Release date: 8/13/21
1 Melancholy Movement
2 The Suggestion Of A Loss
3 Fog, At Least, Is Left
4 Kept It Near Me, Only Afterwards
5 Melancholy Movement II
6 Days Before The Change
7 The Rue Des Eglantiers As A Pillow
8 Melancholy Movement III
9 In The Intimate Hours
10 Directed By The Stars
11 After All Time
12 Precious Past Hours
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.
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.
I saw rainbows from under the bridge by the river, and the sun shot up through the clouds of the golden hour. It didn’t help, and there was no one around. Your chest is even with your knees, and you’re sitting in the dirt. The sun keeps going down, and eventually you make your way home. It’s not very much the same as it was anymore. The horns are deafening, but after, the echoes let me see the way away.
The light keeps coming, and it keeps going. Songs of surroundings, the silent, the heartbeats, the tears. We’ve all had them, and we’ll never be rid of them.
All music and photography by Will Long, Recorded in April – May 2020.
Monochrome printed, matte laminate and embossed sleeve, insert card
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.
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.
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.
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.