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Raymond Scott


A behind-the-scenes innovator and bona fide Renaissance man, Raymond Scott remains best known for such tunes as "Powerhouse" and "The Penguin." Written in the late 1930s, these and other Scott creations later made their way into hundreds of Looney Tunes soundtracks. Complex and enormously daunting from a musician's standpoint, the mutated Swing numbers were nonetheless popular in their pre-Looney Tunes day, even if Scott never really fit into the jazz world. Critics chastised his music for being rhythmically stiff and too clever for its own good, citing wordy titles like "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals" as evidence. Only recently has he been granted a serious revaluation, having been championed by musicians such as clarinetist Don Byron. Coinciding with this rediscovery is a cult-level interest in Scott's later electronic music: his 1963 Soothing Sounds for Baby series was heralded upon its recent reissue as presaging everyone from Ambient pioneer Brian Eno to Krautrock legends Kraftwerk. Manhattan Research, Inc. (2000) gathers more of his earlier synthesizer explorations, from studio experiments to commercial jingles, with results that sound surprisingly in-step with developments in modern-day electronica.

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