[Reviewed by stark]
“Background Curtain” is the effect of a teaming between two known and respected old ambient wolves. Will Long, hiding behind Celer moniker has released dozens of materials. And I mean literally; only this year already four full length materials are out. Check his Bandcamp – a lot of his albums you’ll find there to download with the “name your price” option. Dirk Serries is no less prolific. His main project is Vidna Obmana, now inactive but leaving a great legacy and sometimes coming back to us with the archive compendiums, re-releases of the old tapes and so on. Like the resurrecting of his classic cassette “The Face That Must Die” which was reissued only a few days ago by the Ukrainian Old Captain label. Now Dirk works under his own name and also is a member of several collectives, also those outside the ambient microcosmos, like Yodok III, an impressive experimental jazz ensemble.
Dirk Serries simply loves to share and mix his musical thoughts and ideas with other artists. I mean just check his list of accomplices in sound manipulations: Steve Roach, Alio Die, Asmus Tietchens, Jesu, Aidan Baker and I could go on and on. Will Long doesn’t have as much joint works in his resume, but the ones I know are truly exceptional, like the those with Japanese ambient craftmen, Hakobune or Yui Onodera. So it isn’t that surprising that their paths have eventually crossed and the final effect is now available thanks to Zoharum Records from Poland.
They’ve never met actually. Will made a track, he sent it to Dirk, asking him to process it one way or another. So he did, sent it back, Will has treated the material with further manipulations and so “Background Curtain” was born. No big philosophy behind that, no grand words nor ideas dealing with the crucial world problems or philosophical concepts. It’s just a friendly initiative of two experienced ambient musicians who know exactly their job and what this music is all about. It’s a two track work, based on drones constructed of synths and electric guitars. These are improvised, abstract soundscapes floating in the air and raising the feeling of surreal melancholy. The vast use of reverb makes me think of these compositions as aural stains, clouds without sharp edges. It’s ambient by definition, like suspended in time and space, sometimes similar to the works by Robert Rich or Steve Roach.
If you know their previous works, especially Celer albums you may be surprised by the relatively short duration of the album as it is around 35 minutes long. Will Long likes the more epic forms, at least when it comes to his individual works. After all, the name obliges to something, right? Seriously though, I noticed lately that I feel more and more tired with the 60+ minutes releases (unless these are Mathias Grassow albums), so for this moment it is quite an optimal amount of music from these two ambient warhorses. Not groundbreaking, but an easily recommendable piece for all the drone lovers out there.