Occasionally a musical artist will come along from such a left field angle it catches you off guard and makes you appreciate music as an artform. Music For Voyeurs is one of several names Rick Senley gives himself over his musical career and with 2011 album “The Long Sleep” he barrels in with a stunningly ethereal yet abstract album.
Opener “This Will End” is a gentle blissful harp, flute, bells and whistles entry with a heavily Eastern accented monologue that peacefully and gently settles you down into what is an album that’s best heard in an entire cycle so you get its full effect. “Probably Time To Go Now” is repeating guitar loop that remixes forward and reverse reverb beautifully and the occasional honking car horn. It’s so ethereal that each pluck of a guitar string feels like a cloud of cuddles coming in for an embrace. This idea moves forward with “September” that includes sound snippets from various animals and clips from what sounds like a terrible chat show! There is a solemn distorted guitar that feels so empty and lonely over the top and it mixed up of it all is beautifully introverted.
We switch to a piano for “Broomstick Night Electric” which aside from being an awesome name for a track, reminds me of something from Brandish Piano Collection which crafted a beautiful melody with the space and time to deliver it. It’s a really sad and melancholic solo piece with just a quiet string sample for most of the track. “It Will Have To Be The Last Time” trades piano for sumptuous guitar and bass for a warming instrumental. “Jane” follows which is a strange piano and synth track with Rick reciting a poem in spoken word over the top. It reminds me of Nobuo Uematsu’s Phantasmagoria album and although I’m not a fan of this type of music, it’s as effective as it can be for me.
“The Work of the Gospel” returns to the heavily reverberated guitars and pianos as they create a misty swirling haze of music around occasional phone beeps and dial tones before a sample of a someone talking about The Gospel is played almost as if we’ve phoned God! “Tonight Will Be My Birthday” continues with the abstract avante garde noises and hypnotic guitars and for the first time all album a drum loop kicks in. Heavily phased and like it’s coming from miles away it pulsates around the guitars and keyboards but never overtakes them. Making more of an impact is the bass guitar led “I Wonder If Things Are Changing” which is a beautiful looping riff.
It paves the way for “Waiting for Everything to Explode” which plays its namesake well because the piano sounds like it’s from the 1930’s whilst for the first time all album the guitars and feedback effects take on a more sinister tone instead of playful and inviting. Whilst the track doesn’t explode it beams down into “Someone Else’s Life” which is another meandering piano driven track that uses a crying baby sample and then adds some noise damaging effects to it so it sounds almost like an electric guitar. That and the slightly scary laughter samples almost tell a story without words and that’s a very clever thing to do. The album closes with “Song For Marta” which becomes a more climactic combination of everything that came before as it swirls from ear to ear in full bleeding stereo along with purring moans and creaking breathes.
“The Long Sleep” is an album that is unapologetically its own. It doesn’t half scrimp on its theme or sound and whilst spoken word samples doesn’t usually appeal to me, nine times out of ten Music For Voyeurs hits the nail on the head. Expressive, meditative and journey-like. A pretty much unique.