Posts from the Celer Category

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.

Artiesten die in de weer zijn met field recordings zoeken ofwel de (schijnbare) stilte van de natuur of zoeken integendeel de drukte van de stad op. En hoewel beide vormen een verrassend eindresultaat kunnen opleveren, blijft het geluid van de grote stad nog steeds het meest tot mijn verbeelding spreken. Met onze denkbeeldige rugzak, in dit geval een koptelefoon, trekken we naar de grootste stad in China: Shanghai. Met een populatie van ruim 20 miljoen mensen verspreid over een oppervlakte 6340,5 km² zijn we er vrij gerust in dat onze klankentapper het een en ander zal kunnen registreren. De kans om in dit omvangrijke gebied te verdwalen lijkt ons vrij groot,waardoor een gids geen overbodige luxe zal zijn. Die gids vinden we in de persoon van Will Long, in muzikale kringen gekend onder het pseudoniem Celer. Long is een Amerikaan die tegenwoordig in Tokyo woont, en naast muzikant ook nog schrijver en fotograaf is. Samen met zijn vrouw Danielle Baquet richtte hij in 2005 Celer op. Vier jaar moest Long noodgedwongen alleen verder toen Danielle op slechts 26-jarige leeftijd overleed aan hartfalen. Long bleef niet bij de pakken zitten en ontpopte zich tot een zeer productief artiest (iets wat ook reeds het geval was in hun tijd als duo): 211 releases op 15 jaar tijd is niet niks. Vaak reageert men sceptisch tegenover artiesten die heel veel op een korte tijd uitbrengen, vaak is dit ook terecht. Uiteraard hebben wij nog niet alles van Celer kunnen beluisteren (ja, wij moeten ook zo nu en dan eens ademhalen), maar we kunnen wel stellen dat het hier een toch wel ondergewaardeerd artiest betreft die bij momenten zeer mooie dromerige ambient/field recordings op de mensheid loslaat. Maar nu staat alles dus in het teken van Shanghai. Bij aanvang leek het ons een uitdaging om de dromerige klanken waarover reeds sprake te lijmen aan het jachtige geluid van de grootstad. Celer weet hier inventief mee om te springen: enkele omgevingsgeluiden worden uit de lucht geplukt om vervolgens uit te deinen tot zweverige ambient tapijten. Het uit de lucht plukken kan je haast letterlijk nemen, maar net zo graag gunt Celer deze geluiden de vrijheid en werpt ze terug richting hemel. Bij de eerste luisterbeurten waren we toch met enige teleurstelling omtrent deze trip bevangen, het schijnbare gebrek aan afwisseling leek ons immers vrij haaks te staan op onze reisbestemming. Achteraf valt je echter de schoonheid die van deze stukken op, en ligt de sterkte van deze dubbelaar (goed voor een kleine 100 minuten rustgevende ambient klanken) net in deze contradictie. Dat het leven aan ons voorbijflitst dat kan je in een stad als Shanghai aan den lijve ondervinden. Vandaar dat Long ons ook meeneemt voor een ritje met de Maglev, de eerste en enige magneetzweeftrein ter wereld die in gebruik is. Vanaf de luchthaven in Pudong loopt de lijn tot aan het metrostation Longyang Road en doet minder dan acht minuten over dit stuk van 30 kilometer. De topsnelheid ligt rond de 430 km per uur. Hoe deze klinkt aan 303 kilometer per uur, kan u dankzij dit album zelf ontdekken. Dient u op uw budget te letten tijdens de met rasse schreden naderende vakantie? Dankzij ons heeft u alvast een goede tip voor een budgetvriendelijke uitstap. Zonder dank, maar zeg gerust Xièxie (wat zoveel betekent als dank u in het Chinees) tegen Celer.