Various Artists

Du Rififi a la Tele Vol. 4: Bandes Originales de Polars Televises

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Here's the fourth in the Play Time label's top-notch series compiling highlights from the soundtracks of French TV detective serials of the 1970s and 1980s, and we know what you're asking yourself: "French cop shows? What happens -- the police surrender to the criminals?" (Ba-da-bump.) All jokes aside, Du Rififi a la Tele Vol. 4: Bandes Originales de Polars Televises is seriously great stuff -- there's a moody ennui at work here perfectly emblematic of the music's origins, so much so that it's impossible to imagine any of these themes complementing a crime drama produced anywhere outside of France. These hard-boiled overtures are then spiced with a dash of funky attitude plainly inspired by the blaxploitation soundtracks from a continent away -- the end result is pure atmosphere, smoke as thick as Gaulloises and as intoxicating as dope. Highlights include Georges Garaventz's "Un Juge Un Flic," Claude Bolling's "Les Brigades du Tigre," Vladimir Cosma's "Le Retour D'Arsene Lupin" and Antoine Duhamel's "Belphegor."