It’s Jonny Trunks fault. Honest it is! His oft hallowed book The Music Library book saw its release in 2005 spawning an army of Library Music fans to accept freely this genre of music that sometimes sounds like nothing else you’ve never heard, plus the rarity of trying to find such records would have some pulling their hair out or even spending the earth on securing illusive black vinyl, often with a quirky sleeve, that can be heard when sticking a needle to it. The first edition brought together 325 sleeves with detailed information regarding these highly sought after gems, it also featured CD of rarely heard Library gob smackers that saw the book sell out in unprecedented numbers.
Luckily those kind and well versed chaps at Fuel Publishing know a good thing when they see it, so back in 2016 an expanded edition now featuring 625 sleeves from 230 diverse labels with over double the amount of sleeves plus a 10” vinyl with more uncovered Library music was included in a deluxe version. With the book still available via the Fuel Publishing website it’s time for a revaluation of this cornerstone in publishing of its kind. The 10” vinyl features Soft Wind, the smooth funk bass heavy track by the Gary Pacific Orchestra, Hot Track by Rex Brown featuring some classic drum breaks, taken from the Action & Tension & Space and John Cameron, the classic library music guitarist, with Underlying Expectancy taken from one of the all-time classic library albums, Jazzrock.
As someone said in one of the online reviews ‘A terrific guide to a parallel musical universe where the Beatles and Radiohead count for nothing but Alan Hawkshaw and Roger Roger are superstars’ and it is indeed this very view that instantly comes into your senses as you listen to and become affiliated with these delightsome and enchanting releases. But if we can pull ourselves away from the music and concentrate on the record sleeves these more often than not leave the consumer scratching their heads if what they stumble across is infact a library classic. Sometimes the record label name is hidden, maybe there might be a picture of an old looking soldier on the sleeve or just a half-naked human, or even nothing to indicate the music that presents itself when played. Weird or genius, you decide.
There are designs that look instantly familiar if they have the words KPM or Bruton etched into its cover, these being 2 of the powerhouse Library labels with KPM’s dark green sleeve becoming instantly recognised and cherished when a collectors eyes clocks it, similarly with Bruton the collection of squares with different characters interspersed across the sleeve are a collectors dream. However there are many sleeves, as previously mentioned, that leave its audience in the cloud of doubt but at the same time enticed by fab colours, groovy wording fonts and designs that have become objects of desire.
Silver and Gold look like a cross between a 90’s cigarette packet and a sponsor for a darts player, one of my fav looking sleeves is the Musiche Per Un Telefilm with its circles, squares and triangles, maybe it reminds of looking through the different shaped windows on Playschool but simple shapes arranged in different colours instantly appeals. Superdoop has what looks like the silhouette of a woman’s head with a back drop of what looks like a shop till receipt, the mind boggles. The simplistic uses of lines and shapes can be seen via the Futurissimo and Intermezzi sleeves, the Intermezzi sleeve is particularly eye catching with a needle hitting the vinyl in the back ground.
There are so many sleeves to delve into here, if I reviewed each one I would fail to effectively and adequately compose a review worthy of its maker. Instead I think I’ll just say I cannot recommend this book highly enough, even though there have been similar books released since this first saw the light of day I would say this is the best of the bunch. Library Music Visual Heaven.
The Music Library can be purchased via the Fuel Publishing website