Cinemaphonic 2: Soul Punch and Popshopping 2: More Music From German Commercials 1962-1977

Record Review

Phases and Stages

Cinemaphonic 2: Soul Punch

(Motel/Fourth Density)

Popshopping 2: More Music from German Commercials 1962-1977

(Crippled Dick Hot Wax!)

The most pleasing irony behind modern-day compilations of Sixties and Seventies stock music for film and TV is hearing long lost compositions divorced from their mundane commercial heritage and given new life as genuine cultural artifacts. Soul Punch, compiled by former child actor David Hollander (best known for playing "Lil' Earl" in the final season of What's Happening!), contains a pleasing array of British "library" music in the funk fusion vein that was originally only available to producers of film, TV, and radio. Liberated from their background noise pedigrees, it's easy to see why inconspicuous but fully realized compositions such as Syd Dale's "Disco Tek" and Piet Van Meren's "Cool Echo" (a "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" sound-alike) created the perfect, ultra-heavy vibe for low-budget cop movies and "Please Stand By" TV spots. As a repository for German commercial music circa 1962-77, Popshopping 2 is more concrete in its purpose, but no less contextually dissonant to foreign ears. Claudio Szenkar's 1974 spot for Miss Fenjala perfume begins soft and ladylike before plunging into pelvis-grinding porno -- complete with shrieks of fragrance-induced ecstasy -- all in the course of a minute. Hermann Gehlen's funky 1971 instrumental "Wollsiegel Party" makes perfect sense as B-movie go-go fodder -- until you learn that it was composed as the theme song for a trade fair! And just why the hell is Oliver Peters singing Cat Stevens' "Father and Son," in German, on behalf of Teutonic tea Teekanne!? Trying to figure these things out is half the fun. Despite its novelty factor, the lasting essence of Popshopping 2's musical cache is its ability to give even the most hardened socialist a transitory jolt of euphoric faith in the marketplace's kaleidoscopic ability to sate every human desire -- something the touted products themselves could probably never do.

(Both) ****

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