Format: CD
Label: Room40
Catalog: RM4233
Release date: 3/15/24

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Track list:
1 Natatorial Swings
2 The Languid Progency Of Low-Flying Birds
3 A Soupçon Of Self-Doubt In A Pannus Cloud
4 Superannuated Blinks Of A Otherwise Forgotten Pond
5 The Peregrine Birders Of Phantom Forests
6 Laggardly Filling In The Past
7 The Impotence Of Decelerated Self-Importance
8 Epigone Bygones

Release description:
Recorded in 2007 and 2008, Cursory Asperses was created with cassette tape recordings of water sounds from various rivers, streams, lakes, beaches, and pools, combined with direct to tape instrument recordings from synthesizers, an organ, cello, piano, and bowed instruments.

Instead of traditionally mixing these, at the time we were interested in
software, using free Mac OS Classic programs such as Audiosculpt and
Soundhack. Before we had a DAW, before VSTs, we used non-realtime
convolution processing through software, using the water recordings as an impulse for the instrument sounds. The instrument sounds were
“arranged” (by adding silence before, during, or after) in layered, visual
swathes, to create an audio interpretation of the movement of water and waves, slowly evolving and shifting, for a meditation on deep and focused listening. Opposed to passivity, where sounds become lost in distant tones and layers upon layers are misinterpreted as single, meaningless tones.

Or, it’s just as meaningless as the passing of water, the flow of rivers – the crashes of sparkling ocean waves, all those sounds that we recognize. The tones are unpolished, left in their fuzzy form, with the high noise crushed into the deep. Behind the swells, and under the depths is a longing, or a lack thereof. It’s passing by, no different than it was years before.

Press reviews:

It has been a while since I heard from Celer (Will Long): the last album mentioned here was Xièxie (2019), but there were quite a few releases after that – most of them self-released. Still, the latest album release (mentioned on Discogs) was from 2021, so from there to 2024 seems quite a long time of silence for someone boasting no less than 196 album releases since 2006. (If I’m correct in doing the math, there has been a monthly Celer release on average between 2006 and 2023!!)

Cursory Asperses is not a new album: it was recorded from 2007 and 2008, when Celer still was a duo formed by Will Long and his wife Danielle Baquet – who tragically died of heart failure in 2009, only 27 years old. It was previously released in 2008 on Slow Flow Rec in Japan, it probably was hard to find then. So here’s another chance with this re-release on Room40.

The music once again demonstrates the strength of this duo, whose work ‘went on to become a blueprint for an approach to sound that was equal parts patient, generous and drifting.’
It may be hardly noticeable in the end result, but the music on Cursory Asperses was created from ‘cassette tape recordings of water sounds from various rivers, streams, lakes, beaches, and pools, combined with direct-to-tape instrument recordings from synthesizers, an organ, cello, piano, and bowed instruments’. You will hear no sound of water at all, because the water recordings ‘were used as an impulse for the instrument sounds.’
As a result, the music floats like the water it was derived from: ‘passing by, no different than it was years before’.

Vital Weekly
White text on yellow; a recipe for disaster. I couldn’t make a single word here. Luckily, a press text informs that this is a reissue of an album originally released in 2008 on the Slow Flow Rec label. The music was recorded when Celer was a duo of Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long, who passed away in 2009. It’s a release from the days when they were very active with releases, and I reviewed quite a few of them. Browsing old reviews for Celer, I learned I quickly used them as a point of reference, quite an accomplishment, I think. I reviewed ‘Cursory Asperses’ in Vital Weekly 668:
“Another release comes from the active forces of Celer, the duo of Will Thomas Long and Danielle Baquet-Long. One that lasts an hour and that has one track, ‘Cursory Asperses (in 8 Parts)’, but all eight parts get a title. Why not index the release at those eight tracks in a continuous mode? Perhaps there is logic there somewhere. This new piece(s) is based ‘around the single concept of slow movement’, which is true. Perhaps it’s so slow that I didn’t detect eight different pieces on this release, or maybe that was never the idea. It is built from field recordings, such as an isolated stream in the woods and the laundry hanging on cords in the backyard; Celer crafts once again a piece of high and mighty music based in the world of drone music, deep and atmospheric. It’s hard to see the difference between their previous works or, from a larger perspective, the world of drone music. ‘Cursory Asperses’ is an excellent work, but without many surprises.” (some language is now corrected)
Oddly, today, I hear them as individual pieces of music. Still, perhaps it helps there are now eight track titles (also listed on Discogs on the original release, but I no longer recall how that was on the original cover). The information with the current version tells us (I am not unsure if I knew this with the original release, or if I was assuming all that I wrote that old review) about cassette recordings on rivers, streams, and lakes along with synthesiser, organ, cello, piano and bowed instruments, along with free software; way before using DAW and VSTs, they used ‘non-realtime convolution processing’, using the water recordings as an impulse for instrument recordings. Had I not known this, I would have easily written something like max/MSP or time-stretching software. The music is very much Celer of that time, but also, as we still know, Will Long’s solo work. It is very spacious music, minimal development, and is best enjoyed on a medium volume level, filling up your space without being too much of a presence. Ambient might be the word I am looking for.

Musique Machine
Celer, ambient project of Will Long, has had dozens of releases throughout the years, exploring a dream-like realm of faint glimmering resonances, slowly unfolding air textures and semi-melodic drones, generally resulting in a peaceful but somewhat melancholy state of embryonic stasis.  I have enjoyed many of his recordings in the past.

Cursory Asperses was originally released on Slow Flow Rec in 2008, part of the original run of music from 2005-2009 when Celer was a husband/wife duo, before the death of Will’s wife Danielle in 2009.  This new re-issue on Room040 is apparently remastered, and indeed sounds bolder, clearer and more present than what I remember of most of Celer’s releases from the time.  I have never heard the original version of this release, though, as this project is one of the most prolific around, releasing five or more albums in a single year, and this particular release never crossed my path back in the day.

It is similar to Italian artist Oophoi in the sense of operating within the timbral realm of singing bowls and whistling wind.  However, at least on this recording, it is less minimal, moving through many variations which seem charged with hints of melody, as if keyboard performances are occurring far in the distance, but only the faintest colourful echoes are heard.  Surrealist titles like “A Soupçon of Self-doubt in a Pannus Cloud” match perfectly with this mood.

It is perfect music for sleeping, with the soft uniformity of its muted drones, but is never boring to focus on, either, as with its improvisatory nature, nothing exactly repeats.  The sound is filled with a surprising amount of emotional content for being so heavily filtered and processed.

This record is certainly classic Celer, and this re-issue is a great way to hear it.  This project has an undoubtedly original style, and despite the sheer number of releases created, I have never felt the quality suffered or that the music ceased to be interesting.  It is all part of an ongoing, flowing train of thought emerging from Will’s improvisatory process.  The image it has painted is now massive in scale.  As time goes on, I hope this project is recognized for its quality.