Friday, February 6, 2009

Les Baxter - Celestial Nocturne

"Celestial Nocturne" by Harry Revel represents what was contemporarily a "new" direction of music more in thought than in terms of what music actually shipped on the album. Timothy Taylor writes of Revel's music that it "Pushed the envelope in ways that weren't strictly technical." (Strange sounds, 73). Essentially, the music heard on the album is an almost fundamentally generic easy listening sound from its era. Taylor, however points out that this album did in fact make two firsts in musical history. The first, indeed, was not musical at all: the cover of the record was the first to ship with a color LP cover. The second is central to the music's theme but not structure: the use of a theramin. This instrument is used on the album, but it is backseat to lounge piano and choirs, and even to trumpets and other traditional band music. Nonetheless, "celestial Nocturne" and and "lunar Rhapsody" are among a host of other tracks on Revel's Music out of the moon that tie themselves to outer space to grant legitamacy and freshness to what would, without its minor use of new technology in production and packaging, have been an altogether unremarkable album. Nor was Revel alone. He was, in fact, indicative of a trend that would follow of similar easy listening albums like Ron Goodman's music in orbit that would market a technological progress rather than a music one with space imagery.

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