Manhattan Research Inc
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
Top customer reviews
Being in the ad biz, I also find this music interesting because of what it says about midcentury advertising. The future prophesied in many of the selections on the discs should have arrived by now, but I'm still waiting for it.
Meanwhile, a man named Raymond Scott was working in an other world. A world of sounds that had rarely ever been heard of before, mostly eletronic.
This is a compilation of Scott's work that in more than just one instance, dumbfounds the listener with the fact that these sounds were indeed created in the 50's and 60's. You get zapping spark plugs, ear shattering reverb effects, electric water splashes, and some amazing early uses of electronic music sequencing, to name a few of the many examples of sonic craftsmanship. Most of the tracks were used for commercials, which adds greatly to the enjoyment of the listener, especially if they are fans of vintage television. The compilation producers went to the nice trouble of including some commercial tracks in both isolated form and with the original voice work (not sure if that was intentional, but it is a nice feature). Jim Henson fans as well need to pay an ear or two to this, as Henson was a friend of Raymond Scott's and collaborated on several projects with Scott, most of which are in the compilation. There is also a jewelcase/book that is packed with scads of pictures and commentary. I'm trying not to sound like a commercial, but it's kind of hard, as this is a very nice collection. Heck, you even get a track where an announcer fumbles a line and claims he had a 'swamp in his throat'. It should be noted though that this collection would probably be of interest mainly to fans of pop culture, electronic music, and the like. Not exactly something one would play at a party, and definently not something one should play on a date... Unless you are like me, which means you are weird and therefore probably wont get a date anyway. It should also be noted that the audio quality is only as good as the date the recording was made. The tracks were comprised from original magnetic tapes so audio quirks should be expected (as a matter of fact, some tracks can make a person dizzy just because of the lack of engineering, but thats part of the fun). Great Stuff.