Lightness and Irresponsibility

"Who has turned us round like this so that we,
whatever we do, have the bearing of
someone who's going away?"

- Rainer Maria Rilke

I love it when album artwork perfectly illustrates its sound.  Recently I was struck by how well the humble photograph of a woman’s back among flowering trees described Lightness and Irresponsibility by Celer. The cover reminds me of the work of one of my favorite painters, Caspar David Friedrich, whose works frequently feature the backs of a small figures or figures looking out onto a vast landscape. When viewing these paintings the audience gets a glimpse into the contemplative experience of the subject. Similarly, when I listen to this two song cassette/digital album I feel like I am also participating in a shared contemplative experience. Like Friedrich, Celer’s Will Long has composed an expansive landscape. This is not the dramatic landscape of shipwrecks and polar expeditions (as in Freidrich’s “Sea of Ice” from 1823) but rather, this is one of soft edges and seemingly infinite vistas (as with the classic “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” from 1818).  While Friedrich may celebrate exotic locations in his paintings, I believe the Celer album is perfect for being where you are. By that I mean that this is the kind of album that encourages stillness. The great Constellation Tatsu label put out this tape in 2012 consisting of two long drones titled, “An Unforced Cheerfulness” and “Involuntary Impromptu.”  Both sides unfold gradually and with exceptional restraint. There are subtle, almost imperceptible overlays of warm tones and low bass-filled hums washing back and forth from ear to ear. If you’re looking for music to accompany horizon-gazing – you’ve found it.

Nathan Abels

Constellation Tatsu

March 18th, 2013