Late one evening, about two weeks ago, i & the Beloved found ourselves high on a hillside in Cornwall • The wild moorland in this far southwest corner of England is characterised by precisely two things: vast granite slabs that put the ‘rude’ into protrude, & even bigger stone mines & chimneys, their ruins peppering the landscape with almost amusing prevalence • Caught between the twin immensities of nature & industry, it’s a beautiful, evocative place, & as we explored one particular ruin (behold), the day literally began to die around us • Across on the west side of the valley, the sun began to set, becoming a fiery bronze circle in the sky • From the time it first touched the fringes of the hilled horizon to finally being absorbed within it can only have been a few minutes, but the magic of the moment made it impossibly longer, stretching each second in order that our senses might be able to savour their passing •

Upon my return home, Celer’s latest release, Dying Star, was waiting for me, the listening experience of which takes me straight back to that Cornish hillside • It’s not just the title, or even the overt sunset shown on the cover; this is emphatically evening music, perfectly capturing the sense of things passing, closing, readying themselves for sleep • Appropriately, Will & Dani’s drones are more reserved than usual, kept at a distance by their unwavering calm & dynamic softness (Will recommends listening with the volume at 80%; do it, it works perfectly) • This aspect especially—the resolve to keep the material a hovering mezzo-piano throughout—is bold & impressive (i’m reminded of advice given to me many years ago: if you really want to get an audience’s attention, play increasingly quietly; loud music can be—& is—more doggedly ignored); there’s ever the sense that, at any moment, the music might just pass away completely, which makes the minutes we are given—&, generously, Celer give us nearly 50 of them—all the more tantalising & significant (track title “I could almost disperse” says it all) • & that is what continues to be most remarkable thing about Celer’s œuvre: the astonishing way that such radically pared-down material is nonetheless so miraculously full of life & energy, so emotional & allusive • The more one listens to their drones, the less they sound like such, seemingly filled to bursting with ebb & flow, gentle eddies & currents worrying the material at some fathomless depth; from this perspective, moments of slight but noticeable change—such as the exquisite opening of the fourth track, “On the Edges of Each Season”, with its insistent growing cluster & deep, only half-perceptible rumbling bass—become almost shockingly novel •

Dying Star simply isn’t just another Celer release; its quietly massive majesty betrays incredibly deft artistry & bespeaks a profound creative maturity • This album may just be Celer’s masterpiece •

5:4 rating: 5/5