Edition of 250 with postcard containing download code redeemable fromt the label** Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) meets Will Long in a charming trans-continental hook-up created to celebrate their upcoming tour of The Netherlands and Belgium. Originally meeting and performing in Tokyo in 2010, they began exchanging files and ideas in October 2011, and had completed hours of material by November, from which these two tracks were sourced. A-side ‘Maastunnel’, named after the tunnel which connects the banks of the Nieuwe Maas, uses field recordings of the tunnel’s old wooden escalators to lend a creaking, ethereal sense of space and place to their warmly symphonic ambient flourishes. Meanwhile the B-side ‘Mt. Mitake’, named after the mountain to the west of Tokyo, is a more placid, spacious piece, reflecting the sunny, blue-skied spirit of the images on the attached postcard, but with a brooding underlying element that should ensure you return to this side again and again.
Archive for February, 2012
The breathtaking sounds that surround me for quite some time now are the result of a collaboration of two of the best drone craftsmen – Will Long and Rutger Zuydervelt as Celer and Machinefabriek. Having a wonderful basinski-esque beginning of the first piece called ‘Maastunnel’ it is suddenly interrupted to restart developing with an even cinematic sound design and a slightly modified loop. There is no doubt that these guys are collaborating perfectly on this release and being aware of the fact that it has an overall duration of just nearly 10 minutes I surely won’t be the only person that expresses the wish to see more of these Celer & Machinefabriek projects some time. ‘Mt. Mitake’ is a decent droning piece that is also based on the repetition of a single (beautiful) loop with a frugal but lovely melodic element that is suppressed for some time in a turbulent and slightly distorted drone part before it returns and lets the piece end with a certain softness and beauty that we also had at the beginning of ‘Maastunnel’. An amazing and intense though really short release that is definitely rounded off perfectly!
In contrast to its music, the story of Celer is eventful but short and tragic. Danielle Baquet and Will Long began recording in 2005 and married in 2007, living in Huntington Beach, California. Two short years later, Danielle died tragically of congenital heart failure. And yet in her unfairly brief life, Danielle traveled, studied, taught, painted, wrote and created more art than most of us could in several long lifetimes. In its first two years alone, Celer released a mind-boggling twenty-two pieces. Since Danielle’s passing, her talented partner, now residing in Tokyo, has continued to release previously unheard material recorded by the duo and oversee reissues of out-of-print and early, handmade self-releases; at the time of writing, Celer’s list of CD, CDR, cassette tape, vinyl and digital releases has climbed well beyond seventy.
Sunlir is one of Celer’s earliest recordings, originally half of a double, self-released set. The ten loops created and ”orchestrated” by the couple in 2006 each shimmer as they flow and reverberate as they ebb. And each bears a strong resemblance to the next, as the duo essay variations on a form. But each breathes deeply and they are symmetrical as starfish and like starfish, a little rough around the edges, heralding the unprecedented, consistent vibrancy of the sound they would come to make their own. Still searching but Sunlir radiates confidence. As the rain-forest is to the planet, Celer is to ambient music – its lungs.
Originally released as three, single-track mini CDRs in a hand-painted carton box, these long-form pieces show off Celer at its prime, masters of a uniquely affecting ambient music that garnered the duo a standing among critics and listeners it never relinquished. The rhythm of the ”all-inclusive” is still there but it now pulses gently under the thin skin of the temples. The drone is accordant but leavened with a nigh on undetectable atonal yeast. Levitation is indeed achieved though the only breaking points occur between tracks and even then are barely noticeable. Rather, the album is as smooth and flawless as a fresh sheet of ice. It possesses a seraphic decorum that makes you feel virtuous just by listening.
With the release of Menggayakan, Will artistically retracted his avowal that the name Celer would be retired after the duo’s remaining recorded portfolio had been made available. A brand-new single collaboration with Machinefabriek has also just been released. Menggayakan, dedicated to Danielle, is an Indonesian term that means something along the lines of ”instill with beauty and therewith strength” and was recorded in Jakarta in 2010. Punctuating the atmosphere with field recordings and broadcast samples – which feature unadulterated at irregular intervals, in contrast to the duo’s work, which as a rule subsumed them in the drone—Will Long asserts himself as a solo artist (he has previously released a handful of tracks under his own name). Midway through there is an especially funny and intimate moment which seems to creep its way right into the framework of a gamelan like a june bug. This ambient sighs and soughs deeply, too, with a recessed undertone that seems to grow darker as the album progresses. As the album draws out its exquisite, strings-drenched conclusion, you get that falling feeling, tumbling head over heels in slow motion.
Though great travelers, that big, blue stretch of Californian ocean was always reflected in the duo’s music. Now Will Long watches that same water from the other side. The unexpected shift of perspective means there is even more to anticipate.
Well here’s a little gem that will definitely be a collector’s item quickly:
Celer (Will Long) and Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt) – two giants of the ambient-electronic improv scene – met and performed together in Tokyo in 2010, and decided to collaborate on these tracks about a year later. Exchanging an reconstructing each others audio files has resulted in this 7″ vinyl release: “Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake“. An impressive, though short, ‘audio bridge’ between Rotterdam and Tokyo.
“Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake” comes as a 7-inch single with two tracks, around 5 minutes each. The tracks found their inspiration in Mt. Mitake, a mountain to the west of Tokyo, and in the Maastunnel in Rotterdam.
The reason these tracks work so very well may be that Celer’s and Machinefabriek’s approach are usually quite different. But together their sounds become a perfect blend of organic and mechanic, of acoustic and electronic, of natural and artificial (as the titles indicate).
Or of East and West, if you insist.
In addition to the physical release, there’s the download version (also included with the 7-inch order), which also includes two videos by Marcel Douma. Beautiful images,a pleasure to watch, and perfectly fitting the music – but not exactly visually related to the Maastunnel , and probably not to Mt. Mitake either.
For now, there’s only ten minutes of this beauty. Celer and Machinefabriek will be touring Holland and Belgium in march 2012 (together with Kleefsta/Bakker/Kleefstra!). We can only hope they will record all their shows to create a follow up to this “Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake“
Rutger Zuydervelt, ofwel de genius achter het productieve en immer kwalitatieve en evoluerende Machinefabriek project grapt er al over dat volgens de discogs website het ambientproject Celer 64 en Machinefabriek maar liefst 99 releases heeft uitgebracht. Tel ze bij elkaar op en je hebt een ontzaglijke discografie voorhanden. En nog mooi ook! Nu ze de handen ineenslaan is die gedachte niet zo gek natuurlijk. Dat ze samenwerken is dan weer te gek. Ik heb bij elkaar niet meer dan één derde in kast staan, maar beide artiesten zijn aan elkaar gewaagd zowel qua muziek als artwork. De samenwerking is het gevolg van een optreden en ontmoeting in Tokio in 2010.
Celer is na het trieste, vroegtijdige overlijden van Danielle Baquet-Long in 2009 het soloproject geworden van Will Long. De muziek van Celer kenmerkt zich door diepgravende, langzaam veranderende atmosferische ambientsoundscapes die veelal emotioneel geladen zijn. Machinefabriek brengt doorgaans abstracte elektronica die ergens tussen glitch, (gitaar)ambient, softnoise en drones uitkomen. Hij werkt met vele artiesten samen en weet een hoge productie te koppelen aan kwaliteit en variatie. Een zeldzaam gegeven.
Samen brengen ze nu de 7” Maastunnel / Mt. Mitake, wat op papier een groot contrast lijkt, namelijk de drukke betonnen verkeerstunnel tegenover de serene omgeving van de Japanse berg. Toch haken de twee nummers met diezelfde titels vooral aan bij dat laatste. Ze brengen twee rustieke, elektro-akoestische klanklandschappen die het mooiste van beide naar boven haalt. Serene ambient gaat hand in hand met subtiele drones en fijnbesnaarde samples van omgevingsgeluiden en stemmen. Het is zinnenprikkelend en tot de verbeelding sprekend. De schoonheid van beide tracks, die samen net onder de 10 minuten finishen, is gewoonweg verbluffend. Een kleinood om innig te koesteren en een samenwerking die wat mij betreft snel een full-length vervolg mag krijgen.
Well, how’s this for a match made in ambient minimal heaven. Messrs Long and Fabriek are collaborating on both sides of this deliciously packaged little 7” with a full colour sleeve and a postcard inside with a download (which includes two videos by Marco Douma) in a hand-numbered edition of 250. You don’t need me to tell you these aren’t gonna be around very long! On the first side there’s a slowly pulsing and therapeutic piece of layered mid-end drones and field recordings that’s best administered horizontally. Flip it and you’ve got something a bit hissier with some glassy high pitched tones underpinned by a repeated two note refrain down at the bottom, intermittent free melodies in the mid, and a constant industrial whirring that slowly builds. This one’s much darker and more imposing than the cleaner and more relaxing A side, but if you’ve made it on here in time to buy one of these babies then you’ll already know that these two are as accomplished as they come when it comes to this kind of meditative tone-building business. And let’s face it, even if you don’t like it there’s always eBay…
Available February 13 is a new collaboration 7″ by Celer and Machinefabriek!
According to Discogs, Celer (Will Long) has 76 releases, and Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt) 99. You can add one to both, ’cause Will and Rutger joined forces to create the 7-inch ‘Maastunnel/Mt. Mitake’. Originally meeting and performing in Tokyo together in November 2010, the two began a collaboration in October 2011 by sending audio files back and forth. By the end of November, two tracks were completed, constructed from hours of material, ‘materializing’ the Tokyo-Rotterdam connection.
The artwork was found by Will Long in a nostalgia shop in Jimbocho, Tokyo, the area famous for its many used bookshops, and the sleeve was designed by Rutger Zuydervelt. ‘Mt. Mitake’ is a mountain to the west of Tokyo, which Will Long climbed on the day between finding the artwork, and finishing the track. The other piece is called ‘Maastunnel’, named after the tunnel that connects the banks of the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam. You’ll hear recordings of the tunnel’s old wooden escalators, creating a fascinating symphony of squeaks and howls.
‘Maastunnel/Mt. Mitake’ was created to celebrate the upcoming Celer / Machinefabriek tour of The Netherlands and Belgium in March of 2012.
Constructed by Will Long and Rutger Zuydervelt, in Tokyo and Rotterdam, October/November 2011. Download includes two videos by Marco Douma.
When is a single not just a single? When it’s an event – in this case, the product of two stellar talents, joining forces for the first time. A shared concert in 2010 inspired these prolific performers to begin exchanging files between Tokyo and Rotterdam, resulting in seven vinyl inches of immersive beauty. The recording highlights the specific talents of each, while serving as its own unique creation. On “Maastunnel”, one can hear echoes of Machinefabriek‘s field recording work on The Breathing Bridge: gently withdrawing waves and feathery spindles of traffic, paired with Celer‘s willowed clouds of ambience and embedded static. The dropout at 2:37 raises the emotional ante with the repetition of the spoken words, “just anybody.” The bridge sways in the wind; the sonics rise; a lone vehicle speeds off somewhere in the distance. While it’s irresistible to speculate who did what, it’s enjoyable to remark at how well these two artists have been able to meld their visions. The beginning of “Mt. Mitake” sounds more like Celer, casting an undulating glow; but by the three and a half minute mark, the timbre seems more reminiscent of Machinefabriek: a building buzz that threatens to overwhelm, but never does. In the final minute, a three-note chime, offset by a twin contribution, wraps around to the beginning and lends the project a sense of completion. While listening, it’s easy to imagine one artist contributing the higher-pitched chime and the other the lower. In light of such an impression, the full dialogue sample found on “Maastunnel” seems particularly relevant: ”What did this man look like?” ”I didn’t see his face. He didn’t look up … he might have been just anybody.” By virtue of their extensive output and expansive careers, either artist could have imposed his sonic stamp on this project, eclipsing the other. Yet each keeps his head down and enhances the mystery. A full-length project would be divine, and thanks to an upcoming tour, this wish may soon come true.
There is melody within Rosy Reflections, although it’s only upon its recurrence that it becomes possible to recognise it as such. Both tracks on Will Long’s latest release utilise a thick tonal blanket caught within a dynamic cycle of rise and fall; gooey blurs of synthesiser that surge and retreat with the synchronicity and fluidity of water flow. So subtle are the chord variations – with slight pitch changes buried between and beneath the constant, unchanging drones – that it’s not until the same sequence returns for the fourth of fifth time that the listener latches onto the fact that these pieces are mere fragments fed into eternal loops, rather than an unrepeating stream of sound.
Rosy Reflections is very implicative; it’s not particularly suggestive of a particular place, neither announcing an allegiance to major or minor keys, or positive or negative mood. Listeners will perhaps either dismiss this as timid and indistinctive, or be allured by Long’s mysterious sonic clouds, from which any number of imaginary shapes and significances may be derived. It’s a simple release that makes no particular effort to seize a space all of its own – likening itself to many other artists operating within such abstract and ethereal ambient – but such observations only surface in retrospect, and make no blemish on the hypnotic powers of Rosy Reflections’ gentle to and fro.