Various Artists - Space Oddities: A Compilation of Rare European Library Grooves

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  • Assembled by French DJs and music-obsessives Alexis Le-Tan and Jess, Space Oddities, on Munich-based Permanent Vacation, may seem to cynics like yet another collection of crossover crate display, an attempt to capitalize on the increasingly popular unclassic classics brand of Balearic, cosmic disco, and quirky vintage electronics. And though these now-words may get skeptics’ eyes rolling, the wealth of zany leftfield television scores and lithe prime-era disco vamps here should overwhelm even the naysayers. The product of years of shop-digging, research, and label clearance, Space Oddities culls source music from movies, television shows, and commercials never previously available for commercial sale before, typically purchased on a subscription-only basis with obscure library music labels like Koka Media or Lido-Melodies. After opening with esoteric sound-scores like the lapping waves and we-are-not-alone synth sounds of Roland Bocquet’s 'Exotique' and the crisp drum-machine beats and sinewy digital piano melody of Alan Shearer’s 'Sons of the Snake,' the compilation quickly shifts from its cool academic intro to its more dominant groove side. Both Yann Tregger’s 'Muscle and Heat,' with its slutty clavichord and strings patterning, and the woozy synthetic glam—half shaggy porn cue, half big bam floor-vamp—of his 'Girls Will Be Girls' are bass-heavy disco standouts, as is the well-bootlegged Sauveur Mallia’s 'Stone Roller.' Likely one of the most interesting tidbits from the surface is 'Dali,' by Black Devil Disco Club’s Bernard Fevre, though it’s a bit too short to really make more than a novelty peek for fans. Thierry Dubet and Harry Williams Verschu’s 'Systeme 80' is pure clap-n-slap disco, with the celebrant horns and all-smiles shake of a Kool & the Gang joint. On the more Italo/Moroder disco side stand both Klaus Weiss’s 'Sound Inventions' and F. McDonald and C. Rae’s awesome 'Robot Dancer,' with swift arpeggiated bass runs and their almost sub-aquatic sense of forward movement, melodically. Elsewhere, Space Oddities dabbles in the bizarre geekstar-dub of Phillippe Besbombes 'Flipper' and more tribal percussive workouts like S. Olivier Nakara Percussions’ 'Balimba'—which with its melding of Alice Coltrane’s numb divinity and the bliss frenzy of Konono N°1’s likembé –music is easily one of the comp’s most absorbing tracks—and Jean-Pierre Decerf, Gerard Zajd, and Tony Cerrona’s 'Black Safari,' which trades rhythm for animal roars and a shrieking guitar workout right out of Santana’s Abraxas. The sputtering Latin drums and a wafting synth-melody worthy of Cluster on A. Kalma’s 'Danse Soeur' are likewise so dense and heady it’s difficult to tease any of its components apart, better simply to revel in its thick, distorted sway. And whether you’re here for home-listening or for rounding out a DJ set, that’s perhaps the best way to tackle Space Oddities—by appreciating the effort and discrimination in selecting these lost gems as a whole without sweating all the timely code-words behind its release.
  • Tracklist
      01. R. Bocquet - Exotique 02. J-P. Decerf, G. Zajd - Reaching The Infinite 03. Dark Is The Colour - Sons Of The Snake 04. Phil Davies & Ch. Ried - Muscle And Heat 05. C. Perraudin - Energy 06. P. Besbombes - Flipper 07. Yan Tregger - Girls Will Be Girls 08. T. Durbet, H.Williams Verschu - System 80 09. S. Olivier, Nakara Percussions - Balimba 10. J-P. Decerf, G. Zajd, T. Cerrona - Black Safari 11. Klaus Weiss Rhythm & Sounds - Sound Inventions 12. Sauveur Mallia - Stone Roller 13. Frank McDonald and Chris Rae - Dance Robot 14. B. Bennett - Cloning 15. Roger Roger - No 15 16. B. Fevre - Dali 17. J.L. Bucchi, R.Tambin-T.Lipton - Ozone 18. S. Mallia - Robot Avenue 19. A. Kalma - Dance Soeur