Writing about music is like dancing about architecture

Monday, 13 December 2010


It's nearly Christmas so I thought I'd add a Christmas record.
Having said that I'm not really sure how Christmas-y this record it. Despite the title there is nothing really very Christmas-like about this library record.
If you are looking for strange electronic noises that are made to approximate the sounds of animals this is the record for you. If, on the other hand, you want something that sounds like carols then look elsewhere.
Roger Roger and Nino Nardini were electronic pioneers and in much the same way as Jean Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley they found it difficult to find a wide audience. In fact most of their recorded output, together or seperately, is on library records.
Think Radiophonic Workshop but on the farm rather than in space and you have an idea of the kind of sounds that these guys are making here.
I am always amazed at the breadth of music that appeared on library records. What film or TV programme would need an electronic horse noise or a song using bleeting bionic sheep noises?  Maybe they appeared on French children's programmes? Or maybe they were used as cues for some kind of space-age Animal Farm? Or maybe not.
The propensity for early electronic music to be used in a funny setting meant that lots of early moog, electronic or radiophonic tracks have a kind of cartoon quality to them. You can see that they would make very good background to Tom and Jerry comedy violence. An early JJ Perrey track was even picked up by Disney and used at Disneyland. Perhaps it still is.
I found this languishing in the Christmas section of Oxfam and would have flicked past it had I not been intrigued by the children's writting on the front and the back. I am not sure who Sophie and Cathy were but I like to think they were the daughters of either Mr Roger or Mr Nardini. "This album is dedicated to all my little friends, the animals of the world" it says on the back.
A slightly daft record all in all but you would have to be a very hard hearted person not to find it funny. See if you can find it in amongst the Christmas records.



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