Finders Keepers - a Decade of Sonic Archaeology

Finders Keepers - a Decade of Sonic Archaeology

July 10, 2015

Written by:

Laura Marin & Irina Radu

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Thai? Dai!

This year marks the 10th anniversary since the birth of Finders Keepers, the British dream team of sonic archaeologists who resurfaced the forgotten, or never before discovered jams of the Outernational space - and not only. Their contribution to music collectors’ archives, enthusiasts and musicians needs no introduction.

We selected 10 albums that are essential for us, some milestones that only scratch the surface of what Finders Keepers has released in the past 10 years. Tune in.


Thai? Dai! The Heavier Side Of The Luk Thung Underground

Dreaming of Thai-lands but nostalgic bout surf rock & roll? No worries, you will find both of that, plus some brain melting psychedelia in this brilliant release. Although the luk-thung (most popular form of music style in Thailand/ means ”children of the fields”) is often compared with the country music of the United States, this compilation breathes its sincere desire to experiment and repackage local sounds blended with western imports.

The exposure to western and other foreign records being played on the radio created a real interest in little known groups as well as more established figures, like Pearn Promdan, that transposed their jams and songs onto drums, electric bass (and boy is it electric!), guitar and keyboards, keeping the local feeling intact, with a ‘fear and loathing in Bangkok’ type of attitude.

Ear candy track: Sroeng Santi’s reinterpretation of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” - Kuen Kuen Lueng Lueng

Sohail Rana

Sohail Rana - Kyber Mail

Get on board the high-speed freight train and let Sohail Rana be the conductor of this wild journey from Karachi to Peshawar.

A master of blending western pop music with traditional folk, Sohail Rana is considered a pioneer in the cultural landscape of modern Pakistan.

This particular release culminates his previous series of explorations in world music, introducing new techniques and electronic instruments (electric organ, sitar, keyboard), that helped build a new standard for the Lollywood pop scene that was about to burst.

The tracks flow from one to the other with a steady, yet energetic pace, incorporating all sorts of spacey, funky psych thrills along the way, sculpting with great care the typical elegance and richness of the Eastern world.

Careful, this one is highly addictive!

Ear candy track - Chandni aur tum

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky - The Holy Mountain OST

The Holy Mountain OST LP is the label’s freshest release, and has so far enjoyed much critical acclaim worldwide. The motion picture revolves around a vortex of occultism, tarots, and materialistic figures. By following the wavelengths of the film to the very end, we are shown that the multi level symbolism serves only to bringing reality closer to your self. Reaching this conclusion implies a mystical journey, and Jodorowsky chose Don Cherry, alongside Ron Frangipane and himself to accompany his story, through their compositions. To those who are even remotely familiar with both Don Cherry and Jodorowsky’s work, it may come as no surprise that the former was chosen to do it.

Every piece is related to a scene in the movie, however by listening without interruption, every transition is witnessed. From the tribal, African-oriented chants and flutes (that we will, a few years later recognize in Don Cherry’s legendary Organic Music Society album) that follow The Magician’s promises of enlightenment, reaching the middle we come across Psychedelic Weapons, that spring in the core of Middle Eastern influences.

This short moment of psychedelic rock is a powerful reminder of The Holy Mountain’s place in time, the 1970s, an era of expanding consciousness but also a period where self-reflection, self-questioning and irony in art and culture had peaked. Jodorowsky knows that truth can be found in both transcendental meditation and pop, campy culture, and he chooses to ease this transition through orchestral themes (Miniature Plastic Bomb Shop, Eye of the Beholder) and poem tones.

It’s not recommended to jump to conclusions while deciphering his visual riddles and their musical counterpart. Assimilating them will conjure up a spectrum of intriguing emotions.

I have no ear candy track for this one, I would only devour it as a one piece.

Mustafa Özkent

Mustafa Özkent Ve Orkestrası - Gençlik Ile Elele

This album is essential if you want to understand the hierarchy of what popular meant in Anatolia in the 70’s, or if you want to dig deeper than what the street vendors in Istanbul sell for high prices as traditional psychedelic Turkish rock, or Rhythm & Soul. Or, if you just want to hear an outstanding piece of music resembling nothing you’ve heard before.

Mustafa Özkent (and his orchestra) is part of a hidden “scene”, alongside Zafer Dilek and Okay Temiz (amongst others), that produced and composed endless uncredited music for the more famous TV show regulars (Baris Manco, Cem Karaca, etc), reels of experimental music and library cuts for television and film.

This instrumental 10 tracks album journeys from Western-style funk grooves and rhythmical pop sounds blended with Mustafa’s exquisite technique of introducing specially treated guitars that could replicate unique notes similar to that of a saz, creating new boundaries for the sonic mediums of the time. The tracks are very energetic and rhythmical, cheerful and groovy, even though some psychedelic guitar passages, as well as hypnotic percussions, sound like an oriental-ish wagon of sweet harmonies flying in the outer space. Each track imposes originally and flows like no other.

Our review, HERE.

Ear candy track - Karadır Kara

Bruno Spoerri

Bruno Spoerri - Gluckskugel

This is a very playful record, inviting you in its luxuriant world of slippery, jelly-like synths, cool grooves, cascading echoes and glittering factory sound loops. Although destined to accompany TV-shows and various jingles, Swiss born Bruno Spoerri creates a vibrant soundscape of its own, as emotional and touching as “computer jazz” (as it is sometimes referred to) music can get.

Surely, his imagination draws its inspiration from his vast experience with various fantasy games and events that he composed themes for, as well as different film scores and other cinematic anomalies, but this release is the first ever of a collection of musical works of Bruno Spoerri.

Ear candy track: On The Way

Sarolta Zalatnay

A huge celebrity in her native Hungarian grounds (as a fashion-icon, actress, model, writer - nicknamed Cini by her fans), Sarolta Zalatnay remains unknown outside those boarders.

This re-release gathers some of the best tracks from her extremely fruitful period of 4 years, between 1970-1974. Hard funk-rock and rough prog drum brakes provided by some of Hungary’s most significant 70’s flavor rock groups (Locomotiv GT, Metro, Omega) accompany miss Zalatnay’s, or Cini’s elegant style.

Sarolta Zalatnay assembles the crème de la crème of Cini's album and single tracks from the extremely fruitful 1970-1974 period of her recording career. As a performer at the forefront of hipness, she released material that usually achieved popular success but also occasionally proved to be too ahead of its time.

Regardless of their commercial impact, the 16 tracks on this LP display an astonishing degree of variety made possible by Zalatnay's prowess as a vocalist as well as the accompaniment of some of Hungary's most significant rock groups such as Metro, Omega, Locomotiv GT, and Skorpio.

For a larger story on this album, read our review HERE.

Ear candy track: Fekete Beat

Selda Bağcan

Part of the “Anatolian Invasion” series, Selda’s eponymous debut LP sits at the outpost of everything that came out of the Anatolian grounds and hit international ears.

She’s that one of a kind voice that transcends masculine/feminine labels of any kind, and becomes universal - you don’t even have to understand the lyrics, that’s how much of a driving force she is. Her range is amazing - you’ll hear proto polyphonic synthesizers in blood-rushing protest songs that she risked her freedom and life for, home-sickening psych-folk traditional old songs, and the most heart wrenching love and longing saz ballads, but all sung with the same raw, inflaming passion, and with a special sense of authenticity and dignity that floats around all of her recordings.

For this release she teamed up with fellow radicalists Moğollar, the backing band Dadașlar guided by the daredevil Arif Sağ and master electronic producer and pioneer Zafer Dilek, all who would enjoy critical acclaim later, fusing jazz, funk, rock and electronically treated instruments with typical Anatolian styles.

What’s amazing about this album’s success and the whole Anatolian invasion wave that’s coming stronger and stronger in the past few years, is that it contains a whole world of sounds and music traditions that were previously unheard, or have rarely traveled outside their borders.

Ear candy track: Gine Haber Gelmis

Braen Raskovich

Braen Raskovich - Abnormal Sensations

Initially released solely for distribution among film production houses, hoping it would accompany Italian crime movies, this mysterious library-stoner funk grail became a sought after gem for many record collectors and diggers around the world.

Disguised under the Braen, Raskovich and Kema Giallo alter-egos, Italian composers Alessandro Alessandroni, his wife Giulia De Mutiis (who delivers terrific haunting vocals) and Giuliano Sorgini, team up and deliver an outstanding LP that would have been lost somewhere in a dark archive corner of Italian horror movie soundtracks, if it wasn’t for the Finders Keepers mavericks.

Eerie keyboards, dark, mysterious grooves, intense rhythms, raw psych and funk stained prog, combine with Alessandroni’s growling fuzz and desperately inquisitive guitar/harp/dulcimer manipulations, in creating an rich experimental atmosphere for a killer (pun intended) B-movie.

*Bonus: it wouldn’t be a an Italian soundtrack album without a proper Giallo story to go with, so choose your favourite from here.

*also, check out HERE our library music mix focused on Italy, made by librarian expert Camil Dumitrescu.

Jean Claude Vannier

Jean Claude Vannier - Electro Rapide

Jean Claude Vannier is one of the artists that form, alongside other releases of lost treasures, what could be described as Finders Keepers’ “label roster”.

Pop-culture icon of the 70’s France, musical arranger and composer Jean Claude Vannier is showcased this time with a collection of rare and previously unreleased archive material, from his early fascinating career.

Gathering pieces from experimental ballet and puppet shows compositions, his infamous film soundtracks and library music recordings, this release underlines Vannier’s early interest in experiment, vast and complex compositions, with his wild imagination stretching its tentacles to reach more and more dimensions in his explorations.

From oriental flavors to ritualistic African rhythms and avant-garde abstract sounds (that briefly remind of Art Ensemble of Chicago), Vannier journeys through his familiar trademark motifs of French pop, blended with an elegant, often humorous melody, contrasting brooding orchestral compositions with a more joyful, comedy oriented side - Vannier did at one point, some radio shows on comic gardening and cooking for France Culture.

These tracks give the feel that they are just parts of bigger compositions (longest one is little over 2’), and that you’ve landed on one of the islands that sprouted around his garden of magical treats, leaving you wanting to explore more.

Ear candy track: Bombarde Lamentation

VA - Pomegranates

The Pomegranates compilation is an essentiality of the Finders Keepers mission.

These Iranian gems from before the Revolution shelter the Eastern cultural heritage ingrained in the sound, and can act as an archaeological artifact with numerous layers to be analyzed, including the Western influence that easily introduced itself up to 1979, without corrupting the Persian identity.

This is why the outcome of the compilation resembles the gestalt concept, where the whole represents something other than the sum of its parts. It transcends the melancholia of the imaginary, and rather resurfaces the contemporaneity of its sound, and how it integrates with our consciousness. It triggers the potentiality of a paradise.

Pomegranates stands as an incredible immersion into the modern Persian history and music. Given the diverse formations of the singers, their songs touch different chords, such as Googoosh’s soul-stirring, tragic voice, in her Iranian chansons, or Zia’s kaleidoscopic Kofriam hauls from the depths of the Persian poets’ ancestral heritage.

It may be relevant to add the most of the singers on this compilation were banned from performing after 1979. Forbidding them from appearing in front of the public eye (or ear) meant probably eliminating the realms that this music unfolds.

Ear candy track: Soli - Miravi
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