Recommended by us on 20th March 2009.
The music of Will Thomas Long's and Danielle Baquet-Long's Celer is an absorbing
combination of classic ambient, minimalism, and – perhaps as thee most distinct
characteristic – overwhelming romanticism. Longinng, melancholy, nostalgia, and the
like seem to be recurring themes in Will and Dani's works.
Engaged Touches begins with hypnotic sounds of a train clattering on its tracks.
This departure seems to set the whole piece into a context of travel and distance,
moving away from and towards something, someone. After a while these sounds give
way to a rousing, majestic set of string loops. Similar phases of different field
recordings and grandiose loops take turns throughout the whole work. This brings about
a dynamics of contrasts: the concrete and the abstract, the particular and the general, the
mundane and the exalted, and so on. The phases of string loops take up most of the
album and evoke a yearning feeling of distance, grand and epic. The title, Engaged
Touches, however, refers to quite the opposite, the close and intimate. It feels as if it is
these kinds of touches that the string loops wailingly, albeit very gracefully, long for.
This is exactly the kind of powerful romanticism that seems to define so much
of Celer's work.
Because of the heavy presence of string loops Engaged Touches reminds me of
some of Celer's earlier works. I would call it a classic Celer piece, if it weren't for the
fact that their oeuvre spans only a few years back, and it would be too early to ponder
the distinct phases and the internal relations in their output.
Engaged Touches is another beautiful addition to the rapidly growing body of work by Celer – an oeuvre that I already consider one of thhe most important in modern ambient music.
- Antti Rannisto
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