Recorded in 2012, Secret Courts documents the latest phase of the ongoing collaboration between Celestino and Jams P Valentine, a partnership that also yielded 2009’s Sky Burials (SB001).
The compositions on Secret Courts were created through a staggered, elastic process, with Celestino weaving sonic backcloths on which Valentine could embroider a response. The production is conversational and complementary, but yields a panoramically conceived sound world – the initial absorption in fine texture navigates the sound toward wider vistas, and tracks that emerge in near ascetic austerity are gradually suffused by a tonal warmth that allows softly rhythmic forms to raise themselves. A deeply integrated matrix of live instrumentation, samples and field recordings gift the music buoyancy and warmth, while the shimmering sonic fabric that rides beneath the surface stretches itself into new forms. These forms in turn open new and unfamiliar time-spaces in the music, channels in which feeling and thought can gather and flow forth in gentle catharsis.
Who can know what judgements are made in the secret court of the heart? Friendship and collaboration are processes which force the shabby locks of the self, dispelling the illusion of the discrete individual, requiring it to open itself to other souls, other thoughts and feelings. Communication, musical or otherwise, is less an interface between separated beings, more the generation of an emergent, agile intelligence that exists in the interstices: between minds, not within them. Secret Courts is a transmission on this wavelength – a message from the place where friendship and enmity vibrate in tune, their music suspended in the spaces where opposites dissolve and differences can signal only that they have been overcome. Such spaces have no coordinates, but sound is the truest guide to them, for the experiential drop- outs that music wrests from time reveal their surest point of entry. And where the silent pulses that flow within studio hardware can be harnessed, visitors can be conducted along wire-blind trails toward the sacred precincts where sound travels with spirit and washes the soul. It is by these paths and in these spaces that Celestino and Valentine hope to arrive with us at the secret courts.