Author Topic: The KPM Library Music Challenge  (Read 3739 times)

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
    • Left and to the Back
The KPM Library Music Challenge
« on: May 02, 2008, 01:22:04 PM »
All right, a bit of an odd thread idea this, but let's give it a go anyway...

I'm quite interested in library music.  Not in the way that I'll happily bid sixty quid for old albums and CDs on ebay, but in the way that throughout the seventies (and even some of the eighties) it spawned some reasonably weird early electronic music, which perhaps doesn't quite get the credit it deserves.  The link with Boards of Canada material has always been really obvious.

For that reason, I was delighted to find that KPM's website now allows full previews of available material - not least because anyone with a basic knowledge of how Temporary Internet Files work will be able to grab them for nothing without registering to their site as a "media business".   This has been a really interesting find for me:

http://www1.playkpmmusic.com/pages/viewcd/viewcd.cfm?cdnum=1831

Lo and behold, it's a muzak reggae album!  Channel 4 used to use the dub version of "Fool in Love" (version b) during breaks from time to time, and it's an odd concoction, partly because I doubt I've heard any other dub reggae muzak in my life, so there's not anything I can sensibly compare it to.  There's electronic burbling going on along with the not-particularly hard hitting rhythms, and I actually enjoy it in a strange way.

If you do keyword searches on Moog you'll find other cheese on toast oddities.  There are also TV themes on there, sixties organ freak-outs, just thousands upon thousands of MP3s, really, many of which are bland background music, but plenty which are a bit more surprising than that. 

So... do your worst and see what you can find.  I discovered some bizarre studio band doing a Green Day type thing the other day, but I can't find it again now.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2008, 02:10:53 PM »
Looks like great fun - cheers for the heads-up

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2008, 08:08:19 PM »
There was a Freakzone feature on KPM and library music recently. I don't know if you can still get the podcast of it though.

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
    • Left and to the Back
Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2008, 09:53:54 PM »
There was a Freakzone feature on KPM and library music recently. I don't know if you can still get the podcast of it though.

Cheers, I'll have a look later.

There's been a few MP3 blogs as well, but the main one has disappeared now, much to my dismay.

There's also loads of compilations around, like the Blow Up ones - although KPM's website does seem to knock the need for those on the head a little bit.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2008, 11:58:45 PM »
I think I know the blog you mean,but its name escapes me at the moment.It does seem to have disappeared.I downloaded a ton of stuff from there,but I'll happily buy it on CD or vinyl if it's available.Some of the KPM albums have been reissued recently and it's nice to have them.I'll buy practically anything in this line.
Slightly related - have you heard the 'In Kraut' albums?We got a promo for the forthcoming Volume 3,which I snaffled,and am looking forward to quietly freaking out to on my next day off.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2008, 01:25:52 PM »
Very happy to admit that I have original copies of KPM albums which I found in a dumpster outside a flea market and they are fantastic!

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
    • Left and to the Back
Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2008, 05:30:31 PM »
Slightly related - have you heard the 'In Kraut' albums?We got a promo for the forthcoming Volume 3,which I snaffled,and am looking forward to quietly freaking out to on my next day off.

Nope, I must admit I've never heard of them!  If this is some sort of Krautrock muzak you're talking about though, naturally I'm very interested. 

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2008, 05:59:02 PM »
Daves, I tried googling but came back with nowt - Do you know how many KPM releases feature music by Jan Cyrka?

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
    • Left and to the Back
Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2008, 07:35:08 PM »
Daves, I tried googling but came back with nowt - Do you know how many KPM releases feature music by Jan Cyrka?

If you go on to the database search on the KPM website and type "Cyrka" under Composer's surname, it returns about 17 albums.  Although one of them is entitled "Men and Motors"...

More surprising to me is the fact that KPM own one song by Gordon Giltrap.  I'd always assumed he must get enough other work not to need to create library music, but perhaps not.  Johnny Dankworth is in there as well, although I think his library doodlings are fairly well known to most people.

Are there any other musicians who have had record contracts at some point who have also dabbled in library music?  It would be interesting to know, and also to see whether they're on the KPM database or not. 

I've just found out that the original theme tune from "Grange Hill" was just a piece of library music called "Chicken Man".  That's on there as well if you do a search.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2008, 11:40:31 PM »
Nope, I must admit I've never heard of them!  If this is some sort of Krautrock muzak you're talking about though, naturally I'm very interested. 

They're on a label called Marina and should be prety easy to get hold of.They're full of german easy listening,which,like a lot of the library stuff,is as funky as hell.They are mostly songs with vocals,but some instrumental stuff is on there.(Volume Two has an easy version of Deep Purples 'Black Night'.)I was sad to read in the liner notes to Volume Three that it's to be the final volume,but I'm sure other companies will bring out similar comps.(Such as the badly titled 'Achtung!German Grooves' on Bureau B,which is also excellent.)Crippled Dick Hot Wax also put out two volumes of German advert music called 'Popshopping'.

'Chicken Man',by the King Of Library Music,Alan 'The Hawk' Hawkshaw.Actually,I'm not sure if that was his nickname,but if I was called Hawkshaw,I'd insist that everyone referred to me as The Hawk.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2008, 12:09:01 PM »
Standard Music, like KPM, have an incredible catalogue with music by Eno and Delia Derbyshire as well as many themes which were used on On The Busses, Doctor In The House, Please Sir etc...

Speaking as a composer too, library music can be very lucrative. While it doesn't get squillions in in one go like a commercial 'hit', over the years it can mount up to a very nice income per track...That's why you quite often find established names writing library music.

I run a music library of my own which has been used on Babyfather, Gardners World, That 70s Show, Countryfile etc...etc...etc... and even a feature fillum with Meryl Streep in.

It doesn't have the 'glamour' of the pop world, but it's exciting to know that your music could turn up on TV at any time and it's a more reliable source of income too.

P.S. I've got a few tracks on KPM too.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2008, 01:58:36 PM »
I've just found out that the original theme tune from "Grange Hill" was just a piece of library music called "Chicken Man".  That's on there as well if you do a search.

Alan Hawkshaw, if I recall.  I have a mate who likes 'Chicken Scratch' so much, it's pretty much a permanent fixture on his iPod.

Thanks for the info on Cyrka - I'll go and have a look.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2008, 02:06:26 PM »
Seems there are a handful of discs out there in library music world by Jan Cyrka.  I'll track them down eventually...and to be honest, his three commercially available albums are near impossible to get now.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2008, 02:08:55 PM »
He did the Jeremy Kyle music didn't he???

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2008, 02:12:18 PM »
Apparently, yes.  I've not heard it though.  His first commercially available album (1992's 'Beyond the Common Ground') is a brilliant guitar instrumental record.  The type which would make Sam of this parish shit in his pants.*



*With excitement, I mean, and not fear.  His own pants and not Jan Cyrka's.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2008, 02:24:07 PM »
Oh...Not heard his other stuff.

I pitched for the Jeremy Kyle job too, but they must have done a deal with the MCPS to make it more affordable, 'cos that was the track they wanted in the first place.

A similar thing happened to The Bill music which was a KPM (I think) track by Andy Pask and Charley Morgan.

23 Daves

  • Break a leg!
    • Left and to the Back
Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2008, 12:12:18 AM »
Fascinating, all this info.  I know next to nothing about library music, I must admit, since most of my musician friends make a living from session work, and have only composed music for films or television programmes on spec.

I seem to remember being told that the person who came up with the original Channel Four ident ended up with a small pile of cash which made up a fair proportion of their income each year. 

Back to my original post, though - I've done a bit of rooting around online (alright, I just used google) and it would seem that Bob Morgan might not only be a friend-of-a-friend, but also worked with Ken Campbell as well on his plays.   Which makes me wonder if he knows Bill Drummond...  all this from one dub reggae track I decided I liked when I heard on a Channel Four testcard at the age of thirteen.  There is something a tiny bit KLF-y about some of those tracks, circa "The White Room".

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2008, 12:31:13 PM »
I managed to pick up one of Cyrka's KPM discs cheap.  Sounds okay so far, not as edgy as his proper solo albums, but there seems to be some nice playing on it. 

Comedy and library music
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2009, 06:17:14 PM »
I was torn between Comedy Chat and Oscillations for this, but as I can't start a new thread at the moment I'll do it here.  I was wondering what library music people have heard in the wild in comedy programmes and identified - I remember someone identified on that was in Monty Python's Flying Circus but I forget what.  Radio with its lower budgets seems particularly keen on using it, I have identified these three theme tunes recently:


Delve Special: Soft Machine - Crunch - from LP Rubber Riff: DeWolfe DWS/LP 3311 (1976)
Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation: Syd Dale - News Views from LP Impact And Action: KPM KPM 1017 (1967)
Vic Reeves' House Arrest: Alan Hawkshaw & Alan Parker - Hot Pants - from LP Flute For Moderns: KPM KPM 1080 (1971)

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2009, 09:34:36 PM »
Lo and behold, it's a muzak reggae album!  Channel 4 used to use the dub version of "Fool in Love" (version b) during breaks from time to time, and it's an odd concoction, partly because I doubt I've heard any other dub reggae muzak in my life, so there's not anything I can sensibly compare it to.  There's electronic burbling going on along with the not-particularly hard hitting rhythms, and I actually enjoy it in a strange way.

The Reggae Album is quite sought after because some of the tracks are written by Dennis Bovell >> http://www.lkjrecords.com/dennisbovell.htm << so, I'd say it was a little more that 'muzak reggae'.  I love the tracks 'Fast Fistful' and 'Marguarite', both of which are by Bob Morgan and featured on the C4 testcard as well as Marguarite featuring on Tony Hart's gallery.

I've been wandering the KPM site on and off for a while and found a couple of old memories lurking.  The KPM "Comedy" album holds two such tracks, "Kindly Leave The Stage" and "Windsor Frolic".  KLTS is a track used a lot on the BBC kids programmes of old for the backing to slapstick sketches and such. Windsor Frolic I'm sure featured on a Sunday morning programme either on TV-am or Channel 4.  http://www1.playkpmmusic.com/pages/viewcd/viewcd.cfm?cdnum=1303


Re: Comedy and library music
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2009, 09:38:24 PM »
I was wondering what library music people have heard in the wild in comedy programmes and identified

'Opening Trailer' on http://www1.playkpmmusic.com/pages/viewcd/viewcd.cfm?cdnum=1294 is the theme from "The Peter Serafinowicz Show".  I'd love to know if anybody has found the music from the Guide To Modern Life sections in that show.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2009, 05:37:16 PM »
just heard another one  - Bell Hop by Neil Richardson from 1970's Happy Families (KPM 1064) is the Terry and June theme.

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2009, 01:02:29 PM »
Further to my earlier posts, I have since found another KPM disc by Jan Cyrka.  According to his official website, there are eleven of the buggers in total.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2009, 01:38:37 PM »
There are some great blogs out there with library music on there, but loads of them seem defunct, and all the musical wonders within are lost. Anyone got a site or two they can recommend to me?

Lfbarfe

  • CEO of Cunstric Industries PLC
    • LE Confidential
Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2009, 01:51:26 PM »
just heard another one  - Bell Hop by Neil Richardson from 1970's Happy Families (KPM 1064) is the Terry and June theme.

Funny. I'd always seen Bell Hop credited to John Shakespeare, the ex-Vic Lewis orchestra trumpeter. Ah, hang on. Is it like Up to Date - the Man About the House theme - which was composed by John Hawksworth, and recorded by Simon Park? Bell Hop = composed by John Shakespeare, recorded by Neil Richardson?

Re: The KPM Library Music Challenge
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2009, 11:14:42 PM »
Funny. I'd always seen Bell Hop credited to John Shakespeare, the ex-Vic Lewis orchestra trumpeter. Ah, hang on. Is it like Up to Date - the Man About the House theme - which was composed by John Hawksworth, and recorded by Simon Park? Bell Hop = composed by John Shakespeare, recorded by Neil Richardson?

I think that's it, I've seen 'Neil Richardson And His Orchestra' as the artist for this album (called Happy Novelties, not what I said).  As I recall John Shakespeare often had one or two tracks on an album mainly (written) by someone else.  Apparently the writers on the album are Johnny Pearson, David Lindup, John Shakespeare, Neil Richardson and Syd Dale.