Much like the rest of Celer’s insanely impressive body of work, Coral Sea’s ambient loops of bliss are sober and bittersweet evocations, longing for what could’ve been, its images washed in the rain of yesterday. Coral Sea is a forty-minute longform piece and was originally released back in 2018, and it’s now been given a physical release via Two Acorns. It’s another release from the prolific Will Long, and it’s one of his best.
Celer’s ambient music feels like a trip; it’s got substance, with both positive and negative episodes and events shading and lighting up the music. Life is like that, and its music has spent a long time travelling, weary but still able to find the good within, prospecting for love and kindness as if it were precious gold or searching the silt for a glimmer of a diamond, seeking it out in unlikely places, and finding residues of kindness in a narcissistic era.
Coral Sea strikes an optimistic tone, but it’s also deeply painful in its personal want of a better world, a different, parallel timeline where things worked out and nothing was a struggle. When he’s at the top of his game, no one else comes close to rivalling Long’s ambient music (not that it’s a competition), both in the hazy, clouded tones, which, over the years, have remained remarkably consistent – you can instantly tell his music apart from others, the sound leaving behind a personality, a scent, and a tonal signature – and in the unhurried unspooling of the music. There isn’t anything vastly different on Coral Sea, but like the sea air, it’s still able to knock the listener out, and, like much of his ambient output, the long, drawn-out drones, which never wear themselves out, feel somewhat tired and jaded, as if coming into port after a long voyage.
To a great extent, this is the sound of life, its worn loops echoing with experience and heartbreak. But there’s nothing salty in the music, no bitterness or other negative feelings underneath it all; they’ve been swept away, the tide doing its job in cleansing the soul as well as its mortal cocoon of bones in which it resides. Life is turbulent, subject to stormy weather, much like the sudden maw of a huge wave, or the absence of still water and baby whitecaps during a particularly bad season. It isn’t predictable and it doesn’t run to a schedule. This is the way of things, and Celer’s music is ready and willing to embrace transience. It’s different to most others in the ambient field in that it looks inward, going to deeper levels of the self and encouraging introspection (which fits ambient perfectly). Introspection and ambient music are a perfect marriage – it’s not anything new, of course, but there are deeper, textured layers within the sound, slipping out of the subconscious and somehow imprinting itself on the music.
The loop is fluid and bright, and so are the thoughts, which sail along like passing clouds, like passengers in the sky. The music soaks into the surroundings. Although there’s little in the way of development, it’s hardly a criticism or even an issue, as it never feels stationary or stagnant. Put this on a 10-hour loop and it will still sound fresh. The drones are in motion, looking out at vast seas and silent rivers below, the wings gently adjusting as it nears descent.
Will Long’s music feels like it’s able to float serenely on, with no indication of interference or alarm. Repetition is the key, but Coral Sea isn’t repetitive in the negative sense; the music has a solid foundation because it’s built on the repetition of its loop. Like the sea itself, where so little has been explored and there’s so much we don’t yet know, Coral Sea is an infinite expanse, with no end in sight.
‘Noise is coming from every direction. Backseat tvs flicker, and shuffling sounds fill the spectrum. Light glimmers from the windows, and only a few of us look out. I’m consumed by everything (else) and it all seems overwhelming. I’m outraged by the extending evils, their smiles filling my consciousness. It’s not good enough to be a bystander. I won’t make those mistakes. I will try. But what, do you give? Below, there are tiny islands passing by. They appear for minutes, and disappear. So will this noise, and us’.