HARDHOUND

Celer, Opitope (Spekk)

Author: Colin | Published: 15/3/14

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Celer, Opitope, Spekk

Artist 1-4: Opitope; 5-10: Celer
Title 1-4: “Physis”; 5-10: Zigzag
Label Spekk
Year 2014
Design 1-4: paintings by Shinji Miyazawa; all: design by Mondii
Music Electronic, ambient, ethereal, reflective
Notes Spekk was last featured on Hard Format seven years ago so I was very pleased to be contacted by Celer’s Will Long who has a new release on the label. When the parcel arrived, I was similarly delighted to find the CDs carefully wrapped in Japanese newspaper as per Will’s previous package.

The nature of Spekk’s design and the music it curated was a source of quiet pleasure. The design of these two new releases feature a slightly changed format that is more square and solid. It’s a little larger than a standard CD jewel case and although significantly smaller, it feels more like a gatefold 7″ single sleeve. As a result it has a real sense of presence. I like the continuity between previous and new design signified by the coloured bar spanning front, spine and rear with the catalogue number still residing beneath it at the front. It’s these little details, the sense of carefully judged balance and space in both presentation and music that make for real pleasure.

Spekk’s founder Nao Sugimoto is kind enough to speak a little about his label’s reawakening (in a slight echo of Hard Format’s, admittedly occasional, return):

SPEKK went quiet because I needed some time to get away from it. During the silence, there was a time I lived in China for a while, also some financial difficulties and many personal things. I also run a few other record labels, but for me, SPEKK is my life work and is not something I do for “business”. So it’s important that I feel right about everything. And that timing has finally come!

I wanted to change the packaging as the old one didn’t feel fresh anymore, and plus the former packaging was just too expensive. I thought about using regular digipaks because that way, I can release more without thinking of the budget, but that didn’t feel right either as the point of this label is to run by pure passion.

Here’s what Will Long has to say about Zigzag:

Several years ago while living in the United States, I became interested in the minimalist music of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and new wave of the early 1980’s, with the steady pulses, the constant harmonies, and endless continuity. The music had a strong persistence, and while the listener can drift away from following it consciously, the rhythm stays grounded. In it there is something human, like a heartbeat.

At the time I had the idea to use this inspiration with my own music, giving the music a tempo, and a new pathway in a forward direction. I created Zigzag, and agreed to release the album through Spekk, but after several years, the project was delayed, and I went on to other projects, and the initial inspiration and concept disappeared.

In the summer of 2013, I found out that my wife and I would have our first child. Around this time, plans began to come together for the release of Zigzag. After missing the first few doctor’s appointments, I was finally able to attend, and for the first time heard the baby’s heartbeat. It seemed like such a fateful connection between the baby and the music. When new life begins, everything points toward the future.

I urge you to visit Spekk’s website to listen to samples of the music, but much more if you get any pleasure from beautiful, ethereal music please buy these releases.

Also Spekk (2007)
Celer and Machinefabriek
Celer

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