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This Short Film Will Take You Inside The Strange (And Collectible) World Of Library Music


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Get schooled on a hidden musical universe.

Imagine a style of music whose only unifying trait is that it fits any mood you can imagine. That’s the job description of one very particular—and often criminally under-appreciated—form of musical: library music.

Library music was born in the heyday of B-movie production and low-budget television, when producers needed cheap soundtracks and wanted to avoid commissioning film scores. To fill this gab, producers turned to library music—stock recordings composed to fit any and all moods. What was once a cheap, quick solution for film production has now turned into one of the most coveted genres for record collectors. Library labels are veritable treasure troves, and much of the music has now become critically recognised for its remarkable creativity given its limited means and short track lengths.

Unusual Sounds is a short film accompanying a book and 20-track compilation LP dedicated to this hidden musical universe. Produced by writer and filmmaker David Hollander, the film features interviews with some of library music’s most celebrated artists. Give it a look, and you’ll be surprised how far out some of these “stock compositions” go.

Watch the video in full above. You can purchase the book here and the LP compilation here.

Read more: Listen to a lost ’60s Iranian library music masterpiece