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Celer (+Forest Management) * Yui Onodera

Landmarks

Something Cathartic

CELER – SOMETHING CATHARTIC

A limited edition cassette release on Polar Seas Recordings that has almost sold out by now, just a few copies left. But this does not really matter since it’s still available in digital edition (which in my opinion is a far better format for music like this but I know many have a different view on this matter).

Will ‘Celer‘ Long is one of the respected ‘veterans’ of the calm and subdued ambient, with an immense discography where every release seems to meet a high quality standard. You can almost feel the quiet peace descending on you right from the very start of Something Cathartic.
Surprisingly, these tracks are not created with the usual means (often guitar and electronics), but are sourced from a record of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, played at 15rpm (your record player probably won’t be able to do that), then “replayed and reprocessed on tape”. Quite heavily ‘reprocessed’ I guess, since I don’t think the result can easily traced back to the original Copland composition.

A pleasure to immerse yourself in… and the result of such a listening session can be quite Cathartic indeed.


Landmarks

CELER & FOREST MANAGEMENT – LANDMARKS   Also on Spotify

And when enjoying Celer it is also recommended to check out this collaboration with Forest Management (John Daniel). Two like-minded souls scoring a “reimagining of Peter Weir’s film and Paul Theroux’s novel “The Mosquito Coast”.

Compared to Something Cathartic mentioned above, the music on this album is breathing some darker emotions. There’s a ominous tension hidden beneath the quiet sounds. This is obviously related to the Mosquito Coast storyline, but I haven’t seen the movie and haven’t read the book, so I cannot comment on the relation of the music to both.
But if the atmosphere is anywhere near that of the music, I will definitely have to put it on the watch/read list.

Released on Constellation Tatsu (“…adventurous with spiritual artistic sensibilities”…).
Also as a cassette-release. (And also sold out… But as usual the digital version can still be enjoyed).


Substrate - The Garden

YUI ONODERA – SUBSTRATE / THE GARDEN   Also on Spotify

‘Re-releases’ are a bit of a dilemma for me. To keep things organized and not too overwhelming, I tend to focus on new releases mostly. But what if a re-release contains two different albums that were previously released in 2007 on two microlabels (Mystery Sea and Taâlem)  that only very few were lucky enough to find at that time? This music is ‘new’ for most of us, isn’t it? Especially when it sounds fresh enough, like it could’ve been produced today, and is not just released for nostalgic reasons.

So here’s one of these: Dragon’s Eye Recordings re-release of Yui Onodera‘s music for Substrate and The Garden (originally called Le Jardin) Two different approaches, Substrate divided in eight parts and The Garden in four, together clocking in on just over one hour.
Seductive electronic experimental music, created by the Tokyo-based artist “whose work explores the relation between musical form, architectural acoustics and spatial awareness”, who “investigates the politics of perception, to create works that ponder subtle transformations of space and asks audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception”..

Both pieces have somewhat different starting point but perfectly fit together: Substrate is an immersive set of “shimmering microsound frequencies”, while The Garden is created from the (otherwise inaudible) sounds “emitted by hydrogen and oxygen bubbles captured by the ELS 19 transmitted which utilizes the electrolysis of water”.

Captivating electro-environmentalism, where “the boundary between nature and artificiality becomes ambiguous”.

 

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[Law-Rah] Collective/Cinema Perdu; Celer; Book of Air

Celer - Two Days and One Night

Invocation

THE [LAW-RAH] COLLECTIVE / CINEMA PERDU – INVOCATION

Since 2000, The [Law-Rah] Collective has been operating in various formations on different projects. Their discography boasts 14 full albums and numerous other projects. Bauke van der Wal is the constant factor of this ever-changing group of contributors.
On this occasion, he is the single [Law-Rah] member performing. Other tracks on this split album are performed by Martijn Pieck – who has been releasing his work as Cinema Perdusince 2012. In times, he was a member of the collective too. So, in a way, this album can be seen as a ‘collective’ effort, too. Each performer delivers two solo tracks, and they perform together on ‘Invocation 4’.

According to the liner notes, this album is all about friendship. Or rather: the ways friendship can end.
It’s also about friendships that never end, ‘even when said friend has left this dimension. The feeling that we’re left with is just about the worst feeling ever…’
The tracks on Invocation are ‘personal views and interpretations of the emptiness that remains. Finding closure in a process of grief’.

The extended, minimalist drones clearly do not radiate happiness – but on the other hand you would probably have a different interpretation of these sounds when you didn’t know about the artists’ intention. Drones like this create their own vast space to let your thoughts wander to whatever occupies your mind.

With an average length of about 10 minutes each, these five tracks are the kind of sonic immersion that makes time stand still, while everything outside the space it creates seems to disappear. At the same time, the sonic space is filled with sparse details, accents that seek attention and can keep the listener focused and avoid drifting off too far. Especially on the collaboration track, Invocation 4, which has a more industrial feel and is less ‘droney’ than the other pieces.

Van der Wal and Pieck each have their own approach but they obviously share the same artistic vision too. That is why they fit together very well on this split release that feels like a single album instead of being two completely different parts.

Also on Spotify


Celer - Two Days and One Night

CELER – TWO DAYS AND ONE NIGHT

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.

“It’s a shame he didn’t see the burnt orange sunset swirling over the horizon as I did… but then again, maybe he did.”


Vvolk

BOOK OF AIR – VVOLK

Think of a group of 18 improvisers ‘with roots in jazz and classical music’ performing. What sound do you expect to hear? Personally, I expected mayhem, pandemonium, ‘organised chaos’ and disruption.

So much to my surprise, this music is none of that. Or maybe it is, but in a completely unexpected way.
In these two pieces, each referring to two seasons of the year, the Book of Air collective demonstrates an almost incredibly controlled restraint.  This is especially fascinating considering they do not use electronic instruments: the ensemble features drums, bass, guitars, harmonium, euphonium, rhodes, saxophones, flute, percussion and kankles.

 

I’m not sure what the title, Vvolk, refers to exactly. But maybe it’s the VV is the ancient notation for W – in which case it translates to “cloud”.
The music originates from the questions Book of Air asked themselves:
“what are the possibilities in playing music, when changes in this music pass by unnoticed? How do we as musicians relate to the running time of a performance? How does our hearing and memory react to these slow changes?”

Vvolk is the follow-up to Fieldtone from november, 2015, on which Book of Air performed as a quintet created music dedicated to ‘roomtone: “the ‘silence’ recorded at a location or space where no music is played or dialogue spoken’.
Check that one out too, if you can. You’ll probably have a hard time finding any better ‘ambient jazz’ than this.

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Celer; Ian Hawgood; Keith Berry; Kissy Suzuki; Strom Noir

Ambientblog

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with ór without extra words!

Celer - ZigZag

CELER – ZIGZAG
It’s quite hard to keep up with Will Long’s incredible output: the Celer discography counts over 100 titles now, of which 8 albums were released in 2013 alone! But it’s worth trying, because his releases (Celer is his solo project since 2009) have a constant quality and a personal trademark sound.
Currently living in Tokyo, it’s only fitting that his latest (or one of his latest) albums is released on the Spekk label.

“ZigZag” is inspired by the “steady pulses, constant harmonies, and endless continuity” of the minimalist music of the 1960’s and 1970’s. “… While the listener can drift away from following it consciously, the rhythm stays grounded. In it there is something human, like a heartbeat.”

Upon hearing their first baby’s heartbeat in the summer of 2013, the sound of that new heartbeat seemed to connect with the music. “When new life begins, everything points toward the future.”
Judged by the sound of ZigZag, this baby’s future looks bright!


Celer – ZigZag (Excerpt)
 


Ian Hawgood - Betterfor bering built this way

IAN HAWGOOD – WE ARE BETTER FOR BEING BUILT THIS WAY
Originally released in a limited edition in 2009, this album has been re-edited and remastered by James Plotkin.
“‘We Are Better For Being Built This Way’ is a meditation on simple tones taken from bowed/picked piano, guitar, singing bowls and pump organ. It was made as an accompaniment to lone autumnal train travel.”
Due to the choice of instruments used to create these ‘simple tones’ (and the perfect mastering, of course) the sound is rich with overtones, resulting in a razor sharp, crystal clear and bright spirited sound.
The physical edition is packed Komu-style (“printed on beautiful aged washi paper, with an oversized recycled card obi. The washi used for this package is taken from regenerated gampi forests and wheat”) and comes with a vintage kodachrome slide.



Keith Berry Blue Peninsula

KEITH BERRY – TOWARDS THE BLUE PENINSULA
Packed in a strikingly beautiful gatefold sleeve of thick carton (‘tip-on mini-LP Japanese style’), together with a glossy inner photograph sleeve, this CD is a real gem to hold. But it’s a real pleasure to listen to, too!
Though divided into 12 tracks, all named ‘Untitled’, it is in fact one continuous 50 minute ‘flow’ of ‘windswept or at times aquatic and organic sounding’ dronescapes.
“Berry’s recordings are the result of letting ideas take their course, revising, re-visiting and letting the works breathe. “


Sandymount

KISSY SUZUKI – SANDYMOUNT
Short one-track album (20 minutes) with a beautiful drone built from field recordings from the Sandymount (Irish: Dumhach Thrá) coastal suburb on the Southside of Dublin in Ireland. Some of the sounds are still recognisable in the background (birds, mostly), but most other sounds blend in to one uninterrupted – and comfortable – blanket of sound.
Kissy Suzuki, by the way, is an alias of french artist David Teboul, a.k.a. Linear Bells.


Strom Noir - Urban Blues

STROM NOIR – URBAN BLUES
Strom Noir is Emil Mat’ko from Bratislava, Slovenia. After releases on U-Cover, Hibernate, Data Obscura and Dronarivm, this is his first album on Zoharum.
“Urban Blues” is conceived for headphone listening, preferrably while walking in the city:
“background sounds and noises may supplement it in a non-recurring way and, even if you know the track by heart, your only feeling for the very first moment is that something is different… ‘Urban Blues’ presents a trip through the city – the city you believe you are familiar with, but, on the other hand, you’re feeling that something wrong is increasing.”


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Celer – I, Anatomy

Ambientblog


I'Anatomy

When talking about extremely prolific artist that manage to deliver amazing quality recordings with every new release, Celer is one of the names that pops up. At the time of writing, the Celer discography mentions 52 titles released on a label, and another 33 self-released titles!
I, Anatomy
, released as a double vinyl album (no digital download yet, unfortunately), is not the latest release, but, in fact, that is not the point at all.
Unlike decades ago, there’s no point in collecting, trying to be complete. The more important point is to simply enjoy what you encounter.

As Will Thomas Long puts it: “I know it is difficult for people to keep up, but for me, I just share things with people that I feel or assume might be interested in the music, because they’re just the people I have contact with, hoping that in maybe one of the releases, something will strike them or have some personal relation. I don’t expect anyone to listen to or enjoy everything, but it’s something that is just natural for me, making and working on music, and keeping doing it. Trust me, I’d love to make only 1 album a year, but it just doesn’t ever work out that way. Not yet, at least.”

I assume the tragic history of Celer is known by most that are familiar with their music.
Celer was formed in 2005 as a husband-wife duo of Danielle Baquet and Will Long. Their music reflected their harmony. After Danielle’s tragic death in 2009, caused by heart failure, Will continued to record music under the same name.
In loving memory of his wife. 

Is it important to mention this tragedy with almost every new review?
Yes, I think it is, because most – if not all – of Celer’s music is about memories.
And memories are definitely the basic theme of I, Anatomy“.

Quite a lot of Celer-albums contain long-form ambient music, which can easily be referred to as ‘drone music’. Will does not really like it when his music is referred to as ‘drone music’.
“I don’t think this describes my music at all. Maybe it does and has sometimes in the past, but not always. The dictionary definition of ‘drone’ is ‘a continuous, low humming sound’. I know that in many and most times, my music is not continuous (other than the continuance of loops), but it is rarely ever consistently low.”

Though “drone music”  and “ambient music” may refer to a strictly defined style of composing music, for most people it’s a reference to a mood, and a certain way of designing soundscapes.
“People use the word ‘drone’ or ‘ambient’ to describe something with reverb, sustain, or a pure sound that is continued fluidly. For instance, if you listen to the first musical part of ‘I, Anatomy’, it consists of two things, a piano note and bells, looped and repeating. They both have sustain and reverb, but I wouldn’t call it a ‘drone’. Most people would though..”

So, I, Anatomy is not “long-form drone music”. At least, the first half of the double album isn’t. The first two sides of the album are short fragments of sounds, alternated with short field-recording fragments, bringing back memories that everyone probably can share in some way. It’s like when you’re browsing through a box full of long forgotten postcards. Different moods, different atmospheres, all fondly remembered. 

“A few stories, put together with no previous purpose, than having their own place and time. In being put together, something new is formed. This was the basis for I, Anatomy. There wasn’t any intention, it was just a diary. These things happened, and became the source material, finding their directions from what was before directionless, and become the whole. Going back to these moments and memories,
I, Anatomy isn’t a story, it’s one hundred stories.”

The second half of the album consist of two EP’s that were previously released in strictly limited editions: “All At Once Is What Eternity Is” and “The Die That’s Caste”. They were included because this release was intended to be released in a singular edition this way, but that release never came to be (all music was recorded from 2005-2009).

I, Anatomy starts with a fragment of a dialogue with a 103 years old friend. “We know where we’ve come (from), but we don’t know where we’re going”.
About 80 minutes – 100 stories – later, the most important question remaining, the ‘only one, always the same‘, is: “What are you running away from?”

I bet that’s the hard one to answer.


CELER – I, ANATOMY (fragments)

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Machinefabriek – Stroomtoon (+3)

Ambientblog

It’s quite hard to keep up with Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt’s output. In fact, I could easily publish an entire (sub-)weblog dedicated to his releases.

I really try to avoid returning to the same artists with every new release. But the sheer quality of Rutger Zuydervelt‘s music makes it hard to ignore his newest releases.
Every new release seems to bring a new surprise: an unexpected collaboration, or a kind of special touch that makes his music stand out from the mass of other releases.
It may be hard to keep up, but it’s always very rewarding to check his new releases.

Here’s a pick from the latest batch:

Hei - Sou

Hei/Sou (with Celer)
The third (and final?) 2-track 7″-single from the series with Celer (following Maastunnel/Mt. Mizake and Numa/Penarie.
Again, the 7″ vinyl format is completed with two impressionistic videos by Marco Douma (included with the digital download). Together, these three singles are a great set of varied soundscapes and a showcase dialogue of two artists inspiring each other to new territories.

 

Stroomtoon

Stroomtoon
Compared to Hei/Sou, this album offers an entirely different kind of Machinefabriek. The 18+ minute opening track is a  jawdropping analogue tone seemingly spiralling downware endlessly, until, almost unnoticeably, it starts dragging you back up again. This is not “just” a tone generator sound: because of the subtle field recordings mixed in the background – creating a strange mixture of organic and electronic atmospheres.
Once back up from this downward journey, Rutger continues to explore the possibilities of his soundmachines, proving that he can get maximum effect from a (seemingly) minimal setup.

PierDrie

Pierdrie (with Roel Meelkop and Marco Douma)
A short collaboration DVD (18 minutes, but it automatically loops endlessly) from a project installation of 3 video monitors and 4 speakers “about the visual and sonic phenomena of pier drie in the Rotterdam Waalhaven.”
The images of the 3 monitors are merged and edited for use with one screen – the DVD format offers the opportunity to play this in full surround sound as well in stereo.
I’m a sucker for immersive surround-sound ambient, but unfortunately, releases like this are fairly rare.
I don’t know why, really, because the immersive possibilities of surround sound are perfect for this kind of music. And home cinema systems are fairly common these days, so a lot of people can enjoy the surround sound in full effect.
Pierdrie is a colourful and atmospheric hommage to Rotterdam harbour industries (that vaguely reminded me of David Sylvian’s groundbreaking Steel Cathedrals”  from 1985).

Windtunnel

Windtunnel with Esper Reinertsen (Free Download)
To conclude this batch, here’s a free download offered from a collaboration with saxophone player Esper Reinertsen. This installation was especially created for the arcade of the NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute) in Rotterdam.
“Four notes repeated with variant intervals are played through four seperate loudspeakers positioned throughout the passageway. Walking through the arcade, the emphasis shifts from one note to the other, giving the listener an active role in his experience of the piece.”

As this is a stereo mix of the piece, the cover impression of the arcade and your imagination will have to help you in creating your own active role. But, in passive mode, this piece also works perfectly.

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Celer + Machinefabriek – Greetings From…

Ambientblog


postcard set

It’s almost impossible to keep up with the speed of Will ‘Celer’ Long and Rutger ‘Machinefabriek’ Zuydervelt. 
By the time I have finished writing this review, I guess probably at least three new releases will have emerged which are all also worth hearing… 

Following up their 7″ collaboration (Maastunnel – Mt. Mitake” ), they recently did a short tour through Holland (and Brussel).
Recordings of these sets have now been released simultaneously with the duo’s second 7″ single Numa – Penarie

And, to conclude this batch: the CDR “Bliksem“, recorded by Celer especially for this tour (in a very limited physical edition of 10) is now also available as a digital download.

The physical part of the “Greetings from Celer and Machinefabriek”  tour set consists of 8 postcards featuring snapshots from nearby the concert locations (which are not always the kind of images the local tourist board would publish, by the way). From the tour impressions written on the back of the cards we learn that the tour was great overall, but the closing night at Drachten obviously turned out to some kind of unexpected anti-climax: “Not to be rude, but this was almost like performing in an elderly home.”

The digital counterpart of the set features a recording of sets from the full tour: almost 3 hours of improvised music for a ridiculously low price of only 5€ (including the postcards)!.

I expected that all sets would be somewhat identical in a tour like this. But I clearly misjudged these guys’ improvisational talents! 
Of course, the overall feeling is similar across these tracks. There are some distinct elements and themes returning at different times and in a different context.
But there’s always something different happening: Celer creating atmospheric background drones while Machinefabriek is constantly busy manipulating all kind of wired objects. The result is a fascinating blend of dreamlike drone-backgrounds, found sounds, radio fragments, spoken word and environmental recordings. 
A lot of room is left for spontaneous incidents (and coincidental humor, like a hunter elaborating on ‘elk talk’, or a voicemail recording of someone asking for help because ‘the internet won’t start up’).
Even after listening to the full three hours I still felt this roller-coaster ride was over much too soon! 


Numa Penarie

Like its predecessor, the Numa – Penarie”  7-inch single contains two relatively short tracks, built from tiny audio snippets perfectly crafted into sound collages.
This single is somewhat like a short ‘studio version’ impression of what the live sets have to offer.
Beautiful atmospheres, with sudden mood changes to keep you from dozing off.

Ordering this 7″ single also includes the download of the digital version, also containing two videos created by Marco Douma: abstract video images that perfectly match the mood of their soundtrack. 


Bliksem

Compared to that, Bliksem (which is dutch for “Lightning”) is a more uncomprising, relatively rough recording, especially because this 30 minute track ends in fairly harsh sounding distorted feedback (which I think is rather ‘un-Celer-like’).

“Bliksem” was recorded the night before departing to Holland for the March tour, and quickly burned as a limited tour CDR. Of course, the physical CDR’s quickly sold out at the tour, but the recorded improvisation is still available as a digital download.


Celer + Machinefabriek – Numa

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Celer – Evaporate and Wonder – Tightrope

Celer

If you are in any way familiar with ambient music, Celer will probably be familiar too. The discography boasts about 80 titles, most (if not all) of these well worth the listen.

Celer started out as a husband-and-wife duo in 2005. After the tragic death of Danielle Baquet-Long in 2009 (she died of heart failure at the age of 27), Will Long has released music they had previously recorded together, as well as music he recorded later.

Evaporate and Wonderwas originally recorded in may, 2009, only a few months before Danielle’s death. The source material was limited to improvised synthesizer and field recordings, but two tracks (about 20 minutes each) have all the warm aesthetic qualities that have become the Celertrademark from the very beginning. A sound well-balanced and harmonically pleasant – ‘utterly devoid of rough edges’.

 

Spotify– (Also on Spotify)


Tightrope

The basic material forTightrope”  was recorded in november 2010 in Tokyo while Will was touring with Yui Onodura.  The main difference compared to “Evaporate and Wonder” is that a lot of different instruments were involved in this recording: “piano, television, synthesizers, fire crackling, pipe organ, eating rice, guitar, medicine drip buzzer,…’ which are just a few. All source pieces are layered and mixed on top of each other, and presented in a 70 minute continuous collage.

The variety of source makes this a somewhat more cinematographic album compared to “Evaporate..”, but it still has the same unmistakeable trademark, the same comfortable, timeless, immersive sound.

With an output rate like this, I do wonder if there’s anyone around that can name a Celer album title when hearing a particular piece from it. It’s hard to keep track; new album titles will probably be released before I finish writing this post. But, as said before, the really incredible thing is that all titles are worth listening, to say the least. A thing that cannot be said of many artists!
Together, they are presenting the kind of continuous ambient atmosphere that somehow compares to the sound of nature: it’s basically the same sort of sound every time, yet it never gets boring.

“In the end, they’re all collected, unplanned memories”


Celer – Repertoire of Dinless Shifts (excerpt)

 

Spotify– (Also on Spotify)

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Machinefabriek + Celer – Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake

Mach-Celer

Well here’s a little gem that will definitely be a collector’s item quickly:

Celer (Will Long) and Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt) – two giants of the ambient-electronic improv scene – met and performed together in Tokyo in 2010, and decided to collaborate on these tracks about a year later. Exchanging an reconstructing each others audio files has resulted in this 7″ vinyl release: Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake“.
An impressive, though short, ‘audio bridge’ between Rotterdam and Tokyo.

Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake” comes as a 7-inch single with two tracks, around 5 minutes each. The tracks found their inspiration in Mt. Mitake, a mountain to the west of Tokyo, and in the Maastunnel in Rotterdam.

The reason these tracks work so very well may be that Celer’s and Machinefabriek’s approach are usually quite different. But together their sounds become a perfect blend of organic and mechanic, of acoustic and electronic, of natural and artificial (as the titles indicate).
Or of East and West, if you insist.

In addition to the physical release, there’s the download version (also included with the 7-inch order), which also includes two videos by Marcel DoumaBeautiful images,a pleasure to watch, and perfectly fitting the music – but not exactly visually related to the Maastunnel , and probably not to Mt. Mitake either.

For now, there’s only ten minutes of this beauty.
Celer and Machinefabriek will be touring Holland and Belgium in march 2012 (together with Kleefsta/Bakker/Kleefstra!). We can only hope they will record all their shows to create a follow up to this Maastunnel-Mt. Mitake


Celer & Machinefabriek – Maastunnel;
video by Marcel Douma

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Kyle Bobby Dunn; Will Long; Kleefstra+Kleefstra+Davis; Kalte; Bgudna

Ambientblog

In this “shortlist” section, I will mention some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, they deserve your attention: use the links to find more info and hear previews.

Ways of Meaning

Kyle Bobby Dunn – Ways of Meaning
“Kyle Bobby Dunns new full-length album is a treatise on the resonance of memory; an attempt to harness the finality of meaning as a shared experience.
Some moments recall church and choral music, others are anthemic in their own quiet way, and sadness finds warm overtones to help quell its cold nature. Spatial qualities are examined thoroughly; clarity is reached when viewing one’s surroundings. The environment comes into focus and a reverie encapsulates the listener.”

When You Fall Out of Love

Will Long – When You Fall Out of Love with Me
The title in itself invokes the sad romantic mood for which this 18 minute track is the perfect soundtrack. Celer-style, in case you need any more recommendation.

Sieleslyk

Gareth Davis, Jan & Romke Kleefstra – Sieleslyk
“Jan and Romke Kleefstra are brothers, currently based in The Netherlands who have previously collaborated with Machinefabriek and Peter Broderick amongst many others. On Sieleslyk they are joined by British artist Gareth Davis (bass and contrabass clarinet) to make some ominous dynamic soundscapes using guitar, clarinet and spoken word.The spoken words of Jan Kleefstra are in Frisian, a minority language spoken in the north of The Netherlands.”
The physical edition is part of the Rural Colours Subscription Set, but non-subscribers can download the digital version for free! (!)  

Kalte.jpg

Kalte – Fissures
“At over six thousand metres below sea level, the Hadopelagic Zone is the deepest layer of the ocean, an area where water pressure is over a hundred times stronger than on the surface and where light cannot penetrate. For their latest album “Fissures”, Kalte explore the darkness that permeates this inhospitable space, music inspired by massive pressures and arctic depths, heavy sounds from unknown sources, ominous and dark tones never heard outside of this watery abyss.”
Kalte
produces eerie and expansive soundscapes, created almost entirely from natural sources that have been digitally altered and re-assembled. The result is a dark and atmospheric combination of organic and electronic elements.

Bgudna - Other Plans

Bgudna – Other Plans for Field Experience
Björgvin Guðnason (Iceland), the man behind BGUDNA, has crafted a dreamy and otherworldly EP, a
listening experience both warm and wonderful, both dark and searching.”
Free download from the “en stillhet som döden” (“a stillness like death”) netlabel .

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Celer – Engaged Touches

Engaged Touches

Celer’s Engaged Touches’ was the second release on the Home Normal label in 2009 – which in fact sold out before it even went on sale.
This fact alone justifies this (1000 edition) re-release.

The somewhat misleading cover photo may trick an unsuspecting passenger into thinking this is a new Konono No. 1 or Staff Benda Bilili release (though on second view the image isn’t even remotely african) – but the music tells quite a different story.

“…an absorbing combination of classic ambient, minimalism, and – perhaps as the most distinct characteristic – overwhelming romanticism. Longing, melancholy, nostalgia, and the like seem to be recurring themes in Will and Dani’s works.”
(original liner notes)

Will Thomas Long and Danielle Baquet-Long were ambient music’s ‘prodigy couple’.
They seemed to breathe music from every moment they were together, creating an immense catalogue of music that was immediately recognisable as theirs. Celer’s fiercely romantic musical style thus quickly became the ‘standard’ other ambient music was compared to.

Until Dani’s sudden, and unexpected death in july, 2009 (aged 26) dramatically ended the Celer “project”.

“Engaged Touches’ , recorded in 2006/2008, thematically deals with travelling to unknown destinies – the musical parts are interlinked by field recordings including train exterior and sleeper car.

It only adds to the saddening and heartbreaking mystery of Celer.

In the end, the music of Celer should not be judged by the personal drama that lies behind, but on the musical quality in itself. It should be remembered that this music was not created in memory of Dani’s death, but in happy times – times of harmony and musical interactivity.

Like many other Celer releases, “Engaged Touches”  shows an exceptional couple at their musically creative peak, working together in perfect harmony.

All music they recorded together can only be releases in loving memory of Danielle Baquet-Long.

“…but I’m just a scrap, subject to glances, and being tossed aside.

something missed the meaning of beautiful flutters.”
(danielle baquet-long) 

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