Boomkat Product Review:
Trevor Duncan’s soundtrack to Chris Marker’s cinematic masterpiece - a direct inspiration on 1995’s ’12 Monkeys’ - is back in circulation on a limited edition clear vinyl pressing.
‘La Jetée’ (The Jetty) is an award-winning 1962 sci-fi directed by Chris Marker, almost entirely constructed from haunting still images, with accompanying narration and Trevor Duncan’s uncanny sound design moving between whispers, systolic pulses, orchestral strings and sweeping choral leitmotifs that forms its remarkable soundtrack. It's been noted as a direct inspiration on Terry Gilliam’s now-classic 1995 US sci-fi (and premonition of the pandemic), ’12 Monkeys’, with which it shares themes of post-apocalyptic dystopia, time travel, and the evocative oddness of memory recall. The soundtrack remained unreleased on any format until Superior Viaduct stepped in with a 2016 pressing - one of those records that never fails to elicit a strong response from anyone who encounters its dreamlike atmosphere.
The film is available to watch (for free) on YouTube and is highly recommended, but the soundtrack has taken on a life of its own. This vinyl edition features the english and french narrations a side apiece, unfurling the soundtrack’s spare air with a poetic magic that resembles an immersive radio play, carried by the narrator’s voice low in the mix, and with a precious grasp of negative space that leaves so much to the imagination. More than half a century since its theatrical release, ‘La Jetée’ still occupies a strange, liminal position in the collective cultural consciousness, and with many of us practically enforced into solitary reflection - it’s effect resonates perhaps more strongly than ever.
Essential listening, no less.