Celer

Celer

Lands, caresses and tears

interview by Matteo Meda
First of all: do you think "sky really has a limit"?
If you take the meaning literally then there's no limit, as everything in and beyond space can still be the sky. I always interpreted the sky as whatever is above us, however far it reaches. I chose the title more as a play on irony, in regards to the old phrase 'the sky's the limit' - which of course doesn't make any sense anyway, with the intention to give something that is really limitless a defined limit - instead of the true meaning of the original phrase which has a completely different meaning.

What about the relationship between this kind of "phylosophical" title and the music in the album?
Even though the title says one thing it really means something else, and I think the music can represent both ends of that theory as well. It isn't meant to be literal, and though I have a defined pervading idea throughout, it's still left open to interpretation. I don't expect everyone to see it from my point of view - it's just part of the story for me, and what it means to me.

I really find time as a core element in this album, as the track's alternation seems to suggest the way time goes inside and outside a man's perception. The field recordings represented in my mind some photography of instants, seen by the outside. And then, the drone-lead tracks suggested to me the subjective interpretation of the same instant, seen by the inside. Do you think I hit it on the nail, in some ways?
Yes, it can be seen that way, as a half daydream/half awake state, as if you're walking to a train, and then the next moment you remember waking suddenly as you're speeding down the tracks--all you can see is the passing countryside. It's just like our memories - it's not an exact record, just pieces that you can remember here and there that piece together a story. In reality (as in the album) those pieces are in and out of order. The field recordings aren't supposed to be original or extraordinary - they're just snapshots (as you suggested) of the actual time and places - a literal record of what happened. The music is the opposite side of that.

So, could we read "Sky Limits" as a travel in time, inside and outside the consciousness?
Yes, I think so. Or in the reality of the present rather than time, necessarily.

How did this concept take shape? What elements inspired you in imagine this "principle of instant's uniqueness"?
I'm almost always connecting my projects with current activities or time, almost as if it's a journal of my experiences. It's really nothing new for me. Maybe the descriptions are there in most of my albums, but difficult to find or omitted for some reason. I focus on some things in a different way, so it's less-directly related to exact moments, and instead on a particular idea or roundabout event. Sometimes it's just a record of a particular time, just as in the case with Sky Limits - even though the events aren't all directly related. In this case, I knew that I would be living in a different house and community one year later, and I began noticing small things in my neighborhood and in my life that would probably be different after I moved. Those things seemed to stick out to me, and I don't consider any of those details mundane or useless - they can be appreciated just like everything else if you pay attention to them.

And what about the sound? Did you develop them directly or are they kinds of process-generated drones?
Sometimes with music it really just depends on what I'm making at the time - sometimes with no particular direction, but once something starts to develop, or an idea to center it around comes into place, it's usually easy to match where I want it to go with the musical flow. I typically make music impulsively over a short time. Sometimes nothing matches with music for a long time, and then suddenly, it's there.

How do you see this album compare to your previous ones? For example, I think it was a very different one from the last "Zig Zag"...
Yes, the style is very different from "Zig Zag", but not so dissimilar with many of my other albums. However I tried to make it very accessible and restrained. It would have been easy to make any of those loops last for 20 or 30 minutes each, and push the boundaries of the disc's space, but it didn't seem necessary. In comparison, I guess I just spent a lot longer time working on the mixing process, and thinking about how it sounds best. I usually go through many different versions of an album, and listen to them in different situations and places, and go back and forth and change things over time. With this, I did that a lot.

Going back a bit more on general, your research seems to have taken a lot of different directions during the last years... Are you actually developing some parallels "sound-topics"?
Yes, some directions only exist as an experiment or two, and others seem to take further development and evolution. I think I have multiple directions that I tend to repeat (with an evolving improvement, I hope) and it's important to do this - finding what interests you the most, what works and what doesn't, and what is satisfying or not. Sometimes it's difficult to say what you want, but so far I've been able to mostly express it, and it seems to be becoming easier, and more focused as I become more patient and confident with what I'm doing.

This could be a good explanation also for the large amount of albums you've been publishing for these six years... What about this real proliferation of music? Does it depend on your approach to making it?
Proliferation of music in general or of my own? Early on I was publishing almost anything and everything that I made, and to me it was part of a growing and learning process. Over the last few years I feel like I've really been able to control where it's going more and more, and it's become much less random, and more focused. As to why there have been so many, I just followed my inspiration and was spontaneous about it. Recently I've tried to curtail that some, and focus on quality over quantity. It's far more work, and worth more in the end. And that's true, it does depend what the approach is - some approaches are easier than others.

I particulary liked your more-landscaping works, such as "Without Retrospect, The Morning" and "Capri"... They seem to put together serenity and melancholy, getting a sort of "peacefully-but-gloomy" ambiances... Do you feel it the same way?
I'm not sure exactly. I never really set out to make a piece sound this way or that way - it just happens to come out that way. Of course I shape the music to sound a certain way, but I think it mostly sounds the way it does because it's the way I do it, and what sounds good to me. As far as moods, I think that's commonly misinterpreted. Many people say my music sounds sad and things like that, but maybe they're making that assumption because of past circumstances they've read about. While I do want people to make their own interpretations for how what they can connect with, perhaps the real circumstances are much different.

Have you got any particular relationship with your homeland and nature in general? Is this reflected by some of your works?
I grew up in a very rural part of the American south, where there is a lot of history (good and bad), nature, and little else. My family and the nature around us has always been a big inspiration for me, and other parts of America have been an inspiration as well. I have great memories traveling around the country with my family when I was living there. However that's probably about where it stops. When I left the US in 2010 it was for a number of reasons, and having lived in Japan for the last 4 years, I believe I made the right decision. This is also a theme I'm planning to explore more in the future, particularly related to America in memory and from afar.

I also think you've always paid much attention to details in your musical production. And not only sound details, but also physic ones, such as the cover art for the albums... Do you agree?
Yes. Artwork, packaging, and everything to do with an album (not just the music) makes a huge difference. I would go as far to say those things are equally as important as the music. Only once have I intentionally used no artwork for albums, and that was for the black vinyl series - which was 5 LP records with black labels, black vinyl, and black paper sleeves - however that in itself, that's also a style of artwork. Without the right cover art, package, and concept, it doesn't mean the same thing. Sometimes it has worked perfectly in the past, and sometimes not. But regardless, I think this is how my music exists in the best circumstances, as a package of combined pieces.

What instruments do you usually make your music with? Are you still using some organic and direct-playing machines, such as keyboards and synthesizers?
I use a lot of reel to reel tape, cassettes, some FM synths and keyboards, and some simple effects. I'm not really into buying lots of expensive gear. I like having a few things, and using them in a way that respects the instrument. I won't usually keep something that I can't use often. Most of my stuff is very cheap, but useful. I don't care about studios, and I don't even use monitors. Since I'm not a trained musician I don't really have many nice instruments or play anything in particular too often, so it just varies all the time what I use.

How do you see this sort of struggle between analog's fascinate and digital's comfort?
I think I'm rooted in a more hands-on time period, because digital music production isn't really comfortable to me at all. I like using things that have buttons, sliders, knobs, spindles, capstans, and tiny lcd screens. Usually the only time I use a computer is mixing and post processing. I still like some old programs that are now outdated, but they're far more creative. I find plugins and software boring and endless, mostly.

I've never got the chance to attend a live set by Celer... How do you usually build them? What does live dimension represent for you?
When I lived in the United States I tried a lot of different approaches with live setups, and it never seemed to work out. It was always impossible to transfer my working style into something that would work for a live show without using a computer - which by using the computer, it deadened the material, and also made it boring for me. When I moved to Japan I abandoned using the computer and started working with portable reel to reels and cassettes. Since then I've gotten really comfortable with a really minimal setup. I finally discovered that presenting just a moment with small changes works the best. I try to make it like looking through a window for 30 minutes. What you see and hear won't change a lot, but it doesn't have to be less-beautiful because of it.

Do you think your music, that sometimes focus on contemplation and interiority's reflections, can fit well with live dimension's peculiarities?
It depends on the audience a lot. In Japan people are almost always very quiet, and nothing stirs. It's been so long since I played in the US, I can't even remember what it was like there. I think the last time I played in the US, it was at the Echo Curio in LA, and the entire audience was there to see one of the other bands. During my set, they all stood outside the glass window on the street smoking (with me on the other side of the glass by myself in the venue). Things like that happen sometimes. I think it can fit if people are in the right mindset, or are open to something that isn't a 'performance' so to speak. I think you can look at it in a multitude of ways. Sometimes people close their eyes, almost in meditation. That way you can imagine on your own. Sometimes I've projected a still image, as a semi-literal representation for people - and you can follow it that way, too.

What projects are you going to work on the next months?
I think I'm finished with all the music I'll release for this year, so a lot of the rest of the year will be devoted to the actual release process of all these things. But there are several projects that I'm working on for the future:

• A project centered around CV (controlled voltage = pre-midi) using the Roland MC4 sequencer. Using this sequencer as the source, I'm visiting the studios of music friends who have analog gear with CV connections, and making something together. The sound depends on what instruments they have.

• An album for my own label for 2016 based around loops and field recordings. I played this music at a show in Niigata a few years ago, using cassette tapes, and the transfer was so crude there was an overarching noise in the recordings. Through my EQ and delay, everything sounded as if behind a waterfall.

• A concept/collage-based album about a Swiss town that was completely covered by an avalanche.

My last question is a bit personal, and maybe you will prefer not to answer to it. I really got surprised by seeing your reaction at Danielle's passing away. I was quite sure Celer would have died there, and instead, you probably increased its rhytm year after year... Where did you find this power to overcome your pain, and go on doing what you did before together?
I think that doing it was one of the things that kept me going, especially in the most difficult times. When anyone experiences the death of someone close, whom you've spent time in doing things together, the only way to survive from that is to keep on going on your own. It's easy to get lost in the things of the past, and be unable to see the future. There were several reasons I decided to continue the project. After her death, I found myself with still many albums pre-arranged to be released - meaning I would have to continue working with it regardless - it was also a lot of work that I had put a lot of time and effort into, so it wasn't something to just abandon. At the same time, leaving it as only music of the past didn't seem right to me - and it seemed like there was no reason for it to disappear because of that. There was more I wanted to say, and on my own, I was able to overcome the past and move on. It's important to appreciate and understand the past, but it doesn't have to rule the future. Now, 5 years later, I'm living in a different country, am married and have an 11-month old daughter. Things change, and everything happens for a reason.

You've never left Celer as the name of your project. And so, after the previous hard question, I want to finish this interview by asking: what does it mean? And what does it represent for you?
I think the name just got chosen almost randomly and it stuck. I think nobody ever expected it to be more than a one-off thing. Since then, I never thought to use anything else, and at this point, after 10 years, especially if I'm continuing to make music that is similar in style, I don't see any reason to change the name. If I started making deep house or acoustic music, it would probably need to be something different. Even if it doesn't mean anything, it's important to at least be consistent.
Discografia
 

CELER
(Will Long & Danielle Baquet-Long 2004-2009;
Will Long 2009-now)

  
 CD & LP
  
 Discourses Of The Withered (Infraction, 2008)
 Nacreous Clouds (and/OAR, 2008)
 The Everything And The Nothing (ltd, Infraction, 2008)
 Engaged Touches (Home Normal, 2009)
In Escaping Lakes (Slow Flow, 2009)
 Close Proximity And The Unhindered Care-All (Sentient Recognition Archive, 2009)
 Brittle (Low Point, 2009)
Capri (Humming Conch, 2009)
Rags Of Contentment (cass, Digitalis, 2009 / Dronarivm, 2012)
 Salvaged Violets (2xCD, Infraction, 2010)
 Dwell In Possibility (LP, Blackest Rainbow, 2010 / MP3, Autoprodotto, 2013)
Vestiges Of An Inherent Memory (LP, Blackest Rainbow, 2010 / MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)
Dying Star (Dragon's Eye, 2010)
 Panoramic Dreams Bathed In Seldomness  (Basses Frequences, 2010)
 Pockets Of Wheat (Soundscaping, 2010)
 Foolish Causes Of Fail And Ruin (LP, MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)
 Ever, Irreplaceable Beauty (LP, Autoprodotto, 2011)
 Relief And Altruism (LP, Autoprodotto, 2012)
 Tightrope (Low Point, 2012)
 An Immensity Merely To Save Life (LP, Autoprodotto, 2012)
Without Retrospect, The Morning (Glacial Movements, 2012)
 I, Anatomy (2xLP, Streamline, 2012)
Redness + Perplexity (ltd, Somehow, 2012)
 Evaporate And Wonder (Experimedia, 2012)
 Climbing Formation (Entropy, 2013)
 Radish (ltd, Commune Disc, 2013)
 Viewpoint (Murmur, 2013)
 Diving Into The Plasma Pool (LP, Autoprodotto, 2014)
 Voyeur (LP, ltd, Humming Conch, 2014)
 Zigzag (Spekk, 2014)
Sky Limits (Two Acorns / Baskaru, 2014)
 How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life (Two Acorns / White Paddy Mountain, 2015)
 Jima (LP, ltd, I, Absentee, 2015)
  
 CD-R, MP3, cassette
  
 White Prism (Autoprodotto, 2004)
 Ariill (Autoprodotto, 2005 / MP3, Archaic Horizon, 2007)
 Belsslsssll (Autoprodotto, 2005 / MP3, Rope Swing Cities, 2007)
 Melodia (2xCD-R + DVD-R, Autoprodotto, 2006)
Sunlir / Scols (2xCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2006 / MP3, Expanding Electronic Diversity, 2007 / CD, Conv, 2011)
 Sampling Pond (Autoprodotto, 2006)
 Continents (Autoprodotto/Unlabel, 2006 / MP3, Autoprodotto, 2008)
 Descender (Autoprodotto, 2006 / FLAC, Autoprodotto, 2011)
 Ceylon ( ltd, Autoprodotto, 2006)
 Tingshas (Autoprodotto, 2006)
 Ammonia (Autoprodotto, 2007)
 Sieline (4xCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2007 / FLAC, Autoprodotto, 2009)
 Sadha (2xCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2007)
Dilue (Diluted) (CD-R + box set, Autoprodotto, 2007)
 Para (Autoprodotto, 2007)
 Red Seals (Autoprodotto, 2007)
 Neon (2xCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2007 / FLAC, Autoprodotto, 2009)
 

Cantus Libres (2xCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2007)

 

Tropical (ltd, Mystery Sea, 2008)

 

Cursory Asperses (Slow Flow, 2008)

 

I Love You So Much I Can't Even Title This (The Light That Never Goes Out Went Out) (Autoprodotto, 2008)

 

George Orwell's Glass House (as Environments, MP3, Resting Bell, 2008)

 

A Close Look At The Painting (MP3, Play My Tape, 2009)

 

Compositions For Cassette (cass, Digitalis, 2009)

 

Fountain Glider (ltd, Students Of Decay, 2009)

 

Poulaine (ltd, Students Of Decay, 2009)

 

Breeze Of Roses (ltd, Dragon's Eye, 2009)

 

Honey Moon (cass, Stunned, 2010)

 

Sequoia (as Will Long, MP3, basic_sounds, 2010)

 

When You Fall In Love With Me (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2010)

 

Constructions (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Spumes Mistaken For Snow (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Chirp (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

D'entre Les Morts (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Evening (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Pathways In The Inverted Forest (as Will Long, MP3, Absence Of Wax, 2011)

 

Butterflies (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Noctilucent Clouds (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Menngayakan (ltd, Analogpath, 2011)

 

Endes (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Emotion (ltd, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Dearest Ices (cass, ltd, Northern Twilights, 2011)

 

Bliskem (ltd, Autoprodotto, 2012)

 

Truth Abandonds (cass, Prairie Fire, 2012)

 

Canopi (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2012)

A Couple Of Swells (I, II, III) (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2012)

 

Perfectly Beneath Us (Still*Sleep, 2012)

Epicentral Examples Of The More Or Less (Futuresequence, 2012)

 

Lightness And Irresponsibility (cass, Constellation Tatsu, 2012)

 

Recumbent In Wishes (AIFF, Autoprodotto, 2012)

 In The Finger-Painted Field Of The Heart (cass, ltd, Prairie Fire, 2012)
 日没 Nichibotsu (Autoprodotto, 2013)
 Sendai 08/24/13(live, MP3, Autoprodotto, 2013)
 Fogbound (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2013)
 Harmony State (as Ragefinder, cass, ltd, A Guide To Saints, 2013)
 Night Ride (as Ragefinder, cass, ltd, Bun Tapes, 2013)
 Luxury Centre (as Will Long, MP3, basic_sounds, 2013)
 Melancholy And Resistance (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2013)
 Weak Ends (Autoprodotto, 2013)
 Bells Remixed (CD-R-remix, Yard Rec, 2013)
 Cold Traps (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2015)
  
 EP, MiniCD, MiniCD-R, 10", 7"
  
 

Canopy (ltd, Autoprodotto, 2007)

 

Elias (ltd, Autoprodotto, 2007)

 

Voodoo Crows (ltd, 2xMiniCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2007)

 

Untitled (Frozen Loops) (ltd, Autoprodotto, 2007)

 

Levitation And Breaking Points (ltd, 3xMiniCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2007)

 

Four Pieces / One (ltd, Smallfish, 2009)

 

Four Pieces / Two (ltd, Smallfish, 2009)

 

Four Pieces / Three (ltd, Smallfish, 2009)

 

Four Pieces / Four (ltd, Smallfish, 2009)

 

Hell Detoured (ltd, Rural Colours, 2010)

 

Weaving Of A Rapid Disenchantment (10", ltd, Basses Frequencies, 2010)

 

At Once Is What Eternity Is (ltd, taâlem, 2010)

 

The Die That's Caste EP (ltd, Conv, 2010)

 

Rosy Reflections (as Will Long, ldt, cass, Avant Archive, 2011)

 

Give Your Best To The World And The World Will Give Its Best Back To You (MP3-EP, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Caves With No Faces (MP3-EP, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

The Raw Energy Of (MP3-EP, Autoprodotto, 2011)

 

Windows (MP3-EP, Autoprodotto, 2011)

  
 CELER & MACHINEFABRIEK
  
 Greetings From Celer & Machinefabriek (MP3, Autoprodotto, 2012)
 Compendium (Collected Songs & Remixes) (raccolta, Irrational Arts, 2015)
  
 ALTRE COLLABORAZIONI (CELER)
  
 Symphony 19: Duet For Improvised Low End And Electronics (with Devin Sarno, ltd, MiniCD, 2007)
 Mesoscaphe (with Mathieu Ruhlmann, Spekk, 2008)
Generic City (with Yui Onodera, Two Acorns, 2010)
Gau (with Jan Kleefstra, Romke Kleefstra & Rutgert Zuydervelt as CMKK, Monotype, 2013)
 Vain Shapes And Intricate Parapects (with Hakobune, cass, Chemical Tapes, 2013 / CD, Purre Gohn, 2015)
 Here, For Now (with Nicholas Szczepanik, FLAC, Autoprodotto, 2015)
  
 HOLLYWOOD DREAM TRIP
(Christoph Heemann & Will Long)
  
 Intuition (CD-R, ltd, DOM Bartwuchs, 2013)
 Second Album (CD-R, ltd, DOM Bartwuchs, 2013)
 Would You Like To Know More? (LP, Streamline, 2013)
  
 OH, YOKO
(Will Long & Rie Mitsutake)
  
 Seashore (ltd, Normal Cookie, 2012)
 I Love You... (Normal Cookie, 2013)
  
 CHUBBY WOLF
(Danielle Bacuqet-Long)
  
 L'Histoire (CD-R, Gears Of Sand, 2009)
 Meandering Pupa (4xCD-R, Autoprodotto, 2009)
 Ornitheology (cass, Digitalis, 2010)
 Maudlin + Elusive (cass, Teosinte, 2011)
 Turkey Decoy (LP, Digitalis, 2011)
 Los Que No Son Gentos (CD-R, ltd, Dragon's Eye, 2011)
 Seasick (ltd, Mystery Sea, 2012)
 The Lows; The Sows (cass, ltd, Northern Twilights, 2013)
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Recensioni

CELER

Zig Zag

(2014 - Spekk)
L'ennesimo capitolo dell'impressionante e monumentale saga a firma Will Long

CELER

Sky Limits

(2014 - Two Acorns / Baskaru)
Will Long firma l'elogio dell'attimo e della sua unicità

CELER

Without Retrospect, The Morning

(2012 - Glacial Movements)
Il ritorno su Glacial Movements di un brand fondamentale dell'ambient contemporanea

CELER

Pockets Of Wheat

(2010 - Soundscaping Records)
Un esercizio di stile nel solco del crepuscolarismo sonoro degli Stars Of The Lid

CELER

Capri

(2009 - Humming Conch)
L’intensa Odissea mediterranea dei coniugi Long ..

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