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Hollywood Dream Trip, "Second Album"

First issued in 2013 as a limited-to-50 CDr, the, um, second album by the duo of Christoph Heemann and Will Long (Celer) was initially released in conjunction with a tour and has been only digitally available since. For its tenth anniversary, Black Rose Recordings have reissued this second (of three) recordings from the project on a wider available physical edition, ensuring that its lush, yet sparse collection of electronics are available once again for those longing for a tangible copy.

Black Rose Recordings

Consisting of a single 42-ish minute piece that was created using only two synths, a reverb unit, a tone generator, and tapes Second Album's overall sound reflects this intentionally stripped-down setup, but the duo cover a lot of different territories throughout its lengthy duration. Opening with a basic, resonating synth pulsation, the two delicately add in some low frequency elements and subtle melodic tones to flesh everything out.

From this starting point, Long and Heemann allow the synth to continue its pulse throughout while blending in lush, glistening layers of tone and sound. This development is slow but deliberate, and never does the piece linger too long. Instead, gentle passages come and go, all the while the backing synth pulses away. However, the duo start shifting tones to lower registers as the composition goes on, obscuring the light and filling in the open spaces.

Eventually the electronic layers become more distorted and noisy, and the changes are no longer subtle. Well-worn tapes blend in, covered with grime and the decay of time, casting the piece into a space of disquieting nostalgia. The background layers build and build until the now-dense mix is peeled back to leave a dissonant buzz, eventually floating off into space, still propelled by that same synth note.

The "dream" part of the duo's name certainly fits the sound and mood of Second Album. Slow shifts from light to dark, and the transition from lush tones to distorted textures all happen within this waking dream-like space that feels real, yet not always tangible. Additionally, maintaining this fascinating drift for over 42 minutes is no small feat, but Heemann and Long make it seem effortless, and beautiful.

Listen here.