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Gallery: The Music Library

March 2016

The Boss Music, Kitten Kind Volume 1. Soleil Masque, circa 1974

It’s a French library LP, and belongs in a holding pen with a whole bunch of very small Paris based library companies that came and went very quickly in the mid-1970s. Everything about this image is wrong, which is why I put it on a tee shirt. The producer was JC Pierric (Real name JC Boinot), a man who tried all sorts of musical progressions for about a decade. To my knowledge, there is no Volume 2 for this. And incidentally, there is nothing about cats anywhere on this LP.

Vassili Kojukarov, Teleradiosonory. Pinciana, no date, possibly early 1970s

This is Italian. And quite mad. There is nothing on the front except for the white circle. There are some other Italian library LPs that look like this on other labels, but they have something written in the white circle. But here there is nothing. Not sure if they ran out of time or just couldn’t be bothered, but here it is. Musically, less focused, all over the place in fact.

Antiche E Arcaici And Enrico Colonese, A1. Usignolo, 1970

As library sleeves go, this is quite normal really, using a graphic of early musical notation to give the correct impression of early music inside. But what I really like about this is the A1. This is the start of the A series. A2 will follow. All the way to A8. But then it changes to the B series. And B81 is the start. But then the catalogue then jumps from B84 to B171, and then it changes to the C series, which kicks off at C261. So none of it makes catalogue sense at all, but to someone out there who started this all, it makes perfect sense, and I may never know why.

Maurizio Bigio, Ma-Gi. Iller, 1972

This is a library LP by Maurice Bigio, for an offshoot label of RCA in Italy. I think he only made this one LP. You can clearly see this is music specially recorded for use in film and TV. It is him with a drum, a harmonica and a delay pedal making a noise. And wow, what a noise. I get the impression he stayed up late doing it. As for the artwork, this got me very excited when I first saw it, because I couldn’t really understand anything about it at all.

Keith Papworth / Jack Trombey, Busy Quayside. De Wolfe, 1968.

Coming at you from 1968 but looking like a record from the late 1950s, this is Busy Quayside. Possibly not one of the more popular De Wolfe ten inch LPs, but one from their ten inch “paper bag graphic” series musically conjuring up both light and heavy industry. This recording no doubt cornered the market for documentaries about Grimsby, Portsmouth or fish, and that amazing font has surely sailed in from the future.

Franco Potenza, Vetrina Musicale. Grifo, 1974

There are many library LPs with this title – a rough translation is “musical carousel.” This would not however explain the reason for five mustard balls and a plank thing on the front cover. I collect this label and to be honest it’s been a bit of a merry go round trying to find all the releases.

Sound Factory, Chess Pops. Drive In, 1977

Another classic, where incongruous factors clash to make something completely at odds with itself on every level. This LP also has a chess board on the back. Fancy a game?

André Ceccarelli, 105 New-Music. MCT, 1988

Coming quite late in the history of library vinyl LPs, much of this catalogue kept it simple with two boxes with another box with a picture in it. But thinking back it was at a time where graphics people were sticking everything in a box. They were possibly trying to emulate ECM-style looks here; they fail but still produce something memorable and suitably detached from the music.

Franco Potenza, Down In The City No.1. Montecarlo, 1973

A style of sleeve art so simple that even a kid could do it. And probably did.

Edwin Astley, Many Moods From Vivo. Vivo Music, 1980

Hell yeah!

Trunk Records' Jonny Trunk has released an expanded edition of The Music Library, an anthology showcasing library music albums from around the world. Here are ten of his favourite.

The Music Library, published by Fuel design, is reviewed by Lara C Cory in The Wire 386. Subscribers to The Wire can read that, and hundreds of other reviews, articles and features via the online archive.

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