The music of Cétieu flutters lightly against the healthy shade of the sun, taking rest in its presence with a grateful smile and a casual stance. The light touches the green-toned leaves softly with its kind, sunlit palm. Supple drones, full of light, wash over the music. The soothing colour of green has been said to help restore the physically and psychologically wounded, cleaning away the dirt of life’s dilemmas with its welcoming serenity. The colour helps to slow down and block out the blood-red rush that tries to curb our own careful search for peace. It provides the inner calm and the sense of wellbeing that we all long for. Ambient music does much the same.
Ceiling Stories is a calm sanctuary. Ambient musician Tekla Mrozowicka takes good care of her music, and she infuses it with a wispy, ethereal warmth that, while far-reaching, still clings to its inseparable sense of security like a child’s outstretched palm clutching a parent’s hand. Her drones are sleepy security blankets, consoling guardian angels that protect us when we are vulnerable, low, dejected or rejected. In this world, it may be the case that our perception of security is just a false reality. But Mrozowicka makes you believe in the fairy tale. Ceiling Stories doesn’t just restore the soul – it comes to heal the mind with its ‘restoration of memories’. Music heals.
The thin, higher drone is a pale, sickly face that comes close to sighing out of the world. It lies in a ruined state, its body as old as Jurassic stone. The lower drone injects some substance into its body, and the slow light filters in. She opens out the music in a beautiful, swaying motion, the drones dappled with an approachable, kind light. This kind of music is incredibly delicate. The lower drone rocks a little with a pocket of light turbulence, but its a gentle drop, the rippled air of a dove’s wings as it flies by. It comes close to cracking the calm, as if it were a transit-torn box of mirrors with the words HANDLE WITH CARE and THIS WAY UP barely legible, roughened up by the delivery process.
The drones are, at times, shrouded in tension, but it goes largely unnoticed; its the kind that tightens the muscles for a second or two. She paints her shy tones onto the music like a modern Michelangelo, with beautiful blurs and subtle colours, so subtle that one colour shares many shades. “Waiting for somebody or something” drifts its scent of tension in on the breeze, the open door letting the intruder in, guilty of letting the past back in, and the doorway obscures the light with its vacant, ghostly presence, someone you hoped would be standing there. It’s mixed in with the desperate ache of sadness; the longing, the sobbing and the smothering sensation of panic; of dreams ending, and the need to be patient as we continue to wait.
Axl Rose was right when he said all we needed was just a little patience. Well, drone music requires some level of patience and commitment, too, and it offers the greatest reward in music when we reach the other side. The cooler piano of ‘Sleeplessness’ is a dreamy track that ripples with delay. The notes echo outwards, ageing as they progress, every repeated note adding another year until the note becomes just as old as the ancient tree. Like their inner rings of age, the notes loop back in on themselves, creating a peaceful circle that cannot be broken.
For nine minutes, “The Dreamers” levitates just above the leaves. This drone is a slow one, but it is never stagnant or static. In fact, the slower tempo is necessary, because it green lights the calm mood and cuts the resting heartbeat to half its normal speed. It stretches out like a desert under a clearing sky, blazing in its serene warmth. Ceiling Stories is a calming place, a tree-lined clearing that offers renewal and rejuvenation, basking in the new life that the light has come to bring. (James Catchpole)