Compilations / Mixes
Evaporate and Wonder
Issued by Experimedia in limited twelve-inch LP (300 copies) and download formats, Evaporate and Wonder is quintessential Celer moodscaping. For trainspotters of the group, it's also significant for perhaps being one of the last works recorded by Celer in its husband-and-wife incarnation of Danielle Baquet-Long and Will Long (Evaporate and Wonder was recorded in May of 2009, two months before Danielle's death on July 8). The material lends itself naturally to an LP presentation, given that it's comprised of two pieces, each in the twenty-minute range. The first half, “Bedded in Shallow Blades,” is a prototypical Celer slow-jam, a glacial and silvery flow of processed sound that's ethereal in the extreme. “Repertoire of Dinless Shifts” opts for a slightly lower-pitched rumble as a counterpoint to the higher-pitched tones that hover endlessly above. In both pieces, the music unfolds like the prolonged exhalation of a long-held breath as organ and string tones weave in and around one another, merging and blending like liquids. Synthesizers and field recordings might have provided the source material for the two settings, but, as per usual in the Celer universe, the originating sounds have been modified to such a degree that any identifying detail has long been left behind, leaving in its wake an abstract mass of shimmering haze with only the most tenuous of ties to the earthly domain.
Tightrope, by comparison, is a more recent Celer production and thus presumably representative of the group's current sound. Created in 2010, the single track, seventy-minute piece captures the now Tokyo-based Will Long working alone under the Celer name; however, based on Tightrope, the differences between the originating model and the current one are slight. In customary manner, the work utilizes a broad range of sound sources, with piano, television, synthesizers, whistling, pipe organ, acoustic guitar, laptop, a medicine drip buzzer, car noise, and numerous other unidentified sounds as base material; on paper, the work is described as a collage that Long assembled from twenty-four separately titled pieces. But again, in true Celer fashion, all such elements have been transmuted so thoroughly that their identifying characters have long vanished, leaving us instead with a softly wavering, organ-like dronescape that unfolds ever-so-placidly. Softly surging washes of sound whistle and whisper, their layers overlapping one another like gently cresting waves, and the work ultimately plays like an infinitely long sigh distilled into serene aural form. Admittedly, neither of the Celer releases adds anything terribly novel to the Celer sound-world—much of what's presented in both recordings will seem like familiar territory to long-time Celer devotees—so one might best think of them as two more pieces to be added to an ever-growing discography or as ideal entry-points for anyone new to the Celer galaxy.