Silence acts as the launch pad upon which all musical endeavours take-off. Airborne, the music climbs with every passing second into the first, faint signals of harmony with tentative, but ever-increasing substance. A shushed silence carefully unfolds Epicentral Examples of the More or Less, one seconds-long in delaying any approaching ambience. For seconds that feel like hours, the sustained silence hangs like a delicate cobweb in the chilled air, a filmy trace unprotected from the breeze and suspended in a thin fragility. Like the delicate, fine silk, the traces of silence are all too easily torn; a beautiful, interlaced pattern displaying its own elegant spectacle, now lacerated by fingertips and left abandoned by a departed soul.
Celer’s ambience is the kind that leisurely, yet intensely, develops at its own pace; lovingly arranged, amicably brave and always aspiring to reach the stars. Will Long sets the scene for the arrival of his beautifully layered ambience immediately in the delicious expectancy set up by the silence, flirting with any introduction and delaying the arrival so as to leave an emotional imprint upon the listener. As the silence fades and the layers of serenity enter, the absence of any focal point between the two elements suddenly reveals Celer’s methodical, passionate artistry. Celer’s music revels in fine details and the appreciation of beauty in the tiniest grains imaginable, and although it may have taken slightly longer for the ambience to truly enter, it raises a thought that the departing silence may be the very essence of true music in a true state. In some ways, a silence may be the purest form of ambient soundscaping. When rested, a silent harmony descends upon us; placing a peace and comfort upon us in a way that is eerily similar to the flowing, tranquil tones residing in much of ambient music.
The silent disappearance clears the way for an approaching, lightly bronzed drone, kindled on the air and slowly rising outwards. Only just hovering above a slightly subdued silence, the drone accentuates just how still Celer’s music really is. Heart-achingly beautiful tones and drifting drones remain as hushed as a night of shy sleep, and Will Long provides the soundtrack to a beautiful neverland.
Epicentral Examples of the More or Less is an unfolding series of sedate ambience, lightly sprayed tones of perfume, enlightened drone and inspired field recordings, which all blend in to each other seamlessly and captures the spirit of their locale effortlessly. Strikingly, the transitions between these settings and the layers of ambient tones never feel out of place, complimenting each other like night and day. Recorded over the course of two years in Jakarta, Indonesia and Tokyo, the amount of time lovingly spent during the record’s creation has ensured it has aged like the finest of wine, and the level of dedication and levels of painstaking accuracy is crystal clear upon listening.
Celer’s music is wonderfully evocative, transfixing the listener with serene imagery as the ambience deepens. Ambient music is very well suited to reflection, as it often provides a mirror reflecting our deepest emotions of melancholy, peace and reassurance. Celer’s music is the mirror, one that cares for appearance, dispelling the ghosts that haunt us and, as long as the music plays, gifting us a sense of renewed optimism. Absolute quietude has always been engraved inside Celer’s hazy tones, but the ambience here eclipses anything else he has previously laid his hand to.
At first, the swirls blur like smudges until they come into focus and truly reveal their inner beauty, like covering your eyes with your hands and then peeking through to see the sun hovering over a stunning seascape. Any chosen naming gives the music a focal point, half of its identity whether it’s intended or not, but the opaque nature of the title hints at multiple meanings. This allows the listener a freedom to submerge into their own imagery and make of it what they will. Celer’s music is also open to any interpretation, resting for all to see.
‘Motionless at Lake Underhere’ opens with a hushed reverance for its surroundings, blessed with Celer’s ambient adoration. It’s more than a cute crush; it is an intense love, as every second is painstakingly coated with the lightest of static undercurrents that emerge to the surface with a caring heart. An opening drone subsides into a glowing sunset as the tones shift into ‘Losing Funnel’, the day’s heat slipping away over the horizon, eloping with the spectral sunset and tinted in a golden farewell.
The orb of the setting sun sinks underneath the horizon, cooled by the light of dusk amidst the lavender scents of a summer’s evening. Serene and still, ripples on a lake echo out from their centre, a whirlpool awash in the sunlight’s afterglow. These ripples reverberate throughout Celer’s music, his ambient layers widening in ever increasing circles until they outline a hazy dreamcatcher ablaze with emotion. The field recordings could represent a breezy day of dark clouds, motorbikes speeding along rain-soaked roads, or tarp flapping in the wind and blowing off anchored boats. Celer’s field recordings are given an equality alongside the drones, and in their capturing of place they create their own array of colours.
Waves of sequencers continuously vibrate and hum with primary colours, a distinct sound that amicably surprises and explodes any preconceptions out of the water. The synths feel at home in Celer’s music and make for a reinvigorating element. Some may be shocked at its use, but it shows that Celer is always progressing; it’s just a slow ride. Lake Underhere may be the creek that the imagery induces, isolated from any threatening breeze and only slightly tickling the still surface.
‘Layered Where I Can Listen’ kicks off with scurrying electronics, frantically crawling around like a clearing cloaked in a deluge of insects. Leaving it behind, ‘Backseat Fadeout’ leaves us approaching an industrial factory, clanking in a decayed beauty of rusted iron and failing machinery, only capable of ringing out a rusty chord progression. Chiming out in a thin apparition of a once-loved pop song, now decades old and faded in ruin, it is melodic and contradicts the experimental scuttering of the previous track quite effectively. In the space of the opening three minutes, the ambience has changed setting three times, until we arrive at the glacial mountain that is ‘An Infinite Blast of Icy Air’. This overlooks everything, arms spread wide in a life-affirming panorama of crystal drone, an inescapable atmosphere that clasps the listener gently and points their gaze away from the lake and towards an infinitely deep, tranquil ocean. It’s one that is beautifully realised. The ambience increases in spirituality as a feminine, angelic presence sings a harmony of echoes, before smiles and feminine laughter revive us back into the physical world amidst a Japanese conversation.
Celer is very much aware of the art of the drone. The caring textures in the drones promise a submersed shower of beauty which only a skilled hand can attend. Although prolific – which is all too frequently looked down upon under suspicion – Will Long still has a lot to say as Celer, and the still oceans await new discoveries. The atmospheres remain introverted and almost have to be coaxed out, with an apprehensive look at the world in which it could easily be corrupted and tainted upon its beautiful unravelling of adoration. A display of love is a strength, when many would consider it a weak wound of the heart.
The third and final piece fires off pulsing electronic bursts inside ‘Fill Your Light With Lessness’, and while the electronic surges are an unexpected element, it’s an admirable change in direction and leaves the listener waiting for the unknown without dispelling the calm ambience set before it. The field recording that rises to the fore, cut from a monochrome scene, is a warning to beware the friendly stranger, as the drones edge closer to suburbia. As colourless and dated as the film noir cinematic recording may be, it is set free from any constraints a lifetime places upon it. Emotions such as those contained within do not age or fade away; they remain mummified, cocooned within our hearts and away from the deadlights. A phantom of itself, an icy drone concludes the album, cold in the dim light and lulling us with each passing revolution.
At its end, the passion that surround the album makes it very tempting to voice a silent affirmation to a loved one, three silent words that remain unsaid. Even if it is voiced in only a shushed whisper, it is still music. Once the words are out in the open, the only thing remaining is hope. As she echoes the affirmation, the silence of music is dispelled.