Don't let Wind Of Change by The Scorpians put you off. The use of whistling in a song is usually A Very Good Thing, and here to prove it comes Gillian Hills.
Hills was the titular Beat Girl in the 1960 John Barry-scored film, and never has anyone managed to look so moody on screen for so long. Ma Premiere Cigarette, a fake-eyelash batting number if ever there was one, is from her short period as a ye-ye girl, when she produced some of the very best songs in a fine genre.
The storyline to this one is bizarre. Gillian likes this guy Jimmy, who smokes; she wants to impress him so she has her first cigarette, smoked with various degrees of success; her eyes start to water and she can't work out whether it's the emotion of the occasion or the smoke irritating her peepers... There are little puffs and exhalation sounds throughout the song. It all makes for a wonderful listening experience.
from Ma Premiere Cigarette EP (Barclay 70352) available on CD - Twistin' The Rock Vol 9: Vue Integrale (Barclay)
Janko Nilovic deserves attention. He composed a huge volume of library music in the 1960s and 70s, and what I've heard of his work has all been excellent. Some of it has recently been made available on CD by the Cosmic Sounds label, who are also releasing new work by him. It's hard to sum up his work, because it was quite diverse. From what I've heard, Nilovic was like a jazzier, more wild version of other contemporary library composers like Roger Roger and Nino Nardini.
This is a wonderful instrumental that opens with a bare breakbeat. This is soon joined by bass and electric guitar, which then give way to a Morricone-style harpsichord, which riffs over a descending minor chord sequence. The whole thing remains funky and slightly menacing as different parts drop in and out. The whole piece is really just a simple jam, but the impeccable arrangement takes it to a higher level.
Belle Epoque (or La Belle Epoque as they were billed in the UK, presumably to further Francophy them) get shoved in that black hole of Eurodisco, based on the evidence of their perky 1977 cover of Black Is Black. Were I not a Eurodisco weirdo who is more than happy to delve into the careers of various sequin-chested nobodies I would never have learned the truth.
This song is as glam-rock as they come. The sound of Miss Broadway is that of a female Noddy Holder, complete with that talking-over-a-hairdryer voice. The orchestration is crunching and stomps all over the disco beat holding it all together.
In short: Silver Convention's older sisters who secretly like Wanda Jackson.
19 Jul 04 ·umbrellasfollowrain: This song fast became the song of my summer nights. I play it to preen to in front of the mirror, before I step out for the night, then hum it as I my feet step out the door and into the night and the streets unspool before me. See, how lyrical the song makes me?! Belle Epoque is ferocious. Jeanette, I think you're so cool. Thanks for bringing dis track to my attention. You always have my attention.
A slice of unbelievably sweet, lush electronica from Elegia. An insistent, original, clattery percussive line and the most enormous heart-rattling sub underlie a sparingly used, sweeping string riff and a vocal which you can't quite make out--I think that's to the good in this song, since Elegia are no Paul Simon--except in fragments. It's sung with strength and melancholy, perfectly structured and as moving as any six minutes I know.
unbelievably cool track, one of my top ten gainsbourg compositions. great jazzy sex beat, smooth vocals.
it's one of his more agressive songs, similar to the also recommended "un poison violent c'est l'amour".
there seems to be a bit of a bit of a prog vibe going on (in lack of better words, i'm not exactly an expert in the technicalities of music).
nice guitar hook. though the track is pretty repetitive, it's by no means boring. the repetition only helps to make it more intense and interesting.
taken from the film le pacha. i think a lot of gainsbourg's soundtrack work is pretty interesting stuff, though some of it often seems a bit rushed or too similar to other cool compositions from the same era (hey, i'm a sucker for plagiarism...)
the soundtrack to cannabis comes especially recommended.
available on CD - le ciinéma de serge gainsbourg, initials b.b and a bunch of othe
25 May 06 ·n-jeff: There is an instrumental version on a twelve inch I have that sounds remarkably prescient of Metal Box era PiL: heavy repetetive bass, odd guitar noises and something about the drums, too.
Great track, vocal or no. 28 Aug 06 ·olli: oh, that´s awesome, n-jeff! i always wondered if there was an instrumental version...one of the funkiest white tracks ever