YouTube’s algorithm to determine ‘recommended’ videos can throw up some absolute gems, but it’s always handy to subscribe to few channels that can serve as go-to resources for music both new and old. A cornucopia of sonic treats, Sonne Immage is one such channel. Possibly the most comprehensive archive of obscure library music on YouTube, it’s also a favourite of ours here at If-Only.
Discovered by chance on a late-night, online digging session, it was clear we had stumbled onto something good. Seeing categories with titles like ‘The Synthesised Library Compendium’ and ‘Obscure French Libraries’ certainly piqued our interest, and today we bring you a few selections from their ‘Early 1980s Synthwave’ playlist. Care to take a trip down the rabbit hole?
1. Axel Simone – Sync Tank
Those drums couldn’t be more ’80s. Nothing like a bit of vibraslap thrown in for good measure either! Cinematic and immersive, there’s something incredibly imposing and majestic about Simone’s loping sequences, released via Capital Records sub-label, Media Music The Professional.
2. John Fiddy & Mac Prindy – Artificial Sunlight
Mort Garson’s Plantasia album was described as “warm earth music for plants and the people who love them,” qualities that also apply to this track from prolific library composers John Fiddy and Mac Prindy.
3. Robert Viger – champs elysees (pt. 1)
Captivating synth-pop stylings from Robert Viger, the French composer best known for founding Paris-based label, Musique Pour L’Image. Born out of library music’s “golden era,” they released everything from children’s music to avant-garde jazz but this one – taken from a collaborative album on Sonimage – is representative of his later, synth-focused material.
4. Galaxy – Oxygen
Released in 1982, Gaston Borreani’s Oxygen serves as a cosmic exploration of various moods and themes – sometimes funk-ridden, other times laid-back, but resplendent with shimmering synth lines throughout.
5. Armand Frydman – Jungle
Before we delve into the music, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that amazing cover art. Also released on Sonimage, Frydman’s playful xylophone melodies, rounded bass tones and additional percussion are evocative of a vibrant and otherworldly landscape.
6. Rubba – Push Button
Rubba’s cosmic epic is ominous, to say the least. An oscillating, motorik pulse provides the bedrock for bewitching melodies pulled straight out of the stratosphere.
7. Chameleon – Pool
Hats off to Simon Park who produced Chameleon’s 1981 album, Superdoop. Unlike some of the other Sonne Image uploads, even at 35 years old this one doesn’t sound the slightest bit dated. Smooth saxophone juxtaposed against horizon-wide synth washes from beginning to end.
8. John Hyde (Astral Sounds) – Desert Rose
We might have saved the best for last here. Recording music for extensive library resource Music De Wolfe and its various sub-labels, John Hyde and his session group Astral Sounds released 21 albums over a 9 year period. “Suitable for water and nature,” Red Kite is Hyde at his very best – elegant and bewitching, his slowly shifting synthscapes recall the pastoral nature of early British synthesiser music.