Posts Tagged ‘space music’

Belbury Poly and “Hauntology”

I wasn’t aware of “hauntology” as a musical term (or any other sort of term) until I came across Belbury Poly. Philosopher Jacques Derrida coined the term to describe the relationship between the past and the present. The music that falls under the label is a mixture of old and new electronic sounds. It’s generally quiet music, with occasional vaguely sinister undertones.

Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) described his own music in this way in a 2009 interview:

Part of a theme that’s ongoing in all the Belbury Poly records . . . is a tradition of British science fiction, where you’ve got on the one hand the setting of a very traditional background, with very ancient things, but you’ve got this weird, cosmic stuff happening [at the same time]. A lot of old British sci-fi books – John Wyndham, for instance – have these really mundane, quaint little village settings, but all of a sudden something really freaky and cosmic appears in the middle of it.

What is freakish is not necessarily overt – a nuclear war, or a sudden landing of carnivorous aliens – but a more subtle, unsettling sensation that the ordinary world is lying side-by-side with any number of other, stranger ones. It might only take turning a street corner at the right (or wrong) moment; opening a door that you’d never noticed before; switching on the television in time to catch a sinister glitch in the broadcast: any momentary gap in the border between here and elsewhere might thrust you into a new – or an old – reality.

I like all of the Belbury Poly albums, but if I had to choose one to recommend starting with, it would probably be From an Ancient Star.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

The Advisory Circle is another artist in the same genre and on the same record label. As the Crow Flies would also make for a good introduction to this type of music.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

A heavy influence on hauntology music is library music of the type produced by BBC Radiophonic Workshop. One example of their work that I like a lot is Fourth Dimension by Paddy Kingsland.

A couple samples (Youtube links):

I happened to discover Kingsland’s music through a independent game called Space Funeral. It’s quite an interesting game, and I recommend trying it if you think a very short, very unusual RPG sounds like fun. You can get it for free here.


Old French Synthesizer Music

Over the past few years, I’ve come across several For some reason, I’ve come across a lot of very good French synthesizer music from the late 1970s and early 1980s, most of which seems to have only ever been released on vinyl. Fortunately, things that would be hopelessly obscure are often not difficult to find on the Internet.

First and foremost,

Roland Bocquet

The two main albums to look out for are Robot Bleu and Robot Rose, each of which includes one of my two favorite songs of his (but by no means the only good ones), “Paradia” on Robot Rose and “La Suite D’Elsa” on Robot Bleu.

Robot Bleu: Val Verde Music | Dance from Space
Robot Rose: Mutant Sounds
Paradia: Val Verde Music


Bernard Fevre

I was already familiar with Black Devil Disco Club when I learned that Bernard Fevre had earlier created some very good non-disco synthesizer music. A good album to look for is The Strange World of Bernard Fevre, which has been re-issued as The Strange New World of Bernard Fevre. And a good sample song from that album is “Dali.”

And if you like that album, you’ll probably also like Cosmos 2043.

The Strange World of Bernard Fevre: Mutant Sounds
Cosmos 2043: Funky Frolic

From an interview with Fevre:

I was drawn to the synthesiser because it enabled me to realize a symphonic vision that previously would have needed many musicians. With the synthesiser I could create the kind of sci-fi music you will hear on the “strange world of Bernard Fevre,” and then in the clubs it was the African rhythms that inspired me. I found that by mixing the primal beats with the electronic textures and melodies, it created a kind of “disco” sound. But for many people it was too new, too original, and they didn’t consider it disco at all.

And finally,

Garnegy & Maties

I don’t know the story behind the albums Sport Music and Sport Music II. I’d guess that they might have been made to accompany television sports. Or maybe not. But I can tell you that they are very good, if you like this sort of thing.

Sport Music Vol. 1: Funky Frolic | Plixid
Sport Music Vol. 2: Funky Frolic | Plixid | The Growing Bin