Posts from the Celer Category

Celer’s Future Predictions is a vast and ambitious work: spanning four discs, it’s an ambient exploration on a truly grand scale. Each disc contains a single longform track, each running at around half an hour, with the shortest, ‘No Sleep in Medan’ clocking in at 27’30”, and the longest, ‘Nothing Will Change’ 42’36”.

According to the write-up, the compositions are made with ‘tape loops, from digital and acoustic instruments, field recordings and foley sounds’, and ‘with a focus on introspection and imagination, each piece begins with all layers playing, with minimal additional long-term structural development in order to maintain a state’. There’s a conceptual lineage here, if not an auditory one: Future Predictions is the follow-up to 2018’s Memory Repetitions which was based on memory and the interpretation of it over time. Future Predictions, we learn, ‘is instead based on the idea of future situations, and should be seen as a meditation on future events’.

While the various elements of tape loops and various instruments are indistinguishable, combining in their simultaneity to create soft, supple sonic washes, hovering drones interweaving interminably, the overall effect is incredibly immersive.

The first of the four, ‘Merita’ is light, drifting like mist over dewy expanses of grassland at sunrise, and while I initially find myself waiting for some progression, expecting some transitional shift, after a time the stasis becomes the end in itself.

‘No Sleep’ inches into darker territory, with deeper, rumbling low notes but after a few minutes this sense of difference dissipates in the drift of elongated notes that have no clear definition, no forward trajectory, no overt sense of movement, but instead hover and hang in the air for all time. ‘Quaraous’ brings new layers, new tones, new, shades, a shimmering light and swell of organ to the proceedings, and for a time it again feels different, but again, that difference fades over the course of half an hour of sameness.

The effects of Future Predictions are cumulative. It’s true that on a purely practical level, few, if any, are likely to listen to all four discs or digital files in succession, although it’s in this context of continuous play that it works best. Admittedly, this is not music to listen to, but to allow to drift by. You don’t listen: you feel it and on a subconscious level as you drift, and you let life happen and continue as normal. I read and replied to texts and emails, while the sound swelled and hummed in eternal undulations. They didn’t transport me anywhere, they didn’t ‘do’ anything. And yet, inducing a certain sense of sedation, of slowness, of tranquility, they achieved everything.

L’americano a Tokyo Will Long, proietta nel cielo opalescenti scie in lenta disgregazione. Mareggiate di tiepida malinconia in cangiante e stupita accensione graduale. Come un raggio di sole che carezza e scioglie tensioni, con gli occhi chiusi e la fronte poggiata sul freddo vetro di un finestrino d’auto in movimento. Velocità e desideri inafferrabili che tali restano, il suono di infiniti transiti, di esperienza in esperienza, senza mai fermarsi, senza mai averne reale possibilità di farlo. Restano immagini stirate, stralci di conversazioni carpite ad un incrocio, il canto dei motori, l’azzurro del cielo, notti al neon e balli di gioia senza musica in sottofondo. Il progetto Celer da una decina d’anni procede direi immutabile, a volte funziona, a volte martella i santissimi. A questo giro in doppio vinile, bellezza tremolante a profusione. Dal cinese, nella traduzione in inglese, “Xièxie”, vuol dir grazie.

We have enjoyed moments of previous Celer releases, but today I’m finding Xiexie an over-long chore. Two discs of endlessly looping slow ambient drone inspired, it seems, by his travels in China. It seems to have been raining perpetually during his sojourn, even one track title remarks on the rain, and that rain has seeped into every note on the album. It’s a perpetual loop of a scene from Blade Runner. The sleeve is covered with grey tourist photos of incredible banality, and his press release notes find deep personal significance in his every gesture, no matter how trivial. Even the music aggrandises this self-centred take on life, providing a quasi-heroic soundtrack for meandering around a foreign city.

The word 谢 谢 (Xièxie) is composed of two Chinese characters, which translate to “thank you”, perhaps a simple homage to the people the artist Will Long met on a trip from Shanghai to Hangzhou in 2017. Or perhaps Xièxie is easier to pronounce in a language that is difficult for Westerners. The project was published by Two Acorns and in this instance Long used his alias Celer. Here he sets some field recordings and measured sound drones on 11 cinematic, highly dilated and enjoyable tracks on a double CD. The work is a kind of audio-diary, a poetic translation of the suggestions raised by crossing between places and situations, moving over different environments with different climatic conditions, with the alternation of sunsets and neon lights, awakenings and markets, nature and metropolis, flashes and fogs. The set is never dissonant, but very sensitive and quietist, focusing on a distilled and sweet aesthetic rendering. Celer tries to re-sound the atmospheres of the places he passes through; however, there is always an inner melody. It seems that in specific spaces we might be able to pick out only what is already inside our heads, like being in a transfer that moves schemes of feelings and emotions from different settings – where the megastore HDTV screens can easily become something else, maybe artificial stars. The voices are recorded, not because of what they say, but because of their “exotic” intonation as musical forms. Even the muddiest sequences are set to bewitch, seduce, to transport the listener into a suspended dimension, one that is slightly magical and introverted. Every transition is deceiving, it can bring additional references, and the times are cyclical, as in a continuous production and decline, in eternal and infinite sequences. The author is there, in the place, and doesn’t compose from inside an empty space: through “real” references he can partially try to filter his private dialogue, or at least bring it under control. The reality provides the impulse, but then everything remains vague and needs further suggestion to develop into accomplished musical structures. Traveling opens other doors and Celer is unlikely to stop a musical flux made of moments translated into sounds. There is nothing left but to say thank you, a little profusely, “thank you, thank you”. These words resound as a personal mantra that reconnects us to an aestheticized daily life, made, for this, more bearable.

Will Long’s early 2019 Celer release exemplifies all the qualities one might expect from someone whose discography is at this stage staggering in volume: assurance, artfulness, and poise. Yet Xièxie (in English, thanks) is also characterized by properties one would associate with the work of a burgeoning talent, someone with but a few releases to speak of: imagination and freshness, for starters. To Long’s credit, the material on this expansive set shows no sign of fatigue or exhaustion, no lessening of conviction or engagement. It’s classic Celer but also a recording that somehow manages to stand apart from its predecessors.

Issued in multiple formats (download, double-LP, double-CD, double-cassette), Xièxie could be described as a ninety-five-minute, two-part aural diary of a China visit by the Japan-based American artist, with stops in Shanghai and Hangzhou and a ride on the high-speed Maglev parts of the itinerary. The recording hews to a familiar ambient template in blending site-specific field recordings with immersive soundscapes, many of the latter pushing past the ten-minute mark (the longest, at twenty-two minutes, “For the entirety”). But the way Long sequences the tracks and effects transitions between them reflects the practice of a highly skilled craftsperson.

Details included in the titles of the four field recordings pieces provide orientation. At the outset, “(06.23.17) From the doorway of the beef noodle shop, shoes on the street in the rain, outside the karate school” locates us within a setting teeming with traffic, car horns, and voices, the faint strains of the ambient piece that follows growing more audible as the opening progresses. The repetition of gently wavering synth tones lends “Rains lit by neon” a calming, dreamlike quality that suggests mist covering the city, after which the melancholy meditation “In the middle of the moving field” perpetuates the effect even more affectingly with an entrancing loop one imagines could go on forever. The field recordings pieces often act as connecting points between the ambient ones, with the forty-four-second “(06.26.17) Maglev at 303 km/h,” for example, facilitating the transition from “In the middle of the moving field” to the softly glimmering “Text me when you wake up.” The second part formally begins with “(06.24.17) Birds inside the high halls of Hangzhou, (06.23.17) Shanghai red line, metro karaoke,” the industrial whoosh of the metro car audible amidst the babble of adult and children. Mirroring the sequencing of the opening tracks, the two-part “Prelude to obsession” follows with twenty-four luscious minutes of shimmering loops.

The seven ambient settings are quintessential Celer, each an absorbing, plaintive reverie. With incessant repetitions of descending strings and horns figures assembled into a flow that’s equally stirring, luminous, and Gas-like, “For the entirety” is perhaps the loveliest, with the ethereal closer “Our dream to be strangers” a close second. With so many releases in the Celer discography (as of this writing, Discogs lists 211 project-related releases), it’s difficult if not impossible to determine exactly where any one falls, hierarchically speaking. That said, Xièxie is undoubtedly a standout and for longtime followers of the project will very likely be regarded as indispensable.

In Celer’s Xièxie, field recordings and measured drones make up eleven cinematic, and enjoyable tracks.. The work is a kind of audio-diary, a poetic translation of the suggestions raised by crossing between places and situations, moving over different environments with different climatic conditions, with the alternation of sunsets and neon lights, awakenings and markets, nature and metropolis, flashes and fogs. Thank You.

Xièxie is a recent eleven-track album from one man US ambient project Celer- Will Long, who now lives in Japan. The album sees him bringing together heady-to-blurring drone-work & ambient studies, with subtle and subdued use of field recordings- all making for one of this year’s genre highlights.

The release comes in several formats- a 2LP edition of 300 copies, 150 silver and 150 black, a 2CD, 6-panel package edition of 500 copies, and a 2CS oversized slipcase edition of 150 copies. And the concept of the album is based around Long’s trip to Shanghai and how he felt overwhelmed by the experience, with the release titles meaning Thank you in Chinese.

Each of the eleven tracks last between just under a minute, and twenty one minutes- and with all the tracks the feeling/ vibe of the ambient tracks are very much focused on travel- with the field recording elements really enchanting this feeling- as we get sounds from with a Shanghai train, on busy & bustling crossings, people chatter in parks, etc.

Each of the musical tracks focuses in on a particular type of ambience- so we move from warmly warped tonal drifts, through to lush and harmonic looped dwells, onto sparse, hazed and blurring simmers, through to fairly rising and bright hoovers. Each track very much brings back memories of traveling- be it  the nervous apprehension of a trip, the speeding wonder of a train journey, or lulling half asleep state on an airplane.

Long really is extremely skilled and masterful at all types of ambeince, and with Xièxie he offers up yet another very compelling and replayable selection of tracks-added to this we get a neat concept/ vibe. Without doubt one of 2019’s ambient highlights.

Celer utilizza invece le field recordings come base di partenza per sviluppare la narrazione di un suo recente viaggio a Shangai, fra scenari urbani al contempo maestosi e spersonalizzanti, carichi di mistero e globalizzati nelle insigne luminose e nello skyline futuribile. Di qui, le registrazioni d’ambiente si dissolvono gradualmente per lasciar spazio a monocromi che ruotano su se stessi mutando impercettibilmente di tono e intensita, come se le immagini scorressero al rallentatore sul finestrino di un treno metropolitan laciato a tutta velocita. L’effetto talvolta e onirico e straniante, ma dilatato e reierato in un’ora e mezzo di ascolto non puo che perdere d’intensita, disperdendosi nell’indeterminatezza.

Artiste prolifique, dont la cadence des sorties est difficile à suivre, Will Long aka Celer offre avec Xièxie (« merci » en chinois) un de ses meilleurs albums, si ce n’est le meilleur.

Né d’un voyage en Chine, où il en a profité pour enregistré les sons des lieux qu’il a traversé, qui s’intègrent en mode d’interludes, Xièxie est un journal de voyage se nourrissant des impressions de l’artiste, chargées d’un onirisme éthérée.

Tout semble en apesanteur, les bruits d’ambiances eux mêmes étant habités d’un calme grouillant, enrobé d’une auréole apaisée. Le temps semble s’arrêter, porté par des nappes flottants sur des atmosphères aux frontières aquatiques.

Il suffit de fermer les yeux ou de regarder le ciel la nuit, pour ressentir les vibrations sonores d’un environnement riche en émotions, où les étoiles défient l’immensité jusqu’à nous faire décrocher de la réalité. Sublime.

El norteamericano Will Long aka Celer quien vive actualmente en Tokio, Japón, es un prolífico músico con una discografía de 100 discos en formatos digital y físico. Para componer “Xièxie” (gracias en chino), Long se inspiró en un viaje a China en el que captura sonidos del ambiente como bocinas, silbidos, motores de automóviles, fragmentos de conversaciones, estaciones de tren, niños y anuncios de publicidad permitan al eyente tener un contexto de un viajero e imaginar lo que Long observaba con interés y asombro. La música es cinemática y despliega interminables drones e imágenes que se mueven lentamente. Creando un contraste entre el fondo musical y el vertiginoso movimiento de las ciudades. La grabación del tren rápido a 303 km por hora de la Shanghai red line, que captura el silbido de la impresionante velocidad que alcanzan estos trenes, no se contrapone con el mar de drones y la quietud imperante en el ambient que envuelve a este álbum. Will Long nos invita una vez más a un placentero viaje que nos abre la imaginación y nos inspira con su música evocadora.