THE LIBRARY MUSIC FILM: MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY THE FILM.

The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film.

Label: Legere Recordings Germany.

During the last few years, there’s been a resurgence of interest in library music, with British and European independent record labels releasing lovingly curated compilations that are welcomed by a coterie of musical connoisseurs who have a passion for library music. This includes DJs, producers and record collectors who are willing to pay large sums of money to add rare releases to their collections of library music.

Many British collectors of library music started off collecting releases by labels like KPM, De Woife, Amphonic, Conroy and Sonoton from the sixties, seventies early eighties, which is regarded by many collectors as a golden age for library music. This is ironic as albums of library music were never meant to fall into the hands of collectors.

Originally, library music was meant to be used by film studios or television and radio stations, and was never meant to be commercially available. The music was recorded on spec by music libraries who  often hired  young unknown composers, musicians and producers. This ranged from musicians who were known within publishing circles, to up-and-coming musicians who later, went onto greater things, and look back fondly at their time writing, recording and producing library music. This they now regard as part of their musical apprenticeship.

For the musicians hired to record library music, their remit was to music libraries with a steady stream of new music, which was originality referred to as production music. During some sessions, the musicians’ remit was write and record music to match themes or moods. This wasn’t easy, but after a while they were  able to this seamlessly. Soon, the musicians were able to enter the audio and write and record a piece of music that matched a theme or mood for a film or television show.

Once the library music was recorded, record libraries sent out demonstration copies of their music to advertising agencies, film studios, production companies, radio stations and television channels. If they liked what they heard, they would license a track or several tracks from the music libraries. That was how it was meant to work.

Sometimes, copies of these albums fell into the hands of record collectors, who realising the quality of music recorded by these unknown musicians, started collecting library music. However, it always wasn’t easy to find copies of the latest albums of library music. That was until the arrival of the CD.

Suddenly, record collectors and companies across Britain were disposing of LPs, and replacing them with CDs. It didn’t matter that the prices of LPs were at all-time low, some record collectors just wanted rid of their collection they were replacing with CDs. With people literally dumping LPs, all sorts of musical treasure was available to record collectors who didn’t believe the hype about CD. This included everything from rare psych and progressive rock right through to albums of library music. These albums were often found in car boot sales, second hand shops and charity for less than a skinny latte macchiato.

This was the case throughout the period that vinyl fell from grace, and suddenly, it was possible for collectors of British library music to add to their burgeoning collections. Gradually, longtime collectors of library music had huge and enviable collections and were almost running out of new music to collect. Some of them decided that the time had come to see what European library music had to offer.

Now these collectors had a whole continent’s worth of library music to discover. Some collectors were like magpies buying albums from all over Europe, while others decided to concentrate on just one country or company. Although it was more expensive to collect European library music, gradually, enviable new collections started to take shape.

This includes French, German and Italian library music which was recorded during the sixties and seventies, and features on The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film which has just been released by Legere Recordings Germany. 

The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film has just been released as a companion to Shawn Lee’s critically acclaimed  documentary on the pioneers of library music. It features seventeen tracks obscure track selected by some of the various DJs and producers who contributed to the movie. They dug deep and chose tracks from KPM, Music De Wolffe, Bosworth and Tele Music of France. These tracks ooze quality and were produced by some of the giants of library music who were pioneers and are welcome additions to The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film

Side One.

Opening side one of The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film is the jazz-funk of Tonio Rubio’s slow burner Bass In Action No. 1. It’s followed by The Roger Webb Sound’s Grey Sigh which is taken from the 1971 Music De Wolfe album Moonshade. It features a fleet fingered guitar solo and a sultry saxophone that play their part in the sound and success of a track from a library music pioneer. Nick Ingman’s Tense Preparation is a playful Blaxploitation inspired track from his 1976 KPM  album Distinctive Themes/Race To Achievement. 

The quality continues with Peter Thomas’ Moog heavy space funk Coordinates Meeting from his 1973 album Sound Music Album 5, which was released on Golden Ring Records. One of the most innovative tracks is Brian Bennett and Alan Hawkshaw’s synth-laden, cinematic and timeless Day-Tripper. The same can be said of Bernard Estardy’s Gang Train which featured on his 1974 album Claviers. 

Geoff Bastow’s rueful and rocky Change Of Pace featured on his 1976 album Music To Varnish Owls By. It was released by JW Music Library. There’s a Hammond organ to the fore on I Marc 4’s Rayban, which sounds as if it belongs on the soundtrack to a British seventies police drama. Very different is slow, shuffling and exotic strains of Piero Umiliani’s Nel Villaggio which closes side on of The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film.

Side Two.

James Asher’s dramatic sounding electronic rock Umbrellas is taken from the 1980 compilation Gyroscope which was released on Bruton Music. Tony Kinsey’s filmic, dramatic and rocky Virgin Land is taken from the 1970 KPM split album Construction In Jazz. Johnny Pearson is another pioneer of library music, and contributes Heavy Action which featured on the 1974 KPM compilation Industrial Panorama and was the theme to the BBC TV program Superstars. William Parrish and Alan Parker’s Main Chance is a slice of cinematic jazz funk that featured on the soundtrack to Hogan, The Hawk And Dirty John Crown. Closing The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film is Marcello De Martino Rhythm and Brass Combination’s urgent sounding Speed Fever. It closes the compilation on a memorable high.

While there’s been a number of compilations of library music released over the last few years, The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film is one of the best. It’s a lovingly curated compilation which features obscurities aplenty recorded and released by some music libraries in Britain and Europe.

Some of the tracks were recorded by the pioneers of British library music. These  composers and musicians made a comfortable living recording library music, and enjoyed working as session musicians. Some of these composers and musicians who began their career writing and recording library music went on to enjoy long and successful careers, others shied alway from the limelight, but recorded music that was heard by millions on British television.  

There’s also contributions from their European counterparts on The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film, which is the perfect companion to o Shawn Lee’s critically acclaimed  documentary on the pioneers of library music. 

The Library Music Film: Music From and Inspired By The Film.

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