::: INTRODUCTORY WORDS :::
A mis-use of mistrust,
a clouted loop,
a taking under.
a view of islands hidden by a cloak of sea steam,
a hidrotic tide.
Thus, I sigh at the sea, and
the sea sighed back at me.
– Danielle Baquet-Long
::: PRESS RELEASE :::
In a very short span of time and of creative obsession, CELER have managed to amass an astounding body of works…but this didn’t help to quench the thirst yet, and Danielle Baquet-Long, half of this symbiotic duo, under her wry moniker Chubby Wolf, sketched her own repertoire of twisted ambient patterns through spontaneous & diligent experimentation – this led to some brilliant discs, as for instance, “L’Histoire” on Gears Of Sand…
Here on “Seasick” comes another of her sadly posthumous treasures, and it’s truly a pinnacle…some stirring ode to the immanence of the sea, and the ever shifting horizon strewn with ships going who-knows-where…
An imposing slow unfolding lament respectfully & subtly enhanced by Mathieu Ruhlmann’s mastering who dared to sprinkle Dani’s soundscape with aural debris giving the whole work a new aura & pertinent direction…
After all, Dani is still sailing…
In front of us,
a vertiginous sea,
frozen moments of uncertainty
that makes our hearts sink
into this solemn immensity…
And when we get closer,
It’s all ebullience,
an endless wash of disparate elements
pulled from a disintegrated cosmos…
So, we’ll leave this world,
as naked as when we entered into it,
just shot through by its piercing beauty & sly unease,
SEASICK, but somehow reconciled…
::: TRACKS :::
::: DURATION :::
::: FORMAT :::
CD ltd to 250 copies
200 initial copies come with an additional art card on 300 gr satin paper
::: REVIEWS :::
Chubby Wolf was Danielle Baquet-Long of Celer who after her sad passing the other year has left us with an impressive legacy of music.
Here on the revived Mystery Sea label she presents us with a long piece of dark drone filled with flickering light. It’s a very nice slow moving composition that sets a sedate pace and maintains it throughout without ever feeling as though it’s gotten itself trapped within it’s own heartbeat. There are moments when the mix is a little off for my tastes and things occasionally get a little boomy but these certainly do not spoil the experience.
It is on the whole though a lovely little piece that nicely whiles away some time in an atmosphere of conducive warmth.
Wonderful Wooden Reasons
It’s not clear how many sounds remain in the archive left behind by Dani Baquet-Long, but this is the best work I’ve heard by her yet, so there may be more to come. Over the years, we’ve gotten used to hearing a blend of ambience and field recording, but never before so integrated and smooth. Credit Mathieu Ruhlmann for the mastering and the adding of “aural debris”. Another key to this recording’s success is its narrow focus ~ these are the sounds of the sea, building from near silence to a gentle roar. The hums and electronic waves create a counter-balance to the tiny crunches and guttural shifts, which often sound like icebergs scraping against each other or the scratches of a forager. Pings, pops and percolations abound, growing bolder by the minute. Here be monsters, rubbing against the hull.
Seasick isn’t what one expects: buoys, birds and gently lapping waves. The album is more like a soundtrack for Odysseus as he struggles to return home. Hidden dangers abound; sirens call; the protagonist is lashed to the mast. Only at the very end, after the journey’s roughest part, do we hear the sound of the waves shuttling against the shore. ”Are you recording?” asks Dani, speaking to her husband Will. The mood is shattered, but in a welcome way: a single second that humanizes the entire affair. The clouds have not yet broken, but the people are safe on shore. Would they venture again into such darkness? Physically (for Dani) and metaphorically (for Will), they would, fulfilling Dani’s poem of premonition: we’ll leave this world as naked as when we entered into it, just shot through by its piercing beauty & sly unease, seasick, but somehow reconciled. Many of Chubby Wolf’s postmortem work has seemed like a tribute or continuation; this album, to its benefit, unfolds more like a requiem.
A Closer Listen
The legacy of Danielle Baquet-Long, who died in 2009, is considerably enriched by this substantial single-track release. It shows a rather different side to her musical outlook, plumbing the depths of dark ambience, embellished with drones & glimpses of field recordings. Like all her work, the piece illustrates Baquet-Long’s innate compositional patience, allowing sounds time to establish & identify (or at least define) themselves, in no hurry to develop them or move on. Her understanding of the long-term implications of ambient music is considerable, & Seasickconsolidates her position as the creator of some of the very best ambient music of our time.
5:4 (Best Albums of 2012)
I can’t NOT include anything released by this incredible record label, and the contribution by Chubby Wolf (aka the late Danielle Baquet-Long of Celer) is no exception. It’s described as “Field recordings, morse code, electronics” and features “additional aural debris by Mathieu Ruhlmann (another Mystery Sea album, his 2004 contribution Broken Vessels is a must-hear). So beautiful, so dark, so perfect.
Swan Fungus (the top 100 Albums of 2012)
This year the mothership Mystery Sea was very quiet – zero releases – but the sister division Unfathomless did well. So well, that the mothership now returns on CD, and no longer on CDR. Chubby Wolf was the name used for solo projects by Danielle Baquet-Long, one half of Celer, who passed away in 2010. The only other solo release I heard from her was ‘Meandering Pupa’ (see Vital Weekly 678), which come as a set of four business card CDRs, and which I thought was not much different than her with Celer. Here she uses field recordings, by which most likely (judging on what I heard) it is meant to be recordings of the sea, plucked cello/violin, morse code and electronics, with some ‘additional aural debris by Mathieu Ruhlmann, who also did the mastering. As before here too we have something that is not much different from her work with Will Long in Celer: long stretched out patterns of interwoven sound, with perhaps the clarity of the water sounds here being more present than in the work of Celer – the small amount I actually heard from them. This is one of those things were one wonders if we should look at this in terms of hearing something new or wether this is just great atmospheric music with nothing new under the sun. I think it’s save to say the first the latter. I didn’t hear anything here that I haven’t heard before, even some better at that, and Chubby Wolf is nothing new under the sun. Now, should I care about that? No, actually I don’t care. It’s winter time, it’s dark, inside it’s cosy and warm, a stack of unread books is never far away, and this is great music: what more can you wish for? Perhaps that’s the whole point of music anyway?
Frans de Waard
Vital Weekly 862