Tomorrow's Fashions - Library Electronica 1972-1987 Various Artists (Saint Etienne)


Ace Records
Catalogue Id:
XXQLP2 128

Nothing said new or modern or futuristic quite like a synthesiser in the 70s and 80s. If you were shooting an advert and you wanted your product or your company to appear forward-thinking and ahead of the game, then you would want something electronic, something out of the ordinary. When TV producers and advertising directors started searching for music that sounded like “Tubular Bells” – and then Tomita, and later Jean Michel Jarre – music libraries such De Wolfe, Bruton, Parry and Chappell had to have the tracks readily available.

Compiled by Bob Stanley, “Tomorrow’s Fashions” varies from advertising jingles and TV themes to space exploration and gorgeous, beatless ambience. Though it’s 40-to-50 years old there’s a real freshness to this music. Older jazz players Brian Bennett, John Cameron, Alan Hawkshaw and others seized the chance to operate a synth; younger pups including John Saunders and Monica Beale were simply intrigued by the new technology being wheeled into the studios. There’s a tangible sense of adventure.

“Tomorrow’s Fashions’” brand of electronica anticipated new age and ambient music. It also had both a direct and indirect influence on pop – the early Human League and the future sounds of Warp Records are all over this collection. Electronic library tracks have been sampled by everyone from MF Doom to Kendrick Lamar.

One person’s primitive and experimental is another person’s space-age lullaby. This was music made in the shadows – in Soho’s secretive music library studios – that has now become desirable and influential. The chances are chunks of it will be sampled and used on hit records that have yet to be written. If the musicians’ aim was to soundtrack tomorrow’s fashions, they couldn’t have got it more right.


Track listing


Side 1

Side 2

Side 3

  • 01 Preview Future Prospect - Adrian Baker

  • 02 Preview Planned Production - Warren Bennett

  • 03 Preview Future Perspectives - Anthony Hobson aka Tektron

  • 04 Preview Waterfall - Chameleon

  • 05 Preview Telecom - James Asher

  • 06 Preview Eagle - Simon Park aka Soul City Orchestra

  • 07 Preview Astral Plain - Alan Hawkshaw

Side 4

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