Various Artists

Cinemaphonic: Electro Soul

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The quest for all things rare and grooving from the '60s and '70s finds audio hounds trudging through the music libraries of TV and film production houses. Your captain this time out, appropriately enough, is former U.S. sitcom actor David Hollander, who played Little Earl on the '70s show What's Happening. There's no sight of Henry Mancini's infectious What's Happening theme, but Cinemaphonic: Electro Soul does contain plenty of other hits and misses from tube and screen's endless reels of incidental music. The template takes in soul-jazz, blaxploitation, and celluloid tunes of old; the nuts and bolts include large doses of electric piano, primitive synths, flutes, harpsichords, and sundry other devices endemic to cinematic soul. And while Walter "A Fifth of Beethoven" Murphy's noirish grooves, Mario Nascimbene's clavinet-fueled funk, and Earl Salisbury's atmospheric panoramas hit the mark, the remainder often falls victim to stale beats and thin dressing; in other words, it's music that screams out for images of Mannix chasing punk hoods or Rerun and Raj concocting another hair-brained scheme at Mama's Cafe.

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