Not industrial, not house, but Powerhouse!
May 5, 2017 2:21 AM   Subscribe

I want to listen to more music that sounds like Powerhouse. Or really, anything that would sound good on a Looney Toons cartoon set in a factory. The only other example I know of is Aufgang's Balkanik, and even there, the second half is a little more dancey than what I'm really after.

(Note: I am not asking about industrial or techno music made out of actual factory noises. It's not that I don't love that stuff plenty good, it's just that I already have a lot of it)
posted by aubilenon to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
more "anything that would sound good on a Looney Toons cartoon"... perhaps not really _quite_ what you're after, but they came to mind anyway:
Joe Rinaudo with his American Fotoplayer.
or maybe Toy
posted by thingonaspring at 2:52 AM on May 5, 2017

Best answer: Some Soviet-era music might fit the bill, although coming from a classical rather than a jazz idiom: for example, Gerogy Sviridov’s Time, Forward!; Alexander Mosolov’s The Iron Foundry; and parts of Sergei Prokofiev’s Le pas d'acier.
posted by misteraitch at 2:59 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Klezmer music comes to mind. Try this (you may want to skip ahead in the song a bit).
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 3:50 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't know if you've already got Raymond Scott's ouvre or not, so ignore this if I'm bringing it up here... there is a *lot* of music by him with that tone and tempo, and much of it has also appeared in Warner Brothers cartoons because somebody in the company bought rights to the bulk of Scott's compositions for his Quintette so they were effectively free for anybody within Warners to re-use.

Girl at the Typewriter
Boy Scout in Switzerland
New Year's Eve in a Haunted House
War Dance for Wooden Indians <-- Filmed performance of the Quintette!
Devil Drums

I found all these tracks and more on the (out of print, easy to find used) Powerhouse Volume 1 credited to the Raymond Scott Project. Since a lot of these recordings are from the mid-30s, rights are cheap-to-free (especially outside the United States) so there have been numerous compilations of Scott's work of varying levels of quality and legality. Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights is a legit best-of-best collection but imo the "remastering" of the original 78s is so heavy-handed that some of the life is sapped out of them.

There are also two volumes of The Carl Stalling Project, official Warner Bros. releases with music-only cartoon soundtracks and outtakes. They lack the groove that Scott's recordings have (or maybe it's better to say it's an extremely unsettled groove; John Zorn praises this in his liner notes for one of the volumes) but in a sense you're tapping into the main vein.

Finally... bless the obsessive at Wikipedia who inventoried Stalling's stock musical references by type of scene.
posted by ardgedee at 5:12 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The first thing that came to mind was Honegger's Pacific 231.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:17 AM on May 5, 2017

Best answer: A Hawk and a Hacksaw's first album may do what you need. Somewhat aptly, it was the soundtrack to a documentary about Žižek.

If you can track 'em down, the community-curated and not-even-remotely-legit Ren & Stimpy Production Music collections may bring it.
posted by scruss at 5:42 AM on May 5, 2017

A couple of artists come to mind:

The Coconut Monkeyrocket is a remix artist who makes awesome cartoon-jazz mashups out of classic lounge exotica and other sources. They only have one album that I know of, but it's a fun listen: With Birds (Spotify link)

You might also look into the music of J.G. Thirlwell. He got his start in post-punk and industrial music, but I got to know him as the composer of all the music for The Venture Bros (Spotify link), which combines the high-energy Scott/Stalling aesthetic with vintage action-adventure themes and an electronica flair.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:56 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Keep it coming!

(Note: Just because I didn't mark something best answer doesn't mean I don't like it - but e.g., if I close my eyes and listen to the Venture Bro's music, I don't see factories, I see spys. It's awesome, but it's not the awesome I'm asking about)
posted by aubilenon at 10:13 AM on May 5, 2017

Best answer: FWIW (probably 0), the description made me think of the theme to PeeWee's Big Adventure by Danny Elfman which I had as my ringtone for a while and very annoying it was too.
posted by Grangousier at 11:02 AM on May 5, 2017

Elfman has said that his soundtrack for PeeWee's Big Adventure (and "Breakfast Machine" specifically) was directly inspired by Raymond Scott. You were right on the mark.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:34 AM on May 5, 2017

Response by poster: You know, I watched a big pile of Rube Goldberg machine videos a couple weeks ago, and PeeWee's breakfast machine was one of them. I bet that's been floating around in the back of my head ever since, and is the reason I've been hankering for more of this music now in particular.
posted by aubilenon at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Clarinetist Don Byron did an album called Bug Music where he covered Scott, including "Powerhouse" and "War Dance", and tunes by other composers that he felt fit.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:31 PM on May 5, 2017

take a rummage through the production music for Ren and Stimpy!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:38 PM on May 5, 2017

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