Originally released back in 2006 Scols was the second album from one-man US ambient project Celer- Will Long, who now resides in Japan. It’s a nine-track affair that brings together a selection of drone works that move between gloomy spectral to simmering bleak. Here on Long’s own label, Two Acorns is a recent reissue of the album featuring a remastering by Stephan Mathieu- the reissue is available as either a CD or digital download- we’re reviewing the DL- so can’t comment on the CD’s packaging
I think I first became aware of Celer’s work ten or so years back, and have always enjoyed what I’d heard- I’d not heard the Scols release before, and I must say it’s a lot more overtly stark & forlorn compared to his later work- that utilized slightly brighter tones & field recording details. Most of the nine tracks here are based around repetitively tolling and droning loops, I guess you can hear some comparison to the likes of William Basinski and Star of Lids – but the tone is a lot more glum, troubled, and creepy.
Each of the albums nine tracks runs between six and twelve minutes- we open with one of the longer & somewhat more positive tracks on the release “ Archival footage of only the lost and forgotten” here we find a slowly circular sweep and glide of a simmer amassed string tone & a lightly warming warbling element- this felt like a more slowed & regal take on something you might have expected to hear on Stars Of The Lid’s 2001 album The Tired Sounds of….. From here on things turn a lot less bright & lightly glowing- we go from simmer & sinister spectral drift of “Municipally, I let it slip”, which at times has a grim almost dungeon ambient feel about it. Onto the foreboding creepy organ meets gloomy gliding & hovering string loops of “Peers and pulses”, though to the malevolent almost metallic tinged post-industrial cold ambience of “Thoughts ultimately of consciousness”. With the album finishing off with the locked angular harmonic meets gently coldly jangling hover of “And rejected as ours will be”.
On the whole, Scols isn’t as approachable & instantly appealing as some of Long’s work- but each track is well-realized & composed, and if you in the mood for grimmer & gloomy drone matter I’d say this will hit that glum spot.