Celer: In Escaping Lakes
Celer: All At Once Is What Eternity Is
Celer: Mane Blooms
Even though Danielle Baquet-Long is no longer with us, 'new' Celer recordings will continue to appear so long as Will Long is involved in overseeing the formal release of the group's archived material. What we've got here are three representative Celer recordings, one a standard CD-length outing and the others works of modest duration in formats different from the conventional CD.
In Escaping Lakes breathes serenely for forty minutes, one of those Celer recordings that blends into the surrounding atmosphere when played sans headphones yet also rewards closer listening when heard with them. The subtly calibrated spatial movements of the work's tones are more clearly noticed via headphones, for example, as are the transformations in the tones themselves, which range from clearly defined and blurry to warbling and whistling. Though the recording is indexed to play as a single, uninterrupted piece, the multiple individual sections listed on the sleeve—“A Less Distinguished Tributary,” “Seagrass,” “Mentioned Fumes,” “The Light Obtainable In Spaces We Share,” etc.—reflect the constantly changing nature of the recording. The transitions between the sections are handled so understatedly, however, that the differences between sections are experienced more subliminally than explicitly. In short, In Escaping Lakes, which Will and Dani produced using hydrophone, strings, gong, tingsha bells, electronics, flute, and piano, might be described as an extended murmur of tranquil design. Like a whisper stretched out interminably, Celer's recording is analagous to Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho (the 1993 work slows Hitchcock's 1960 film so that a single, continuous viewing of the film require twenty-four hours) in that both slow their respective materials down until they seem almost frozen in time.
Celer's music seems perfectly tailored for a vinyl format, given the wistful chracter of the group's music and the nostalgic feeling one experiences when handling the petite seven-inch disc Mane Blooms is pressed on. That the combination feels so natural makes it all the more surprising, then, to discover that Mane Blooms is the very first Celer release to appear on wax (it's intended as a companion recording to the group's other Low Point release Brittle). The A-side piece, “Gaited Florets,” transforms heavily processed cello and piano sounds into wispy, gauzy streams of tranquil character (apparently field recordings Dani made while horse-riding along the California coastline find their way into the setting too). Interestingly, the flip side's “Cantering In A Copper Dress” revisits the opening side's material by inverting its structure and musical motifs in a way that mirrors the A side-B side dichotomy of the vinyl format. While the group's meditative material admittedly lends itself most naturally to a CD-length presentation, the seven-inch is only able to offer two brief samplings of Celer's sound. Even so, they're delectable snapshots that provide a nice addition to the group's still-growing body of work.Qintessential Celer, the three-inch release, All At Once Is What Eternity Is, is twenty-three minutes of field recordings of bell chimes tinkling in the wind and assorted rustlings alongside strings and shimmering drones. Time-suspending as always, the long-form setting (recorded in October 2007) gradually finds the reverberant drone dominating and the natural sounds vanishing—until they return even more forcefully in the form of hammering sounds that suggest the building of some wooden structure. As per usual in the Celer universe, abstract and real-world sounds intermingle, with the one moving to the forefront for a brief episode before ceding the spot to the other for its own brief spell. The recording isn't unlike what we've heard before from Celer but it's transporting nevertheless.