Grooves & Samples #36: Alain Goraguer – La Planète Sauvage OST (1973)

Grooves & Samples is a weekly dive into old dusty crates of jazz, funk, soul and beyond

This time our musical trip takes us to the early 70s in France where we meet Alain Goraguer: jazz pianist, arranger and composer extraordinaire. Since the mid-fifties, Alain wrote numerous songs and film scores and arranged songs for Juliet Gréco, Nana Mouskouri, Jean Ferrat, amongst many others.

His first claim to fame followed in 1965 when France Gall won the Eurovision Songfestival with “Poupeé de cire, poupeé de son,” written by Serge Gainsbourg and orchestrated by Alain Goraguer. Alain, collaborating with Gainsbourg since the late fifties, may have been inspired to write the soundtrack for the 1973 movie La Planète Sauvage (English title: The Fantastic Planet).

The sci-fi animation, directed by René Laloux, is about human species who collide with alien creatures on a strange planet inhabited with even stranger creatures. The movie features highly surrealistic images and these scenes blend very well with Goraguers soundtrack. His soundtrack is trademark-Goraguer, but with a twist: it suits the psychedelic world created in the movie. Lush arrangements, funky drums, wah-wah guitar, organ, flute and harpischord fill the instrumental soundtrack. The film was quite a success, winning the jury prize at the 1973 Cannes film festival. The official soundtrack, also released in 1973, has been often described as a mash-up between Pink Floyd and Isaac Hayes’ Shaft. And thus, a definite source for beat digging and sample searching.

In 1997 British indie rockers Cornershop were one of the first to sample a Goraguer track in a song on their hit LP, When I was born for the 7th time. Not long after that, Madlib sampled the same track, “Maquillage de Tiwa”, in Quasimoto’s “Come On Feet.

The album soon became a very sought after item as DJ Shadow used two tracks of the album on his 2003 outing, “War is Hell.”

A good soundtrack can stand on his own, and doesn’t necessarily need the movie to accompany it; La Planète Sauvage is no exception. Also, a good soundtrack never gets old and can be an inspiration for artists and generations to come. Last year Mac Miller used the track “Ten et Tiwa” for “Boat Races” by Freddie Gibbs.

So, never skip a French animation featuring huge blue creatures with wing-like ears and hypnotic eyes. Keep diggin’.

More Editions