[Collection] – The ‘Musique du Monde’ Label Mixes (1960s-1970s)

[Musicophilia}_Musique-du-Monde_Collection-1

The Musicophilia blog is probably best known for the 1981‘ mixes and other post-punk mixes.  A Daft Punk tribute got the most attention for a single mix. The ‘Sensory Replication Series‘ mixes are the blog’s most ambitious, seeking to transcend collections of songs to create heavily-mixed sound-environments.  But the mixes that are most closely associated with the almost ten years the blog has been going, and with what has continued to dominate my record buying, are those issued under the Musique du Monde imprint.  These are all collected for download here, and include the joyously globe-spanning ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ series, the more enigmatic ‘Le Mystere de la Musique‘ series and the ‘Le Nouveau Son‘ mix, and the Broadcast/Stereolab-inspired ‘La Difussion‘ mix.  I’ll try to briefly describe what each is about below; but I recommend you listen to the first track or two of these mixes as Mixcloud streams, to let the music do the talking.  If you like what you hear, then you can safely download and enjoy this collection of eleven mixes made over the last nine years, and ignore all the chatter!

Back in 2008 when I started Musicophilia, the apparently endless variety, sophistication, confidence and fun of the music of the 1970s had already taken over my record buying for several years.  The 1960’s psychedelic attitude, funky edge, “teenage symphony to God” pop sophistication, and boundary-pushing nascent electronics seemed to have exploded across all genres and around the world in the ’70s, and cross-pollination and interplay was more the rule than not.  There seemed to me to be some fuzzy common link between the myriad sounds of the day: the new Jazz Miles and company had kicked off; the glamorous and cosmic rock the Germans and the British were fostering; the soaring grooves of Italian, French and English Library music makers; the rapidly expanding sound-worlds of R&B and funk; the increasingly non-folk-based domain of the singer-songwriters; Jamaican roots and dub; and on and on.  Some part of it was the technology, the use of electronics and of the studio as an instrument and the record as its own artifact, independent of live performance.  Some part of it seemed to be that a spirit of boundless exploration was being paired harmoniously with the maturation of popular recorded music as an artform, generally.  Whatever the link was, exactly, when I explored the connections and commonalities always seemed much more important than the differences.  So I made up the mythical French compilation label Musique du Monde as a framework for what I wanted to bring together: eclectic sounds, but sharing a common sensibility.  (As a bonus, in an homage to the graphic design “systems” of Library labels like Editions Montparnasse 2000 and Bruton Music it also gave me a way to make covers for all the mixes I hoped to make, without having to start from scratch every time, playing around with period graphics as best an amateur like myself could cobble together).

Some key artists: Dorothy Ashby, Janko Nilovic, Faust, Karen Dalton, Franco Battiato, John Cale, Terry Riley, Milton Nascimento, The Millennium, Caravan, Duncan Browne, Bernard Estardy, Ron Geesin, Free Design, Augustus Pablo, Serge Gainsbourg, Ennio Morricone, Nino Nardini, Syd Barrett, L’Infonie, Jonny Teupen, Kraftwerk, Os Mutantes, The Feed-Back, Kevin Ayers, Martin Circus, Donovan, Alan Moorhouse, Gil Gilberto, Pierry Henry, Moondog, White Noise, Shuggie Otis, Colin Blunstone, Roland Kovac, El Kinto, Silver Apples, Jean-Michel Jarre; Henri Texier, Joni Mitchell, Arthur Russell, Bernard Parmegiani, Lou Reed, Alan Parker, John Cameron, Brigitte Fontaine & Areski, Le Orme, Sun Ra, Harmonia, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Robert Wyatt, Roy Ayers, Television, Brian Eno, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, David Axelrod, Roxy Music, Jorge Ben, Willie Nelson, Miles Davis, Cymande; Todd Rundgren, Silver Apples, Ananda Shankar, 10cc, Amon Duul II, Syreeta, Hall & Oates, Catherine Ribiero, Francisco, Placebo, Harry Nilsson, Marcos Valle, Wolfgang Dauner, These Trails, Tim Buckley, Michael Chapman, Jacqueline Thibault, Comus; Barry Forgie, Braen’s Machine, Karl Heinz Schafer, Jacques Siroul, Piero Umiliani, Goblin, Franz Auffray, United States of America, Alessandro Alessandroni, Manfred Hubler, Free Design, Philippe Besombes, Gianni Oddi, and many others.

I set off with the ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ mixes, drawing from the late 60s and early 70s, explicitly seeking to bring together music from around the globe without genre limitations.  These mixes are exuberant, sometimes a little less refined than what would come later, but brimming with track after track that had been mentally earmarked over the years as something I had to share.  In part, these mixes were tributes to the real crate-diggers who did all the hard work of finding and preserving the gems in the first place–reissue labels; mid-2000s discovery blogs like the almighty Mutant Sounds; and record shops like Rough Trade, Exiled, Rockit Scientist, Dusty Groove, Other Music, Twisted, and Weirdo, who all made it possible for my music-addicted ears to be endlessly thrilled with discovery and musical connections.  The ‘Le Tour du Monde‘ mixes pulled from around twenty nations, maybe as many genres, and half a dozen years: eclectic but always tending toward the groove-driven and the upbeat.  These are daytime mixes, for sure.

The next year, I wanted to explore slightly moodier territory, perhaps a little less “groovy” and moving a few years deeper into the 70s, which resulted in the ‘Le Mystere de la Musique‘ mixes.  These allowed me to pull from an even wider range of genres, if not quite as globe-spanning a charge.  Listening recently for the first time in a while, these mixes suggest that novelty and innovation was being married with ever maturing popular forms; but this isn’t the showboat, virtuoso-driven, rather heartless (and ass-less) arena prog or speed-fusion that might suggest, which would eventually necessitate punk and post-punk and the diffusion of the means of production.  ‘Le Mystere de la Musique‘ is as restless as it is sophisticated, as heart-felt and body-moving as it is intellectually compelling.  I picked up this general vibe and approach a few years later with ‘Le Nouveau Son,’ which is more carefully sequenced, since in this second phase of Musicophilia I’ve had longer to ruminate on each mix before actually putting it together, since I only get the time to do two or three a year.  (It also had a sister tribute mix, ‘Memories of Tomorrow,’ not included in this collection, of 90s-2010s music that draws on the spirit of ‘Musique du Monde’ that I encourage you to check out).

Finally, in 2015 I drilled into the wide Musique du Monde sound spectrum to honor Stereolab and Broadcast, two bands that were a gateway to many of the sounds I love most, and who proved there was much left unmined in these warm, fuzzy, groovy, sophisticated sounds.  The sonic range is somewhat more conscribed, but it’s also the best-sequenced of all these mixes, evoking a complete and enveloping world of sound (and came the closet to the Library Music-only mixes I’ve long hoped to make).

 

Musique du Monde continues to prove a useful framework, enabling some of my favorite mixes of “phase two” Musicophilia, the ‘Le Monde du Funk‘ and ‘Les Rythmes du Monde‘ mixes, which carry forward into the late-70s to mid-80s, which I really hope you’ll check out, too.  It’s a world I hope to continue to visit, as I’ve got a few hundred other tracks earmarked and culled from over the years still to share.  I hope you enjoy your time in this particular “world of music,”–drop me a line, pass this post on, and as always: please buy all the music you can afford to so that the artists, labels, and shops that make all this magic can continue to do so.

Download Eleven Musique du Monde mixes here (800MB)

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