Looking for Science/Technology-related Stock Music from the 70s/80s
April 20, 2006 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for 1970s / 80s era stock music that may have been used in technology-related or science-themed documentaries, film-strips, commercials for tech schools, or even narrated science museum exhibits. The music sounds very dated, probably late 70s or early 80's. There is a percolating type of rhythm, and really cheesy sounding synthesizers.

Hopefully somebody here can help me out, or point me in the right direction. I'm afraid my description might be too vague...

I'm not exactly sure what the tune is I'm looking for, more of a genre really, though I can hear some of the specific melodies and instrumentations in my head.

I'm trying to track down a song or songs that might have been used as stock music in technology-related or science-themed documentaries, film-strips, commercials for tech schools, or even narrated science museum exhibits. The music sounds very dated, probably late 70s or early 80's. There is a percolating type of rhythm, and really cheesy sounding synthesizers.

I know that's not a whole lot to go on. I've looked through a lot of the stock music libraries on the web and have had no luck so far as most of the music is more modern sounding.

Any ideas on how to track these songs down? Know any specific examples by name?

Thanks in advance,
BoatMeme
posted by BoatMeme to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Try listening to some old Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and Jean Michel Jarre from the late '70s and early '80s. You might find stuff that resembles what you're thinking of.

It sounds like you may want to license some of this music. The work of those particular artists might not be available for licensing -- at least, not cheaply -- but it might give you some better ideas about what specifically to look for.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 5:53 PM on April 20, 2006


It's from the 60's, but check out Switched-on Bach by Walter/Wendy Carlos (yes, he underwent a sex change between disks 1 and 2).
posted by Araucaria at 4:16 PM on April 20, 2006


The "percolating" bit also makes me think straight off of Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene
posted by Rumple at 4:16 PM on April 20, 2006


Seconding Jean Michelle Jarre as a possibility...
posted by gergtreble at 4:22 PM on April 20, 2006


You may check out Boards of Canada. They're newer, but every time I listen to songs like Wildlife Analysis, Open The Light, or Olson, I think about damn 80's filmstrips.
posted by symphonik at 4:23 PM on April 20, 2006


how did artifice_eternity manage to make a post from the future?
posted by Rumple at 4:24 PM on April 20, 2006


Attilio Mineo might be what your looking for ... look for the music blog PLANET XTABAY or search for space age pop.
posted by jbelkin at 4:27 PM on April 20, 2006


For more modern music with that '70s edu-film vibe, try Boards of Canada. Though they are far from cheesy.

For Tangerine Dream, I highly recommend starting with Tangram, it's got a lot of that vibe. For Jarre, you probably want Magnetic Fields, it was used a lot in newscasts and stuff about technology.
posted by kindall at 4:30 PM on April 20, 2006


try "popcorn".....that seems to be the stock synthesizer tune everybody asks about. Here's the ubiqutous Wikipedia page
posted by cosmicbandito at 4:38 PM on April 20, 2006


Thanks for the suggestions, these are all right along in line with what I'm looking for.

In fact, Vangelis' "Pulstar" is exactly one of the tunes that I had in mind.

I now feel a little bit stupid not realizing this, but this music is on one of my all time favorite TV series, Cosmos. I own the DVDs and have probably watched the entire set 5 times since I've owned it and I still couldn't identify the music in my head. AND I was well aware that Vangelis' scored the series. Duh!

Anyway, I won't actually be needing to license the music for my own non-commercial, humorous purposes.

Off to go check out Boards of Canada now...

Thanks all!
posted by BoatMeme at 4:38 PM on April 20, 2006


There was in fact a Cosmos soundtrack album. I have it on LP; no idea if it was ever reissued on tape or CD or online.
posted by xil at 5:13 PM on April 20, 2006


The term, with regard to French and Italian labels at least, is "library music." It reaches back a bit, but you can find loads and loads of comps of "library music" on import labels and ebay.
posted by klangklangston at 7:03 PM on April 20, 2006


You may check out Boards of Canada. They're newer, but every time I listen to songs like Wildlife Analysis, Open The Light, or Olson, I think about damn 80's filmstrips.

Yeah, BoC is actually inspired by the Canadian Educational Film Board or somesuch (paraphrasing). So they fit right in with that filmstrip soundtrack sound.

Another contemporary addition to the genre that's worth a listen is Yo La Tengo's The Sounds of the Sounds of Science. It's a soundtrack to a series of underwater short films, and an excellent listen.
posted by carsonb at 7:04 PM on April 20, 2006


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