Reviewed by Nathan Ford
Frank Rideau's Orgasmo Sonore project has a new mission. After several collections interpreting classic European film music from the likes of Bruno Nicolai, Ennio Morricone, Goblin, Fabio Frizzi and the likes, he's now turning his attention to the vast field of library recordings. For those uncertain of what exactly library music is, here's a handy introduction.
While Rideau's "Revisiting Obscure Film Music" series mostly focused on material I was already familiar with, the source material for "Revisiting Obscure Library Music" is all previously unknown to me, mainly for reasons of access. After all, this music was created for industrial use, and it's uncommon (but not unheard of) for it to appear in used record bins.
So, without familiarity of source material on my side, how exactly does "Revisiting Obscure Library Music" fare? Excellently. I can't pass comment on how true to the originals Rideau's interpretations are, but the track selection, sequencing and performances are uniformly excellent.
While library music is an extremely broad genre (as necessitated by the wide range of uses it was intended for), Rideau has been selective with what he's taken on board here, creating an album that flows smoothly through progressive rock, funk, crime jazz and spacey synths - all the sorts of things beloved of Active Listener readers.
"Erba di Prima" starts things off in a pastoral prog vein which will make collectors of late sixties / early seventies U.K proto-prog feel right at home. Things then get nicely jazzy without losing their prog edge with Alessandro Alessandroni's "White Sand" having a nice flutey Tonton Macoute vibe, before Piero Umiliani's "Viadotti" channels Zappa at his busiest, and most melodic. Bruno Nicolai's "Tempo Sospesso" utilises synth choirs, harpsichord and guitars on the verge of feedback, making this a good entry point for those more familiar with Rideau's Giallo style work.
Side two changes pace slightly with the spy jazz of "Confronto" making good use of the sort of signature harpsichord / hammered keys motifs that John Barry employed so memorably during the sixties. "A Mind Level" mixes funk with some spacey synth passages, pre-empting the marvelous space age pop of "Electric Maneges" and "Space Team", either of which would be a natural fit on an Advisory Circle record, or soundtracking a seventies science documentary, which the originals were likely intended for.
I'm suitably impressed. Rideau's obvious knowledge and affection for the source material shines here, providing an ideal place for the novice to dip their toe in the water or the seasoned library collector to nod approvingly at his selections. And the handy sleeve notes annotate the source of the originals obsessively, which will be fueling my google searches for the next few days.
"Revisiting Obscure Library Music" can be pre-ordered on LP/CD Set, LP only or CD Mint Pack by e-mailing the label directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Available from other online retailers in March.