Musax Background Music Library Volume 1.

Label: Farfalla Records.

The resurgence of interest in library music that began a few years ago is still continuing, with collectors keen to add to their burgeoning collections. For many, it’s original releases from the golden era of library music which covers the late-sixties through to the mid-eighties.

Alas, many of these albums released during this golden era are nowadays, incredibly rare and with each passing year, become more valuable. They’re attracting a premium, especially the more collectable labels. That comes as no surprise many of these releases were pressed in relatively small quantities, and very few have survived since the late-sixties and seventies. 

Often when a collector discovers a stash of library music for sale, they’re not in the best condition. That’s always disappointing. More so, when the seller quotes a ridiculous price for a pile of badly beaten up records. When questioned about this, they usually justify the price because that was what was quoted on a website. Usually, that is for a near mint copy not one that is badly beaten and looks as if it has been used as a frisbee and then left in the back of  Ford Cortina during the winter of discontent. In a case like that, it’s better to forget about the album and either wait for another copy to come up for sale. There is however, an another option…reissues.

Over the last few years, hardly a week goes by without a compilation of library music being reissued or original albums being rereleased by labels like Be With Records. For anyone who is interested in library music this is a wonderful way to add those elusive albums to their collection. It’s also an opportunity to discover some of the hidden gems lurking in the vaults of British, French, German, Italian and Polish record library labels. 

This includes Musax Background Music Library Volume 1, which was recently released by Farfalla Records. It features twelve tracks from the Musax back-catalogue and is a tantalising taste of the delights awning the newcomer to this French library label. 

The Musax story began in the late-seventies after Eddie Warner’s L’illustration Musicale closed its doors for the last time. It was founded in the late-fifties, and over the next two decades released twenty-six albums of library music. However, that wasn’t the end of story.

Rather than close the business completely, the existing music publishing license was passed to one of the partners in the business, Jacky Giordano. He called the new company  Musax, and continued to record library music.

By then, Jacky Giordano had established a reputation as one of the leading lights of the French library music scene. He had recorded for various labels including L’illustration Musicale. Musax was a new chapter for Jacky Giordano.

His new company continued to release a myriad of new releases right through until the late-eighties. Some of these releases were recorded  by well known artists including Jean-Pierre Decerf,  Jean-Claude Pierric, Serge Planchon, Patrick Petitbon, Gérard Gesina, Jean-Charles Capon and Daniel Humair. There’s also a group that featured members of the legendary Crazy Horse cabaret, including Pedro Perea, Claude Brisset, Bruno Bompard, Jean-Claude Guselli, Claude Thirifays, Vincent Momplet and Joseph Gatineau. Some new names also recorded for Musax, while other artists  weren’t always what they seemed.

Jacky Giordano was prolific when it came to recording library music. During his career, he used a number of aliases when he recorded library music. This continued at Musax and he recorded eight albums using a variety of aliases. Among them were Joachim Sherylee and José Pharos. There’s tracks by Jacky Giordano using both of his aliases on Musax Background Music Library Volume 1.

The twelve tracks on Musax Background Music Library Volume 1 are best described as eclectic and ranges from jazz-funk and fusion to electronic music. This ranges from spacey electronica right through to more experimental electronic music. There’s something for everyone and back in the in 1978 and 1978 when the twelve tracks were released this would be perfect for television and companies as well as advertising agencies looking for music for their latest production or advert.  It’s music of the highest quality.

Side One.

Proof of this is Pedro Perea ’s My Wooden Cross a stunning cinematic jazz-funk workout. This sets the bar high and the Joseph Gatineau’s  Pete doesn’t disappoint either. It starts off a wistful slice of swinging jazz before metamorphosing into a spacey slice of fusion that sounds as if it should be theme to an intergalactic cop show.  

Jacky Giordano  makes his debut on the compilation as Joachim Sherylee  on the beautiful dreamy sounding Cimarone.

Remorse is a genre-melting collaborations between Jean-Claude Pierric and Serge Planchon that has veers between tough and spacey as sci-fi sounds emerge from an arrangement that later, becomes jazz-tinged. Vincent Momplet’s Trois Caros is an emotional and musical roller coaster that bobs and weaves, as horns, shimmering keyboards and later a blistering guitar play their part in this filmic opus.

Liberia Land closes side two and marks the return of Joachim Sherylee. His second of three contributions is a a  pulsating slice of memorable jazz-funk.

Side Two. 

Watery State is a spacey, futuristic sounding electronic track from Jean-Pierre Decerf.

Joachim Sherylee’s last contribution is the ruminative sounding Iceberg, which is a quite beautiful and wistful sounding. 

Patrick Petitbon’s Pictures Of My Soul has an understated sound, but still manages impart a degree of drama. Then Gérard Gesina fuses electronica, funk and jazz on Man Fly which sounds as if it belongs on a sci-fi soundtrack.

Ghost March is a contribution from another of Jacky Giordano’s aliases, José Pharos. The pulsating arrangement glides dramatically along emitting a series of sci-fi beeps. It’s a captivating track from one of the leading lights of French library music.

Closing side two and the compilation is Jean-Charles Capon and Daniel Humair’s Marchaleco. Eastern sounds and drama combine during this musical journey, and paint pictures of adventures in faraway places. It’s the perfect way to close Musax Background Music Library Volume 1.

And it’s the perfect introduction to the library music that Jacky Giordano’s Musax label released between the late-seventies and late-eighties. During that period, Musax released just over thirty albums. Nowadays, these albums are rarities, and if copies come up for sale are usually prohibitively expensive for the average record collector. 

Collecting the albums that feature the twelve tracks on Musax Background Music Library Volume 1 wouldn’t be easy, would take time, patience and a large amount of money. Many collectors of library music, whether veterans and newcomers, will be unable to afford the original albums then Musax Background Music Library Volume 1 is the next best thing and offers a tantalising taste of the cinematic sounds Jacky Giordano’s label released over the course of a decade.

Musax Background Music Library Volume 1.

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