Celer: Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness
Celer: Dwell In Possibility
Though the creation of new Celer material officially ended in July 2009 following Danielle Baquet-Long's premature death at the age of twenty-six, Celer recordings are still being released, thanks to the stewardship of Will Long, and presumably will continue to be so for the forseeable future. Two recent releases make fine additions to the group's considerable discography (all the more impressive given that the earliest one appeared in 2004), the first, Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness, a CD issued on the French label Basses Frequences and the other, Dwell In Possibility, a twelve-inch vinyl outing on the UK imprint Blackest Rainbow.
Recorded at home during May 2008, Dwell In Possibility credits Danielle with voice, cello, violin, piano, ocarina, field recordings, rocks, processing, and mini-cassette and Wil with piano, whistles, toy organ, mixing board, processing, and cassette tapes. As expected, however, most of those individual sounds lose their identifying character once spread across the disc's two sides. The first of the album's track titles, “I've Thought Only of Empty Shadows,” speaks to some degree for the whole as Dwell In Possibility is very much a recording of shadows and transluscence. The material seems to inhabit some distant, ethereal sphere that constantly threatens to fade from view. During the first side's twenty minutes, an undercurrent of industrial groans and bass-thudding rumble threads itself through ambient vapours until the peaceful resound of soft organ tones brings the material into the light. Though the album does display fifteen track titles (signature Celer titles such as “Empty Streets of Accurate Reasons” and “Trespassing In Love's Furrows”), the sides unfold as uninterrupted streams. If anything, side two seems even more spectral, with tones stretching out languorously and notions of natural time suspended. Strains of melancholy and sadness always permeate Celer's work and Dwell In Possibility is no exception, an impression exacerbated by the titles “Embark, Hollow Heart” and especially “Say a Prayer For Me Tonight.”
Recorded in 2006-07, Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness is, we're told, fifty-seven minutes of “vintage, elliptical love songs” created from “crudely recorded tape, primitive synthesizers, detuned strings, untrained traditional instruments, and captured urban decay.” Of course anyone familiar with the group's work knows that a Celer love song will be anything but a standard three-minute vocal piece and, sure enough, the album's four pieces are prototypical Celer: poetically titled short films for the ears and mind whose mini-episodes meld into one another to form seductive and immersive collages. In the opening “Anticline Rests; Inertia Brace Yourself,” hazy field recording flurries bleed into becalmed wisps of reverb-drenched ambient tones and starbursts that hang suspendedly in mid-air, after which haunting string tones subsequently drift through heavy fog. Assorted murmurings and meandering organ tones lend “Collections of Fogs and Ladling Clarities” a ghostly character, while the repeated swoop of plangent strings during the entrancing “Who Feels Like Me, Who Wants Like Me, Who Doubts Any Good Will Come of This” gives it the feel of a lamentation. At album's end, loops shimmer and swirl mesmerically for nineteen minutes during “How Dear This Ear of Reason, Beneath the Backlit Sun.” The last two settings in particular make the Basses Frequences release essential listening for Celer devotees.