Review: Celer, “Capri”

Will and Dani’s 32nd full-length album suffers from many of the same flaws found on their second. Broken up into 29 distinct songs, Capri sees Celer attempting to alleviate the monotony of their mostly monochromatic music by introducing intermittent asides. Unfortunately, many of the songs represent only a nominal change, and the record frequently sinks under the weight of its own routine.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Maybe I should be listening to Celer the same way I sometimes listen to SleepResearch_Facility or La Monte Young, by not giving it my full attention. The two albums I’ve heard from them suggest that their music belongs in the background anyway. It is typically repetitive, simple, and diffuse, aspiring toward environmental noise more than a recorded object of focus, but unlike the music of Kevin Doherty and The Theatre of Eternal Music, it is both timid and tepid. Probably because they were hesitant to commit to any one approach, Will and Dani’s music sounds muddled and indecisive. In the case of Capri, it’s as if two different records were forced together on one CD-R, each with its own theme and goals. That lack of focus is the primary reason their music fails to impress me, and their superficiality is a close second. Numerous editing issues and a nearly colorless instrumental palette only bog the record down more.

Unlike Ariill, however, some major surgery could save this record. Sandwiched between the longer drones that compose most of the record are a number of brief vignettes. Some are pleasant, but more than a few sound alike, while others feel completely out of place or altogether unnecessary. Getting rid of those tracks would relieve Capri of a lot of dead weight, give it more punch, and cure a good deal of the monotony that plagues it. Cutting some of the longer drones out of the record would help, too. Nearly all of them exhibit the same colors, textures, and moods, and not one of them succeeds in sounding like anything more than a washed out blur of sound. Toss a few of those out and Capri starts to feel lighter and more focused. Beneath all the fat is a coherent record of weightless drones, even if most of them are one-dimensional.

Since field recordings play a central role in their compositional method, I would expect more dynamism and variety from their music. But, nearly every drone and sustained note on Capri is flat and shallow, which is a shame because Celer sound great when they allow texture and variation into their sound, as both “Braclets Passed to Spanish Hands” and “Sonata For Dual, Unaccompanied Piano” attest. A little more discipline would help Celer tremendously; I think they’re a better band than either Capri or Ariill suggest, but I’ve yet to find a the record that proves it.

Capri is available from Humming Conch
Samples are available at Brainwashed.com

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