Ahhh (sigh of relief). Another day, another early 60’s Space Age Pop album. Enoch Light? Check! High quality gatefold cover? Check! Command Records quality? Check! Groovy, minimalist album art? You bet’cha! Provocative Percussion Vol. III is probably my favorite so far, of those I own. Still missing Vol. II, then we’ll have all 8 volumes of both the Provocative and Persuasive Percussion series. Volume IV of Provocative currently rests on the wall of our kitchen after the wife knocked over the previous framed accent. She’s a fan of these volumes as well, so secretly, I think she wanted to display the album art. Who can blame her?!
So, I’ll admit that I had to look this up, and from what I retained, here goes. (Clears throat) 35mm, when referring to audio / sound recording, was a technique championed (in the music recording world) by Enoch Light and Command Records (Mr. Light’s label). Feature films of the time were using 35mm for their film prints, and when stereophonic and widescreen advances became the popular buzz around Hollywood, Mr. Light utilized this technique to record his Space Age Pop, which, if I’m understanding this correctly, allowed for more instruments / artists to be recorded individually due to the wider, 35mm film. Magnetic sound recording had been the norm at the time, but 35mm offered much more range, which Mr. Light wisely capitalized upon. Anyway, pretty much any Command Record release from the time will diligently detail this unique and groundbreaking recording process, and I encourage you to discover the magnificent (and magnetic) wonders of 35mm sound.
I’ve taken to listening to records in the morning, now. To hell with exercising and the healthy lifestyle that comes with it, am I right?! More on that at another time. INSTEAD, let’s travel to Far Away Places Volume 2 by Mr. Enoch Light and His Orchestra. This 1963 Command Records release reinvents some distinguished classics with the sensible sophistication only this master of Space Age Pop can manage. Some cuts include, but are not limited to: Istanbul (yes, that one), Flying Down to Rio, Colonel Bogey, The White Cliffs of Dover, and The Moon of Manakoora. I (stupidly) hesitated to secure this release as I knew it would require the hunting and bagging of its sister, Volume 1. Fair enough. Challenge accepted.
Don’t take my word for it (no, please don’t. I’m still wrapping my head around this “astonishing new achievement in stereo recording.”) Ladies and gentlemen, taken straight from the inner sleeve of Enoch Light and the Light Brigade’s 1964 classic, Dimension – 3 – .
Remember when you first discovered stereo recording? Remember the excitement of finding that a single groove on a record could actually carry two separate channels of sound? Remember the revelation that the solid mass of sound which was what you were accustomed to in phonographic reproduction could actually have directional values? And that this sense of direction could also provide a sense of perspective and depth? What a tremendous change this made in the pleasures and excitement that could be provided by a phonograph! Suddenly you were in a completely different world of sound! Remember? You can experience that same sense of discovery again.
Dimension – 3 – is one of the most unusual records that has ever been made. On it you hear for the first time the perfection and an extra dimension in stereo reproduction that engineers have been striving for ever since stereophonic recording was introduced.
Dimension – 3 – the amazing new recording technique revealed on this disc, makes it possible to achieve triple presence in sound reproduction! This means that you actually hear sound coming from three sources – even though you are only using the customary two speakers!
(Truncated… for more on the mysterious and marvelous Dimension – 3 – sound, check your local record retailer, or visit us again at The Prudent Groove.)
By far the best late 60s Moog record I’ve ever heard, Dick Hyman’s 1969 insta-classic Moog – The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman offers two parts satisfying melody, equal parts goofball, and a twist of the unexpected. I imagine the Moog to be like the zither for those who aren’t keen on the distinct sound, but for those in the mood (the Moog mood?) for a cheerful listening adventure, The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman are just a needle drop away.
1959-1961 were very busy years for Command Records, and its owner / originator and record producer Enoch Light. Releasing all four volumes of Persuasive Percussion within this time, as well as Volumes 1 – 3 of Provocative Percussion (Volume 4 came out in 1962), the label, and mastermind Mr. Light, damn-near defined the Space Age Pop sound, while offered amazing, minimalist album covers in the process. If you’ve ever wanted to fill your bachelor pad with the persuasive and provocative sounds of Space Age Pop, we strongly recommend either (both) of these collections.
Released in 1959 (a pattern… it’s beginning to develop!), Terry Snyder and the All Stars (with production and direction from label owner, Enoch Light) released volume 2 in a four volume series titled, Persuasive Percussion. Surprise, surprise, Space Age Pop a plenty on this series, and v2 was my first acquisition from the bunch. Had for a cool $0.92 (yes, that’s correct), Persuasive Percussion Volume 2 has gotten heavy play since the recent monetary transaction, and comes highly, no, intergalactic-ly recommended.