A Psychedelic Journey Through Libraries

Does the World need another compilation of rare mood music? Well, seeing that this is not just any old faceless retrospective but in fact the second installment of ‘Space Oddities’ (2008’s prodigious primer of library-disco which was anything BUT retro) put together by my Parisian pals Alexis Le Tan and Jess, then the answer is Hell yes! This time the Gallic duo delves into a much more challenging and dare I say unfashionable genre, i.e. progressive and psychedelic, and the results are simply mind-blowing. It almost feels like the guys were just warming up an unsuspecting public with the initial anthology of more dancefloor-friendly tracks because they knew the gear on ‘Vol. 2’ would really fuck with people’s heads. Contained within these grooves are some of the most delirious excursions into forgotten production music from a pick of the globe’s finest catalogues: KPM (UK), Telemusic, Crea, Sonimage (France), C.A.M., Cardium (Italy) and so on, all lovingly selected and programmed in such an effective way that it leaves you feeling strangely disoriented yet supremely euphoric. 19 new harmonic obscurities are quite a lot to digest in one sitting but I have to say I found the experience a gratifying one, and since being sent the demo, have revisited the whole magical odyssey on many occasions. Personally, the flow of an album is the most important aspect for me, as it was ingrained in my head from an early age. Just think how powerful say ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is, track by track, or ‘Electric Ladyland’ for example (Please excuse my obvious choices but the term ‘the old ones are the best’ is relevant here). Those albums work on a deep subconscious level because of the way the music was programmed, and the guys behind this compilation understand that consummately. We switch from head-nod prog to acid-folk and Middle Eastern tinged funk, then more orthodox psych growlers ending in a sea of synth-wave all in less than 80 minutes. What other ‘off-the-peg’ compilation offers that? On ‘Space Oddities Vol. 2’ the listener is treated to a taste of the whole spectrum of musique psychedelique. The opening cut ‘Strange Form’ is a personal favorite and one that I have to thank Alexis for thrusting into my hands at a Parisian record convention a few years back. Here it really makes sense as the introduction because it defies definition! Thunderclap FX shrouds an arpeggiated synth throb whilst a distinguished yet deviant voice narrates a legend that recounts the evolution of a nebulous alien creature? If this is your bag then you need to check anything by the Kraut supergroup ‘Release Music Orchestra’ whose hybrid electronic jazz-rock sound is remarkably close to this. It’s difficult to favor tracks against each other as they really are ALL essential but some other special highpoints for me are: ‘Cutting the Funk’ which is pure best of British porn with it’s money-shot moog splashes, ‘Sultana’ written and performed by Norwegian group ‘Titanic’ (yes, I’m as bemused as you are as to why this David Mancuso/Francis Grasso NYC afro-rock anthem ended up on an ‘April Orchestra’ library LP!), ‘Shut Up!’ the raw wah-wah and drum jam that sounds like Funkadelic live on Saturn’s Rings with Hendrix supplying the axe licks, ‘Leaving’ by Antonio Vuolo which begins as a dreamy synthesizer piece (think Michael Garrison vs. John Carpenter) until the 4/4 discotheque beat fades in and we’re transported back to the early 1980s and a post-apocalyptic Italian exploitation film. Speaking of cinema, the super erotic track ‘Equilibrium’ by H. Tical is actually a lost cue from Spanish auteur Jesus Franco’s sleazy ‘Sinner’ aka ‘Diary of a Nymphomaniac’ (well spotted Lovely Jon), and the library album from which it was culled (‘Distortions Pop’) is in fact a replication of an earlier commercial lp on the British ‘Kaleidoscope’ label from 1971 entitled simply ‘Distortions’ by Blue Phantom, BUT…legend has it that the original source may hail from Italian composer Armando Sciascia with the name ‘Tical’ being a pseudonym! Right then, you’ve had my two cents’ worth. It’s time to let the music do the talking…
Joel Martin (Quiet Village/Moscovitch Music)

Space Oddities vol 2 has been released on Permanent Vacation July,10

Derert - Leaving
Sauveur Mallia - Space People

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