ORCHESTRA COMETA-DAYDREAM AND MISCELLANEA.

Orchestra Cometa-Daydream and Miscellanea.

Label: Cometa Edizioni Musicali.

Format: LP.

Over the last few years, interest in library music released between the sixties and early eighties has grown, and albums released by labels like KPM, De Woife, Amphonic, Conroy and Sonoton have become highly collectable. This is ironic as these albums were never meant to fall into the hands of collectors.

Originally, library music was meant to be used by film studios, television and radio stations or advertising agencies and was never meant to be commercially available. That was the theory.

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 supply music libraries with a steady stream of new music which originally, was 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 studio 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 DJs, sample-hungry producers and record collectors who realising the quality of music, recorded by these unknown musicians, started collecting library music. 

That is still the case today, and nowadays, many original albums of library music are highly collectable. Often, though, these albums are beyond the budget of most record buyers. Luckily, many independent record labels in Britain and Europe are releasing compilations of library music as well as classic albums.

One of these labels is Cometa Edizioni Musicali which is based in the Italian capital, Rome. They’ve recently reissued Orchestra Cometa’s 1974 album Daydream and Miscellanea which was originally released in 1969. They’re the perfect introduction to two of the most important Italian library music labels.

Orchestra Cometa-Daydream.

When Daydream was released in 1974 by Orchestra Cometa it came with what some people will describe as a distinctive album cover. Other people will describe the picture of a hand holding a flower that has eyeballs on each petal as weird or lysergic. It certainly makes one wonder what the music on Daydream will sound like? Is this the type of library music that  Salvador Dali might have made?

Despite the cover, the music isn’t as trippy or lysergic as one might have thought. Far from it. Appearances can be deceptive and that’s the case on Daydream.

Instead, a wide range of musical genres can be heard during the fifteen tracks on Daydream. There’s everything from jazz, funk, fusion and folk to blues, jazz-funk, psychedelia and rock. The Orchestra Cometa featured top Italian session musicians who were versatile musicians and able to seamlessly switch between disparate genres. That wasn’t all.

They were able to write and record music to match themes or moods. Not all musicians could do this. However, the Orchestra Cometa were able to and it was akin to painting pictures with music. This they do throughout Daydream.

Side One.

Among the highlights are Rash with its tough, funky sound while Daydream is beautiful, wistful and jazz-tinged and Simpton moody and dramatic. Bike is a genre-melting track where funk, fusion and jazz combine and a clavinet adds a tough edge. Quite different is Gadder which is  melancholy, dramatic and guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings. Then Diplomat which closes side one, sounds like the theme to a late-seventies television drama. 

Side Two.

Canty opens side two and is jazz-tinged and funky with a feelgood sound. Very different is Swallow which sounds as if it was written for a period drama. Then a clavinet is deployed on Obstinacy which sounds as if it belongs on a seventies cop show or Blaxploitation film. Reeds are to the fore on the Riddle a mellow slice of jazz that closes Daydream on a high.

Sadly, Daydream was the only album that the Orchestra Cometa recorded for the Cometa Edizioni Musicali label. Just like so many albums of library music, the musicians who played on Daydream aren’t credited. Given the quality of music on they album they were obviously top session players. 

Daydream showcases their considerable skill and versatility as they flit between and fuse disparate musical genres. This is something that lesser musicians would’ve been unable to do. However, the members of Orchestra Cometa make this seem easy on Daydream which forty-six years after its release in 1974 is regarded as an Italian library music classic.

Miscellanea.

So is the compilation Miscellanea, which was released by the SR Records in 1969. It features ten tracks including nine written by Luigi Zito. This was his debut as a composer and he continued to write and record throughout the seventies.

The other track was Dolce Notte which was penned by Ranieri Romagnoli. He had started working as a writer and arranger in the mid-fifties and continued to work until the early nineties.   

The ten tracks on Miscellanea were recorded by a group of musicians who recorded under various names including Unione Musicisti Di Roma. They play their part in the sound and success of an album of evocative tracks that paint pictures and toy with the listener’s emotions. 

Sometimes the music on Miscellanea is dramatic, moody and full of tension. Other times, it’s wistful and melancholy. Sometimes, the music transports the listener to another time and place. It’s like time travel going back in time before hearing a snapshot of what the future will sound like. That is Miscellanea is another Italian library music classic. It’s also a reminder of what was a golden age for library music. It began in the sixties and lasted until the early eighties and the music released during this period is highly collectable.

Especially albums released by KPM, De Woife, Amphonic, Conroy and Sonoton. Then there’s lesser known labels like Cometa Edizioni Musicali and SR Records who released Orchestra Cometa’s album Daydream and Miscellanea.   

Nowadays, both albums are regarded by connoisseurs as library music classics. Original copies of both of these albums and highly collectable and extremely rare. When a copy does come up for sale there’s a premium attached and usually it’s beyond the budget of most collectors. 

Thankfully, Cometa Edizioni Musicali recently reissued Orchestra Cometa’s album Daydream and Miscellanea as limited editions of 300 and this is the perfect opportunity to discover the delights of these two Italian library music classics.

Orchestra Cometa-Daydream and Miscellanea.

3 Comments

  1. I became interested in library music about three years ago. I haven’t had much time or headspace too get into properly. So thanks for your post.

    • I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. If you want to know more about library music there’s three books I’d recommend. The Vinyl Library, The Mood Modern and Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music.

      The new Ace Records compilation Bob Stanley Presents 76 In The Shade has a couple of library music tracks by John Cameron and Simon Park. It’s one of the best compilations of the last few months.

      • Thank you Derek I’ll check out your recommendations.

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