Archive for January, 2013

Diving Into the Plasma Pool is the final edition of the black vinyl series I started in 2011. After 5 editions, the series finally comes to a close now. Some copies of Relief and Altruism (V3) and An Immensity Merely To Save Life (V4) are still available. If you are interested in a copy of V3-V5, please find them available on my Floor Sugar site or the Celer Bandcamp page.

Thank you for your support of this series!

One of Will Long’s most delightfully active releases to date, Epicentral Examples employs all manner of sound effects–cavernous reverb, rewinding tape, snippets of old-time film dialogue and natural field recordings–to adorn its otherwise typical glaciers of amorphous drone. Of course, where Celer is concerned, “otherwise typical” is still better than a lot of what we’re hearing from today’s ambient artists; even better is the loving care Long clearly puts into each new release, given the sheer number of them he puts out each month year. Epicentral Examples has enough yawning chasms to satisfy longtime fans, but it also features plenty of other elements which make it a great place to start for those new to Celer’s music.


Seashore isn’t just music for the shoreline. In front of the tiny, broken shells and the rubbery, inked strands of jet-black seaweed, the single can be seen shining a vivid image of sunny suburbia, awash with special, sun-kissed moments that have spent years developing a healthy tan of happiness, a beautiful bronze that, with the passing of the years, reveals itself fully. Oh, Yoko, the duo responsible for extracting this state of mind, comprises of Rie Mitsutake (Miko), and Will Long (Celer). Seashore is music for closed eyes, for deepening thoughts of cloudless appreciation, descending over the record and covering the seascape imagery as it does so.

The duo have a long history when it comes to solo releases, and luckily for us they’re not ones to rest for too long a period. Their music together as Oh, Yoko is a subtle departure when considering their individual, stylistic output, and as a result, Seashorecan be viewed as a separate entity, musically universal only in its lovely, docile appearance and innocent nature. Shimmering as if arriving on the outskirts of a vague dream, the music on this three-track-single rejuvenates the air and dispels the space of January blues, and turns a new year slump into a soothing, thankful shower, where you just can’t help but smile. In fact, a decent way to describe Seashore would be with the frequently used smiley emoticon; =)

Eyes closed may be the most effective way to experience Seashore (it’s strange to think that with our eyes closed, we frequently see clear). Seashore contains such revelations; that, on the surface, things are never as bad as we perceive them to be. The music is capable of influencing our perception and outlook, transforming negative into positive. Music that can achieve this – and only as a single- is very potent. It has all the accessibility of light pop, but never compromises itself with the resulting quality (unlike pop.) The duo behind Oh, Yoko are musical heroes who know how to pour the perfect dose of affectionate piano, introverted guitar, light ambient and even lighter electronics like a cool drink, complete with ice, on a scorching day. They also know how to hold all of these elements together in a subtle interplay, fluid and uncluttered, and they also know when enough is enough; put them all together and Seashore is an affectionate debut sprinkled with a dabble of ambient pixie-dust.

Away from the beach, a feathery atmosphere invites a deepening piano, and Mitsutake’s hush of a vocal caresses a pillow-soft, protective melody that seems to drift endlessly. In this sleepy suburb, the patter of paws and the meows of a cat arrive on the air, either along the street or right beside our feet. A quiet mid-afternoon is in store, a seven-minute meditation during the day to rewind, relax and recuperate. All the music really desires is some affection, like a much needed hug after one of those days.

Trees sway in the breeze, and the full scent of optimism and promise is a close excitement. The instrumental B-Side, mixed by Terre Thaemlitz, adds a slightly restless ambient layer on top, perhaps tinted with a quick flicker of everyday stress, but it isn’t enough to dissuade the peace from entering the atmosphere. It’s an afternoon spent at home on a sleepy day.

Against the constant push and pull of the tide, the piano’s features are slowly rubbed away until the notes are submerged under only a trickle of warm, turquoise water. The sound of Seagulls circle a harbour overhead, only to coast further inland – perhaps into the very same suburbs. Landing beside the birds, a breezy guitar melody shrouded in a rosy light. Passing notes repeat the distance of an interval, like the sirens of police cars driving past in the street, but even this can’t erase the stillness of a tranquil day-dream, an outlet for peace to descend in a quiet, Japanese suburb.

DJ Sprinkles closes the single, dressing up the track for the approaching evening with a sparkling, electronic beat and a delicious atmosphere of love surrounded. The atmosphere remains in a stratosphere of unfading optimism; the music is medicine. Tranquil, undemanding and introverted, Seashore is a beautiful introduction to a new team completely at home in their natural environment. Oh, Yoko are practically telling us to trust life a little more, and enjoy it. Everything’s gonna be alright; it’s as sure as the rhythm of the tide. Seashore is a lovely delight of polite positivity. Open your eyes and smile.


Although not as indiscriminate as is denoted by the term, I am often a completist when it comes to collecting the works of selected authors and musicians.  Yet, I would be hard-pressed, given his massive output of creative work, to even begin to collect all the music of Will Long in the guise of Celer.  By now, I probably have a dozen or so of Celer’s recordings, but if I had to recommend one and only one recent work, it might just be this almost mystical and entrancing album.   I’m also drawn to this release since it fulfills one of the most significant inspirations for why I listen to music—it takes me somewhere, and the images and sensations are vivid.

This is the third work in a trilogy based on water (to some, water symbolizes comfort and freedom).  The two previous albums are Cursory Asperses (2008) and Escaping Lakes (2009)—the former alluding to the slow movements of small streams and the latter to the calmer depths.  The music on this album being inspired in part by Will’s trip to southern Alberta in 2009 (documenting the wilderness in photographs for a local Park Service).

Without Retrospect, the Morning is different from the first two in the series in that it has distinct tracks (versus a continuous thread of sound) and it captures water (or the sense of it) in a different state—a chilled desolation, at times at the edge of an existence where the potential energy is stored and released ever so sparingly in a landscape yearning for Sun and warmth.  It’s therefore appropriate that this album landed at the Glacial Movements record label, a self-proclaimed “glacial and isolationist ambient” label.  I also appreciate that the recording has been mastered with a softness that retains the intricate clarity of the many layers of sound buried in the crystalline strata (to heck with the loudness wars!).  There are also hidden sonic depths, and some passages might be felt before they are heard (as in Dry and Disconsolate).

A lateral effect of this CD is that it triggers (for me) some pleasant, albeit quirky, sonic memories from long ago.  I’m a fan of the original 1960s Star Trek.  There was some great incidental music and ambient sounds used in that series that, to my ears, are recalled in a track like Distance and Mortality (see if you hear the resonance of the wind from the pilot episode, The Menagerie or the sound of the transporter beam).

So find a quiet room, bundle-up, get comfortable, and explore stunning breadth of this vast hyperborean landscape.  Just remember to turn the volume back down on your amplifier before you change the sources on your preamp or pop-in another CD.


If names were reflective of personality traits, would the world be a better place? Shakespeare argued the idea, but it’d be nice to have some advanced warning system when dealing with a person or institution. It’s the beauty of Lightness and Irresponsibility, another posthumous beauty from Celer. It dares not tread in any territory not in line with the album’s on-point focus, two long-form meditations rarely raising their voice. There is no discipline or consequence to these compositions, just a life at its most carefree. As douchebag CEOs rig the stock market and two-faced politicians further divide America for ill-gotten gains, it’s comforting to forget the sadness surrounding Celer and focus on those lighthearted moments of youth. It’s not nostalgia but a moment in time frozen, forever providing the calm center we need in a world of mislabeled sycophants.


Celer has always been an artist who can effortlessly dream up evocative drones and a deep-thought style of ambient introspection. Always refreshing, always vividly alive and constantly absorbing into the very atmosphere, Will Long’s music touches upon phantom shades and faint degrees, almost to the point of aural invisibility. Without Retrospect, the Morning, is no different than that of Long’s multiple releases, in that it is ambient music of the highest caliber, and yet it is a departure, for it contains his coldest music to date.

Created in 2009 while Long was working as a photographer in South Alberta, Canada, Without Retrospect, the Morning is cold to the touch, and just slightly under a sub zero temperature, but the diluted light saves it from becoming an icy tundra of drone. The early morning – late sunset sound was primarily recorded using two Sony Tapecorder open reels, an endless delay system and contact microphones, resulting in an unrivaled organic purity and depth. The weak light, and the quiet still of Winter, can be seen reflecting off sharp, crystal drones, as light as a white-whispered cloud sent up into the cold air, and Long’s stark crystals of ice are lightly glazed with a smooth flowing current of ambient air. “A Small Rush Into Exile” glows an almost eerie colour against the rising sun, silently transforming as strands of notes slowly rise up and over the crystal.

These drones are like shards of ice that have broken off and become displaced, removed from an original, wider structure. Will Long has been active enough for long enough to have perfected his source and his sound, and the inner musical momentum within the seven tracks is just right. The music almost seems to pour from concealed cracks in the ice, creeping out of the recording process in thin, cool channels that are able to warm their cold blood in the sun. Sub bass frequencies deepen the tone, as if pulled under a flurry of powdered, soft snow; this is the beautiful contrast, the deeper shell of clinking ice and the ethereal air above it. For the most part, the arrival of the bass is non-intrusive, instead of influencing the warmer air and dragging it downwards. The pure transparency of the drones offer plenty of temperate warmth and help to subdue any rough daggers of ice that may remain, glowing defiantly in dynamic swells in beautiful contours. Raise the atmosphere, if not the temperature, and this is due to the dimmed volume throughout the record, which only rises an inch above the white.

A gorgeous cover complements the clarity of the music – seeing the cover art is enough to produce shivers down the spine. Long’s restrained technique helps to focus in on the miniscule, where the true alterations occur; it is inside the tone, and its constant change, that really separates ambient musicians, and turns the music into a true art-form. These seven pieces don’t stray far from their source – there isn’t enough energy inside – yet they are always allowed the capacity to evolve at their own pace if they should wish to do so. The music is without a companion; the only survivor amid a solitary stretch of snow and ice, awakening to the fragile light of dawn.

Finally, “With Some Effort, the Sunset” emerges, shining above all of the previous six tracks, as vapour rises and the light descends. A lower frequency is more prominent, perhaps as the force of the sunset, quietly cooling and returning to what has been, fading for another day.

Celer’s music is in plentiful suppy, but ambience as smooth and as thoughtful as this is very difficult to find. One it is found, it’s a sound we should treasure, and it ensures that Without Retrospect, the Morning is a stand-out release in an amazing discography. A shushed drift, the drone is only a thin slice of ice, lit by the morning, cool in her departure and born again on her rising.


New free release from the basic_sounds label.

Press release:

basic_sounds is honoured to host something out of the ordinary by prolific American composer, Will Thomas Long (aka Celer). Now located in Japan, Will delivers Luxury Centrean 11 day installation outside the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. The piece took place inside the interior of the Nagagin Capsule Tower (a sample capsule designed by Kisho Kurokawa) as part of the Metabolism: The City of the Future – Dream and Visions of Reconstruction in Pastwar and Present-Day Japan.

Hidden inside the cabinets of the capsule walls, the music was created from a 1963 edition of Johann Sebastian Bach on reel-to-reel tape, cut into sections at random, and then looped on an endless-delay system between 3 reel-to-reel machines, each loop lasting for one whole day.

The manipulated looping is chillingly beautiful while creating an eerie sense of past. Luxury Centre is one of Will’s more accessible albums to listen to musically, but will trigger your psyche in unusual and haunting ways.