Posts from the Celer Category

Es ist nicht das erste mal, dass der Ambientmusiker Will Long alias Celer die Inspiration, die er auf Reisen gesammelt hat, zum Ausgangspunkt seiner Soundscapes macht. Auf „Two Days and One Night“ entwirft er ein Narrativ, zu dem der oft strapazierte Begriff „vielschichtig“ einmal wirklich passt, denn hier werden zwei Reisen in einer Geschichte verarbeitet: eine eigens unternommene und klanglich dokumentierte, daneben die lange zurückliegende Reise einer anderen Person, die er aus Erzählungen und Spekulationen rekonstruiert hat. Gemeinsam ist der Ort, an den es die beiden Reisenden verschlug, und die Familiengeschichte der beiden als Rahmen.

Mitte der Achtziger flog ein Großonkel Longs von New York nach Tunesien und mietete sich in einem Hotel in der Küstenstadt Hammamet ein. Von dort schrieb der bereits Achtzigjährige noch eine Postkarte an seine Familie zuhause. Tags drauf besorgte er sich eine Schwimmausrüstung, schwamm ins Meer hinaus und ertrank. Dass die Postkarte keine Nachricht, nur die Adresse der Empfänger enthielt, musste aus der Begebenheit fast zwangsläufig einen Mythos machen. 2015 besuchte Long Tunesien und reiste auf den Spuren seines Großonkels von Tunis nach Hammamet.

Auf „Two Days and One Night“, in den Samples, aber auch im atmosphärischen Narrativ der Musik, fließen beide Geschichten immer wieder ineinander – die Eindrucke, die der Musiker aufnahm, die Frage, auf welche Details sein Verwandter damals vielleicht geachtet hatte, die typischen Klänge der Orte, die beide – vermutlich – gesehen und gehört haben, und die tiefe, undurchdringliche Traurigkeit, in die sich der Onkel, der zwangsläufig fiktionale Züge bekommt, und der Musiker gleichermaßen einschreiben. In den alles überflutenden Wellen aus schweren Synthiesounds, die in beinahe jedem Stück die zahlreichen Feldaufnahmen früher oder später überfluten wie das Meer einen einsamen Schwimmer, scheinen beide Geschichten und beide Protagonisten miteinander zu verschmelzen.

Das Verschwinden zahlreicher Samples unter schweren Soundschichten ist in der Tat ein besonders auffälliges merkmal dieses Albums, denn in der Vergangenheit hielten sich der ambiente Rahmen und die an markanten Orten aufgeschnappten Details meist die Waage, Samples brachen immer wieder durch die Oberfläche der Soundscapes und bewirkten so, dass die Arbeiten einen hörspielartigen oder, wenn man so will, semi-dokumentarischen Charakter bekamen. Auf „Two Days and One Night“, dessen Titel bereits zeitliche Kürze impliziert, fällt beinahe alles dem Verschwinden anheim: brummende Motoren, hastige Schritte, tolle Melodien auf orientalischen Flöten, eine Durchsage auf französisch, vermutlich an einem Bahnhof, die Brandung. Wenig davon hat lange Bestand.

Es dauert nur eine kurze Zeit, bis sich ambiente Sounds, filigran gestaltet und stets in gemächlicher vibrierender Bewegtheit, über all das legt, es aufgehen lässt in einer leicht sehnsüchtig eingefärbten Schwermut, die den ganzen musikalischen Raum ausfüllt. „The Fear to Touch the Sand“ enthält nur die Geräusche der sanften Gezeiten, leicht verfremdet zu einem dubbigen Vibrato – sie werden als einzige von keiner Welle verschlungen. All dies sollte einen trotz allem nicht zu allzu konkreten Bedeutungszuweisungen verführen, denn die Musik (und auch die Tracktitel, die größtenteils auf Orte und ihre Eigenschaften referieren) bewahrt sich eine Offenheit, die den Mythos dieser beiden Episoden näherbringt und zugleich bestehen lässt.

Already in 2012 Will Long, also known as Celer, and Dirk Serries, also known as Vidna Obmana and Fear Falls Burning (to name a few of his projects) started exchanging some sound material, but it took a full year before Long even had an idea what to do with Serries’ guitar sounds. Long explains this on the press text, but me no understand what he did: “Using the original track that I sent Dirk at the very beginning as a sound source, I shaped it exactly like Dirk’s responding source file – the musical colour and frequencies were the same, but the effects and enveloping was triggered by the waves of Dirk’s track.[…] It may be hard to hear the two sides, but it’s really built
by the background curtain, and even if you can’t hear it’s place, it’s definitely there. Where does one thing begin and another end? Maybe you can hear it?” It may explain the title of the release though. Both of these two pieces work with Serries long sustaining guitar drones sounds, with slowly envelop, overlaid, I guess, with Celer’s own drones, perhaps created by a transformation or two of the original Serries input, but then more stretched out, adding more variations of the same colour to the whole. ‘Above/Below’ is the darker side of the moon here, while the second piece, not surprisingly called ‘Below/Above’, represents the lighter side of the coin. This is music that absolute weightless space stuff, transporting the listener through an endless black universe and the notes of Serries, especially on ‘Below/Above’ are like little stars at the firmament. Maybe I just wrote that because of the impending Christmas season? I have no idea; it is one of those beautiful shiny winter days and Celer and Dirk Serries provide the perfect soundtrack for such a day, in which everything seems to slow down.

「yoin callback / 余韻コールバック」

11月30日(水)から、自らの作品も発表しつつ、カセットレーベルを主催しているDuenn(ダエン)と Celer名義でSpekk等のレーベルからリリースしているWill Long(ウィル・ロング)の二人による音と写真の展覧会を開催します。
展覧会のキュレーションを行う調(しらべ)が彼らの素材をマイクロコンピュータの制御でエディットしてアウトプットします。

+ [作家]
– Duenn (音)
– Will Long (写真)
+ [キュレーター]
– 調 原作 (コンピューター制御)

http://yoin-callback.info/

11月30日(水)〜 12月17日(土)
12:00〜18:00

■休み:日、月、火曜日
■料金:入場無料
■場所:ヴァルト アート スタジオ
[092-633-3989 福岡市博多区千代4-12-2]

Have you ever looked up into the sky at night, and it seemed that you could see beyond the stars? How many times have you looked up, but how few do you actually remember? I remember two times:

The sky seemed to roll, the stars flickering in the humidity of the late-August evening. It makes your throat feel dry and your body strained. Staring up, “We can’t see stars like this at home”, we said to each other. Lying on the concrete slab behind the garage, and at one time standing, we kept on watching – the factory near of my hometown humming, passing cars on the nearby highway sizzling in the distance.

…Or when we were in the onsen town in the mountains – there was nowhere to walk to at night, but we trudged through the snow so I could take photos, our shoes soaked and our feet freezing. You could see your breath in the air. You can’t hear snow fall. We opened the wooden sliding door and walked back into the warmth of the light.

The next day we looked out, all the leaves were brown in the freezing November, and the stars were hidden. The blue river was ahead and down the hill, and we didn’t even think about what was or wasn’t above from the night before, past the stars now hidden by the sun.

When looking up, the least important thing is what you see – or that there is even anything in space, beyond the blackness. The beauty and the demons share the space where we are already.

– Will Long, 2016

CD available on or around December 1, 2016

Difficile de suivre la production de Celer (désormais Will Long) tellement sa discographie est dense. L’année 2014 est peut-être l’exception avec seulement 4 albums dont une auto-production, parmi lesquels on compte le Zigzag paru chez Spekk (chroniqué ici) et donc ce Sky Limits que l’on est agréablement surpris de retrouver sur le label français Baskaru.

Celer fait parti de ces artistes que l’on commence à bien connaitre et dont on se dit qu’il aura du mal à nous surprendre tellement sa production est homogène. En effet Will Long aligne, certains diront “avec facilité”, les nappes aériennes d’une ambient classique, fortement teintées de nostalgie, et lorgnant parfois vers le minimalisme. Parler de nappes aériennes et réaliser que l’album s’intitule Sky Limits, on se dit qu’il est on ne peut plus logique que Celer campe sur son registre de prédilection. Alors oui, aucune surprise à l’écoute de Circle Routes qui ouvre le disque sur une belle ambient aux nappes tristounes, pleines de nostalgie, voire empreintes d’une certaine gravité. C’est simple, un drone, une nappe qui compose une mélodie répétitive et on se laisse porter ainsi pendant une petite dizaine de minutes.

Mais la surprise se produit lorsque l’on découvre les interludes qui servent de transition entre deux pièces ambient. De simples field recordings, sans le moindre artifice, captés à Tokyo et Kyoto, des scènes du quotidien dont les titres disent tout, y compris la date. Ainsi on devine que le musicien est en train de se faire du thé sur (12.5.12) Making Tea over a Rocket Launch Broadcast tandis qu’en arrière plan la télé diffuse le lancement d’une fusée.
Le procédé apporte indéniablement quelque chose à la musique de Celer, une musique ambient, abstraite, qui prend ancrage dans le réel, dans un quotidien qui s’estompe progressivement, à l’image de la mémoire qui efface petit à petit les souvenirs. Passé ce constat, on revient aux douces nappes synthétiques avec In Plum and Magenta, mais on lui préfèrera la franchise deTangent Lines, moins doux, plus direct et hypnotique avec ses nappes répétitives.

Alors que l’album s’achève sur Attempts to Make Time Pass Differently, cette mélodie a un air de déjà entendu, l’impression qu’il s’agit d’une reprise d’un titre précédent, même mélodie mais autres sonorités ? A moins que ce ne soit Celer qui joue lui aussi avec notre mémoire…

Celer is very active these days with new releases, all recorded by Will Long, but of course you know it was a duo of Will and his wife Danielle Baquet-Long, who died in 2009. The music on ‘I Love You So Much I Can’t Even Title This’ was recorded when she was alive and is inspired by Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’, known to be one of the saddest pieces of classical music, premiered in 1938 but gaining much popularity. Apparently right before Barber died in 1981 he said, “I wish people would listen to my other compositions.” Celer recorded their album using tape and laptop, title ‘came alluded to a Morrissey song’ (also a no festival of joy kind of guy) and released on CDR back then. The music, according to Discogs, was recorded using ‘field recordings made of choirs and a string quartet, performing the works of Samuel Barber, at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco,
California, in late 2006’, but all of this is now stretched out further and beyond recognition (I think), but it is of similar emotional depth. This is the music of sadness indeed, and perhaps our mind is steered in that direction, since we know the tragic end of Danielle, but even without that, I would think this is all quite sad music. Each side is about fifteen minutes and performs a fine, utter minimalist flow of drone sounds, which indeed could lifted from string quartet or a choir, but it is all transformed to such an extent that this is no longer to be recognized from the results. Of all of these three new releases this is the one that is the most refined, most ambient music if you will and without much happening. If any of these three doesn’t enforce anything upon the listener it is the music of Celer, and it is something that fills up your space in a great way, either when you play this soft or a bit louder. More interesting, however, than ignorable, I’d say.

Press text:

“In 2012, after trading LPs, I sent Dirk a long track of collaged, stretched tape pieces to see if it was something he could work with. This particular set of recordings seemed puzzling to me, and unworkable. Later, after a tour with Mono he actually sent me some tracks that he had made while listening to the piece. Out of the blue, maybe a year later, I went back and listened to our tracks, having some distance for my ears, and had an idea. Using the original track that I sent Dirk at the very beginning as a sound source, I shaped it exactly like Dirk’s responding source file – the musical colour and frequencies were the same, but the effects and enveloping were triggered by the waves of Dirk’s track.

It may be hard to hear the two sides, but it’s really built by the background curtain, and even if you can’t hear it’s place, it’s definitely there. Where does one thing begin and another end? Maybe you can hear it?” – Will Long, 2015

Available as a CD in an edition of 300 copies from Zoharum

In 1984 Will Long’s great uncle, then 80 years old, went to Tunis from his home in New York, stayed one night in the Hotel Amilcar, from where he sent a blank postcard back to his family in Mississippi. The next day he travelled to Hammamet, rented a hotel room, brought swimming trunks, and by the afternoon drowned in the ocean. That’s what Will Long tells us in the information of his new release as Celer. In 2015 Long undertook the same travel, in the same time frame and made the recordings, which he used for the music on this CD. There are quite some field recordings to be noted in this, but also the trademark long sustaining sounds by Celer. iTunes opens up and calls this new age; and yes, sometimes I think Celer plays a bit of new age doodles, especially in a piece like ‘In All Deracinated Things’, which is the most ‘Celer’ like piece here. Yet I wouldn’t call this new age in the way it is presented now. The bits with just field recordings are way too strange for that; these are very silent pieces and have the faintest trace of sound. A piece like ‘Base Haze’ is simply a far away drone and far from the more musical touch we know. In that sense this album is more like a story, a radio drama (without words that is) mixed with the usual ominous drone/ambience of Celer. That makes this yet again an album by Celer that is slightly different from the many that he does – and looking at his bandcamp there is a lot of Celer available (and many that I didn’t hear). I am never sure what is the deciding factor when it comes to releasing music on a physical format or keep it as a download only, but somehow it seems that Will Long knows perfectly what is a bit different and that those should be available on CD or LP. If you are more of casual fan, then I’d say this particular one is one to get, mixing the classic Celer sound with some refined field recordings, wilfully obscure sounds and all of that into a great story/journey. However sad the origins of these are.

In 1984, Celer’s 80-year-old uncle took a trip to Tunisia, tragically drowning while swimming in the ocean on only the second day of having been there. An awful incident yes, but Celer wanted to retrace his uncles footsteps by visiting the same places he did back then and chronicle the activity through ambient.

And ambient it is, the usual Celer clouds drifting aimlessly by, this time with some definite sun-scorched-ness to them. I’m getting orange and yellow from this. It could easily be mournful or accepting of his uncle’s fate both at once, the chords toeing the line quite nicely between the two. Snatches of a French man speaking can be heard buried under various points, which sort of makes sense as Tunisia is a land once stolen by the French.

It’s nice to hear Celer do music for places worldwide, and I think carrying on this route would promise some interesting twists and turns in his musical journey.

After reviewing a fair portion of the music of Celer, I still haven’t caught a live concert by them. This new
album is a documentation of Will Long’s European tour in 2013, when he played in the UK, Germany,
Switzerland, Poland and Russia. It was mixed between 2013 and 2015. Three short pieces are used as
interludes and six pieces make up the main album, which lasts, sadly, only thirty-eight minutes. Here we
have everything we like about Celer; the sustaining sounds, the refined ambient approach and still we have
no clue what the hell it is that Celer does. That of course is my bad; because as said, I never saw him play
live. I would think that much of what Celer is laptop generated and therefore (I might be wrong, I am the first
to admit) also in concert a laptop act. But what’s wrong with that? Or why would I even bother about that?
I shouldn’t. I was lying on the couch for a while, having this music on repeat (which seems I do whenever
something new from Celer drops in) and I wasn’t doing much else. I would say that it is exactly what this
music should do. Evoke a state of nothingness and that is something that Celer does very well. Another
beautiful release.