Info

New week, new Celer. I don’t even have a calender in my house — I just stick Will Long’s records to my wall every month. Just last week we were singing the praises of his new record for Chloe Harris’ Further label, under the alias of Mogodor, which saw a more space-respecting, even Frahmian approach to ambient — let the silences speak to their sounds. Celer’s usually about the covering approach, though, and ‘Tempelhof’ offers an unwavering, blissfully foggy set of drones that sit in place of that horrible thing we don’t call sound.

You know what to expect if you’re already familiar with Celer, but otherwise, this might just be a good starting point. It’s a surprisingly huge record, with the layering of “Lights Inside and Ahead” creating a triumphant, seemingly vocal effect in the vein of Grouper and the recent Ekin Fil record. Long also calls upon his collaging chops here, using vocal samples of different public transport stops on “Transfer to Frankfurt”, “Beijing Layover” and “Night Train to Berlin”, as if using ambient music the way you use a time lapse shot in a TV show — this music sees day cross into night back into day, folding the passerby conversations and moving mechanics into light, endless chords. It wouldn’t just make good travelling music, this: it would do the travelling for you.

It’s a lovely record of quite neutral ambience — some will read a deep melancholy into it, others will find it shimmering and summery. Like much of Celer’s music, the best thing about it is its pick-your-own-adventure listenership: it moves so fluidly that you can adapt it to whatever you’re doing, whether passive or active.

La calma infinita y el ruido que se disipa entre las membranas del sueño. Sobre una superficie horizontal se tienden notas que en realidad solo son una, un murmullo que se desplaza con la lentitud del movimiento de las piedras, un mismo tono que varía levemente sobre su mismo eje, formando vastas ondas que avanzan y se recogen. Pasan los segundos, pasan los minutos, adentro todo permanece inalterado mientras afuera la luz ya se ha extinguido. Y el sonido sigue inmutable en su marcha por los rincones inescrutables de la mente, penetrando las cavidades más ocultas. Una vez que esta sonoridad de formas regulares comienza a florecer en la atmósfera, una vez que su honda densidad inicia su trayecto hacia una distancia inabordable, la percepción acerca del tiempo se extravía en algún sitio, el discernimiento sobre lo que acontece allá, afuera, se pierde entre los sonidos que invaden las células por las ranuras que las separan. Porque ahora existen de manera clara esas dos zonas, aquello que ocurre ahí afuera, y lo que sucede hacia adentro, un lugar en el cual se despliegan evocaciones enterradas, momentos que se mantenían en un estado de letargo ahora activados por el ruido que se filtra a través de las fibras y las estructuras orgánicas, impulsos nerviosos estimulados por la quietud de armonías de una serenidad imperturbable. A través de los circuitos y los tejidos que se derraman por dentro de la piel emerge un sonido casi imperceptible, una perturbación ligera que apenas se moviliza a través de los conductos, energía que provoca una reacción descendiente de la fuerza corporal, creando imágenes borrosas que luego se esclarecen con una luminosidad nítida. Después de que esos pulsos eléctricos atraviesan las paredes físicas se forma un nuevo paisaje, plácidas estaciones que transitan por los ojos cerrados, una vista que aparece desde otro estado, un sueño en tránsito. Reflejos distantes y figuras confusas que se vuelven resplandecientes, un mar pacífico de evocaciones prístinas como un tarde soleada detrás de un sol blanco y horizontes celestes. “Many people fell asleep, and seemed to drift off to another place. Sometimes it seemed like they were waking up, but it was only the evolution of the yoga exercise matching the music”. Sonidos que reposan, recostados sobre líneas extendidas. Will Long nuevamente crea retratos donde las figuras se confunden con rectas lejanas, panorámicas constantes que se abstraen de la realidad pero que, a la vez, son una refracción de ella. Reflexiones en forma de ruido insistente que siguen su curso prácticamente inalterable hacia un destino indefinido. Long, de manera puntual, publica obras prolongadas que se nutren de diversas mediaciones, diferentes perspectivas acerca de imágenes que sugieren recuerdos, ideas, todo recubierto de tonos extensos y texturas ambientales. Celer construye obras que evolucionan luego de años que los sonidos se asientan, ideas vueltas a procesar, abandonadas, recogidas, reducidas, ampliadas, traspasando mapas y momentos emocionales determinados. Han pasado, desde la anterior vez que lo tuvimos en este espacio, varios trabajos. Aquel último álbum que volvía sobre viajes y alusiones familiares, tal como también ocurre acá. “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I’ve Been A Liar All My Life” (Two Acorns–White Paddy Mountain, 2015) [392], largo título para un precioso trabajo, donde “los recuerdos del paisaje extendido afloran en el momento en que los primeros acordes surgen en medio de los sonidos archivados, armonías quietas que rememoran estadías temporales por la superficie rocosa y el suelo árido… Como es habitual en su música, las partituras transparentes permiten que el efecto de un solo sonido se propague hasta el borde de lo posible, acordes suspendidos sobre la superficie que alcanzan estadios superiores de conciencia. Celer elabora este trabajo utilizando instrumentación acústica, cruzando circuitos análogos, arrastrando la suciedad de materiales desgastados. Las melodías conservan ese deterioro proveniente del lugar donde se encierran estas formas, polvo circulando en mitad de los sonidos, estruendos contaminados entre los surcos y las delgadas películas de ruido ambiental, los cuales preservan esa belleza casual, exteriorización del esplendor que yace bajo las capas de suciedad. Por momentos el brillo inmanente limpia las impurezas, en otras estas cubren sus tonalidades cítricas. Estas delicadas resonancias de cromo magnético se desplazan esparciendo manchas sobre el suelo, rastros en la arena que desaparecen con las horas, con las olas del viento… Por medio de recursos orgánicos, Will Long produce una música estática, cuatro piezas en tres cuartos de hora que reposan calmas en la línea geográfica, sonidos que luego atraviesan una mecánica deteriorada que corrompe el recubrimiento pero no altera su núcleo armónico… Grabaciones recogidas y posteriormente aunadas en un álbum en el que acordes efímeros se propagan eternamente en la distancia temporal, sensaciones olvidadas vueltas a vivir gracias a formatos de encriptación alterados por el transcurrir de los años”.

Estructuras artificiales creadas con elementos limitados, un método que permite focalizarse en el núcleo del sonido. Will Long publica, a través de su propia editorial, otro trabajo en el cual una onda sutil se expande de manera ilimitada, una grabación procesada y resumida al punto que solo observamos un tímido reflejo de un sonido leve. Celer elabora un álbum profuso y a la vez exiguo, trabajo en donde vuelve a transitar por sonoridades agudas, una escala restringida de resonancias en el cual ahogar la mente y su confusión diaria. Este es uno de los varios registros en el cual desarrolla esta idea en que una sola recta progresa sucesivamente, de manera sosegada, una fuerza exánime que difícilmente sobresale de lo visible. Y, como en su última etapa, empleando herramientas manuales ensamblando sonidos con los dedos para moldear rastros de una música intrigante. Dentro de todos esos archivos de sonidos rescatados –tan solo este año ya han visto la luz varias obras: “Tempelhof” (Two Acorns, 2016),“Two Days And One Night” (Sequel, 2016), “Inside The Head Of Gods” (Two Acorns, 2016), “Symbols” (Duenn, 2016), junto a Duenn, además de “Tetra” (2016), “Nothing But Waving Summits” (2016), “M1” (2016), “Hidden, For Once” (2016) y“Simultaneity” (2016), estas últimas solo en formato digital– tenemos este álbum, un estruendo mínimo que viaja a través del espacio, invocando historias y eventos que parecían olvidados, recuperados por medio de un trance estancado. “Akagi”, editado en enero de esta temporada, un panorama quieto de sonidos que se superponen a las capas cerebrales, formas estáticas orbitando de manera pausada a lo largo de la atmósfera. Unos pocos recursos le bastan a Will Long para producir una configuración de solo unos cuantos sonidos, una forma que se acomoda al entorno y se desliza suavemente a través del tiempo. “Akagi”, grabado durante varios años, resulta en una tranquila y pacífica estructura de ruido incidental, melodías flexibles que absorben la totalidad de la energía exterior para direccionar la mente hacia un estado hipnótico. Un mismo color en transición elíptica espaciado durante un lapso que desconoce los bordes, sin principio, sin final. Diferentes matices que no se alejan del centro del cual se vierte su materia de energía, gradaciones próximas trasladándose con reserva en el aire. “En el otoño de 2012 se me solicitó crear la música para un evento en vivo de yoga en el Templo Yougenji, en el norte de Tokio. La presentación estaba centrada en el instructor de yoga, con el músico tocando detrás de la audiencia, de modo que la música funcionaba más como un soundtrack en directo para el evento. Para ello creé una nueva pieza de música usando dos grabadoras reel-to-reel y dos loops de cintas de teclado con similares estructuras de tiempo, pero cada una con diferentes acordes superpuestos. Ellas suenan simultáneamente, cruzando en diferentes combinaciones y con alteraciones manuales de volumen y ajustes bajo/alto de las máquinas. Mientras cambiaba mantenía el mismo sonido y configuración a lo largo. Durante la presentación mucha gente se quedó dormida y parecía caer en otro lugar. A veces parecía como si estuviesen despertando, pero era solamente la evolución del ejercicio de yoga que se correspondía con la música. Sorprendente, a lo largo de toda la presentación, y desde entonces, dondequiera que escuche esta pieza de música inmediatamente me acuerdo de mi abuela. Cuando tenía seis años de edad me mudé con mis padres a la casa de mi bisabuelo al lado de donde mi padre creció y donde mi abuela todavía vivía. Ella había estado postrada en una cama por varios años en ese entonces, y permanecería así hasta su muerte, cuando yo tenía once años de edad. De alguna manera, esta música vino a llenar mi mente con esos recuerdos, de sentarme en su habitación mirando televisión en la noche con ella mientras mis padres salían a cenar, o los difusos visillos de las ventanas moviéndose con la brisa de la mañana. Recuerdo esa quietud, la calidez de su voz sin ninguna afección, a pesar del aislamiento, y los siempre presentes alrededores que nunca cambiaban. Viendo a la audiencia en estos estados de quietud-vigilia vinieron estos recuerdos a mí, a pesar que no sé por qué exactamente. Sin embargo, debido a esto, a la música se le dió un fondo y una dedicación”. Grabado y mezclado entre el 2011 y 2015 en Tokio y Yokohama, Japón, este trabajo se constituye de un solo track, una misma temática desarrollada durante un período largo. Celer, usando solamente dos grabadoras y un par de loops, tiende esta panorámica de superficies suaves, un murmullo terso que flamea con una fuerza desgastada, un pequeño brillo irradiando una música infinita. Armonía que trae a la mente recuerdos cotidianos de un pasado almacenado en un rincón, mientras se alteran algunos pocos componentes de su estructura lineal. Esa armonía se filtra por las paredes sensitivas creando imágenes, sumiendo al cuerpo en una fase de vacío, un campo magnético que atrae el estruendo exterior. Will Long restaura archivos que la memoria fue consumiendo hasta agotar su resplandor, cintas cubiertas de polvo que ahora transitan en círculo, generando una sensación de calma ilimitada. A través de circuitos análogos y filamentos de carbono sintetizado surge una pieza de ruido minimalista, un rumor silencioso que varía lentamente. Puede que existan en su interior varias armonías, pero solo se percibe un sonido que deambula como una impresión transparente. Diferentes formas que se funden con el suave calor solar, diferentes formas configurando una sola melodía plástica que cambia de apariencia pero mantiene su centro, su polo. “Akagi”, una hora, diecinueve minutos, cuarenta y cuatro segundos, música reflexiva que retrotrae al pasado. Un sonido que atraviesa la corteza e impulsa la memoria, creando una paisaje luminoso de coloración pálida,  evocando el reflejo del sol sobre la atmósfera celeste, radiando un tono blanco sobre días ahora desperdiciados, desvanecidos.

“Somehow this music continued to fill my mind with those memories of sitting in her room, watching TV late at night”. El ruido dúctil de la música que emerge sutilmente de esta obra crea un estado de ensueño, un estado en el cual la mente se duerme, despertando en otro nivel paralelo sensaciones que parecían enterradas. Will Long crea en esta extensa obra lineal un único tono con leves matices, un campo magnético de acústica envolvente que absorbe la energía externa en sus surcos discretos, resonancias tersas que en “Akagi”se extienden infinitamente en el horizonte. “Akagi”, archivos manipulados que emiten rayos de luz sombría reflejados en una estrella blanca, murmullos eternos y loops minimalistas formando sistemas de audio discreto, delgadas láminas metálicas de coloración gris formando paisajes luminosos de acústica resplandeciente.

Two reel-to-reel tape machines and two tape loops of keyboards with similar time structures but each with different overlapping chords. What flows from Akagi’s grooves are the very quietist sounds, beatific and enveloping to listen to. No wonder that Will Long, aka Celer, has designed this sequence for a live yoga event at Yougenji temple in Northern Tokyo. There are several combinations that are acted out simultaneously here, integrating manual alterations of the volume and high/low settings into equalization, with a strong tendency to favor a warm and meditative atmosphere. The theme of ‘remembrance’ acquires new nuances throughout the 80-minute track, even though it is fed by a basic musical structure. Memories are a form of “attention” and, as in many guided meditations, deep relaxation is able to connect more easily with our very essence. At Two Acorns, a label founded in 2010 by Long, there is no attempt to describe the project or classify it stylistically; it seems almost a private affair, or, rather, something very intimate and sensitive that flows from a dormant perception in evoked memories of familiar routines, for which – finally – all the dust, all the dead past is transcended, transformed into a vibrant calmness and natural order. Quietism in music is certainly not a new phenomenon: “somehow this music continued to fill my mind with those memories of sitting in her room” the composer recalls, speaking of his grandmother “watching TV late at night with her when my parents were out to dinner, or the hazy lace curtains on the windows, moving in the afternoon breeze.” References run the gamut from classical antiquity to the twentieth century, yet the music is also a background, a rather sentimental and elegiac setting that speaks about our most intimate feelings.

The brilliant producer William Long aka Celer introduces this new output by a sad and somehow epic story that occurred to his great uncle more than thirty years ago, whose sojourn in Tunisia exactly lasted two days and one night. In 1984, this 80 years old brave man arrived in Tunisi from New York City, stayed one night in the Hotel Amilcar, where he decided to mail a blank postcard to his family. The day after he moved to Hammamet, where he rented a hotel room, bought swimming trunks, before drowning in the ocean in the afternoon. Caught by this tragedy in family, William decided to step back those places where his uncle spent his last days, but the sad memories melted with the beauty of those locations and that’s maybe the reason why the sound he recorded in North Africa and Tokyo combines ecstatic and lunatic moments in a lovely steady balance without that overwhelming melancholic waves, that often washes Celer’s outputs. William managed to trace those two days and one night of his uncle in a really immersive way by well-balanced field recordings he grabbed during his journey and astonishingly emotional ambient suites (“Spindles and fire”, “Sol Azur”, “In all deracinated things”), that could remind some ambient stuff by Peter Kember’s Experimental Audio Research or the moody drones by Todd Gautreau’s Tear Ceremony and Sonogram- ), and meaningful sonic postcards, such as the anti-imperialist harangue in French in “We cannot be the rich ruling class of a poor country”, the rendering of the moment when Celer’s uncle wrote the above-mentioned postcard in “notes from the Hotel Amilcar (with television, ocean view, and a glass of water)”, “Asleep against the black rocks near Cap Serrat” and “The fear to touch the sand”, that supposedly rendered the moments that preceded the fatal event, whose tragic beauty comes out of the sonic emulsion of the final “Terminal points”.

Coincidentally, Celer‘s Two Days And One Night is another album about loss and dealing with grief. On this album, Will Long retraces the steps his great-uncle travelled in 1984, from Tunis to Hammamet,‘where he rented a hotel room, bought swimming trunks, and by the afternoon had drowned in the ocean.’He was 80 years old.

Celer re-creates this trip using his own experience, ‘a re-imagining of what my great uncle might have heard and experienced 31 years before.’
The ambient washes of sound in the longer tracks are merged with shorter – sometimes almost inaudible – local field recordings, creating a dreamlike and slightly exotic atmosphere.

It is amazing how personal Celer‘s music feels, considering his enormous output. But, as personal as its background is, this music tells a story everyone can relate to somehow.

Next, an intriguing conceit from Celer keeper, Will Long: ‘In 1984, my great uncle drowned in the sea off the coast of Hammamet, Tunisia. He was 80 years old. He arrived in Tunis from his home in New York City, staying one night in the Hotel Amilcar, from where he sent a blank postcard back to his family home in Mississippi. The next day he traveled to Hammamet, where he rented a hotel room, bought swimming trunks, and by the afternoon had drowned in the ocean.’ Two days and one night deploys a similar template to Sky Limits—immersive stream of consciousness interleaving topographically-inclined field recording-based vignettes with mellifluous micro-orchestral billows. ‘In 2015, I retraced his steps from Tunis to Hammamet. Set part in fiction and part in reality, Two Days and One Night is both a document of my own experience and a re-imagining of what my great uncle might have heard and experienced 31 years before.’ “Spindles and fires” took our fancy.

Two days and one night is another one on the pile of “sad Celer albums”. The past year has seen some of his most brutal, with How could you believe me when I said I loved you when you know I’ve been a liar all my life casting the memory of a Midwest road-trip as a collection of deliciously mournful tape-loops, as well as the recent re-press of I love you so much I can’t even title this, which for those familiar with the history of Will Long may as well be called “press play to cry”.

But where previous albums have tended to be quite abstract – the lush drone pieces only really opening themselves up to misery in the context of an album title or paired story – Two days and one night is more specific. The album reflects on Celer’s trip to Tunisia, where he retraced the final steps of a great uncle who drowned off the coast. Long presents this as a narrative: steadily moving his pieces towards the sea and an eventual contemplation of death. An extended recording straddles “Spindles and fire” to “Sol Azur”, its Tunisian accented French bleeding like over-inked paper into lush, sun-drenched drones. It evokes both the scorched air of Tunisia and an early sense of unease as the ending looms. When the scene is set, the music quietens, resurging somewhat for “In all deracinated things” but reducing to a lone recording of waves with “The fear to touch the sand”. In these points of simplicity, the artist displays enough restraint to let listeners set their own scenes. I can’t help but imagine what it might be like to sit and stare at the sea which claimed a loved one. Surprisingly the album is not overtly sad, but instead ambiguous, as these moments often are.

I recently attended a friend’s memorial service, and afterwards took a long walk around the place he grew up. Being there – both happy and sad, consumed by death yet very much alive – helped me to understand just how impressive Two days and one night really is. The album reflects the experience perfectly, yet with such personal and geographically situated sounds it is unmistakably Celer’s own. It contains enough universal feeling to inspire sympathy, but just as Will followed in the footsteps of his uncle, we must follow in his. The album cannot be separated from the sun-soaked tiles and peaceful ocean, presented here with a mature and graceful empathy fit for a man who’s been recording for over a decade. We face loss through his learned eyes and find a rare, intimate calm.

Will Long is ridiculously prolific.  ‘Inside the Head of Gods’ is no less, his third physical release this year.  Past years have yielded similar results.

Based on the paintings of Taichi Kondo for his exhibition ‘What’s My Name?’ in the Philippines; Celer has taken inspiration from various elements of the artwork and made an aural accompaniment.  The varying imagery giving rise to the sounds, whether they be quiet, loud, synthetic or analogue.

This latest piece of work is best played in one sitting.  Rich tonal throbs ooze out as long warm drones; remaining as a friendly cascade of musical colour, rarely dipping their toes into darkness.

Essentially, the ten relatively short tracks on display do play out as one long track.  There is little to be gained by skipping and searching through, for any vast difference between them.  If anything, this could quite easily have been on a loop in the background to the installation itself, being as inoffensive and endearing as it is.

Here we have a new CD ep/ digital download from respected & highly prolific US ambient project Celer (aka Will Long).  The twenty four minute work takes in a single piece, split into 10 parts. And what have here is slowly revolving, fading, and growing slice of organ based ambient.

The music from this release was commissioned for a exhibition of paintings by  Japanese-Filipino artist’s Taichi Kondo.  The exhibition was entitled “What’s my name”, and it took place in the Philippines during most of April this year. The one-man exhibition explored the idea of dualities as perceived by the senses and as part of imagining a new “provisional world”. Posing the question of identity to both self and the public, Kondo showed how diversity is produced through the merging and meeting of binary or dual forces: heaven and hell, creation and destruction, humanity and divinity, civilization and chaos, for instance. The paintings were rendered in a primitive style, underscoring the raw energy inherent in this process.

The CD comes in a colour card slip sleeve, and on it’s front  is one of Kondo’s primitive & raw paintings- this is a colourfully yet quite surreally busy affair taking in yellow eyed gorillas, woodland contained in a box. A yellow, green, and blue oil paint backing, and a series of uniformed yellow mixed with brown dabs.

The track here is based around a slow, drowsy, and fairly simple series of organ notes. These drift & ebb along in a very lulling & dreamy manner, and mark out a rising & dipping melody. Over the pieces length the organ dies back to barely audible, and then back up to simmering & brightly sustained. I guess you’d say this is ambient at it’s most simple, sparse & pared back- it very much feels like the classic & original interpretation of the form, where  the sound is purely there to sonically paint a room/space in a highly minimal way.  The piece seemingly has no beginning or end, but instead just drift back & forth between simmering rises & different levels of audibility- so as a result you could easily have this set on repeat.

I’ll have to admit that my first few plays of this left me a little under whelmed- as it just felt a little too stripped back & simple for its own good. But as I’ve played it a few more times, trying  not to concentrate too much on it, and let it become more background sound-  I’ve found it a bit more appealing.

So in summing up, I can’t say this is one of my favourite release by Celer as there doesn’t seem much depth or longevity, compared with some of his works. But as ambient in the classic form goes this is well realized & skilful made, and if you are looking for more background/ drifting ambience it’s worth a look.

“Compedium: Collected Singles and Remixes” compiles the six tracks recorded by Celer and Machinefabriek for their trilogy of 7″ singles which were self-released throughout 2012. It also includes one new track and a series of remixes by Stephan Mathieu, Sylvain Chauveau, and Nicolas Bernier. This album is almost tailor-made to be experienced upon first rise in the AM, or when a 50 minute reboot beckons.

Celer and Machinefabriek’s collaborations are highly ambient; there is barely a pulse anywhere in their collected works. Most of the tracks feature prolonged, alluring swells that seem to prescribe evenness and harmony with just a delicate touch of tension from time-to-time. All of the trilogy tracks blend well together in both sequence and timbre. Some compositions — notably ‘Penarie’ with its ominous, sweeping, low-end distortion — billow within the first 90 seconds, percolate in their discord, and finally arrive at their well-timed beauty.

Conversely, the long additional track ‘In/Out’ deep-dives into ambient bliss straightaway, then slowly transcends into an alluring, splendidly-phased distortion. It accomplishes a great deal in just under 3 minutes, and sounds complete. As for the remixes, I did not notice significant deviance from the source material, though two of them (Chauveau’s remix of ‘Sou’ and Bernier’s remix of ‘Mt. Mitake’) have an edginess that suggests the separation process has begun.

Though it is a collection of works, “Compendium” is well-integrated, focused, and worthy of front-to-back consideration.