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Space Oddities - Rare European Library Grooves LP
As per the subtitle "a compilation of rare European library grooves from 1975-1984," these nineteen cuts of vintage library music -- that is, stock music composed and recorded for production music houses to be anonymously licensed for film and television -- are united primarily by their focus on rhythm and groove. Given the era surveyed and the fact that this collection was issued on the stellar electronic disco revivalist label Permanent Vacation, it's no surprise that most of the selections are of the funky disco persuasion, quite a few of them boasting some form of electronic instrumentation. Space Oddities was prepared as an evident labor of love by French DJs Alexis Le-Tan and Jess; one can only imagine the copious stacks of generic, hackneyed, and otherwise unfunky soundtrack fodder they must have waded through in order to glean these gems, and all of them are properly licensed and credited, which may well have required just as much effort. This is a true treasure trove of striking, inspired, and compositionally masterful material, selected with a DJ-friendly eye on the dancefloor, but containing enough unexpected twists to make home listening just as stimulating. The disc's first half flits through sci-fi minimalism (the opening "Exotique," complete with extra-terrestrial theremin warbles), faux-Asiatic electro-pop ("Sons of the Snake") and synth-stabbed dub reggae ("Flipper") but focuses mainly on righteous, handsome funk (the riff-heavy "System 80" and "Muscle and Heat," to single out just two, could easily pass for instrumental versions of unknown disco era chart-toppers.) After a brief foray into African ethno-exotica with the lovely, trance-like xylophones and mbiras of "Balimba" and jungle noises dotting the electronic psychedelia of "Black Safari," we plunge full-on into the main course of futuristic electro-disco, with Klaus Weiss' Moroder-esque "Sound Inventions" leading a pack highlighted by the brief Italo-pop snippet "Dali" by Bernard Fevre, the notorious Black Devil. Much of this material, in particular, bears an undeniable likeness to the hippest cosmic disco sounds swirling out of Oslo and elsewhere in 2008. It will likely sound hopelessly kitschy to some, but for anyone curious about that recently spotlighted strain of electronica's patchwork heritage, or anyone looking for a freaky, funky good time, Space Oddities barely sets a foot wrong. Sensational stuff.
Born Bad Records