Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re fully aware that the new La Sudar album, The Debussy Loops, is available to stream and download now. Some call it post-drone. Some call it space elevator music. We don’t know. We’re glad it’s finished. So for the next couple of weeks, while we bask in the post-release glow, we’re going to shift the spotlight over to some of the artists we’ve discovered on Bandcamp this year.
This week: CELER: It Would Have, But it Wasn’t
When surfing through Bandcamp tags to find new artists to soundtrack our after-work walks, it varies what inspires us to check out one artist or another. We’ve always been partial here at Sunshine and Wind to great cover art, or a provocative title, but a lot of times it was just random clicking. As you can imagine, this can be a frustrating method, as there is a LOT of music out there. But every once in a while, we would find an artist where their first few notes would ring out and it would be like opening a door to an air conditioned room on a hot day. It just felt right immediately. Celer (Will Long, an American artist working in Tokyo, Japan) is one of those artists. They have a lot of music on their bandcamp page which we encourage you to check out, but we’re going to review their most recent release, It Would Have, But it Wasn’t.
The first piece, “An Implosion, a Smearing; Turns to Dust” is a gorgeous assembly of misty, welcoming major key synths stacked and staggered and looped. Within each loop there are many layers, yet nothing clashes, leaving so much to discover as the piece progresses. As with any great looped piece, everything is so seamlessly working together that there’s no definitive beginning or end. One is able to latch on to any moment as a starting point. The first time you may focus on the C-F major key single notes, on the next you may be drawn to the cracking rainwater hiss, and on another maybe it’s the strange resonance of a particular overtone that pops. As the title suggests, the piece disintegrates into a sustained, evaporating tone around the 16 minute mark, and the effect is of having been led somewhere only to look around and see your guide is no longer there. In the silence, you await instructions.
The second piece, At a Loss For, is the resolution to this journey. Just as engaging as “An Implosion…”, but more haunting, it is built on similar principles and its execution is just as fulfilling. The piece is built around a simple descending triad in D major, but the lush synths which round it out are less gentle, more immediate, and a single off-note, not quite dissonant, not quite in harmony with the rest of the music, gives a slight edge to the relaxing, pillow-y soundscape. There are similar effects and sounds here which serve as callbacks or flipsides to “An Implosion…” and creates a sense of unity that enriches the entire album.
If “An Implosion…” is a welcoming, “At a Loss For” is the other side of the coin. The back nine, the realization that you’ve crossed the halfway point of the journey and are being led away. There’s as much to see, and as much wonder to experience, but it’s always going to be tinged with a slight melancholy. As this album was originally released on limited edition cassette (sadly sold out at the time of this writing), the entrance/exit, yin/yang vibe of the album can easily be turned on its head. We can imagine picking up the tape, not knowing which side we put in first, and letting that dictate our journey. If Side B goes on first, we can have an entirely different experience of the piece. We applaud Celer’s wonderful explorations here, and hope to hear much more from this artist in the future.
We’ll be back next week with another review. And we’ll also be announcing the winner of our Songwriting Prompt Contest! Get in the game and GET ON THE MAILING LIST so you don’t miss the next one!!