Celer‘s ambient music is a quietly stirring dream that flutters around the eyelashes of reality. By now, ambient listeners should be well-acquainted with the hushed, introspective music of Will Long. Inside the Head of Gods is barely there itself, its short, organ-led pieces painted with loving kindness. The shapes and tones are similar throughout the record, creating an absorbing album that congeals rather than dislocates.
Introverted notes mix in with the rumbling swells that linger in the background, and gradually this painting – this work of art – comes to life. The tones may be similar to one another, but in a way they’re also vastly different to each other. The same colours enter a million and one paintings, but each painting is unique. The words and letters in the English language are constantly recycled; they all use the alphabet, but novels are never identical. Sure, the words are the same, but the sentences, chapters and overall narratives are very different. Of course, the same is true in music. For example, the notes in a pentatonic blues lick can be rearranged a thousand times, despite its supposed 5-note limitations. But it can still sound fresh. And so it is with Inside the Head of Gods.
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a lot happening here. That’s fine – it’s ambient music! It just has to be. Made to accompany the paintings of Taichi Kondo for his exhibition ‘What’s my name?’ at Finale Art File in Manila, Philippines (April 6 –April 30, 2016), Inside the Head of Gods is an introverted, subjective listen that absorbs into the very room. After sifting through many different layers, tones and timbres, Long eventually settled on one 20-minute piece of organ music. And it fits. As Long says himself: ‘Like the paint on a canvas, it’s all made of paint’. The music fits the contemplative and reflective space of a gallery, but the music also rises up on its own two legs and can be appreciated with no other artistry in sight. After all, ambient music, and Celer’s music in particular, is a painting of sound.
Vapours of steam rise up, shaping the notes gently until they resemble the fine, glassy curves of a Coca Cola bottle. These are subtle variations on a beautiful, almost poetic theme, and Long did the right thing in shining a direct light on one particular aspect of the sound. These vignettes swirl in the air as they wrap their ghostly arms around the listener. The muted, dry tone is suppressed rather than suffocated, and the organ’s shuddering, all-consuming, cataclysmic vibrations have been filtered. As a result, it’s a little weaker, but this lets the thinner ambient tone inside, and the swells still have the ability to produce aftershocks when they rise up. The tonal similarities keep the music consistent, and its artistic merit shines through. Inside the Head of Gods is a place where everything is different, but nothing has noticeably changed.