Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Dave Lawson - News Of The World (Bruton BRI - 16) (1981)

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I am about to go ahead an blow your mind. Most people, I should say, aren't aware of library music. Library music is what you would call royalty free music that is made by a production company, that large companies pay a subscription fee to use whole cloth with no need to ever pay royalties.

While there are still tons of library production companies out there today, everything has gone digital, and you subscribe to those services much like you would iTunes or Spotify etc. But in the 70s and the 80s especially, Library music took on a very special role.

Synthesizers. Not everyone had the money just go out and by a synthesizer in the late 70s. The price of the highest end most popular synths were enough that regular people would have to take out a mortgage for just to be able to have. So people who did have these synths, or had access to them, were quite a hot commodity.

Library music of the early "synth" era was unbelievably well created. It seems like the companies like Bruton in this case, would just hire dream teams of good studio musicians and pretty much leave them to create. Otherwise I can't really tell how this music got created the way it did. I would love to hear some postmortems from some of the composers about what it was like.

The really interesting thing is, for a long time, these library records were actually sent on on Vinyl to the news stations and TV stations who had memberships. And these records now seem to litter dusty bins at vinyl shops. There is a large community of people on the internet who are trying to complete these collections in mp3 format, to preserve this music for the glorious compositions that they were. And we will reap the benefits by getting crashing wall after crashing wall of amazing music from the era.

Burton is the name of this library production company, and "BRI" in this case is the genre of record it is. BRI was the label applied to library albums that had a heavily synth based focus, so you can see how it becomes a really fin thing to try and "catch'em all". When you find a new BRI, you know you are in for a treat.

One last interesting tidbit about library albums is that on the back of the vinyl sleeve, each song would have a description of the mood associated with the song. It would say stuff like, "Corporate driving beat" or "mellow down tempo" or "pulsating rhythms". What I love about this is, the people who had the records, and who would put them in their TV shows, would basically look at these descriptions to decide what they wanted for their media.

I like the idea of a musician writing a bunch of stuff, then telling the director and editor this is what it would be especially well used for. Love it. More to come.

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