Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Nono - Le Petit Robot

Ulysses 31, what a great animated series that was, take the voyages of Ulysses (Odysseus to most School kids), set them in space but keep all the original names and trials etc., I loved it as a kid with the exception of one aspect...Nono.

Nono was a "cute" little red robot who's main purpose was to bring some light relief to what would have been a very bleak, heavy series. Trouble was I liked it BECAUSE it was bleak, heavy and ponderous. I had not seen many (any?) cartoons that attempted to work on a cerebral level and/or referenced classic literature and it was a revelation to me...if only they would get rid of that damn robot then it wouldn't clash with my burgeoning sense that I should not be watching cartoons as they were "for kids". Just as things were heating up on some deep philosophical level Nono would come crashing into the scene with his annoying "cute" robot voice and ruin everything (a precursor to Jar Jar Binks!)


Fast forward 30 odd years and I'm watching the DVD box set with my 6 year old Daughter...she loves it...she loves the scariness of it, the action, the darkness, the underlying malevolence...but most of all she loves Nono!!! and that's great...
Even I find myself smiling when the little fella appears and manages to create some sort of mischief (and on many occasions saves the day). Without that little guy then the whole series would be pushing very hard on the door of pretentiousness! and that was exactly what I was doing when I was a 12 year old watching it for the first time...I was about to become a teenager and going through a pretentious period when only "serious" books, films and music would do...I needed to lighten up a bit...which I eventually did (sort of..)

Which brings me to the point of this post...the music.

There is not much more to say about the awesomeness of the score to this series, there's plenty of fan pages and blogs praising the excellent theme tune and incidental music (thank you Denny Crockett, Ike Egan, Shuki Levy and Haim Saban) but there were also a couple of spin off none other than Nono himself!!

I've managed to pick up a couple of these on 7" singles from 1981, all sung by a French Nono (Ulysses 31 was a French / Japanese collaboration). The best of the two is "Chanson de Nono" a Disco/Pop effort backed by an instrumental version, the other is "Le Mundial" with Nono shouting "Arriba!" as it was released as a World Cup song!! the B-Side is a ballad called "Chanson pour Nanette". Anyone who can remember the series will probably remember the "Nanette" episode in which Nono finds a female robot called "Nanette", they fall in love and she ends up sacrificing her life to save Nono and his companions...told you it was heavy stuff (watching that episode recently with my Daughter I confess to having a lump in my throat!!)

Neither of these records is great (or even good in the case of "Le Mundial") but my Daughter loves them and we often have a little dance around the living room to them, they're fun...if you've got kids, get the DVD box set, enjoy it and then have a little dance around to these records (and learn some French in the process)

It may seem unnecessary but I've ripped them at my usual 96KHz 24Bit resolution and also included scans and there's a 320 MP3 version as well (apologies for the quality of the Vinyl for "Chanson de Nono", I'll get round to sourcing a better condition 7" one day and will upgrade the rip).
Links are in comments and please let me know your thoughts....

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

ULLA!!! (B-Side Treasures - No.1)

There are many things that I can get a bit obsessive over...some of these will become apparent over the life of this Blog I'm sure. One of them is "The War of The Worlds", whether it's the H.G.Wells novel, the 1952 Byron Haskin movie or the Jeff Wayne musical version from 1978.

I have an ever increasing collection based around this fantastic piece of work, many different versions of the book (I'll post some of the covers up here one day, some great ones), artwork and promotional material from the 1952 film and all manner of musical bit's and pieces from the Jeff Wayne project.

Anyway, this post is taken from the 1978 7" version of "Forever Autumn" sung by Justin Hayward and taken from the Jeff Wayne album. The single was quite a hit and I clearly remember hearing it a lot at the time, it's a beautiful song and stood out to me even as an 8 year old. Years later I'm listening to the single and decide to give the "B" side a spin, "The Fighting Machine". I'd assumed it would just be a short version of the Album track probably just with a fade out, but it was a lot better than that. This is a fairly drastic re-edited version, with a new intro and managing to cram in all the best bits of the LP version into a pretty exciting track (at least from my biased viewpoint). A couple of the edits are a bit clunky but overall I really like it and it makes a great 7". I've not seen it appear on CD yet, not even on the massive 7 disc collectors edition from a few years back so here it is. As usual I've ripped it at High Res (96/24) and also created a 320 MP3 version, links in comments.

This post is also the first in a completely random series of "B-Side Treasures"