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Space Age Music Maker

Michel Magne


Michel Magne won the Oscar in 1962 for his score to the maudlin Jackie Gleason and insufferably Chaplinesque comedy, "Gigot." But what do you care about that?

Let's cut to the chase. Magne cut an album released in the U.S. by Columbia under the title, Tropical Fantasy, that's unlike anything else in space age pop. Any one thing, that is--for it might well be described as the album that Martin Denny and Andre Popp (providing Pierre Fantosme was along for the ride) never made.

Magne stuck to pretty standard material, a mix of jungle exotica and real and fake Latin numbers, and taken by themselves, his arrangements are also pretty standard pop orchestra fare.

What makes Tropical Fantasy fun is the way Magne manages to cram together into one album virtually all there is to love about space age pop music. Sound effects? Got 'em. Musique concrete? Got yer car horns and machine noises here. Tape manipulation? Backwards, forwards, speeded up, and slowed down. Bird calls and jungle shrieks? Well, it's not Augie Colon, but it's a close second. Percussion up the ying-yang? Yup--bongos, maracas, cowbells, marimbas, ratchets, bells, chimes, etc. Oddball instrumentation? Lessee--ocarina, pennywhistles, carillon, tin cans--check. All jammed into one LP recorded on two-track tape. Magnifique, Michel!


Recordings

  • Tropical Fantasy, Columbia Columbia CL-1693/CS-8493
  • Flirt and Fantasie, Musidisc CV 1178
  • Le Rendezvous Manque, Columbia SED 5554 (French)
  • Le Fiacre, Paris 263001 (French)


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