Talk about limited editions. Only ten copies of Bliksem (the Dutch word for lightning) were made, and they were distributed on Celer‘s recent tour with Machinefabriek. If I’d been in the Netherlands at the time, I’d have wanted one; it’s a great event-appropriate souvenir, recorded at midnight on the eve of Will Long’s flight. As such, it reflects longing, excitement, hope, and a hint of the unknown: the quiet questions inspired by international travel. Will the tour go well? Will I make friends? Will the music be effective?
Long is now home, and thankfully his experience was a positive one. I’d be curious to hear a Bliksem II, a counterpart that incorporated the emotions of his time abroad. The piece is perfectly set up for a sequel, as it bursts into life in the final five minutes. Until then, it’s meditative, soothing, and benign, a series of electronic loops reminiscent of the ocean waters as viewed from the safety of a plane. But in its closing sixth, Bliksem is visited by static bursts and a busyness we last heard on Celer’s 7″ collaboration with Machinefabriek – confirmation that the lines between artists were blurred on that release. In these moments, Bliksem becomes more lightning than cloud. These increasing hints of a new direction are encouraging. It’s as if Long is beginning to emerge from extended sadness to tentative aggression; as if the cloud is trying to keep the lightning in check, but failing. At the end, the static rises sharply, shoots over to the left speaker, then dissipates: easily one of the most effective Celer moments to date.
The shift in conversation from pattern and texture to moment and sound is a welcome development; we look forward to hearing more Celer music in this vein. (Richard Allen)