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Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music

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In the heyday of low-budget television and scrappy genre filmmaking, producers who needed a soundtrack for their commercial entertainments could reach for a selection of library music: LPs of stock recordings whose contents fit any mood required. Though at the time, the use of such records was mostly a cost-cutting maneuver for productions that couldn’t afford to hire thei In the heyday of low-budget television and scrappy genre filmmaking, producers who needed a soundtrack for their commercial entertainments could reach for a selection of library music: LPs of stock recordings whose contents fit any mood required. Though at the time, the use of such records was mostly a cost-cutting maneuver for productions that couldn’t afford to hire their own composer, the industry soon took on its own life: library publishers became major financial successes, and much of the work they released was truly extraordinary. In fact, many of these anonymous or pseudonymous scores-on-demand were crafted by the some of the greatest musical minds of the late 20th century—expert musicians and innovative composers who reveled in the freedoms offered, paradoxically, by this most corporate of fields. Unusual Sounds is a deep dive into a musical universe that has, until now, been accessible only to producers and record collectors; a celebration of this strange industry and an examination of its unique place at the nexus of art and commerce. Featuring original art by Robert Beatty and an introduction by George A. Romero—whose use of library music in Night of the Living Dead changed film history— Unusual Sounds is mandatory reading for anyone interested in this enigmatic field and its hidden but pervasive cultural influence.


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In the heyday of low-budget television and scrappy genre filmmaking, producers who needed a soundtrack for their commercial entertainments could reach for a selection of library music: LPs of stock recordings whose contents fit any mood required. Though at the time, the use of such records was mostly a cost-cutting maneuver for productions that couldn’t afford to hire thei In the heyday of low-budget television and scrappy genre filmmaking, producers who needed a soundtrack for their commercial entertainments could reach for a selection of library music: LPs of stock recordings whose contents fit any mood required. Though at the time, the use of such records was mostly a cost-cutting maneuver for productions that couldn’t afford to hire their own composer, the industry soon took on its own life: library publishers became major financial successes, and much of the work they released was truly extraordinary. In fact, many of these anonymous or pseudonymous scores-on-demand were crafted by the some of the greatest musical minds of the late 20th century—expert musicians and innovative composers who reveled in the freedoms offered, paradoxically, by this most corporate of fields. Unusual Sounds is a deep dive into a musical universe that has, until now, been accessible only to producers and record collectors; a celebration of this strange industry and an examination of its unique place at the nexus of art and commerce. Featuring original art by Robert Beatty and an introduction by George A. Romero—whose use of library music in Night of the Living Dead changed film history— Unusual Sounds is mandatory reading for anyone interested in this enigmatic field and its hidden but pervasive cultural influence.

42 review for Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jackson

    I've loved library music ever since I first heard an Alan Hawkshaw funky classic pumping out of the DJ booth in a Mod Nightclub in the late eighties. "Unusual Sounds: the Hidden History of Library Music" by David Hollander, is a wonderful record of the range and diversity of library music, from the UK, Europe and North America. I really like the interview style used to review various artists' work, and the forward by George A Romero (Living Dead fame) is second to none. The book is easy to read I've loved library music ever since I first heard an Alan Hawkshaw funky classic pumping out of the DJ booth in a Mod Nightclub in the late eighties. "Unusual Sounds: the Hidden History of Library Music" by David Hollander, is a wonderful record of the range and diversity of library music, from the UK, Europe and North America. I really like the interview style used to review various artists' work, and the forward by George A Romero (Living Dead fame) is second to none. The book is easy to read and includes wonderful book plates and images of various album covers and movie posters. If you see a copy, buy it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Koven Smith

    This book whoops a llama's ass. I've become quietly obsessed with library/production music over the last ten years, and have found myself frustrated at how little has been written about it. This book solves that problem--it is the definitive work on this subject. I would have been happy with a book even half this well-researched; I'm over the moon at what we got instead.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  5. 4 out of 5

    Otis

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brad Neel

  7. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paul Corupe

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    Spenser

  10. 4 out of 5

    Neal Cooper

  11. 4 out of 5

    Blackout

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul Sandell

  13. 5 out of 5

    Justscot

  14. 5 out of 5

    Seth Haley

  15. 4 out of 5

    BW

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    Simon Harper

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    Peter

  18. 4 out of 5

    J

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cooper

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  21. 4 out of 5

    Butch Lazorchak

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robb Stout

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    Andrea Alumbaugh

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mckenzie Ragan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Illman

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    Dale

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

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    Luke Stacks

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rob Adey

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    Gonçalo Freitas

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    Leftjab

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    George Salisbury

  34. 4 out of 5

    Lirazel

  35. 5 out of 5

    Antonin

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    Michael

  37. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  38. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  39. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  40. 4 out of 5

    Chefhifrequency

  41. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  42. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

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