Review: Celer – Without Retrospect, the Morning
Glacial Movements Records – GM015 (CD) Time: 52:13
Tracks: 1) Holdings of Electronic Lifts; 2) A Small Rush into Exile; 3) Dry and Disconsolate; 4) Variorum of Hierophany; 5) A Landscape Once Uniformly White; 6) Distance and Mortality; 7) With Some Effort, the Sunset;
Although not as indiscriminate as is denoted by the term, I am often a completist when it comes to collecting the works of selected authors and musicians. Yet, I would be hard-pressed, given his massive output of creative work, to even begin to collect all the music of Will Long in the guise of Celer. By now, I probably have a dozen or so of Celer’s recordings, but if I had to recommend one and only one recent work, it might just be this almost mystical and entrancing album. I’m also drawn to this release since it fulfills one of the most significant inspirations for why I listen to music—it takes me somewhere, and the images and sensations are vivid.
This is the third work in a trilogy based on water (to some, water symbolizes comfort and freedom). The two previous albums are Cursory Asperses (2008) and Escaping Lakes (2009)—the former alluding to the slow movements of small streams and the latter to the calmer depths. The music on this album being inspired in part by Will’s trip to southern Alberta in 2009 (documenting the wilderness in photographs for a local Park Service).
Without Retrospect, the Morning is different from the first two in the series in that it has distinct tracks (versus a continuous thread of sound) and it captures water (or the sense of it) in a different state—a chilled desolation, at times at the edge of an existence where the potential energy is stored and released ever so sparingly in a landscape yearning for Sun and warmth. It’s therefore appropriate that this album landed at the Glacial Movements record label, a self-proclaimed “glacial and isolationist ambient” label. I also appreciate that the recording has been mastered with a softness that retains the intricate clarity of the many layers of sound buried in the crystalline strata (to heck with the loudness wars!). There are also hidden sonic depths, and some passages might be felt before they are heard (as in Dry and Disconsolate).
A lateral effect of this CD is that it triggers (for me) some pleasant, albeit quirky, sonic memories from long ago. I’m a fan of the original 1960s Star Trek. There was some great incidental music and ambient sounds used in that series that, to my ears, are recalled in a track like Distance and Mortality (see if you hear the resonance of the wind from the pilot episode, The Menagerie or the sound of the transporter beam).
Distance and Mortality
So find a quiet room, bundle-up, get comfortable, and explore stunning breadth of this vast hyperborean landscape. Just remember to turn the volume back down on your amplifier before you change the sources on your preamp or pop-in another CD.