I was introduced to Command Records many years ago, by our former resident OMer, Daniel. They were introduced to me as this quirky super hi-fi stereo old pop music label. They are that. And more.
Lately, I’ve been quite in to the Command Records and Project 3 Records niche. (On a side note, it’s also made me really aware of good bossa-nova artists from the ’60s like Paulinho Nogueira, but that’s another story) This genre generally starts with Space Age Pop. From there you can get in to the sub-genres of Exotica, Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (which most people are familiar with in Esquivel’s music,) Cocktail, Incredibly Strange Music, etc. I seem to be interested in all the genres and in fact they are pretty vague and tend to cross-over a lot. Nothing is really set in stone. It’s ok that way.
Two records, outside of the Enoch Light collection when he was involved with Command Records, as of late, have been in serious rotation and are highly recommended to be your next record purchases are:
Mel Henke – Dynamic Adventures in Sound : Workshp Series
Henke did a lot of work in the 50s with Disney. Clearly there is a connection. But on this record, which is mainly Exotica with a lot of sound effects added, there is a serious focus on sonics and stereo placement. This record isn’t really cheesy and tounge-in-cheek like, say, Esquivel – which is downright awesome on a different plane. It is definately music that was created with cartoons in mind. However it sounds nothing like Raymond Scott whose music eventually ended up in the hands of Warner Bros. and was used excessively on all those old WB cartoons. And finally, sorry to say, this record is long out of print. You’ll be lucky to find it at a record store that actually sells used records. If you do, find it, buy it.
A sample from the record: Me and My Shadow – AAC 160kbps 3.6MB 3’01
Perrey and Kingsley – In Sound From Way Out
Gershon Kingsley (the house arranger at Vanguard Records) and Jean-Jacques Perrey (the early pusher of the Ondioline – a nifty little keyboard that had an interesting vibrato – not to mention tape splicer extrordinaire) got together to make a few records. This one record was recorded in 1966. And how they created this without a sampler is beyond me. Clearly Perrey is one mean human sampler and his tape splicing abilities have notably passed that of George Martin, et al. This record deals primarily with simple melodies and crazy, wack-ass sounds that have been arranged and spliced by Perrey. If you’ve ever heard weird music, you’ve heard nothing until you hear this record. You should buy the reissue of this CD if you get the chance.
A sample from the record: Spooks in Space – AAC 160kbps 1.9MB 2’04
Music that lends itself to changing sound is something that really speaks to me these days. And contrary, music that changes notes doesn’t so much anymore or at least during this phase or week of my life.