Celer: Cursory Asperses
Slow Flow Rec

Celer's propensity for subliminal sound sculpting migrates to an even more unconscious level with Cursory Asperses. Though eight parts compose the work (the sections given prototypical Celer titles such as “A Soupcon of Self-Doubt in a Pannus Cloud,” “Epigone Bygones,” and “The Peregrine Birders of Phantom Forests”), it unfolds as an uninterrupted, hour-long conceptual exercise in slow movement. This time around, Will Thomas and Danielle Baquet-Long merged specific field recordings—a stream in the woods, the slow trickle of water, laundry hanging on a clothesline, flapping softly in the wind—with recordings of instruments (piano, strings, bells, theremin, whistle), and then shaped the whole into a softly drifting stream of high- and low-pitched tones. Words such as sub-lunar and sub-aquatic convey some hint of the depths to which the tranquil material plunges but, when its whistling wisps are so fragile and tenuous they feel like they're constantly on the verge of fading away, one word captures the essence of the recording better than any other—evanescent. Issued on Ryo Nakata's (ryonkt) Sapporo, Japan-based Slow Flow label, Cursory Asperses is an understated work by a group already known for exhibiting an exceptionally well-calibrated sensitivity to understatement in its productions.

April 2009