I’ve had some mouthfuls of album titles on HearFeel before but this new record from Celer by far trumps them all; it isn’t made up either, taking its namesake from the lyrics of a Fred Astaire song in the Fifties called, you guessed it, “How Could You Believe Me”. Elongate titles aside, this is a surprisingly beauteous little record that I’m extremely glad I picked up, since its Basinski reminiscent oscillating tape loops and faded presentation summon up haunting and wistful atmospheres so rich and distinct that this could only be a Celer release.
Created some years after an eventful journey through the American Southwest, How Could You Believe Me reignites those memory centres in Will Long’s brain, its dated and bucolic sounds dripping in a familiar nostalgia that encapsulates a meaningful period in his life; it’s through this personal exploration that we as the listener experience a trickle down effect, finding ourselves caught up in his own introspections and turning to our own in the fragile throes of these tired tape loops. Opener “Bleeds and Swell Blends” finds us immediately lost in typical Celer evocations, with thin swirls of impossibly soft sound glowing faintly in slow repetitions. There’s a thinness here and to the other tracks that highlights a certain aged atmosphere to proceedings, knowing that we only feel these sensations retrospectively and are simply reliving echoes of those past pleasantries, but the soft sunlight in the pale processings evoke a blissful environment regardless, content to wallow in harmonious wist.
“Natural Deflections” trends a similar curve, returning to a similarly placid place but not exuding the same bright or shimmery vibes as before, instead summoning cooler and crisper airs that feel a little less rarified and a little more mature and feeling a little less influenced by faded affectation. Its migrating flutes feel avoidant, skirting the fringes of an unnameable angst hovering nearby, the fear perhaps of the loss of these shimmering moments of our past in the midst of time, each focused loop merely a temporary extension in an effort to prolong the inevitable, the track eventually succumbing to blinks and stutters towards its close as it loses the battle. Closer “Acrimonious, Like Fiddles” is again a not too distant relation but finds itself lost in more jaded and older sequences of sound like the opener, its smeared instrumentation faint and shimmery and insubstantial; rather than the warmer and more placid currents of its predecessor though it continues in this vein of largely more cool and disconnected music, its delicate and shimmering airs threatening to disintegrate at any moment and thus creating this perpetual feeling of circling resignation in the album’s final minutes, these sad moments slipping away as we begin to lose a grip on memory and let these precious moments drift away.
A shorter piece, “These Dreams, How Portentously Gloomy”, falls between “Bleeds” and “Natural Deflections” but possesses a largely different character compared to its three siblings, not quite as lulling or as circularly entrancing, instead rolling and twisting in seamless drone overlaps, a myriad of textural lines competing for attention supplemented by a haunting flute inclusion, a wavering note sounding out of the flat grey expanse like a meagre fog horn. It’s the weakest track for me as it unravels its grey and miserable expanse of darkened skies and dimmed, unoptimistic futures; whilst it undeniably feels a logical part of the album’s internal thought processes it just feels a little too bare, a little too unreservedly downtrodden to me.
It’s a shame that we have to leave some things behind as we move forwards, but their memory continues to live on within us in spirit, immortalised forever with a special fondness and naively warped inner eye that always keeps them at their peak. It is these moments we choose to maintain affection for, so often called upon that their visage becomes tattered and faded in the sounds Celer presents, whilst the less favourable moments seem to hold onto a distinct clarity and sharpness that fails to diminish over time, regrets in stark silhouette as fresh as ever.