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by Tony Maygarden

Many of the way out and unusual sounds heard on these albums were created in the studio, using a variety of new electronic devices (such as reverb), and other tape-recorder techniques such as overdubbing (recording a new sound on top of an existing one), controlled feedback, speeding up/slowing down, etc.

Some of the new (at the time) electronic instruments used were the Theremin, the Ondioline, and the Ondes Martenot. The latter two were electronic keyboards, and were all used in pop music and in film soundtracks in the late '50s and early '60s. By the late '60s, much more versatile modular synthesizers (such as the Moog) began to dominate the electronic music scene, although the Theremin still remains a popular novelty instrument, and some hip modern music groups like Radiohead still make use of the Ondes Martenot.

To learn more about the above instruments, I suggest you do a wikipedia search.

Marty Manning photo

Photo from the back cover of the Twilight Zone LP, showing Marty Manning at the controls of the Ondioline and Ondes Martenot used on the recording.


Fantastica LP cover

Fantastica -- Music
From Outer Space

Russ Garcia

A classic of the space-age pop genre. Original, impressionistic instrumentals utilizing orchestra, wordless chorus and a liberal dose of electronic sound effects. Song titles include "Into Space," "Monsters of Jupiter," "Water Creatures of Astra," "Goofy People of Phobos," "Volcanoes of Mercury" (great bubbling sound effects integrated into the music), and "Birth of a Planet." Produced by Si Waronker. Originally released in the late '50s on the Liberty label, reissued in the '80s (cover shown here) with fewer tracks (beware when buying!).


From Another World LP cover

From Another World
Arranged and conducted by Sid Bass

Another spaced-age treatment of spacey pop songs, including "From Another World," "How High the Moon," "Old Devil Moon, " "My Blue Heaven," "Star Dust," etc. The liner notes say that all "space" effects were created with electronic reverb and echo -- at times they sound like a Theremin or other electronic instrument. Detailed, but somewhat overblown, liner notes by "C. G. McProud, Editor and Publisher, Audio Magazine." Released on the Vik label, 1957.



Destination Moon LP cover

Destination Moon
Ames Brothers

The A-Bros bring their smooth four-part harmonies to twelve "space" themed pop songs, including one by composers Alfred-Frisch entitled "Music From Out Of Space." "Destination Moon" starts with a count down, and the arrangements are very dreamy and atmospheric, but no sound or electronic effects (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view). The cover shown here is from RCA's Stereo For The Joy Of It 10 LP set. Great cheesy moon backdrop cover -- also used on Other Worlds, Other Sounds (pictured at right). Original album released in 1958.


Other Worlds Other Sounds LP cover

Other Worlds,
Other Sounds

Esquivel and His Orchestra

Juan Garcia Esquivel is one of the giants in the exotica/space-age-bachelor-pad music world. Much has been written about him and his music elsewhere, but I would say that this is definitely NOT "easy listening" music (lots of musical dynamic "valleys" and "mountains")! There aren't really any space elements here except for the cover, but the arrangements, of well known songs like "Granada" and "Begin the Beguine," are indeed from a world of their own -- who needs sound effects! Like Destination Moon, the cover scan is taken from Stereo For The Joy Of It, hence no RCA logo or catalog number. Originally released in 1958.



The Twilight Zone LP cover

The Twilight Zone
Marty Manning and His Orchestra

Subtitled "A Sound Adventure In Space," this is not any sort of soundtrack to the original The Twilight Zone TV show, although it opens with a version of the show's well known title music. Rather, this is a very odd and different approach to "space pop." Band leader Manning plays the Ondioline and the "Martinot" (sic), accompanied by a stellar cast of studio helpers including Mundell Lowe (guitar), Jerry Murad (harmonica), and Harry Breuer (percussion). There is so much percussion, in fact, that at times this sounds like "jungle exotica" gone to outer space! Special effects are attributed to Attilio J. Macero. Song selections include "Forbidden Planet," "The Unknown," "The Moon Is Low," and "Far Away." The industrial sounding arrangement on the latter is referred to in the liner notes as a "tuned motorboat." The effect laden "Night On Bald Mountain," featuring screams by vocalist Lois Hunt and electric guitar by Lowe, is another highlight. Released on Columbia Records, 1960.


Out Of This World LP cover

Out Of This World
Richard Marino Orchestra

Subtitled "A Unique and Startling Musical Adventure," Marino and a typical pop orchestra take twelve standards with "spacey" titles such as "Stardust," "Stairway to the Stars," "Stella By Starlight," and Mercer-Arlens' "Out Of This World" (again!) and add a heavy dose of studio "space" sound effects. They're not using any sort of synthesizer instrument, I don't think, but they have made a decent effort at making the effects an integral part of the musical arrangements, often with amazing results. Pictured, and reviewed, is a mono copy -- it probably sounds even more far out in stereo! By the way, the four corner circles on the cover are die cut holes, both front and back, so the custom printed inner sleeve shows through. Seen here with the song titles on the inner sleeve in the two upper corners. It's possible this is the back inner sleeve, and I have the intended front side facing backwards. Some sort of strange time warp?!


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