Celer: Capri
Humming Conch

Chubby Wolf: L'histoire
Gears of Sand

Husband-and-wife alchemists Danielle Baquet-Long and Will Long (aka Celer) capture the soothing and enveloping ambiance of the Mediterranean setting in this seventy-eight-minute, twenty-nine-track collection. In fact, all of the material for the recording was created during a short summer residency on Capri, an Italian island on the south side of the Gulf of Naples (two photos included with the release make one want to relocate there immediately). Basking in music of such relaxed character, one can almost feel the gentle breezes and picture the iridescent colours of the seaside locale. From field recordings, strings, horns, processing, acoustic guitar, piano, and organetto, Dani and Will build the tracks into shimmering mini-vistas. Apparently recorded in a single room with a piano along with a small number of borrowed instruments, Capri places piano at the forefront (albeit in extremely altered form), as blurry trails of piano chords unfurl into misty, sometimes softly whistling masses. No field recording details identify a particular setting in explicit manner but, being so warm and lulling, the material itself acts as a transporting aural metaphor. Forced to pick a favourite, it would have to be "Lint White" which entrances for the full measure of its seven-minute running time. Call this another fine addition to Celer's ever-growing catalogue.

While not wishing to downplay the contributions of Will to the Celer sound, Danielle manages perfectly well to approximate it all by herself on the Chubby Wolf release L'histoire. Using nothing more than toy piano, heart monitor, and electronic processing, Danielle creates eleven crystalline whirlpools of meditative sound sculpting that draw the listener into a suspended deep listening state. At times the track titles succinctly capture the essence of a given piece; filled as it is with limpid streams of glistening and glassy stillness, “Toy Pianos Underwater,” for example, sounds pretty much as one would expect it to, as does the seventeen-minute “Perceptual Constancy of Ripples.” There are contrasts too, as shown by the differences between the high-pitched setting “Oh, And How It Was Stunning: Writhing” and the more aggressive, almost industrial drone, “Anti-body Library,” whose reverberant tendrils swell into a dizzying throb. Like ghostly wisps drifting through a long-abandoned mansion or inchoate impressions wafting through one's unconscious during slumber, L'histoire is understated, even by Celer standards, with Dani shaping her restricted sonic palette into seventy-three minutes of quintessential Celer-like sounds.

June 2009