Will Long’s Two Acorn label proffers its debut release, an album predominately of a seamless interweaving of field recordings and drones. It examines, takes note, documents and appreciates two cities, specifically Celer’s (Danielle Baquet-Long, Will Long) Los Angeles and Yui Onodera’s Tokyo, of which the melded Generic City is formed. The gulls cry wakes the album as closer recording zooms to the cry as cacophony and the discrete background movement of the city occurs while drone sound is introduced as a low solemn presence. Cut to the crunch of footsteps along a linear tone. Such description could be maintained for the whole album, it would end up being a scenic narrative not unlike the script to a nature and urban environment documentary without a narration.
The shear amount of field recordings is impressive, and the quality of the recording techniques gives a distinct sharpness and honed in attention to the sounds with incidental sound at a minimum. To imagine the ratio of included material to discarded would be radically lopsided, then the speculated time to prepare the base material for the concept is a remarkable feat only made reasonable by digital recording. To merely quote Yonodera’s sample list: “Songs of migratory birds that come to a big lake only in winter, the sound of breaking ice, frozen on a lake, the peal of huge bells in a temple, voices in prayer to the Buddha, footsteps in the subway, on the ground, made by coming and going people, machine sounds at a construction site, rain flowing into a steel pipe with a hard sound, the oscillation sound of rubbing iron which was recorded through a contact mic set on steel, the conversation of people walking in the city, noise of vehicles and trucks, kids voices from an elementary school, and so on. Or Celer’s samples: “rain on our doorstep, water draining into the gutter, cars passing on wet and slippery streets, people walking on their way home from work, talking in an airport baggage claim, crosswalks, airliners flying over, taxi rides, riding bikes through traffic, conversations in restaurants, the Metro Link train in Los Angeles, and walking on quiet streets.”
All held together by wavering tones and drones which sing at times, as if all the samples had been dropped into a Tibetan singing bowl, which infused all things its resonant tendency. In doing so it links together a causal chain that joins the cities together and weaves the incidentals into a coherent story. Or rather four tracks of discrete snapshots of this imagined home remotely gathered and fused with Onodera’s electronics, guitar, violin, piano and musical box along with Celer’s mixing board, cello, violin, piano, theremin, electronics and ocarina. The instruments often so removed from their normative practice as to become indistinguishable from the bustle of the imaginary city. They are fused together by a strange alchemy that throws them into the unknown everyday beauty as this collaboration gently rescues the everyday from its seemly monotony and creates a meditative tableau of radiance. The mastering of Taylor Dupree is a distinct part of the beauty, it heightens the sublime attaching an immediacy and weight to strong impulses that challenge the psyche and holds back to let the weave of sounds be the focal point at other times. It is a very impressive debut to a label, an arresting ambient album of crisp field recordings and immaculate drones, it weaves the thread of beauty through the everyday and widens our sense of the real. The title of the last track sums up the inclination and achievement of the album, renewed sense of Home.