Library Music

IdleRich

IdleRich
OK, I'm starting this to coincide with my radio show on Tues but I do find library stuff fascinating. Anyone a fan?
I suppose you all know what library music is, but, just in case you don't. Library music is stuff made by companies such as DeWolfe, KPM, Selected Sound etc who paid session musicians to create sound fx and incidental music but controlled the copyright so they could sell the music to television shows or radio stations or whatever who couldn't afford to make their own music. The sleeves describe the tunes "fast, dramatic and silly" or "slow and tense with hard drums" etc and a lot of it was obviously totally throw away muzak or just noises.... but cos there was no need to make hits and no pressure to conform, every now and again they turned out some really avant-garde tunes, and also some undeniable killers. The records were never commercially available but eventually lots found their way to car boot sales and stuff and collectors started realising there were some hidden gems in there. I'm not an expert but picked up quite a few bits and bobs over the years. I always find it fascinating that these anonymous and weird things - often with such cool modernist covers - contain this kinda stuff. It's a minefield to get into cos the artists often used different names to get round copyright eg Moggi was Pierre Umiliani who you will know for the soundtrack to the porn film Sweden Heaven and Hell (if nothing else)... that became the muppets tune.


Love the sleeves too

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woops

is not like other people
do not under rate the fast and silly musicians cos a lot of them were pro's and could seriously play. but they were pro in the sense that they were devoted to the library purpose and not grandstanding or particularly expressing themselves either.

alan hawkshaw must have been one of the best

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yeah Hawkshaw certainly one of the most famous from the UK... most libraries were actually UK or France or Germany I think. Also Italian, not many from US but there a few.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
The above are ones that everyone will know but I really like the electronic stuff more.
This one is on the radio show I did

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
John Cameron did some stuff on KPM, I really like the tunes for the Psychomania movie, both sides are cool

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Woops - Brian Bennet who was with Hawkshaw on that one you linked is a very famous drummer, from The Shadows of course. That album he did with the spaceship on the front was one that kinda crossed over and has been reissued.
 

blissblogger

Active member
there's amazing library - weird sound contraptions, industrial mekanistik drones, pure poignant loveliness - and then stuff that is like air freshener, or sub-music, like not fully developed, splinters of an uncompleted movie score

this is a really nice bit of oceanic stuff out of Italy


there's a whole subgenre of undersea library, some of it corny as hell, but other stuff essentially ambient music, before Eno came up with the term
 

blissblogger

Active member
Trunk did a great comp of the Studio G label some years ago - some of it just impossibly luxuriant sounding - and then oddball psychedelic nonsense like this James Harpham tune

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I used to hang around with (and DJ in fact) with Gareth Cherrystones a lot a few years back and he told me that he had first introduced Johnny Trunk to libraries and JT had kept going on like, what you doing messing around with this anonymous stuff that has no heart etc... and then he got really into it and his book suddenly appared and so on, and now he's seen as kinda like a guru of library music. No idea of whether that's true... I mean I probably exaggerated the way he said it too, but I found it quite interesting.
I reckon that a lot of it is ambient yeah, possibly more truly entitled to that name than the genre itself. Stuff that is just literally background noises for a yet to be created scene in a possible film almost can't help but be. Listened to as an album a lot of it doesn't make sense as music... it's purely functional noise and noises and its first function is not to be listened to in that way. So I always like to think to myself that when there is something on a library record that works properly as an actual tune, or worse still a song(!), that maybe it was the guys kinda messing around when the boss wasn't paying attention or something.
I will check those links out cheers. Not sure if you saw but on East Side Radio I have an hour show tomorrow at 1400 of all library records.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
This is the kind of thing that I'm talking about that doesn't at all sound like library music to me... or at least what I think of when I think of library music.

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I like it a lot as a song, but it's not what I'm expecting... and it's not what I'm looking for from a library.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Whereas that Voodoo Tronics thing is exactly what I am looking for and which I know there is a whole world of out there.
I kinda like those low-key UK things that probably fit into a continuum with Radio Phonic Workshop and leading forwards into Pram, Stereolab, Broadcast and the Ghost Box label.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
And with things borrowing library aesthetics, I really like this ten inch with Malcolm Catto that has the shiny anonymity of Selected Sound and the grimy synth and drugs (EDIT - that was supposed to say drums but I'll leave it) sound of some Klaus Weiss or Blackout Drums... everyone who bought libraries got really excited when this came out.

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