One of the most basic functions of music means it’s a barrier to other sounds, all the other noises bombarding us from every conceivable direction. That might be the birds, the weather, the traffic, but more usefully, the news or notifications from elsewhere… Sometimes we turn the music up or put headphones on to escape all this clutter. Just you, and whatever you chose to do, with music as the central event. Music floods your ears and washes through your brain…
Music as an escape has perhaps never been more helpful, than in these last few years. A global pandemic, here in Scotland the shambles of Brexit, a harsh Winter and a panic over the rising cost of everything means reality often just feels a little too realistic. Any simple means of being elsewhere or any brief reprieve from these sobering times is hugely welcome.
After a particularly gloomy few weeks, the sun is now just high enough to flood our work space at OBLADADA. Late afternoon beams ignite tiny little dust particles in the air. Soundtracking this lower-case marvel was the throbbing mass of The Carved God Is Gone; Waking Above The Pileus Clouds from Celer’s album Discourses of the Withered.
Contradicting that fundamental idea within music labelled ambient to enmesh with other sounds, this layered wave blotted out everything. An out of focus peak of filmic emotion seeping out of the air. It’s the sound of an orchestra in fractals, millions of strings overlaid into a thick nebulous paste. It’s electronically processed sound of something that feels fleeting, made monumental.
This epic ebb and flow, gives way to the sounds of voices, agitation and distant street sounds before eventually regathering into an even more densely layered version of itself. It’s 13-minute life span quickly looping into 26 and 39 minutes as we hit replay, as the music regenerates itself towards dusk…
Discourses of the Withered, originally released in 2008, and, in newly remastered form is 80 minutes and 3 LPs worth of hanging, memory laden episodes. The sleeve perfectly captures the music like a series of journeys from various A to B’s, where clouds of field recordings and new spaces creep over the horizon. Shadows and twinkling lights all slowly rise and fall…
Stargazing Lily Lacks The Flower throbs in pure energy, whilst Retranslating the Upside-down Mountain stutters and pulses. In truth the album gets lost in a blissful vagueness that makes any sense of each of its 7 tracks not hugely important to dissect. But rather than suggest this album is little more than sonic wallpapering, it’s a space to live in and allow yourself to relax in its formless vastness, some sort of magnetism starts to take hold, then eventually – complete magnetic immersion.
Celer is a project that we’ve followed keenly in the last few years, but this earliest phase is new to our ears. At this stage, the project was a collaboration between husband and wife – Will Long and Danielle Basquet. A little background research reveals Basquet, tragically passed away the year after this album which somehow makes everything here even more intangible and glorious.
Add to this, the news more recently that Long announced the now vast Celer project has now infact concluded. The lingering feeling with Discourses of the Withered isn’t dominated by darkness, but gathers into an epic form of poetic beauty.
A journeys end point, looping back to the very beginning.
Stirring and deeply beautiful stuff.