Label: Glacial Movements
Release date: 12/3/12
Out of print
1 Holdings Of Electronic Lifts
2 A Small Rush Into Exile
3 Dry And Disconsolate
4 Variorum Of Hierophany
5 A Landscape Once Uniformly White
6 Distance And Mortality
7 With Some Effort, The Sunset
In the winter of 2009, I spent two months living and working a short-term job in photography and surveying in South Alberta, Canada. Aside from the job, it gave me the opportunity to work further on Without Retrospect, the Morning, the final part of the water-themed trilogy of albums that included the previous releases Cursory Asperses and In Escaping Lakes. Some days the snow would be so heavy the sun would never show, and ice covered the windows in the mornings. The wind rushed up the banks of the nearby mountains, and whipped against the buildings.
I had brought with me two Sony Tapecorder open reels, and a box of tapes of recordings from the past six months of piano and synthesizer. Using an endless delay system between the two open reels, I listened, layered, cut and pasted the tapes over time. Playing them out loud on the built-in speakers Tapecorder created a new type of texture, from combinations of the ice cold temperatures heated only by the room gas heater, reused tapes, and the decayed quality of the old speakers. After mixing and processing the tapes with microphone and contact microphone recordings of the ice, snow, and sub frequencies of the wind, the cracking and crunching sounds, both high and deep, seemed to appear naturally in the tape. The sub bass widened, and the mid range became thin and fragile.
For more than two years the recordings remained untouched, until recently, now in Tokyo, they were mastered, and recorded to new tapes. The affects of the cold, the sudden sunsets through the snow, and the night winds still stay in my mind, like a soundtrack to those two months, not without their own songs of loneliness but with also beauty, sounds seeming like a siren, embracing every unchangeable and otherwise forgetful moment, even in the bitter winter.
Take a look at Celer’s discography and you won’t see a single disruption in an ongoing flow of creative output. Never mind the unfortunate events of 2009, which till this day can’t escape my concealed lips. If anything, the frequency of releases only increased, peaking at ten albums in 2011, most of which were self-released by Will Thomas Long. In 2012, however, Long managed to transgress his ambiance across a variety of highly respected and independent labels, including Low Point, Futuresequence, Constellation Tatsu, Experimedia, and now Glacial Movements Records.
For the latter Italian label, run and operated by Alessandro Tedeschi, Celer creates a minimal soundscape, tranquil in volume and tamely sublime. The hour-long journey, titled Without Retrospect, the Morning, is incredibly fitting for the arctic aesthetic of a wintry space. The icy sculptures of moving frequencies slowly travel along frozen lands. This music is placid, muted and cold. Tones, as gentle as sine waves, flow down the elongated ice spikes and instantly freeze. Images of desolate places with resonating winds groaning through hollows cover my mind, and I reach for a hot cup of tea to inhale the warm vapor. The album is actually a third and final part of the water-themed trilogy that Celer began with Cursory Asperses (Slow Flow Rec, 2008) and Escaping Lakes (Slow Flow Rec, 2009).
Having spent a few months in South Alberta, Canada, during the winter of 2009, Long used an “endless delay system between the two open reels” to record and layer the textures. The dubbed sounds of piano and synthesizer, while fed through an old pair of speakers, slowly began to decay. This decomposition was in turn processed again, adding contact microphone field recordings of ice, snow and wind. The final output stayed dormant for two more years, until Long brought the recordings, and memories, back into life.
As I have already mentioned, Celer’s vast catalog spans months of continuous, uninterrupted listening. If you find yourself gravitating towards this type of glacial ambiance, I highly recommend you also pick up Engaged Touches (Home Normal, 2009), Capri (Humming Conch, 2009), Discourses Of The Withered (Infraction, 2008), Pockets of Wheat (Soundscaping, 2010), and Dying Star (Dragon’s Eye, 2010). And while exploring releases on Glacial Movements, I must suggest that you simply complete your collection of the entire catalog from this label – these are all truly wonderful gems!
The cold gets inside you. I’m not saying this to provide seasonally appropriate dressing tips; instead, I’m writing about the way that landscape and climate can begin to influence the art produced under certain conditions. On a trip to Reykjavik years ago, I noticed that paintings of mountains seemed to be their own genre in Icelandic art, to the point where more contemporary artists seemed to delight in tweaking the form, stacking unexpected objects into similar forms. Music is no different. Consider that feeling of insignificance one gets in the face of certain sprawling, frigid landscapes — equal parts awe and dread. It’s something that the composer John Luther Adams, based in Alaska, often taps into; Loscil’s coast / range / arc had a similar trajectory. Given that Celer’s Without Retrospect, the Morning was recorded in icy landscapes in southern Alberta, Canada, you might have an inkling of what to expect.
The third part of a group of works focusing on water, Without Retrospect, the Morning often features a naturalistic quality. The seven pieces heard here never sound rushed, and their progression is stately. (I’d use “flowing,” but that seems a bit too metaphorically apt.) Much of the music is constructed from drones, some of them running in parallel, others keening out of an atmospheric mass. “Distance and Mortality” evokes the sight of light on the horizon, of a new morning — though, given the title, it isn’t entirely clear if that light signifies a new day or the end of a life. “Dry and Disconsolate” slowly unfolds, brighter tones emerging from a more dissonant base. And “With Some Effort, the Sunset,” which closes the album, does so on an uncertain note, a hesitancy in the face of something overwhelming.
Without Retrospect, the Morning sits precariously between ambient work that unsettles and ambient work with more bliss-inducing ambitions. Its role as a kind of sonic meditation on certain qualities of a certain substance does hit a certain intellectual sweet spot, though listeners coming to it cold might not pick up on that. One could write for pages about that question of context — if you’re encountering this album on, say, Celer’s Bandcamp page, which contains abundant information on its recording, your experience may be different. But regardless of how Without Retrospect, the Morning is experienced, its pensive qualities may well induce a similar mode in the listener.
Created while he was working as a photographer and surveyor in Alberta, Canada, ‘Without Retrospect, the Morning’ is one of the most glacial records Will Long has ever recorded, and given his catalogue that’s really saying something. Quiet to the point of near-silence, the music was pieced together with tape loops, synthesizer and piano and informed by the long, icy Canadian winter. The result is a collection of cold, mournful drones that drag you in and almost trick you into a false sense of security. In a way the music is a wooly counterpart to Thomas Koner’s dark atonal early trilogy of albums, and while both artists have taken similar subject matter they have ended on radically different conclusions.
Without Retrospect, The Morning is Celer aka Will Long’s snow-covered and glacier-depicting audio shard on Alessandro Tedeschi’s Glacial Movements label, released in December 2012 and available to purchase and stream at Bandcamp. The label is an astute place for Long’s seven synth- and organ-driven Ambient tracks, the front artwork does live up to the selected material. And this time, the concept of selection and singling material out in order to form a cohesive work is much more meaningful than expected, as the album is recorded over the course of two years, from 2009–2011, and in four different locations, crossing borders of seasons, states, countries and oceans. Such a strategy contains certain risks: how can a wintry grace or icy isolation be properly constructed if the material is created in-between different projects and work phases, revisited only arbitrarily without the focus of a definite goal which is eventually called Without Retrospect, The Morning much later? Turns out that this album is – bar one exception – terrifically coherent, concentrated and a true-bred addition to the Glacial Movements catalog. Celer’s impression of winter does match the listener’s expectancy via frosty synth funnels and snow-covered sylvan organ washes, but these are only textures. The timbre, meanwhile, is twofold, comprising yearning undertones and moments of utter loneliness. Without Retrospect, The Morning sparkles nonetheless, as if it wanted to turn around the influence of its droning molecules and stretched vesicles. It therefore offers a great opportunity to be reviewed in-depth as part of my Winter Ambient Review Cycle 2013. And this opportunity turned into reality.
Cautious brightness, vestibules to sun-dappled times, a glazed moiré as implied by the softened sine overtones that are equipollent parts of the light blue organ fluxion: Holdings Of Electronic Lifts is a beautiful Ambient vignette of three and a half minutes, eminently bright yet archetypically Celer-like. It contains a distant New Age tonality, but the synths – or processed stringed instruments – are emaciated, purposely desiccate in order to showcase the hibernal tendency depicted in both the front artwork as well as the overall aesthetic topic of the Glacial Movements label. Meanwhile, one of the most interesting synergies is presented in A Small Rush Into Exile in which Will Long presents both a self-imposed forsakenness and the resulting elation that comes with it. Therefore, it so happens that a haunting mélange of eldritch-elasticized icicle complexions (complete with dissonant sinews) clashes with poignantly fragile segues of euphony and contentment. In the end though, this titular small rush is carved out well, unleashing a stern moment of isolation in a dark cavity.
Said dark cavity is ostracized in the following composition which turns into a crystal antrum. The title Dry And Disconsolate may hint at a diametrically opposite mood range, but the resulting piece of over ten minutes not only is a glacial and moist one, but also resting peacefully in itself. This tranquil peace, notwithstanding the soothing opening phase, is not a given. Helical polar beams pierce through a wraithlike – and comparably wadded – synth fluxion whose whitewashed, silky gentleness even reduces the recurrent tension and pressure that is spawned by the simultaneity of the undulating layers. Said tension is further augmented by an oscillating low frequency undercurrent which adds an aerose gravitas to the argentine loftiness. Dry And Disconsolate turns out to be one of the fully fleshed out tracks. It is even enthralling, but the stringency of the seemingly incompatible and fighting forces or timbres makes it a paradoxical hybrid of portent awash with light. On Variorum Of Hierophany, Celer fathoms another dichotomy in one of his iciest tracks: a warbled and strongly intrinsic aeriform ice floe towers above an ethereal river of Detroit-compatible luminosity. Fir-green, strangely thermal and therefore unexpectedly warm, its amicability is severely perturbed by the flying sine siren. Both layers are disconnected, yet cross-pollute their respective presence.
A Landscape Once Uniformly White follows, a strikingly peaceful track with no antagonistic antipodes or antimatter sewn into its plateau. This is the Drone track of the album, and although Will Long is not particularly fond of this overused genre depiction, this vitreous artifact is certainly droning, but benignantly so. In lieu of incisive sine strings, mellow rivulets and billows are floating through a particularly dark and quiescent backdrop of blackness. A Landscape Once Uniformly White breathes and exhales tranquility and slivers of enigmatic wonders. It lives up to the wintry theme and rewards listeners who turn up the volume; since there is no bass aorta traversing by, the pristine purity of the synth formations can freely expand and emit the microtonal granularity and different shades of the surfaces. What is amiss here is then moulded into Distance And Mortality, a downright pompous arrangement of rubicund strata. Heavily wafting bass protrusions cause a mephitic air, polyhedron beams mercilessly illuminate the scenery with their oppulent incandescence. I am tempted to guess that this piece comes from a completely different recording session. Previously, cacophony and dissonances were easy to digest, as the partaking elements were whimsical, lightweight and frosty, but the sheer strength and power of the organs triples the tension. An almost histrionic addition, with its dimension emphasized via the exclamation mark at the end of this very sentence! The long-form finale With Some Effort, The Sunset pays homage to the album title both grammatically and semantically and ends the album with a wonderfully somnolent, carefully balanced blending of iridescently plinking fractals, silver streams of wondrousness and purity as well as hidden but detectable traces of harmony and glee. While not being joyous per se, this last illuminant enshrines a certain joy in-between the cold coating of ice shards, frost and crushed snow.
It could be the case that Without Retrospect, The Morning was never meant to be released in this particular form and with Alessandro Tedeschi’s Glacial Movements label in mind. There are certain hints sewn outside the music-related boundaries. Firstly, and as mentioned in the first paragraph, the recording timeframe spans about two years, from 2009–2011, with all their springs and summers and whatnots. Secondly, the tracks were created in four different locations – California, Mississippi, Alberta, and Tokyo –, with the last of them, as fans of Celer know, being the “interim-final” destination of Will Long’s restless voyages. These biographical and production-related facts neither spoil the album, nor are they detectable in the ambiance itself. Except for the comparably gargantuan Distance And Mortality, every vignette and 10+ minutes piece sports and emanates the same frosty color range and comprises of identical, therefore consistent textures and patterns. Will Long’s knowledge as a curator is as refined as his composing skills, and indeed, both of them are needed on this album… and grant its very existence. Despite the various periods, seasons and cities, the common denominator is the transformation of winter in all its glory into shimmering Ambient music. Cold and situated in sub-zero climes, yet never exclusively crestfallen or dark, Without Retrospect, The Morning is a glitzy work full of prolonged coruscations and a solemnity which exchanges glistening particles or other pointillistic devices for wave-like, serpentine spheres.
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.
A Closer Listen
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. Once 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.
Celer to ambientowy projekt powstały w 2005 roku z inicjatywy małżeństwa Williama Thomasa Longa oraz Danielle Marie Baquet. Na swoim wydawniczym koncie Celer posiada całą masę płyt, mogę tylko przypuszczać, że pozostałe są również utrzymane w klimacie zimnego nordyckiego ambientu.
Ostateczny szlif zimnej niczym lód “Without Retrospect, The Morning”, William Long nadał w Japonii, gdzie przeprowadził się po śmierci żony. Glacial Movements, wydawca m.in takich tuzów jak Rapoon, Francisco Lopez czy Bvdub zdążył już nas przyzwyczaić do mrocznych i gęstych dark ambientów lejących się powolnym tempem z głośników. Tym razem, mamy do czynienia z totalnie lodowatym, surowym i dość minimalistycznym spojrzeniem na ambient. Album “Without Retrospect, The Morning” wyraźnie podzielono na dwie części. Pierwsza to wycieczka po kole podbiegunowym w otoczeniu wschodzącego słońca. Zimne klawiszowe pasaże ilustrują wietrzny i mało przyjemny klimat. Druga część to powoli następujący mrok. Zrodzony z delikatnych szumów, przepełniony izolacjonistcznym i sennym klimatem. Celer daje nam wyraźnie znać, że ta wypełniona chłodem oniryczna wyprawa dobiega końca.
Zatopiona w mglistym, odrealnionym klimacie muzyka Celera jest doskonałą ilustracją arktycznych krajobrazów. I choć może nie każdy lubi jak chłód zagląda do jego domu, warto dać się ponieść tej mistycznej podróży.
“Without Retrospect, the Morning” to z pewnością album nadający się idealnie do słuchania właśnie teraz, kiedy zimno puka w nasze okna. Szkoda tylko, że śniegu ma…
The most striking characteristic of this album compared to Will Long’s others is how hushed the material is. “A Small Rush Into Exile” never creeps above a whisper, making it necessary to listen in complete silence to perceive the floating melodies and delicate shimmers that exist.
The hushed sound of “Dry and Disconsolate” hides glistening rising and falling tones, comfortably sparse and airy. The extremely distant hum of “Variorum of Hierophany” is reminiscent of Bernhard Günter in its approach, but even without a distinct melody it is less dry and clinical than his work, which continues as it blends into “A Landscape Once Uniformly White”.
The two closing pieces are the only ones that have a more dynamic sound, not requiring a meditative approach to listening while still remaining understated. Long puts glassy organs up front on “Distance and Mortality,” resonating and sustaining throughout the entire piece. It shifts, changes, and evolves frequently to stay fascinating. “With Some Effort, the Sunset” follows suit, with church bell like echoes leading off the 13 minute long piece. It is beautiful and delicate, with an icy but light and floating drift to it, fading in and out of focus.
Because of my own self-sustained abstinence from following Celer’s exponentially growing discography too closely, I cannot speak as to how this work fits in with the most recent releases. On its own, Without Retrospect does stand out from the other albums I have heard with its quiet, faint nature. Rather than resembling other ambient projects, its extreme minimalism makes the soft tones and melodies that appear all the more powerful, resulting in a bare but beautiful snapshot of icy lands and frigid air.
Gli ultimi anni sono stati decisamente pieni di impegni per Will Thomas Long, uno dei più importanti esponenti del ramo più vicino ai canoni “classici” della moderna ambient-drone. Dopo la serie di 7” al fianco di Machinefabriek e il progetto Oh, Yoko – che lo vede collaborare con la “nuova” moglie Rie Mitsutake alias Miko – il musicista torna a rispolverare il marchio Celer, con il quale ha scritto pagine indelebili dell’ambient music contemporanea al fianco della compianta Danielle Baquet, e si affida nuovamente come già avvenuto in passato alle cure di Alessandro Tedeschi e della sua Glacial Movements.
Il brand italiano, ormai da anni protagonista indiscusso con il suo catalogo all’insegna dell’isolazionismo, torna dunque a mettere la firma su una produzione sopraffina: per quanto possa essere difficile selezionare nella discografia di un artista che da ormai una decade viaggia alla media di 5-6 dischi all’anno, “Without Retrospect, The Morning” è forse il miglior risultato del Celer solista assieme al precedente “Tightrope”. Un lavoro che riesce a fondere alla perfezione l’estetica isolazionista targata Gm (Netherworld e Stormloop su tutti) al calore proprio delle quiete trame di Long, puntando su una commistione di basse frequenze e texture quasi accennate.
Se il candore dell’iniziale “Holding Of Electronic Lifts” avvolge nei suoi accennati raggi di luce, il resto dell’album tende a giocare maggiormente con le ombre: “A Small Rush Into Exile” segna così l’immersione in un vuoto cosmico che i dieci minuti di “Dry And Disconsolate” esternano con parsimonia. Un clima plumbeo e notturno che raggiunge il suo picco nella fugace ma intensa “Variorum Of Hierophany”, per poi distendersi denso e quasi inudibile in “A Landscape Once Uniformly White”. L’alba di un nuovo giorno porta con sé in “Distance And Mortality” anche un improvviso innalzamento delle frequenze sonore, in un affresco desertico che sfuma progressivamente nel tramonto finale di “With Some Effort, The Sunset”.
Will Long nasce e cresce musicalmente in California, e “Without Retrospect, The Morning” ne è forse la testimonianza più chiara. Un disco vicino come mai prima alle lezioni impartite dai vari Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Kevin Braheny e Tim Clark, dove l’ambientazione non è più l’arido deserto, bensì una gelida e sconfinata landa artica. L’ennesima prova del talento di un musicista che si conferma capace di descrivere con incredibile realismo le percezioni e le emozioni date da sguardi e immagini, riproducendo le stesse con perfezione cristallina.
Music Won’t Save You
Quello tra Alessandro Tedeschi e Will Thomas Long era un incontro in qualche modo inevitabile, per la genuina passione con la quale entrambi interpretano la loro attività creativa e per la loro inclinazione a trarre ispirazioni da elementi naturali o atmosferici.
Non poteva quindi trovare miglior collocazione dell’etichetta romana Glacial Movements, dedita all’esplorazione di un isolazionismo ambientale ghiacciato, il terzo capitolo della trilogia a tema acquatico di Celer, che già si era manifestata in “Cursory Asperses” e “In Escaping Lakes”.
Dunque il ghiaccio quale trasformazione dell’acqua, così come il suono quale variazione infinita dell’interazione tra elementi, quando non prodotto della spontanea interazione tra field recordings e oscillazioni minimali che lambiscono il silenzio o lo smuovono flebilmente.
Opera breve, almeno per i suoi monumentali standard (“appena” cinquantadue minuti), ed estremamente delicata, “Without Retrospect, The Morning” è incentrata sulle frequenze più basse del ghiaccio, della neve e del vento, catturate in occasione di un soggiorno di Long nello stato canadese dell’Alberta, nel corso del quale ha altresì lavorato precedenti registrazioni di piano e synth, riducendole a un’essenziale stato gassoso attraverso filtraggi e prolungatissimi delay.
Ne risultano segnali sonori inafferrabili e quasi del tutto uniformi, tanto da richiedere un ascolto a volume elevato per poter cogliere le impercettibili variazioni di suoni che per buona parte del lavoro stentano quasi ad essere percepiti come tali. Sarebbe decisamente ridondante, in proposito, interrogarsi sul senso ultimo di una simile operazione ed è ben possibile che, nel farlo, qualcuno possa giungere a conclusioni recisamente negative; tuttavia, una volta poste in relazione le risultanze auditive con le finalità concettuali ad esse sottese, si può ben dire che “Without Retrospect, The Morning” adempia appieno la missione di restituire in forma sonora le sensazioni atmosferiche che ne costituiscono l’essenza più profonda.
Ciò avviene tanto nel soffio leggero di “Holdings Of Electronic Lifts” e nella nota risuonante di “A Landscape Once Uniformly White” quanto nelle dense saturazioni di “Dry And Disconsolate” e “Distance And Mortality”, le cui torsioni droniche si inarcano in sibili in moderato crescendo. Quando poi si giunge ai conclusivi tredici minuti di “With Some Effort, The Sunset”, l’uniforme coltre nevosa si colora di riflessi aurorali, aprendosi con incedere narcolettico alle suggestioni più fuggevoli dell’ispirazione di Long.
Che se ne colgano i profili formali di opera certamente non incentrata su variazioni significative o ci si lasci avviluppare dalle sue frequenze ipnotiche, “Holdings Of Electronic Lifts” costituisce un perfetta colonna sonora della neve e del vento, evanescente e sottile come gli elementi che l’artista californiano – che, ironia della sorte, sostiene di detestare il freddo – ha provato a trasformare in suono.
The New Noise
Celer è il progetto di Will Long. Come avrete forse già avuto modo di leggere, lo condivideva assieme alla moglie Dani Baquet (Chubby Wolf), purtroppo scomparsa nel 2009 all’età di 27 anni. Without Retrospect, The Morning, origina sempre dal 2009, anno nel quale Will ha raccolto field recordings in Alberta e registrato su nastro suoni di synth e piano, con l’intenzione di chiudere una trilogia intorno all’elemento acqua, composta dagli album Cursory Asperses e In Escaping Lakes. Su questi suoni Will ha applicato soprattutto l’effetto delay, come sarà chiarissimo sin dal primo ascolto di questo album, sul quale ha trovato il modo di lavorare due anni dopo mentre era nella sua casa a Tokyo, città nella quale oggi vive.
Si tratta di un’uscita Glacial Movements al cento per cento. Alcuni frangenti potranno ricordare Netherworld come altri dischi presenti sul catalogo, perché certo modo di usare il synth ed effettarlo è evidentemente connaturato a come un artista immagina coi suoni un paesaggio polare. Solo che qui è tutto portato all’estremo di rarefazione e fragilità, un’operazione che di certo non spiazza e non è innovativa, ma che è il marchio di fabbrica di Celer. Va detto che – paradossalmente – queste linee di synth che si consumano progressivamente, in epoca di disintegration loops e altra elettronica che fa dell’onirico e dell’imperfetto la sua cifra stilistica, rappresentano un po’ lo zeitgeist pur venendo in realtà da molto lontano (Thursday Afternoon di Eno, per dire?).
Celer è un progetto con una discografia molto corposa: questo “passaggio di evidenziatore” da parte di Glacial Movements potrebbe far fare una bella scoperta agli irriducibili italiani di queste sonorità.
Dove la morte apre ferite profonde la musica lenisce ed aiuta ad andare avanti. Quello che un tempo era un duo formato da due ragazzi giovanissimi come Will Long e Danielle Baquet-Long, marito e moglie, una passione smodata per la musica d’ambiente, la loro vita in fondo. Poi la tragedia, Danielle colta da insufficienza cardiaca, nel 2009.
Il lavoro di Will è andato avanti, perso tra flussi sonori calmi e descrittivi che ormai delineano con dovizia un profilo musicale adulto, una visione tanto rassegnata quanto rasserenata.
Questa volta è la Glacial Movements ad ospitare un suo lavoro, “Without Retrospect, The Morning”, un titolo che le note assegnano proprio a Danielle, forse un suo pensiero, o chissà…
Una musica specchio di un’anima chiusa, che lascia poche possibilità ad influenze esterne, una questione intima, personale, solitaria, come solo la solitudine può tirarti fuori certe vibrazioni.
Un album diviso in sette segmenti, ma in sostanza un unico flusso fatto di sentori flebili, variazioni tonali, umori che mai si lasciano andare a manovre eclatanti, ma che bensì tendono a preservare un’integrità progettuale e caratteriale che si ricollega poi agli esordi dei Celer. Perchè forse è bene continuare a considerarli come un duo. Come una musica che parla attraverso due diverse voci con una sola anima.
L’album è una sonorizzazione perfetta per lande sconfinate invase dalle nevi, per inverni lunghi nei quali riflettere, il suono è caratterizzato da sottili tappeti elettronici che fanno da base a field recordings notturni, onde e frequenze che si muovono con delicatezza, in un saliscendi mai soggetto a tensione ma anzi propedeutico al relax.
Se proprio possiamo notare un sussulto, questo avviene nel corso degli ultimi due brani in scaletta, dove i toni cambiano forma disegnando ancora paesaggi dai lunghi orizzonti ma questa volta fotografati alle prime luci in un’alba che regalerà una fredda mattina assolata. Non calore ma luce, una luce fredda che fa brillare i dettagli, riflettendosi sul ghiaccio e mostrando una nuova faccia che ha le sembianze della speranza.
La Glacial Movements continua ad essere in missione, seleziona e pubblica dei lavori che sposano alla perfezione un concept ormai rodato che si nutre della sua stessa materia, di un suono dal grande potere suggestivo, una musica che sa raccontare ciò che vede, non con gli occhi ma bensì con la mente e con il cuore. Una vera e propria lettura interiore tradotta in musica, ecco cosa rappresenta la Glacial Movements, ecco cosa Celer ha dato alle stampe, un disco di musica ambient personale, un ricordo, il suo ricordo.