Friday, 2 March 2012

Structures Sonores & The Picture Box

If you mention "Picture Box" to a certain generation of UK people you almost always get the same repsonse...."Isn't that the program with the weird, eerie music and the hypnotic spinning box at the start!! That used to give me the creeps!!"...and indeed that's exactly what it was.
Many years later I tracked down the track, it's called "Manège" and is performed by "Lasry-Bachet Structures Sonores". These experimental Musicians wrote and performed music on a series of instruments of their own invention called "Sound Sculptures".
I became hooked on the haunting, other worldly quality of their music....nothing else sounds like it because no one else plays the same instruments (many of which only exist as a single instrument).
Trouble is that most of the music is only available on obscure pieces of Vinyl (including some lovely 10" releases on the French BAM label).
In my role as owner of Egress UK Record Label I took it upon myself to try and get in contact with the musicians and inventors and see if there was any chance of licensing any material for a retrospective CD/Vinyl release.
Well after several months of being pushed from one person to another and ending up down countless dead ends the project came to nothing (this is the usual story when trying to licence obscure old material unfortunately). I may well have another stab at it one of these days as I'd love to try and get hold of the original master tapes and do a proper, fully remastered release.

You can read loads more about the "Sculpture Sonores" here and there is plenty more info dotted around the place (it helps if you can read French though)

My reason for this post is that I received an e-mail out of the blue from someone who had been on a quest to find the "Picture Box" music and they had stumbled upon some of my old forum posts about the subject. They asked if I had a high quality version of the track "Manège" as the only version floating around online is taken from a poor quality YouTube video of the original TV series opening sequence (worth watching just for that hypnotic spinning box!).
Anyway, this inspired me to spend most of today doing a recording from the original vinyl (Structures Sonores Lasry Baschet No.4 on 10" Vinyl BAM LD 098).
I've recorded it at High Res (96KHz 24Bit) and also scanned the cover and labels. The vinyl is not in the greatest of condition and even after a quick spin on the Okki Nokki cleaning machine it still has it's fair share of snap, crackle and pop I'm afraid.
I've spent a little time getting rid of the worst of the crackling, etc. and also applied some light "remastering" as the original recordings are quite muddy, just some very subtle EQ'ing.

The link to the 96/24 FLAC file is in the comments and I'd love to hear your thoughts and ruminations.

EDIT: By popular demand I've added a link to a 320 MP3 Version though I'd strongly recommend you go for the High Res FLAC version if you have the Bandwidth/Time/Patience.

 

26 comments:

Mark Back said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank you for making this available. Downloaded it (took about 4 hours!) but well worth the wait as I have been looking for a decent Picture Box theme for a while.

Mark Back said...

Thanks...Glad you think it was worth the downlaod...

Mark Back said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Art Durkee said...

Fascinating. I recently digitized my vinyl copy of "Chronophagie" Music by Lasry performed on Structures Sonore Lasry-Baschet. A favorite album from my youth as an avant-garde composer interested in pure sound. I assume you know about this LP, already. Anyway, I find the synchronicity of timing fascinating. Thanks.

Jim.W said...

Top work, Mark. I've been trying to found out what the piece was called for years. I salute your investigative skills. Thank you so much for sharing.

Misty Vistula said...

Can't thank you enough for uploading this. I heard Manège a couple of weeks ago on Radio 6. It was a Freakzone session devoted to children's music and I've been unable to get it out of my head since. I love inventive, unique instruments like this that combine sculpture and sound, reminds me of Harry Partch

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I've wanted a good version of this for ages. Such an odd sound!

Mr. Primate said...

Thanks so much for sharing this rarity!

Mark Back said...

Thanks for all the comments...as is the way with Blogs I've had hundreds of downloads and only a handful of comments.

Anonymous said...

Just found my way to you via David Holmes' FB page. Fantastic musical detection work. I salute you!

Hopper said...

Wow!
Saw the Picture Box titles posted on a forum, and like most people who found their way here, had an instant nostalgia trip to a weird and scary place.
Thanks for tracking this down and making it available. Awesome work.

Mark Back said...

Thanks for the lovely comments.....I've got another Structure Sonores 10" release to rip and post in the near future so stay tuned....

Henk Madrotter said...

I had never heard about them, I bought Paludisme a few weeks ago, here in Bandung Indonesia, who knows how that one ended up here, now ripping it for my blog. So far I haven't been able to find out when that one was released but it really is some incredible music, judging by the cover somewhere in the 50's, maybe early 60's....

Thanks!!!!

Henk Madrotter said...

http://madrotter-treasure-hunt.blogspot.com/2012/12/les-structures-sonores-lasry-baschet.html

quiet a few cracks and pops in places but holy cow, this is soime fantastic music!

enjoy!!!!

Mark Back said...

Excellent stuff Henk, I have that 10" and it is indeed fantastic music.....

Henk Madrotter said...

What amazes me is, I never heard of them till I bought that record purely by chance, and I've been listening to experimental music since the end of the 70's!!!!

I asked my friend, Peter Graute, who used to have THE coolest recordshop ever in Rotterdam in the 70's, early 80's, Backstreet Records, about them and he never heard of them either (he's wildly enthusiastic now)....

I've seen Einsturzende Neubauten an couple of times when they were at their best, I bought Hansten Klork from Metabolist in 1980,Cabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo, This Heat, Chrome, saw Psychic TV live once and they were performing Hara Krishna songs all dressed in orange on the street before the venue, before the show started....but I missed these guys....

This is what I love about the internet :)

Zer0_II said...

I would love to download this either in 320kbps or Flac, preferably both though. Unfortunately I'm receiving a message when I try to download this on Rapidshare that says that permission has been denied by the uploader. I've never ran across a message like this on Rapidshare. Any chance you could re-up this on zippyshare and send me a link? Please leave a comment on my blog @ http://digitalmeltd0wn.blogspot.com if you are able. Thanks and take care.

Zer0_II

Mark Back said...

Thanks for brining that to my attention, there was a change in policy regarding permissions by Rapidshare. Should be sorted now and links active.

Anonymous said...

Hi there - I was in my local pub a couple of days ago and the Picture Box tune came on, not having heard it for about 40 years I asked the pub landlord what it was, and he replied that it was a CD that came free with a book, Les Sculptures Sonores, The Sound Sculptures of Bernard & francois Baschet. The book is published by Soundworld, more info here http://continuo.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/bernard-francois-baschet-les-sculptures-sonores/

Mark Back said...

That book looks great...The CD doesn't appear to have Manège (PictureBox) on though...still looks like a worthy purchase (checks wallet!)

Mark Back said...

NEW LINKS:

24Bit 96KHz: http://bit.ly/SSNo4_24_96

320 MP3: http://bit.ly/SSno4_320

Paul Garner said...

Is this link only available on rapidshare? I would love to have a high res version of manège! Feel free to forward this to me on paulgarner888@hotmail.com thx

Mark Back said...

Hi Paul,
The links are not Rapidshare.
Thanks,

Anonymous said...

there's some Lasry music used in Twilight Zone episode "Third from the Sun" which sounds like an excerpt from the middle of "Mister Blues." I'm told it's not the exact track by some Zone experts who say the excerpt is from "Teddy Blues." Maybe "Mister Blues" was adapted for the episode and never released. Anyone know anything about any of this?
You can hear the Zone music at 3:55 in this youtube video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leK1A3A0E3A

There's a "mister blues" rip on youtube but uploader made it private so it can longer be used for reference.

The download of "mister blues" on wordpress is now dead (http://continuo.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/structures-sonores-lasry-baschet-mister-blues/).

However, it can be purchased from Amazon.UK as a download.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mister-Version-Structures-sonores-Lasry-Baschet/dp/B00MXCVR0U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1415549052&sr=8-2&keywords=Structures+sonores+Lasry-Baschet

The Sloppy Architect said...

Thank you. I was scouring for awhile! Super super happy.