As a listener to the Musique du Monde series of mixes would probably guess, two of my favorite contemporary bands are Stereolab and Broadcast, both because their music is wonderful, but also because it’s through them that I discovered things like the United States of America and White Noise and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Serge Gainsbourg, and on to David Axelrod and Placebo and library music and Italian/German/French/UK/Czech soundtracks and. . . probably half of what you hear at Musicophilia. So in the tradition of the ‘Zygotic’ tribute to Flaming Lips‘ unexpected resurgence, and the ‘Gold and the Silver Dream’ tribute to Daft Punk‘s recent success, I’ve cooked up two mixes that, while perhaps not so directly responding to the music of their inspirations, are intended to honor Stereolab and Broadcast via the amazing sounds of their forebears, comrades and descendants.
The mix at hand here, ‘La Diffusion’ (probably incorrect French for ‘The Broadcast’) looks back not necessarily on the direct influences of Broadcast and Stereolab (for example, it doesn’t get into the Neu-derived motorik side of things), but to the originators of the animating spirit of the bands. I’ve features a lot of library music since the beginning of Musicophilia–the joy of discovering that whole secret history of the 60s and 70s is probably what made me start the blog in the first place–but I’ve never had the chance to do the exclusively library/soundtrack-based series for which I’ve culled several hundred tracks over the last six or seven years. So late 60s and early 70s library cuts feature heavily here, because to me while Broadcast and Stereolab clearly draw on the period, it’s mostly the less commercially known, more sophisticated and cool side of the era that’s their main inspiration–and library stuff embodies that feeling. Also featured are several of the sorts of related scenes I mentioned above, all drawing on early song-based electronics, tight rhythms, deep but gymnastic basslines, sparse and funky guitar, and jazz-derived vibes, brass and melodic sensibilities. I’ve never found a satisfactory shorthand for all of this, perhaps because it was never really a fully popular movement; but it’s the sort of thing that is instantly recognizable and, to me, a whole lot of fun.
‘La Diffusion’ features Musicophilia mainstays like Silver Apples, David Axelrod, the Free Design, United States of America, Jean Michel Jarre, Ennio Morricone and Kraftwerk (in their pre-K days as Organization). But the majority of the cast are library and soundtrack stars, most of whom aren’t nearly as well-known as they should be, like Barry Borgie, Braen’s Machine, Jacques Siroul, Piero Umiliani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Alain Goraguer, and Gianni Oddi. At thirty two tracks, I won’t list everyone, but rest assured, there are no fillers here.
At the “more…” link below you can stream the mix, check the full tracklist, and download. And be sure to check out the follow-up mix to this one, ‘Memories of Tomorrow,’ featuring artists from the 90s through today who, like Stereolab and Broadcast, have a deep appreciation for the far from fully mined world of sound this mix is all about. As always, if you like what you hear, please pass it along and support the artists and labels who made all this fantastic noise.