Liner Note Author: Clovis Goux.
Recording information: 1982.
Illustrator: Philippe Caza.
Translators: Benjamin Joubert; Alice Machine.
Cosmic Machine: The Sequel is Because Music's second collection of French electronic goodies from the '70s and '80s. As with the first volume, cheeky space disco coexists with library music and more avant-garde pieces, even tipping into more academic composition this time around with the inclusion of a movement from musique concrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer's 1978 work Le Trièdre Fertile. The compilation mixes lesser-known experimental gems from French pop stars (Christophe, Alain Chamfort under the alias Araxis) and film composers (Roger Roger, Pierre Porte) with disco cult classics, and even a few tracks that were fluke hits at the time. The Peppers' 1973 instrumental funk ditty "Pepper Box" hit the American pop charts, for example. The Sequel seems to tip a little more toward the obscure than the original; there aren't as many unearthed rarities by names as big as Serge Gainsbourg or Jean Michel Jarre, nor are there as many well-established classics like Space's "Magic Fly" or Jean-Jacques Perrey's "E.V.A." on this volume. There is, however, one of hundreds of cover versions of Gershon Kingsley's Moog standard "Pop Corn," this one being an instrumental version by glam rock project Anarchic System (who also recorded a vocal version). As with most vintage renditions of the tune, it is nearly indistinguishable from the 1972 hit version by ad hoc studio group Hot Butter, but it is a fun version nonetheless. Richard Pinhas gets a lot of love on this collection, as he is represented by "Ruitor" (one of his more accessible pieces, from his 1980 album East West), a track from his band Heldon's 1977 prog classic Interface, and an incredible minimal synth track he produced for one-off project Video Liszt in 1980. On the whole, the collection doesn't seem to go for quite as much of an intergalactic disco vibe as the first volume, but it does include a few neat cosmic gems such as "Asteroide" (a Rah Band-like instrumental by Joël Fajerman and Jan Yrssen) and Moon Birds' stunning "Cristal N° 3," which opens with distorted vocals that almost resemble Coil's John Balance. The compilation also includes a track from Rosebud's Discoballs, a 1977 disco tribute to Pink Floyd (!), but instead of going for the "obvious" cut from the album (the excellent version of "Have a Cigar," which actually became a club hit at the time), the compilers went the esoteric route and chose "Main Theme (From More)," which ends up sounding like something from one of Patrick Cowley's porn soundtracks. Even more so than the original Cosmic Machine, the selection and sequencing on The Sequel feel somewhat random, but the music itself is fascinating, and nearly uniformly excellent. ~ Paul Simpson