More photos here:
More photos here:
Wake Up. What we have here is an experiment by odds. What should we call this? What should we call what’s come together with one mind?
Out of one came many. Generic man wandering through Generic City. Yui Onodera and Celer are creating a dreamlike state of mind, where when we fall asleep, drones handcuff us in our dream. It’s impossible to wake up now. We’re too young for our hearts to stop. Traveling in different areas of the city, we’re following the maze leading us to the grave, trying to make sense of the confusion and loss. We need to continue the work that the footsteps started. Those who disobeyed now obey.
Only the Old-Timers know what kind of time is passing through us. When we close our eyes, millions of civilians arrive by car loads. You can hear their voices in a distance, but when you actually hear what they speak, they confuse you with wordplay. Reciting mantras, as if they were to build a new family tree upon the smoking ruins of their own cities. Our children looking out of the windows, the sky filled with total darkness, the world in total stillness. Until a plane passes by, ripping the seams of the sky in a blur. Electric light, light up the neon skies, electric soul, generic soul…
(Review loosely adapted from the lyrics of Killah Priest “Temple of the Mental”)
The opportunity to collaborate with the globetrotting duo of Celer was taken by Yui Onodera as a chance to explore his Tokyo close up and with fresh ears. He compiled a wide array of field recordings ranging from migratory geese who only make one, short pitstop in town a year, to chanting worshippers, kids playing in the school yard and rainwater flowing from an eavestrough.
Onodera is keenly aware that the key to creating something authentically, universally appealing is to keep it local. Celer, Will Long and the late Danielle Baquet-Long, whose prodigious discography features sounds recorded as far afield as the Mediterranean Sea and the wheat fields of Texas, collected their own impressions of Los Angeles.
Both recorded plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, the urban rhthym of movement on the street, mass transit and airport departure gates. The goal was to create a ”generic city”, and they have succeeded in fusing the two cities into a single, immediately recognizable one, not for its monumental parks and skyscrapers or unexplored backstreets, but for its interaction of people and architcture, architecture and the environment, the environment and the fast pace of change characterizing any major metropolis.
And yet they position the listener at a fixed point in the middle, most palpably on the beautifully drawn-out ”Waiting for Something Else to Happen”, watching the passing parade as if in colourful slow motion. Detail is rich and images are sharp. Onodera alludes to reminding the listener of the the commonalities lost our incessant global chatter. A gentle commonplace, perhaps, reflected by the short music-box trill inserted to conclude the radiant opening track, ”An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular”.
Generic City is the first release on the Two Acorns label, founded by Long last year with the intention of keeping the physical object relevant in an age of invisible information storage. And as an object, this album, its music and its artwork will long enjoy pride of place on the shelf.
This review will be necessarily personal. If my past review of their albums Cursory Asperses and In Escaping Lakes is any indication, I am quite taken by the diverse ambient oeuvre of Celer. Heck, I even dedicated my debut album as an ambient recording artist to them. I thought I had worked out a pretty clever game plan with my album, combining totally unprocessed, “anecdotal” field recordings of real environments, with pensive, atmospheric drones and instrumental textures. I thought I was giving just the right amount of a nod to Celer’s legacy (the drones), while bringing my own element to the game (the field recordings). Turns out, I’m not at all the first person to think of combining these two basic elements; in fact, while I was toiling on my album, Celer and Yui Onodera had already done it, and done it extremely well. I couldn’t have known that, as Generic City, the first Celer album to use anecdotal field recordings in any overt way, would not be released for some five months after my album. It is quite a revelation hearing them work in this format; I am humbled at the pristine quality of their recordings, how finely the episodes of sound transition, and as always, how lovely and full of life the drones are. Several years of work went into the creation of this album, and you can hear it. For all of this praise, there is a “but” I have to mention at this point – Celer were at their best working alone and with abstract sonic material. As engaging as Generic City is for the most part, there are times when the musical arrangements and field recordings seem to be incongruous, one’s presence distracting from the mood or character of the other. When this happens, the listener is stirred out of the otherwise perfect sense of place the music establishes, suddenly remembering that these sounds are not natural but have a hidden contrived organization. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too many times, and the album’s more effective parts paint shockingly vivid urban scenes that instill complex emotions. Quite possibly the least characteristic album Celer ever had a hand in, and therefore one of their most intriguing, Generic City resides among the stronger of the band’s many releases from 2010.
Yui Onodera is het soort artiest die het liefst van al met field recordings te werk gaat, en hij drijft dit tamelijk ver want zowat alles wat deze mens te horen krijgt wordt voor het nageslacht bewaard maar vooral om te dienen voor zijn eigen experimentele projecten.
Die opnames kunnen gewoon natuurgeluiden zijn zoals een zwerm vogels die overvliegen maar ook de geciviliseerde wereld is een dankbare geluidsbron voor diens experimenten.
Zo gebeurt het dat hij soms gewoon op de uitkijk staat ergens in Los Angeles om geluiden uit de metro op te nemen of gewoonweg mensen die wat met elkaar te staan kletsen, of zelfs de regen die op het voetpad kletst is genoeg voor Yui om het te gaan gebruiken.
Het kan zelfs gebeuren dat deze lieve mens gewoon een vliegtuig opstapt om ergens in Azië biddende stemmen in één of andere tempel te gaan opnemen.
Eens thuis begint hij als een klein kind de opnames voor zich uit te spreiden en begint hij een selectie te maken van wat hij nu gaat gebruiken of niet. Rond deze selectie wordt een minimalistisch klanktapijtje geweven die meestal bestaat uit wat atmosferische drones, ook al is er plaats voor wat viool en een piano.
Deze cd mag er dan wel eentje van het experimentele soort zijn , toch merk je dat eigenlijk niet want deze “Generic City” is één groot auditief avontuur waarbij je gaat neerzitten en af gaat vragen wat het volgende geluid zal zijn dat je gehoor binnendringt.
Misschien is dit het soort muziek dat bepaalde mensen de wenkbrauwen doet fronzen maar hier is tenminste over nagedacht, en dat kunnen we nu niet bepaald van alles zeggen!
Il nuovo album dei Celer arriva da una neonata etichetta, la Two Acorns, curata dalla metà del duo Will Long – e la cosa non ci stupisce data la prolificità della coppia. In più, a inaugurare il catalogo troviamo un album nato dalla collaborazione con Yui Onodera, che ha contribuito massicciamente alla cattura dei field recorder qui presenti. L’intento di Generic City riguarda l’unione dei frammenti sonori raccolti dai tre nelle rispettive location, Los Angeles e il Giappone, al fine di creare uno streaming di natura e suoni urbani, di spazi e luoghi che inglobano casualmente un passato, uno dei tanti (i canti al Buddha), e lo restituiscono in una quotidianità globale, a volte austera, spesso fascinosa.
In Generic City, il classico dronato Celer-iano incontra vari momenti concreti, come i passi nella metropolitana, le conversazioni di adulti e bambini e una serie di mezzi (automobili, tir, aerei, bicilclette). Filo conduttore è il flusso di coscienza, con una piccola novità, ossia l’idea di imaginary tale onoderiana. In pratica, un progetto ampiamente riuscito: costruire una città generica – o meglio, sui generis -, non solo un’impersonale toponomastica sonora, ma un favola sopra un ambiente familiare ma altro. L’ottimo Taylor Deupree al mastering completa un lavoro consigliato non solo ai soliti frequentatori dell’elettroacustica ma anche a chi vuol scivolare dall’ambient e dal post à la Dean Roberts a queste lande senza farsi male.
Un très beau disque, le premier à paraître chez Two Acorns, une collaboration entre Yui Onodera et le duo Celer (Will Long et Danielle Baquet-Long). Le premier 16 minutes (“An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular”) est un splendide voyage sonore qui commence par des chants d’oiseaux migratoires pour se terminer par une boîte à musique. Enregistrements de terrain, doux instruments (violon, piano, theremin) et électroniques sont les éléments de ces délicats collages sonores. Rich en feeling.
A very fine record, the first one released on Two Acorns, a collaboration between Yui Onodera and the duo Celer (Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long). The first 16-minute track (“An Imaginary Tale of Lost Venacular”) is a beautiful aural journey starting with migratory bird songs and ending with a music box. Field recordings, quiet instruments (violin, piano, theremin) and electronics are the building blocks for these delicate sound collages. Rich in feeling
Generic City (TWO ACORNS 2A01) is a collaboration between the Japanese artiste Yui Onodera and Celer, a project which envelops the talents of Will Long (who runs the Celer label, of which Two Acorns is a tributary) and Danielle Baquet-Long. The team have put together several original and contemporary field recordings, many of them inseparable from an urban locale, but birds, trees, and weather all manage to wing their way into the conversation too. Above all else, there seems have been some lengthy considerations and ponderments taking place by the creators about the culture and characteristics of the environments that surround them, not taking anything for granted and using the work as a means of interrogating what it means to be Japanese, for example. Between them they stress such aspects as time travel, imagination and story-telling, which might be read as interesting mental strategies for escaping the confines of everyday life. What emerges are four fairly dreamy and disconnected episodes of meandering near-bliss, sometimes augmented by additional electronics and musical instruments, all melted down through the nuclear fission of the mixing desks.
Will Long’s Two Acorns label proffers it’s debut release, an album predominately of a seamless interweaving of field recordings and drones. It examines, takes note, documents and appreciates two cities, specifically Celer’s (Danielle Baquet-Long, Will Long) Los Angeles and Yui Onodera’s Tokyo, of which the melded Generic City is formed. The gulls cry wakes the album as closer recording zooms to the cry as cacophony and the discrete background movement of the city occurs while drone sound is introduced as a low solemn presence. Cut to the crunch of footsteps along a linear tone. Such description could be maintained for the whole album, it would end up being a scenic narrative not unlike the script to a nature and urban environment documentary without a narration.
The shear amount of field recordings is impressive, and the quality of the recording techniques gives a distinct sharpness and honed in attention to the sounds with incidental sound at a minimum. To imagine the ratio of included material to discarded would be radically lopsided, then the speculated time to prepare the base material for the concept is a remarkable feat only made reasonable by digital recording. To merely quote Yonodera’s sample list: “Songs of migratory birds that come to a big lake only in winter, the sound of breaking ice, frozen on a lake, the peal of huge bells in a temple, voices in prayer to the Buddha, footsteps in the subway, on the ground, made by coming and going people, machine sounds at a construction site, rain flowing into a steel pipe with a hard sound, the oscillation sound of rubbing iron which was recorded through a contact mic set on steel, the conversation of people walking in the city, noise of vehicles and trucks, kids voices from an elementary school, and so on” Or Celer’s samples: “rain on our doorstep, water draining into the gutter, cars passing on wet and slippery streets, people walking on their way home from work, talking in an airport baggage claim, crosswalks, airliners flying over, taxi rides, riding bikes through traffic, conversations in restaurants, the Metro Link train in Los Angeles, and walking on quiet streets.”
All held together by wavering tones and drones which sing at times, as if all the samples had been dropped into a Tibetan singing bowl, which infused all things its resonant tendency. In doing so it links together a causal chain that joins the cities together and weaves the incidentals into a coherent story. Or rather four tracks of discrete snapshots of this imagined home remotely gathered and fused with Onodera’s electronics, guitar, violin, piano and musical box along with Celer’s mixing board, cello, violin, piano, theremin, electronics and ocarina. The instruments often so removed from their normative practice as to become indistinguishable from the bustle of the imaginary city. They are fused together by a strange alchemy that throws them into the unknown everyday beauty as this collaboration gently rescues the everyday from its seemly monotony and creates a meditative tableau of radiance. The mastering of Taylor Dupree is a distinct part of the beauty, it heightens the sublime attaching an immediacy and weight to strong impulses that challenge the psyche and holds back to let the weave of sounds be the focal point at other times. It is a very impressive debut to a label, an arresting ambient album of crisp field recordings and immaculate drones, it weaves the thread of beauty through the everyday and widens our sense of the real. The title of the last track sums up the inclination and achievement of the album, ‘A renewed sense of Home’.