Italian 1960s Lounge Music

Sound Collaboration (provisional): Jonny C

Over the past few weeks, amidst a busy work schedule, I found time to have a brief meeting with my work colleague, Jonny. I’m hoping that Jon will collaborate on my project as sound engineer. Background: After graduating from Glasgow University, he became interested in experimental sound mainly working/experimenting with analogue synth. Since he arrived in Tokyo in 1998, he’s collaborated with a number of bands, playing the synthesizer. Before we became acquainted, I recall going to see him perform with a band called The Lickerish Quartet about 6 years ago. They played at The Green Apple (below) which is a 60s/70s arty themed café in Koenji (Tokyo) . The café also serves as music venue at night and is well known for performances dealing with psychedelia, mod nostalgia and avant-garde experimental music.

The Green Apple Cafe 1


I vividly recall the theatrical setting devised  by the band before they came on to play. Playing on retro aesthetics, an 8mm film projector silently played Italian 60s film footage onto an orangey, pink coloured curtain while the band played. The band played a mixture of modern chill-out, poppy electronica with down-tempo elements and with the usual characteristics associated with lounge sounds (i.e. jazz, exotica and bossa nova origins). I was impressed by the whole visual spectacle. A performance in both foreground and background. I think I was more interested in the theatrical presentation rather the music. When I became acquainted with Jon, I found out that the stage setting and props were his idea.

During our meeting, we looked at my blog and I conveyed how I envisaged the sound. I informed him that I intend to make an installation of the bathroom used in the 1960 film Psycho. The shower room scene would be edited, animated and projected from a monitor inside the set. I further mentioned the feasibility of this plan and my intentions regarding scale. That is, if I’m unable to make a life-size set, then a miniature set will be constructed. A meeting with a set designer is scheduled next month. It was also noted that the installation/set will not be an exact representation but the finished article should look very Modernist by appearance with expressionistic influences.  Below are some researched 1960 bathroom designs from American Standard.

Example 2 Example 3



We considered the opening audio, which would run for around 30 seconds. I’m keen on the idea of using Italian 60s lounge music themes, so we listed a few composers and tracks such as Armando Trovajoli-Vivere Felici, Bruno Nicolai-Spy Chase and Nico Fidenco.

The idea being that Jon would then compose either sampling, remixing or work on similar themes. At this stage, there isn’t a concrete sound plan, though it is intended for the opening audio to distort into a more sinister theme which would be a cue for the animation to begin. The duration of sound will be no more than 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Sound bites used for the animation will be discussed in our next meeting. We will consider answers from Question 2 of the questionnaire.  The next step is for Jon to view the edited Psycho footage and work on a few audio tests. If we are on the same wavelength (audio wise ), then the collaboration will begin. The big “If”

2 Replies to “Italian 1960s Lounge Music”

  1. Great idea Jason – you and some of the others seem to be much braver than me! (I am beginning to think my work is too conservative….). I’m missing the weekly skypes although have spoken to Yvonne and Rhiannon recently. All the best, Pete


    1. Hi Pete,
      Good to hear from you. To be honest, I haven’t done very much in the past 6 weeks and I’ve been very frustrated seeing how everyone is trying out this and that while I’m stuck in the classroom. You get to the stage where you need to talk to someone so I talk to people I work with. Fortunately for me, someone is interested in playing a role in my ‘play’ I used the same approach in my undergraduate days. Bringing people in, taking people out. Rather like a fantasy football manager! No, I don’t think your work is too conservative at all. Though you might want to consider more diversity in your project. For example, experiment with other mediums like sculpture, film, sound, textiles, drawings, literature etc. You’ll get more merit for trying something and falling flat on your face rather than sitting on the fence thinking about it. You formed your Project Proposal from a short film. I initially thought that would form a basis and it would open up another door. Why not experiment with visual/audio film shorts over the festive period? Experiment devising films under 1 minute or use your age as a marker you can’t go over (are you 56?) Believe me, 1 minute is a lifetime as you need to consider EVERY second! Check out the following links. The second link is rather creepy BUT very effective. All the best. J


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