Hei / Sou
Celer & Machinefabriek
7-inch + download, self released
Constructed by Will Long and Rutger Zuydervelt,
Tokyo and Rotterdam, June 2012
After Maastunnel/Mt.Mitake and Numa/Penarie, this
is the last 7-inch of the trilogy... again this will feature
two downloadable videos by Marco Douma.
Click here for a preview of the videos
7-inch available for 7 euro excluding postage
Buy at Bandcamp (with immediate download)
A Closer Liste
Celer & Machinefabriek are having a great year. In addition to their separate releases, they’ve toured, released a download set of the tour, and completed a trilogy of fine vinyl singles, of which Hei/Sou is the final piece. Perhaps the most exciting thing about their collaboration is the extent to which each seems to have been inspired and invigorated by the presence of the other. By pushing each other into new territories, they’ve each upped the ante, as best demonstrated on Celer’s latest release for Somehow Recordings, Redness & Perplexity - a Celer recording that strikes out into bolder and weirder fields. In order for artists to stay relevant, they must continue to evolve, and that’s exactly what we’ve been hearing here.
Take 'Hei' for example. The opening portion doesn’t sound like either Celer or Machinefabriek, but the work of some new melodic, beat-driven producer. After setting the pace with hi-hats, the duo introduces a synth warble and a drone – elements of their individual productions that seldom appear together. It’s a bold statement, a confident, in-your-face opening that proclaims, “We’re not what you expect.” Eighty seconds in, the entire song shifts to the ambient spectrum, while preserving hints of the opening in the extended support notes. The louder elements are mixed softly, while the softer elements are mixed loudly, further inverting the listener’s expectations. When the percussion returns, it seems less a declaration than a gentle reminder.
'Sou' rests in more familiar territory, but the melodic impulses remain, making Hei/Sou the most immediate of the three vinyl singles. The piece opens with a sound that rests somewhere between backward masking and morse code, leading to a glistening center of cycling tones. Volume is once again a noticeable tool, as the primary pattern rises and retreats, trading places with the similarly active drone. Few artists toy with internal volume so effectively; 'Sou' reminds the listener that knobs can be just as important as notes.
Those who purchase the release will also be given access to two videos by Marco Douma, completing the 2012 triptych. A box set would seem a distinct possibility, but at the very least, we hope these fine artists will continue to work together in the years to come.
En ja ook nu komt een Machinefabriek release weer niet alleen. Niet dat ik alles dat uit is gekomen dan heb besproken, maar dat terzijde. Het sluitstuk van de trilogie met Celer, het ambientproject van de Amerikaan Will Long, is nu een feit. De samenwerking start na een optreden en ontmoeting in Tokio in 2010. De serie 7”-es wordt na Maastunnel/Mt. Mitake en Numa/Penarie afgesloten met Hei/Sou, waarop wederom twee tracks staan van bij elkaar ongeveer 10 minuten. Daarnaast krijg je ook weer 2 te downloaden video’s van Marco Douma. De twee tracks bevatten niet zoals de voorgaande singles enkel serene ambient, maar ook wat luidere klanken en ritmischer en speelsere elektronica. Frivool is misschien een stap te ver, maar het neigt er wel naar. Het is een luisterrijk elektronisch bubbelbad in combinatie met filmische muziek en symfonische, droefgeestige klanken. Een prachtige afsluiter van een innemende serie!
Hei/Sou is the more contemplative of the three releases, and the most abstract. Hei starts with a cymbal-like percussive and then drifts into a gentle sustained keyboard mantra with a wandering background of gentle buzzing and contrasting deep bell-like tones. The cymbals return and are combined with a placid cluster of sound. Sou opens with a Morse-code-like pulse and omnipresent warping tones that gradually combine with a fabric of lightly sequenced rhythms, and there they hang in suspension as the pulsing grows stronger and then fades. Gradually an undertow of deep liquid sound emerges to the foreground and the rhythms are overtaken and then disappear.
Created by Celer (Will Long) and Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt) in Tokyo and Rotterdam in June 2012, Hei / Sou brings to a close the duo's trilogy of seven-inch collaborations. As with the two previous singles, Maastunnel / Mt. Mitake and Numa / Penarie, the release comes with two videos by Marco Douma and is available in a physical edition of 250 numbered copies (downloads also are available of all three releases).
The single's two pieces are detail-packed microcosms of ambient-drone activity. “Hei” begins with ringing cymbal accents that are quickly joined by burbling synthesizers and electronic atmospheres before the material decompresses to form a becalmed, slow-motion stream of glittering flourishes. Slightly more sedate by comparison, “Sou” scatters micro-flickers of percussive rattlings alongside a central drone until swirls threaten to combust during the piece's late stages. The video for “Hei” shows an uninterrupted flow of hazy images of sunlight and shadow, with the setting (or rising) sun bleeding through abstract silhouettes formed by what appear to be trees and fences. The treatment for “Sou” adopts a more abstract character, with nary a real-world element displayed within Douma's blurred scrim of silvery textures and criss-crossing patterns.
One of the most appealing things about the Celer-Machinefabriek collaboration is that it brings out compelling sides of both participants and broadens out their respective sound-worlds in surprising and unexpected manner. Given that each of the singles totals about ten minutes in duration, one imagines that a full-length CD document of the collaborative project might conceivably pair the three singles with a half-hour piece taken from their live concerts. Regardless, it'd be a shame to see such a fruitful collaboration come to an end with the release of this third single.