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Exit in Grey
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Tomorrow We Sail

Compilations / Mixes
Future Disco 7
I Am The Center

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Cipa & Jani
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Tommy Awards

Celer: Voyeur
Humming Conch

An interesting backstory attends Celer's latest release Voyeur, and it's one that brings into clearer focus the at times foreboding ambiance of the album content. Apparently a few years ago Will Long was commissioned by a California-based film company to produce a score for a film inspired by Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window, a key difference being that the projected film would include a two-sided viewer plot as opposed to the one in Hitchcock's that centers on the perspective of the temporarily wheelchair-bound photographer L.B. Jefferies (played by Jimmy Stewart). Long created the material prior to the commencement of filming at home and at a studio in Silverlake, California, only to be told that the entire film project had been cancelled—despite the fact that the musical material had been completed a week before the first draft deadline.

That's not all that's curious about the release, which Berlin-based Humming Conch has issued in a run of 300 vinyl copies. Though the recording was made in March of 2008, it's only now seeing the light of day as a soundtrack to a film never made. And unlike many a Celer release where one encounters long-form pieces of twenty-minute durations, Voyeur sequences eleven tracks into a thirty-four-minute presentation—though such an approach is consistent with soundtracks in general, where short musical pieces typically are composed with specific scenes in mind. Another interesting thing about the release is that Danielle Baquet-Long, Will's late partner, is credited with vocals, but one must listen carefully to hear them as they've been incorporated into the opening and closing tracks as barely audible choral breaths.

Curious details aside, Voyeur is quintessential Celer in its skeletal drift of fragile, shimmering vapours and whistling, organ-like tones. But as mentioned, Voyeur also parts company with Celer music as it's often presented, specifically in settings such as “Bitter Light and Anticipating a Day Heat (The Isolated)” and “Binoculars, a Telephone, and Fear (The Note)” where dissonance and darker tonalities emerge to lend the material a haunted and unsettled quality. In such moments, one imagines Voyeur could just as easily function as a modern-day soundtrack to Hitchcock's Vertigo or (in its non-violent episodes, at least) Psycho as much as Rear Window. The inclusion of these darker passages also adds to the release in providing contrast to episodes like “Intermission (Afternoon, Don't End)” and “Finale (After Midnight)” that are comparatively serene in character. Relatedly, Voyeur also suggests that film producers would be wise to consider Celer for future soundtrack commissions; it's hard to think of any musical act more naturally capable of creating soundtrack material that's suitably atmospheric and evocative without being overly intrusive.

February 2014