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Alain Goraguer - La Plančte Sauvage (OST) CD (album) cover

LA PLANČTE SAUVAGE (OST)

Alain Goraguer

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.80 | 27 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars LA PLANÉTE SAUVAGE (released as FANTASTIC PLANET in English speaking countries) was quite the hit back in 1973 when this animated cult science fiction film written and directed by Ren' Laloux and co-written by Roland Topor was awarded the Grand Prix special jury prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. This strange story was about humans living on a different planet where they were under the subjugation of giant humanoid aliens who deemed them mere animals which was based on the 1957 novel 'Oms En Série' (Oms Linked Together) by French writer Stefan Wul. The film imagery is instantly recognizable by its posters of giant blue aliens in some sort of contact with humans with the most famous shot being the one where an alien is holding a human in its hand.

The film was fairly innovative and like any unique movie that wishes to express some sort of overall mood, LA PLANÉTE SAUVAGE required a soundtrack that would evoke the proper emotional responses. Better known for his work as the arranger for Serge Gainsbourg, ALAIN GORAGUER was chosen to adapt a musical experience of 25 short vignettes that each connected to create a larger experience. A strange choice for Laloux considering that GORAGUER had only one jazz album under his belt in the form of 1956's 'Go-Go-Goraguer' and another soundtrack for the children's show 'Un Enfant Nomm' Michel' in 1972. However perhaps he had the right idea to have a relative unknown to craft this unique alien world's soundtrack as to create a more mysterious vibe.

Despite the exotic theme of the film, the soundtrack is more grounded in the era it was crafted and very much sounds like it is based on Pink Floyd's 'Atom Heart Mother Suite,' which finds cool chilled out tempos, lots of mellotron and harpsichord and a whole bunch of wah-wah that evokes a funk flair that was also all the rage in the 70s. Like any good soundtrack, it was designed to accompany the film and not steal its thunder, therefore it is fairly repetitive but offers the subtle ingredients of jazz and progressive rock that fuel the variations of an overall theme. Given this was the 70s, the expected audience participation was that of those who could relate to a drug fueled hypnotic state that worked in tandem with the visuals.

The soundtrack itself has been released with no less than five album covers which found the original and each subsequent reissuing finding a new artistic representation the film, but personally mine is the first version which depicts a mottled blue alien looking down on a human holding him in its hand and provides the allegory of many of the occupations of humans against other humans throughout history as well as the pondering of whether humanity itself is herded by invisible forces from somewhere way beyond our atmospheric jurisdiction. Musically this soundtrack flows rather predictably with a mix of space rock fueled funk on chill out mode alongside circus themed waltzes that fit into the overall soundtrack trends that were popular in France and Italy during this period of time.

This mood bending mix of psychedelia, jazz and funk has been sampled by many hip hop artists of the new millennium as it has the same repetitive characteristic and subtle subliminal changes that the genre has excelled in. The original packaging was quite lavash as it included a 16-page booklet that described the entire story and included imagery from the film but found no credits for the musicians and as far as i know still remains a mystery with most sources giving credit to GORAGUER as sole creator and Roland Topor responsible for artwork, illustration and cover art. Despite engaging in rather lengthy careers, LA PLAN'TE PLANÉTE remains the most lauded creative peak of both director Laloux as well as musical achievement of GORAGUER and both film and soundtrack remain popular in the modern day era.

For my liking, a soundtrack rated on its own has to stand up on its own independently outside the context of the visuals that was designed to represent and in the case of LA PLANÉTE SAUVAGE, the music does succeed in evoking the period piece Euro soundtrack sound that makes me think of the space rock meets funk jazz musical projects of the day. While this is less dramatic than soundtrack bands like Goblin and despite the connection is not even remotely connected to the Serge Gainsbourg sound, it does however provide a super chilled-out drifting through the musical variations in a futuristic loungey electronic jazz scenario. Perhaps if this was made today, the music would be much more esoteric and alien sounding and would match the extraterrestrial imagery more suitably but given the era it was released, this must've fit in quite well with all the new freaky music that sounds pretty tame by today's standards.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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