Another unearthed classic soundtrack from my ‘Brought To Your Attention’ series. This time the strange but grooving soundtrack to the French science-fiction animation ‘La Planete Sauvage’, composed by Alain Goraguer.

‘La Planete Sauvage’ soundtrack to the animated feature film of the same name 1973.

Alian Gouger – ‘La Planete Sauvage’

Director: Rene Laloux

Composer: Alain Goraguer

Label: Pathe Label 1973, available to buy as a reissue on vinyl and as download.

Trivia: Won special prize at Cannes for animated feature.

Track List: –

Side 1

1.  Deshominisation (II) (0:51)

2.  Deshominisation (I) (3:45)

3.  Generique (0:40)

4.  Le Bracelet (1:22)

5.  Ten Et Tiwa (1:43)

6.  Maquillage Te Tiwa (1:12)

7.  Course De Ten (0:48)

8.  Ten Et Medor (1:43)

9.  Ten Et Tiwa Dorment (0:42)

10. Ten Et Assome (0:40)

11. Abite (0:47)

12. Conseil Des Draags (0:49)

13. Les Hommes – La Grande Co – Existence (4:22)

Side 2

1.  La Femme (2:06)

2.  Mira Et Ten (0:39)

3.  Mort De Draag (0:46)

4.  L’Oiseau (2:21)

5.  La Cite Des Hommes Libres (0:44)

6.  Attaque Des Robots (2:00)

7.  La Longue Marche – Valse Des Statues (2:09)

8.  Les Fusees (2:05)

9.  Generique (1:09)

10. Strip Tease (2:19)

11. Meditation Des Enfants (1:28)

12. La Vieille Meurt (0:43)

I’m going to warn you now; this LP and the film it came from are strange, but strange in a good way so don’t start walking away quite yet.

La Planete Sauvage, that’s Savage Planet to you and me, doesn’t flinch from being odd or far out, in fact its more like a surrealist portrayal of science fiction; brought to us in an animation that takes its cue from the French artist Moebius and an Eastern block film studio – during the most intense period of the Cold War. In fact this movie was collaboration between both France and Czechoslovakia, which at the time would have been part of the iron curtain so it makes sense that the film is full of those cryptic analogies.

The basic premise of the story is that in some far flung corner of the galaxy a uber higher intellectual civilisation of giant blue bug eyed aliens known as Draags keep us humans – or Oms as were tagged; from the French ‘hommes’ – as pets and play things. See it’s all to do with role reversal as we are looked down on as some lower form of primitive creature, that is until more and more proof is found of our own civilisation and the Draags slowly change there perceptions of us.

For some reason we have ended up on this planet and have forgotten about our past so get used to be an amusing domestic toy for our new masters.

Anyhow the main protagonist is orphaned in the introduction and adopted by a teenage version of a Draag. Growing up we see just how weird these aliens are with their proto organic technology which involves some far out trance meditation mumbo jumbo and plenty of really long worded anal descriptions of their superior way of life; to be honest they hardly seem like fun, though they have a strange way of dressing which always leaves the females with their breasts hanging out.

At this point I got to mention the ludicrous dubbing version, which is delivered in a real monotone manner and has a real disconnection to the action taking place on the screen, though it does add a certain charm to the proceedings and makes for some amusing viewing.

Our main character, now called Ten, grows up in the draag household and cleverly learns to pick up on their knowledge before managing to escape. Ten goes onto form a colony of wild living Oms, who like appearing in the nude a lot and take part in some strange rituals which will rise a few eyebrows.

In the end both societies learn to compromise and live together in harmony though not before our so called more civilised friends try to exterminate the Oms.

I can’t really do the film justice here, you can watch it in eight parts on Youtube and see for yourselves, but I’m really much more interested in the soundtrack LP composed by the French musician Alain Goraguer.

Alain was a jazz pianist who from 1959 to 1965 arranged the compositions on all of Serge Gainsbourg’s albums and also worked with Boris Vian.

He wrote the winning French entry for the Eurovision song contest with the song ‘Poupet de cire, Poupee de son’ and started working on soundtracks.

‘La Planete Sauvage’ is probably one of his most well known scores and remains a cult favourite by all the heads out there. The last two years have seen an off and on revival with the original LP being reissued and the film being posted by fans on the net who act like curators of some far forgotten relic.

The moody and evocative soundtrack’s main theme is ‘Deshominisation’, an otherworldly jazz number that invokes a slightly creepy and unsettling tone.

The rest of the album riffs on the basic theme and either sweetens it up or adds some action sequence groovy space age funk.

On the tunes ‘Generique’ and ‘Strip Tease’ a breathless female voice adds a sexual undercurrent reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg and sounds like Air riffing on a Dario Argento gory porn flick; a fine balancing act between retro blue movies and the well thumbed giallo pulp novels.

Sometimes the funk really lets loose especially on the tracks ‘Le Bracelet’, ‘Course De Ten’ and ‘Ten Et Medor’ which go from Shaft like high hat and cymbal action and Roy Budd’s ‘Get Carter’ slinky style of funk to liberal dashings of ‘Bullitt’ composer Lalo Schifrin Seventies action sequences.

To say there is a wealth of samples and breaks on this record is to understate the case somewhat as quite a few people have mined it including the leftfield hiphop producer Madlib, who used it on the Quasimoto LP Unseen.

In the main this album has a sombre and certain sadness to it yet there is the occasional light relief such as the harpsichord led ‘Conseil Des Draags’ which acts as a pleasant segue way though it always has that looming omnipresent darkness ready to descend, much like a lost David Axlerod classic from the Prunes in places.

A thoroughly recommended soundtrack, which comes with a pedigree and should be, added to any self-respecting collector of both film scores and the underground. Stirring stuff indeed.

Dominic Valvona.

2 Responses to “Goraguer, Alain”

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