Will Long bringt einen neuen Longplayer seines Celer-Projektes heraus mit zwölf seiner unverkennbaren Ambienttracks. Die Stücke basieren auf verschiedener Tape-Technik und präsentieren Long zufolge eine Art Erlebnisbericht, der mit dem Amblick von Lava beginnt und über den Genuss von Weißwein noch einige weitere Stationen zurücklegt. Das Album erscheint als CD, Kassette und Download bei Longs eigenem Label Two Acorns und als Doppel-LP bei Oscarson.
Revisando los discos a comentar llegue a Celer, aka Will Long, un músico, escritor y fotógrafo estadounidense que actualmente vive en Tokio, Japón. Celer fue formado en 2005 por Danielle Baquet y Will Long. Desde 2009, hasta la actualidad, Celer es el proyecto en solitario de Will Long que ha editado varios discos en sellos independientes y en su propio sello Two Acorns.
De Celer he reseñado varios de sus discos y siempre me atrapa por su carácter hipnótico. Y claro que ayuda tener como telón de fondo el mar y hacia lo lejos dos barcos cargueros que todavía se divisan con la luz del atardecer.
“Coral Sea” es un solo tema de 40 minutos de teclados ambientales que se expanden a través de un loop envolvente, interminable, bello e inspirador de bellas imágenes. Un sonido que puede parecer simple, pero es una simplicidad que oculta su densidad y movimiento.
Ah, good old Celer. A new release means making coffee, picking up a book, putting the CD on repeat, and sitting back for a fair amount of time. I am not reading all the time. Sometimes I will close my eyes, even fall asleep, or I will get up and walk about a bit. Look at my bookshelves, CDs and records. Maybe there is something to organize again? I can watch out over the quiet street on this greyish Thursday afternoon, for which ‘Coral Sea’ seems the perfect soundtrack. Quiet and grey, that is well-translated into music by Will Long here. Not grey as in dull, but as in painting a moody colour. It is not a surprise when I say this is atmospheric music. Celer’s music is hauntingly minimal, just a few very long sustaining drones that go in and out of phase, slowly drifting apart and coming together. All of this happens in long, majestic flows. There is a quick fade in and a slightly slower fade out at the end; it all stays in the same volume for the rest. For all I care, it could have been the full eighty minutes of this. There is movement, there is change, and yet there is not. It is what it is. Phill Niblock’s ‘Early Winter’ sprang to mind, or perhaps other pieces of his as well. There is a similar vastly layered sound here with Celer this time around, with slowly drifting ice caps. Celer is here at his most orchestral, I think. I love it, but I am a fanboy, so not the most critical mind.
Sin llegar a la categoría de clásico, sí se puede decir que Celer es ya todo un veterano del panorama ambient. Desde desarrollos más erosivos y potentes como los inicios de Tim Hecker a atmósferas de gran peso emocional, el norteamericano ha hecho de todo.
I’m still recovering from the last Celer release I covered – the four-disc Future Predictions, released only last summer. It wasn’t harsh or sonically challenging: it was just really, really long. This one, however, is rather shorter, comprising twelve tracks with a running time of just twenty-nine minutes.
It is, notably a departure. As the press notes detail, with In Light Of Blues, ‘[Will] Long pivots away from long-form works to create a series of vignettes that capture the essence of his aesthetics interests. The record condenses and refines his compositional methodologies forming each piece as an acoustic miniature speckled in hazy harmony and evocative tonality’.
As such, as much as In Light Of Blues is a departure, it is also very much a continuation of his previous work, while concentrating it down to shorter snippets – but with no loss of power or depth. Long’s comments on the reason for this departure are illuminating:
‘It was months ago, but it could have been weeks, days, or even hours since then. I stopped wanting to hear loops, I wanted to stop it. I added brass; trumpets, trombones, and more horns. I cut it out like words from a book, and sewed it back together. Burroughs. These movements are merely to stay alive, to stay moving.’
In citing [William] Burroughs, Long’s observation that ‘You wake up from a truck horn passing in the early morning hours on the nearby freeway, or from a dream that you can’t tell was a nightmare or a loving memory… Someone walks by on the street wearing the same perfume. I drew out each place, each scene, and put the story there. It might have been with you, or without you. All I know is that you were there somehow the whole time, even if you weren’t’ marks a striking parallel with some of Burroughs’ statements on the way the cut-up technique was an attempt to being art closer to life: “every time you walk down the street, your stream of consciousness is cut by random factors… take a walk down a city street… you have seen half a person cut in two by a car, bits and pieces of street signs and advertisements, reflections from shop windows – a montage of fragments”.
While the pieces on In Light Of Blues are composed from a montage of fragments, instead of jarring against one another and crossing over one another to replicate the blizzard of simultaneity that is life, they blur together to create a slow-creeping sonic mist. The details are obscured, the edges indistinct, the definition vague to almost absent. Some of the pieces are fragments in themselves: the second of the three ‘Melancholy Movement’ compositions is only fractionally over a minute long, and there are a number of pieces of similarly brief duration.
Time appears to be something of a leading preoccupation on In Light Of Blues, as titles including ‘Days Before the Change’, ‘In the Intimate Hours’, ‘After All Time’, and ‘Precious Past Hours’ indicate. The titles suggest a certain urgency, an anxiety, even, over the passing of time that’s not necessarily apparent in the music itself. But as is so often the case, with ambient / abstract musical forms, the music conveys only some aspects of the full meaning or intention, and beneath comparatively tranquil surfaces often lie more trouble currents, and there are numerous billows of darker, denser sound which rumble and stir, evoking brewing storms amidst the soft layers of the pieces here.
Perhaps this is the real pleasure – and perhaps also the purpose – of In Light Of Blues. It’s an album that can simply be allowed to drift along in the background, the darker clouds occasionally tugging the attention while, in the main, it may pass largely without the demand for focus. But closer attention yields greater rewards, in the sonic depths and subtle textures that reveal themselves through that engagement, and to seek the space beneath the surface, to explore its context and origins and consider what it may mean beyond the surface yields more still.
“A night so quiet that all you can hear is your heartbeat”
Celer has always been the most impressive mastermind of drone music around, consistently unveiling new forms of intimacy that are impossible for any other artist in the niche community to capture. And while he humbly boasts a back catalog of hundreds of projects, everything seems to trace back to Xièxie. This 2019 record falls under the category of the musician’s series of abstract love stories, and its soundscape-style anecdotes are prone to progressively shifting into many different emotions, all of them stronger than any conventional song structure or lyric could communicate. Whether they take the form of nervous wavering field recordings or streamlined drone plateaus, the seven ambient compositions and their four journalistic postcards of wanderlust outline the quiet solitude of city life as well as subsequently filling in the passing thoughts that are experienced in the midst of public transportation to and from this torn existence.
It feels as though Celer is harnessing some invisible energy that is with every human being throughout every second of our lives, with Xièxie playing the part of a monumental conduit that weaves this emotion into sound. Once you have heard these impeccably soft yet incredibly profound pieces, they will be a part of you forever whether you’re aware of it or not, swimming gracefully within your soul like koi fish in a crystal clear pond. In addition, the seamless fades and repetitions of these spellbinding tape loops reward the patience of their listeners with the painstakingly gradual additions of new elements of lunar minutiae along their extended lengths. Most of all, they embody an aspect of travel, as many of Celer’s best works do. The track titles and imageries of Xièxie’s smaller parts come together to tell a story of desynchronization in the heart and in the mind, capturing contemplations of wistful homesickness and daydreams about the unfair distance between two pillars of true love. It explores the feeling of stepping aboard into a place that’s not quite aligned with the world as you previously knew it, and the symbolism of coming to an emotional standstill whilst soaring across the sky or land on one form of vehicle or another.
Xièxie exists in a vacuum, a shapeless void in which the concepts of time and space has dissolved. It fills in the blanks during the all-too-long metallic trappings of a journey by plane or train, replacing white noise and silence with something immeasurably more engaging. The darker tints of this album’s introspective delve into the theoretical yet relatable sadness of falling asleep during a long international flight, awakening in a grey manmade contraption hurtling through the night sky with nothing but physics and trust to keep you going. Remembrances of love and its multifaceted forms of expression have fallen into dead air and radio silence, the once-infinite potentials of technology whisked away in the stratosphere to be wrecked by jet lag and the mourning of two hearts now lost in uncertain airspace.
Due in part to the vastly interpretive nature of its spacey instrumentals but also to the central displays of slow enthralling beauty, Xièxie can be listened to for hours, days, and weeks on end throughout countless countries, countless airports, and countless relationships. It will resonate with them all, forming new connections with every person and place and feeling and welcoming these essences into a photographic memory relayed through music. It’s well worth spending this much time on Xièxie, letting it bond with you, letting it repeat its tales of separation and heartbreak over and over until every bond has been made and the album becomes a caring shoulder to cry on, a comfortable pillow to sleep on, and an everlasting presence of comfort that will stand by you no matter what happens. Xièxie remains in its state of immortal calm through it all, perpetually thanking its guests for the journey that they have taken with the album whether it is their first or their hundredth.
It may last over an hour and a half, but this double LP will always sound fresh in the memory and its analysis between the ideas of physical and emotional distance will always provoke deep exercises of thought. Aligned with the rotating hum of airplane engines and the rhythmic rumble of train tracks, gentle snapshots of Celer’s own travels intersperse the smooth ambient segments, rustling through railways and temples and crowds to imbue the album with yet more genuine feeling. Even in a position of total immobility such as sleep, be it in the transient sanctuary of a hotel or a permanent bed situated in what you know as home, the spirituality and romanticism of these interludes will forever be felt.
This is the best-case-scenario musical realization of every memorable moment when your heart skips a beat in worry or when you feel so overwhelmingly starstruck by love or devastated by its absence that you forget to take a breath. Whether deep in sleep, wide awake, or a meditative halfway point, Xièxie will bolster the soul and cleanse the brain of insomnia and anxiety. By incorporating wisdom from romances new and old in accordance with the eternal wish to be a part of something on a spiritual and universal level, Celer has molded the very clay of reality into ninety-five minutes of perfection.
Die Musik von Celer funktioniert als losgelöste Einzelveröffentlichung für ruhige Momente im Leben, noch besser aber wirken die Klänge, wenn man seine eigenen Erfahrungen über eine längere Zeit davon begleiten lässt. Mit Alben wie „Malaria“ und „Future Predictions“ hat der in Japan lebende Künstler Will Long Platten vorgelegt, die Situationen und Stimmungen von irdischen Bindungen lösen und universal fühlbar machen. Mit „In The Light Of Blues“, das nur eine knappe halbe Stunde dauert, wird diese Praxis fortgesetzt.
Noch feinfühliger und sanfter als „Melancholy Movement“ könnte Celer sein Album nicht beginnen, wie ein kleines Licht in der Nacht flackern in die Synthesizerflächen und Melodieansätze auf. Unscheinbar sind nicht nur die Sounds auf „In The Light Of Blues“, sondern die Inspiration. Long beschreibt Geräusche vorbeifahrender Autos, der Duft eines bekannten Parfums auf der Strasse oder das Spiel von Sonne und Regen als Quellen, immer auf der Suche nach dem Dasein von geliebten Menschen in der Weite. Tracks wie „Days Before The Change“ sind Ahnungen, flüchtige Gedanken.
Viel ist bei „In The Light Of Blues“ nicht zu vernehmen, aber diese einzelnen und kurzen Klangwehen sorgen für ein wohliges Gefühl. Erneut zeigt sich Celer als sanfter Poet im Bereich Ambient und lässt einzelne Sonnenstrahlen und Regungen in die Ewigkeit eintreten. Wer sich bisher noch nicht mit der Musik des Künstlers auseinandergesetzt hat, der wird mit dieser Veröffentlichung aber vermutlich seine Probleme haben – zu reduziert und flüchtig geben sich die Songs.
On In Light of Blues, Will Long creates a series of miniature worlds. Most times with his work as Celer, I expect expansive, longform pieces that stretch to the limits of physical space and find a more welcoming home in infinite space. In Light of Blues channels that same evocative energy, but shrinks it into a capsule size. One swallow and Long takes us on an interplanetary trip through imagined landscapes and distant memories.
Soft tones undulate like a velvet wave spreading across the surface of In Light of Blues. The wash of grey light filters through “Fog, At Least, Is Left,” the illumination warming the noir ruins of a lost civilization. Strings hover like still air stuck in place with nowhere to go, billowing in the frozen aftermath of “Keep It Near Me, Only Afterwards.” Remembrances of past lives fade into dust, even as we grasp frantically to save them, and the realizations that they’ll be lost forever flicker throughout “In the Intimate Hours.” It’s a powerful moment, brutal in its simplicity.
“Days Before the Change” glistens on a single strand bent through a kaleidoscope and paralyzed, the glass prison refracting sonic melancholy in the deepest of shadows. Long pierces that stolid darkness with “After All Time,” its wide frame drones opening up the gates to anyone in earshot. There’s a solid beauty interwoven in these slow, shifting chord changes, permanently etched in the grooves of the Earth.
Will Long’s body of work is a monument to the fleeting nature of modern life and an ongoing rumination of how and why we occupy the spaces around us. In Light of the Blues celebrates these laments, elevating them into celestial remnants that will stick forever in the ether; a reminder that it doesn’t matter if the important moments are gone in the blink of an eye, their potency is forever.
An issue of the environmentally friendly ambience in music.
How much is there left to meditate upon the disappearing of what is deemed to be natural but unfortunately damaged by human activity? In the times of the desperate measures (not)taken to preserve what is left, we are abandoned by the impulses that could help and put us in the right mindset of questioning and defying our reason to exist here as species.
Will Long delivers a perfect ambient soundtrack for whatever musings you might take up. A subtle energy of minimal permutations and movements are an ideal background or foreground to imagination.
Der eingebürgerte Japaner Will Long lässt sich selbstverständlich auch sonst nicht bitten und liefert neben den fast monatlich herauskommenden freien Download-Tracks auf seiner Bandcamp-Seite gleich noch zwei weitere „richtige” Celer-Alben ab. Einmal die Tonträgerveröffentlichung des 40-minütigen Long Drones Coral Sea (Two Acorns, 21. Juli), und mit In the Light of Blue (Room40, 13. August) bietet Celer sogar noch eine kleine Überraschung, entsprechen die Stücke doch nicht dem mittlerweile üblichen Langformat, sondern eher den kurzen atmosphärischen und tendenziell experimentelleren Skizzen, die Celer als Duo gemacht haben, vor Danielle Baquette-Longs viel zu frühem Tod und vor Will Longs Umzug nach Japan.