” components of her work in general, as they provide a welcome contrast to the languid drones and add a little bit of mystery and surreally ambiguous context.  Also, sometimes they just sound great, like the barking dog that accompanies the ominous opening thrum of “Intrusively Coexisting.”

Happily, Dani went a bit further than her standard fare on quite a few pieces.   The aforementioned “Intrusively Coexisting” is probably my favorite piece on the album due to its unexpected menace, but the opening “Cantankerous Baby” is similarly successful at evoking brooding unease.  I was also quite fond of “Sushi On A Hot Day,” which nicely augments its languid reverie with a cricket-like chatter.  Even the less adventurous pieces here are quite good though–this is simply a very solid and thoughtfully sequenced batch of songs that drifts along in sublimely dreamlike fashion.  In fact, I think I prefer this to several of Celer’s more beloved releases.  I did not expect that at all: given how hugely prolific Dani and Will were during Celer’s lifetime, it seems almost astonishing that some of Dani’s best work is just now being released.

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