Presented alongside a theatrically worded introduction nudging the listener heavily towards themes of mid-century magic shows and side-show occult, I L L U S I O N is the fourth album from Montreal based duo V O Y E U R.

Crafting a creeping, atmospheric swell of billowing synth sounds and manipulated samples from sources as varied as pop and classical music to recordings of performing magicians, the tone builds gradually across five tracks. Layers of sound ebb and flow rhythmically, almost hypnotically, instilling a rising air of anticipation, of something approaching, with a sense of vague unease and – whilst certainly not an unsatisfactory feeling – a very definite sense of being left wondering what happens next. But that in itself is part of the appeal. “Dim the lights, turn up the volume, sit very still…”

I’m hard pressed to pick a definite favourite from the album, because each track feels so connected to the next, and the entire thing fits together in a manner more stylistically reminiscent of a classical or orchestral piece than of a modern music album. With something like this, I think the appeal lies very much in the subtleties of sound and craftsmanship, and it’s certain elements within each track which provide the areas of standout interest for me, as opposed to one track as a whole.

It probably won’t appeal to everyone, and if your thing is soaring synths, catchy hooks and heavy beats, you’re likely to be disappointed here. This isn’t music for the dance floor, but the soundtrack for those lost hours between the end of the night and the morning after. But whilst the feel is very much of an eerie lead in to some imagined event, this is far from background noise.