The goofy chamber jazz of bandleader Raymond Scott lent itself perfectly to cartoon soundtracks ("Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals
," anyone?), but, at heart, Scott was a serious composer. His electronic-music forays have been previously documented (the three volumes of Soothing Sounds for Baby
), but nothing captures his diverse sound creations as well as Manhattan Research Inc.
This previously unreleased two-CD collection features Scott's handmade electronics, top-secret creations he'd use to create ambient-sounding commercial jingles, as well as the odd soundtrack with budding filmmaker/Muppeter Jim Henson. Scott was impossibly ahead of his time: a snippet for "Baltimore Gas & Electric Co." could have been written by Terry Riley; "Limbo: The Organized Mind" is a hint at musique concrete; and 1960's "In the Hall of the Mountain Queen" could easily fit on an Aphex Twin
disc. Gorgeous packaging, previously unreleased photos, and liner notes by Irwin Chusid, Robert Moog, and others make this a must for fans of electronic music. --Jason Verlinde