Rael Jones & Peter Gregson:
The Watched Clock
The Watched Clock presents three ravishing instrumentals by British composers Rael Jones and Peter Gregson in their first collaboration. A multi-instrumentalist specializing in film music, Jones recently composed the orchestral score to Suite Française (starring Michelle Williams, Kristen Scott Thomas, and Margot Robbie) and previously worked on films such as Les Misérables and Under the Skin. Cellist Gregson boasts an equally impressive CV: as a cellist, he's premiered works by Jóhann Jóhannsson, Steve Reich, and Gabriel Prokofiev (the latter, in fact, wrote Cello Multitracks for him), and as a composer Gregson recently wrote the soundtrack for A Little Chaos (starring Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, and Stanley Tucci). Interestingly, the EP is coming out at about the same time as the two films for which they individually produced soundtracks. The friends began by creating long-form cello and piano improvisations in the studio, which they then developed into the final form heard on the EP.
The luscious title track proves wholly transporting in its pairing of Gregson's emotive cello playing with Jones's pensive piano accompaniment, and as metronomic piano patterns establish a clock-like pulse, the cello dazzles the ear with its voice-like cry. In using cyclical piano patterns as a rapidly swirling base, “Circular Argument” similarly makes good on its title. The difference between it and the title track, however, is that the soundworld expands considerably during “Circular Argument” when plodding drums and atmospheric electric guitar textures are added to the cello and piano elements. At EP's end, “Big Sky” evokes the impression of an infinite expanse in its swelling chords and overall sound design. Cello and piano are again the song's core, but the multiple layers of synthetic sound threaded into the arrangement amplify the scope of the material.The recording implicitly argues that Jones and Gregson would be wise to continue collaborating and pool their talents to produce a larger amount of music, whether it be in the form of a formal soundtrack or an instrumental album in the spirit of The Watched Clock. The only thing negative thing about the EP is that it's a mere twelve minutes long and as such leaves the listener desperately wanting more.