Various Artists

Soothing Sounds for Raymond

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This compilation, initially curated by publisher Ben Goldberg for inclusion with the fifth issue of his magazine Badaboom Gramophone, collects interpretations of the aesthetic visionary composer Raymond Scott displayed on his series of Soothing Sounds for Baby releases. These tracks are not remixes or covers; rather, various contemporary electronic producers attempt to capture the spirit of Scott's electronic lullabies. Most took the opportunity to construct simple, playful melodies with a vaguely "childlike" cast. The original Soothing Sounds for Baby releases were defined in large part by the thin, dinky timbre of Scott's custom synthesizers and relentless repetition. Technology has come a long way since Scott's hand-built, room-sized monoliths, and the richly textured tracks on Soothing Sounds for Raymond sound more like Morr Music-style bedroom electronica than anything to do with early synthesizer music. Taking into account that Soothing Sounds for Baby was designed as functional music to put babies at ease, it's probably best that the artists here sidestepped Scott's trance-inducing sameness and opted for structures closer to pop music. In other words, your newborn will probably be agitated by the choppy drum programming of Cex's "And Now the Babies Are Playing Mozart for Their Parents," but an open-minded young couple who like acoustic guitar mixed with their melodic IDM will be cooing right along. Bogdan Raczynski, who demonstrated a penchant for naked emotion on his album My Love I Love, comes closest to channeling the character of Scott's project on "Chocolate Champion," although Arovane's delicate "Neel" comes close. A few tracks in the disc's latter half discard the original conceit completely and head for more experimental territory, to the comp's detriment. But Soothing Sounds for Raymond has plenty of worthwhile material.