002 Celer 'Engaged Touches'
The music of Will Thomas Long’s and Danielle Baquet-Long’s Celer is an absorbing combination of classic ambient, minimalism, and – perhaps as the most distinct characteristic – overwhelming romanticism. Longing, 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 the most important in modern ambient music.
‘Dreamlike and expansive, this is the kind of minimalism that by rights you should listen to in a specially designed pod…the sweep of Engaged Touches is at times breathtakingly beautiful.’ Suitcase Orchestra
‘Engaged Touches is an album that is just a simply beautiful masterpiece and nothing more.’ Olive Music
‘The overall album is a true masterpiece. Among the many albums that I heard, Celer’s Engaged Touches is the most emotional.’ Headphone Commute
‘…effortlessly appealing; the kind of music that radiates beauty from every pore without you having to over-scrutinise its every passing bar…observing a keen sense of luscious, electronically sculpted classical romanticism, Celer arrest time, casting a glacial, minimalist glow over everything they do.’ (Album of the week) Boomkat
‘Together these sections form two bodies that shelter and exchange intimacies through separation and create through recollection.’ Cyclic Defrost
‘…a powerfully emotional journey.’ Foxy Digitalis
‘…the ultra-prolific pair again blends field recordings and acoustic sounds (piano, strings, bells, whistles) into lush, mesmerizing wholes.’ (no.15 in Textura’s top 20 albums for 2009) Textura
‘Es éste, en definitiva, uno de los mejores discos ambient que te vas a poder echar al oído en mucho tiempo. Si miento, que me parta un rayo –como uno que parece que se oye hacia la mitad.’ Playground Magazine
‘The gently evolving two long-form tracks (Part 1 — 26’03” and Part 2 — 40’33”) create a sense of timelessness, allowing one to get lost in its luscious, awe-inspiring beauty. OK, I am taken by it.’ Charles Leonard – The Weekender (South Africa)
‘…descending to the deepest drone-depths before resurging to a majestic finale of distended and dissolving strings, evoking a yearning sense of distance, made intimately epic.’ Alan Lockett, Further Noise
‘« engaged touches » touche à la perfection d’un genre rébarbatif car finalement assez peu innovant. Si Celer avait décidé d’écrire une nouvelle page, ils ne s’y seraient pas pris autrement. Du grand art, du TRES grand art!’ Thierry Massard
‘…stomachs turning in a warm, fuzzy glow, momentarily forgetting to breath.. I know now why you cry but it’s something I can never do. This is a totally gorgeous album!’Norman Records
‘A beautifully realised and themed album, this is a deeply impressive second release from Home Normal and another awesome release for Celer.’ Smallfish Records