Format: 2CD
Label: Comatonse Recordings
Catalog: C.026.CD
Release date: 9/26/16

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Track list:

Disc 1:

  1. Time Has Come 10’00”
  2. Chumps 12’18”
  3. Under-Currents 9’36”
  4. Get In & Stay In 9’57”
  5. Pigs 10’54”
  6. Daylight & Dark 11’28”
  7. That’s What They Understand 10’27”

Disc 2:

  1. Time Has Come (Sprinkles Overdub) 10’00”
  2. Chumps (Sprinkles Overdub) 13’03”
  3. Under-Currents (Sprinkles Overdub) 11’04”
  4. Get In & Stay In (Sprinkles Overdub) 9’57”
  5. Pigs (Sprinkles Overdub) 10’54”
  6. Daylight & Dark (Sprinkles Overdub) 11’24”
  7. That’s What They Understand (Sprinkles Overdub) 10’27”


Press text:
We live in an era when ‘change’ is a soundbite to sell more of the same old ideas, and ‘revolution’ has more to do with social trends than social transformation. Will Long’s deep house debut on Comatonse Recordings examines that pack of lies dubbed ‘change’ from the sweaty dancefloor, sounding the aftermath of failure around attempts at equality in ‘progressive’ societies. Made with a simple setup of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords, and rack sampler vocals, these tracks have a minimal rawness that contends we’ve been wrong the whole time about how far the US – and the world – has come. Although these tracks are sonically unlike anything Long has produced as Celer or his other aliases for minimal and ambient experimental audio, they share a stripped-yet-full sound that reacts against overproduction – within the dance music industry, and societies at large. Each track is accompanied by an overdub from DJ Sprinkles, and the packaging features illustrations by Tsuji Aiko.

Available as:

  • 2CD edition with foldout poster



Press reviews:

Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long’s original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles’ versions.

As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.

Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll hear in 2016, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.

Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.

The beautifully absorbing results – which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work – are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.

To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.

It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.

Massively recommended.

After a number of years listening to Celer’s slow, expansive take on ambient and drone sounds, I would have never expected Will Long to suddenly start making house music.  But he has, in a series of three double 12” singles (and compiled into a double CD compilation), and it only takes a few minutes to realize that it is actually a very good combination.  Even with the addition of drum machines, Long’s knack for creating warm, inviting spaces of electronic music is still vividly on display, and with some assistance from ambient legend Terre Thaemlitz (under the DJ Sprinkles guise), it may be heralding an entirely new direction in his work.

Through my own personal contact with Will Long, I was aware that he had a strong interest in house music and its various permutations for a number of years, and after thinking about it briefly, the amalgamation of the two styles makes perfect sense.  Both are electronic-centric genres that strive to do a lot with very little as far as instrumentation goes, so joining the two is not as bizarre of a thought as it may seem.

In fact, the first few minutes of the opening “Time Has Come” establishes this:  the light electronic drone that defines many Celer releases appears shaped into an organ-like passage that fits the house style, married to intentionally stiff, synthetic Roland drum machine beats.  With samples of Civil Rights era speeches peppered throughout, the mood and sound is as fitting for 2016 as it would have been in 1986, albeit with Long at the command, the pace is more pensive and the mix is more intentionally skeletal.

These elements recur throughout the seven pieces on disc one.  “Get in and Stay in” is more of a beat focused song, first a taut, stiff mass of hi-hat programming, and then a heavy kick leads the way, being more of the primary focus as the Celer-like drifting electronics surround the song in a warm, inviting haze.  The latter half of “Under-Currents” especially embraces the beat, most explicitly via clinically sharp handclaps that cut through the mix wonderfully.

Each song features an overdubbed (not remixed or reworked) version by Terre Thaemlitz, using the DJ Sprinkles moniker that has been used primarily for dance and DJ related performances.  Thaemlitz’s presence is perfectly fitting, being another artist who is well known for first a rich career in electronic ambient music, who then began to implement more in the way of conventional beats and rhythms under a different name.

The distinction between overdubbed and remixed is an important one, because Sprinkles mostly just adds elements to Long’s original recordings and minor production tricks.  For example, “Time Has Come” has a slightly more bass-heavy presence, and the addition of a pulsating synth bassline throughout.  “Daylight and Dark” has some treated hi-hat sounds and additional layers of sequenced synthesizer, and eventually a denser reverb sheen later on.  The most dramatic addition from Sparkles is on “Under-Currents”:  an additional drum loop appears right at first and stays throughout, as more electronics and layering make for a richer, more dance floor oriented performance that is a bit more distinct from Long’s original, but still retains its essential elements.

Even with the addition of beats, Will Long’s music is a bit too subtle and delicate to be fully club ready.  Not that this is a shortcoming by any means, it is exactly what makes the music stand out.  The overdubs by DJ Sprinkles/Terre Thaemlitz maybe push the recordings a bit more towards the dance floor, but the sound is much more intimate and cerebral, making it best enjoyed in quiet, intimate settings, rather than in a loud, thumping context that would obscure the delicate beauty of these works.

Non sorprende trovarsi davanti al monumentale lavoro di Will Long e constatare la disarmante semplicità con la quale la sua musica riesce a scavare veri e propri solchi nell’anima. Beat dopo beat, con la sola forza del suo essere House. Long Trax viene pubblicato dalla Comatose Recordings di Terre Thaemlitz aka Dj Sprinkles in una preziosa raccolta in doppio CD o diviso su sette vinili contenuti in tre separate uscite, tutte in edizione limitata con le cover illustrate da Tsuji Aiko.

“Ho sempre amato l’House music, ed in questo momento posso dire che questo suono rappresenta molti aspetti della mia attuale esistenza, perché storicamente  si lega a molti avvenimenti sociali che sento vicini. Dove l’ambient o la musica sperimentale sono ascoltati in luoghi solitari, la musica dance è assorbita invece all’interno di clubs affollati, e questo è molto interessante per me adesso. Ora penso che molte delle cose che volevo comunicare attraverso la musica non funzionavano bene con l’ambient o la sperimentazione, o forse sono semplicemente cambiato dopo dieci anni produzioni ambient.”

Nato nel 1980 nel Mississippi, William Thomas Long ha cominciato a produrre musica ambient e sperimentale dopo gli studi di filosofia e giornalismo, trasferendosi prima in California e successivamente in Indonesia e Giappone, paese nel quale risiede e sembra aver trovato stabilità.

“Il tamburo è stato il primo vero strumento che abbia suonato, ho iniziato a produrre House music poco prima della nascita di mia figlia, ed ho potuto osservarla mentre imparava a seguire il ritmo ed a divertirsi con questo durante gli ultimi due anni. Non c’è nulla di sperimentale in tal proposito, ed è una cosa che mi piacerebbe continuare a fare.”

E’ bene lasciare da parte ogni artificio, concentrarsi sull’essenziale e lasciar partire questi sette lunghissimi brani nei quali pochissimi elementi riescono a costruire un viaggio unico ed estremamente profondo. Un suono che varia in piccoli anfratti quasi impercettibili e che se visto con distacco non rende la sua grandezza.
Il groove è catturato nella sua essenza, in un battito costante che non fa riferimento a nessun retaggio funk o disco, è metronomico, lineare ma allo stesso tempo caldo ed avvolgente grazie a quelle spire si synth che sembrano far poggiare le strutture ritmiche su un materasso avvolto di seta ed a quei sample vocali che rendono eteree anche le sfumature più terrene.

Non è distante, per certi versi, il suo passato nel progetto Celer, quell’attitudine malinconica nella stesura delle melodie è qui esaltata dalla fusione con il ritmo ma è pur sempre vicina all’ambient. E’ dance espressa come fermo immagine di una mente intenta nell’atto di ballare, sensazioni e pensieri di chi vive il dancefloor come passo che vada oltre il crudo divertimento.

“L’estetica minimale che puoi riscontrare non è assolutamente intenzionale come potrebbe sembrare. Faccio uso di un setup veramente basic e credo che sia più giusto preservare l’integrità nuda e cruda degli strumenti che utilizzo piuttosto che saturare la musica con strati di plugin o effetti senz’anima. Anche molta della musica ambient che ho prodotto in passato è stata registrata seguendo questo modus operandi. Inoltre, se provate ad ascoltare alcuni brani house classici, noterete che questi sono veramente semplici e fatti con pochissimi elementi. A mio modo di vedere, questo è lontano dal concetto di minimalismo, è anzi un focus sulla ricchezza delle strutture.”

Infonde ipnosi, calore e passione, perché nel suo disegno complessivo sembra fondersi in un’unica soundtrack che lascia immaginare la notte, il sudore caldo, gli spazi chiusi e fumosi e il movimento filtrato attraverso i frames di una bianca luce stroboscopica. Per ognuno dei sette brani, Dj Sprinkles confeziona la rispettiva overdub, versioni vicine alle stesure originali in quasi tutti i casi, e che nello specifico aggiungono quel tocco di calore concentrato sui bassi, su soluzioni armoniche dub e su una serie di rifiniture ritmiche attuate attraverso l’utilizzo di percussioni, tamburi e piattini vari. Un lavoro che arricchisce il dettaglio e solidifica questi battiti andando a completare un album House la cui bellezza cristallina non potrà non farvi innamorare. Ascoltarlo sarà immedesimarsi in un mantra ritmico nel quale poter riflettere, ricordare, progettare il futuro o semplicemente abbandonarsi al ballo.

“Parte tutto dalla voce, sulla quale costruisco poi ritmo ed accordi. Ho lavorato ad ogni brano come se fosse un singolo, non pensavo all’album nel momento in cui ho iniziato, ed inoltre adoro i brani che sanno stare in piedi da soli. Seguendo questo approccio non sento il bisogno di reinventarmi costantemente od avere il vincolo di cambiare ogni volta che inizio un lavoro. Tendo a considerare tutto questo come una semplice e continua evoluzione dei temi che sto affrontando.”

E’ un lavoro importante per l’House, perché affronta il tema della dance seguendone il modus operandi originario e guardando il tutto con gli occhi di chi inevitabilmente vive, assorbe e prova a decodificare il mondo durante questi difficili anni.

Will Long seemed to spring from nowhere when he released a trio of the year’s best house EPs – all of which are collected on Long Trax – without any fanfare. In fact he’s been active for years, producing billowing drones under a variety of monikers, the most acclaimed of which is Celer. His move into deep house territory is as apt as it is surprising, and is perfectly positioned on Terre Thaemlitz’s reliable Comatonse imprint. Thaemlitz even takes the time to add her own personal touches, as DJ Sprinkles, to each track, padding out Long’s euphoric, minimal compositions with her unmistakable square wave bass lines and clipped percussive elements. But it’s Long’s originals that have the biggest impact – while the DJ Sprinkles edits work perfectly in a club setting, his tracks are masterfully restrained, the incremental changes only making sense after repeat listens. It’s serious lights-down, eyes-shut material that recalls another era of deep house – nobody mention Disclosure.

Resident Advisor
“One of the lies that we tell ourselves is that we’re making progress.” That’s a quote from black activist H. Rap Brown, whose voice echoes throughout “Chumps,” where solemn pads hang so thick in the air that it’s easy to forget the beat underneath. Will Long’s first release for Comatonse, a three-part trilogy called Long Trax, is a requiem for change, mourning missed opportunities by returning to familiar ideas.

According to the label, run by Terre Thaemlitz, Long Trax“examines that pack of lies dubbed ‘change’ from the sweaty dance floor.” Appropriately for a record of that disposition, Long sticks to the basics: drum machines, synths and vocal samples. It’s subtle house music that often sounds more funereal than celebratory, a faint shadow of the spirit the genre often represents.

Long, who lives in Tokyo, is better known as the ambient producer Celer. That explains at least part of his approach to house music, which is slow and patient. It sounds like Thaemlitz is an influence, too. You could easily mistake the wounded rhythms and weary vocals of “Time Has Come” for DJ Sprinkles, who contributes “overdub” versions of every song.

Long Trax features seven of Long’s originals and seven Sprinkles overdubs. Long’s originals inhabit a lonely, forlorn world. The beats vary in speed and style, and drums are rarely the focal point. Voices bellow over endless expanses, while the synths sigh in resignation, layered like his ambient productions. More than an hour long, the first disc ofLong Trax is a meditative listen.

The overdubs ranges from tweaked versions to surprising overhauls. To the melancholy at the heart of “Time Has Come,” Thaemlitz adds one of her signature descending basslines, amplifying both its dour mood and its dance floor utility. She puts a sputtering breakbeat below “Under-Currents,” turning it from a moody murmur into something more hopeful. Her shades of optimism provide rich contrast to Long’s solemnity.

Thaemlitz is a fan of Long—she picked his Simultaneity as one of her favourite albums of this year—and she helps draw out his talent in house music that’s as engaging as his other work. His solemn grooves are universally poignant. It’s music you can take solace in, commiserate with, or find joy in. Long Trax bares itself with an emotional honesty that feels necessary—not just in the context of dance music’s social climate, but also at the end of an incredibly demoralizing year.