2009 Ten Favourite Labels
Simon Scott's Navigare
Traxx's 10 Chicago Tracks

Matt Bartram
Bell Horses
Broadcast & Focus Group
Angus Carlyle
Ytre Rymden Dansskola
Do Make Say Think
Isnaj Dui
Shane Fahey
Jan Garbarek Group
Lisa Germano
Rachel Grimes
Christopher Jion
P Jørgensen
Leyland Kirby
Elisa Luu
Mountain Ocean Sun
Marcello Napoletano
Andy Nice
Rameses III
Sankt Otten
Danny Saul
Simon Scott
Sleep Whale
Susanna & Magical Orch.
Claude VonStroke

Compilations / Mixes
Favourite Places 2
Music For Mathematics
Snuggle & Slap
Sander Kleinenberg 2

DJ Bone
DJ Nasty
Duque and Baxter
Ghenacia & Djebali
Kez YM
King Roc
Vadim Lankov
Lavender Ticklesoft
Lo-Fi Soundsystem
Niko Marks
Mark Templeton

Celer: Brittle
Low Point

Melancholy and ennui have been recurring earmarks of Celer's music since the group's 2006 inception but now everything that will be issued henceforth under the Celer name will exude such elegiac qualities to an ever greater degree. That's due, of course, to the passing of Danielle Baquet-Long, Will Long's beloved wife and artistic partner, who died on July 8, 2009 of heart failure at the criminally young age of twenty-six. Though a considerable archive that the duo built up before Dani's passing means that recordings will continue to be issued for a long time to come, no new Celer material will be created—how could it be when so much of what defines the Celer sound originates from the now-silenced sensibility of one of its two members? As a result, releases such as Brittle can't help but be heard as part of the group's legacy and can't help but be heard in light of the recent tragedy; the album title alone suggests a fragility that assumes a now especially painful resonance in light of the event.

Surprisingly, though Brittle presents a single track of seventy-five-minute duration, the track title isn't “Brittle” but instead “Eustress,” the term psychologists use to describe the positive side to stress, an example being the motivational rush that one experiences prior to tackling any challenge, whether it be writing an exam or participating in a competitive sport, that can propel one to a higher performance level. In keeping with the fragile theme, however, the album material itself is delicate, ethereal, and low-level in pitch. The duo produced Brittle by taking sounds created by piano, violin, cello, tingsha bells, harpsichord, whistle, and room-based field recordings of ambient noise, and then structured the recordings into nineteen tracks, which were in turn blurred together to form a single, placid whole. The resultant piece gently rises and falls, somewhat like the breathing of a sleeping infant, as it unwaveringly and serenely pursues its divergent path with resolute purpose. Given Celer's statement that Brittle “shouldn't leave or transport you to another place, but … simply be ‘room music,'” the recording may be the one in the Celer discography that comes closest to realizing Eno's famous dictum (included in the liner notes of Music for Airports) that ambient music “ must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” In that regard, though the time-suspending Brittle lasts seventy-five minutes, it could conceivably go on for hours on end as an omnipresent and comforting presence within one's immediate environment.

November 2009