Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Trans-World Symphony Orchestra - Edmond De Luca's Safari (LP, 1958)

The Trans-World Symphony Orchestra
"Edmond De Luca's Safari"
Somerset P-5500, mono [1958]

This 1958 long-play on the budget label Somerset (later known as Stereo Fidelity) is quite an interesting journey in sound. It is, for all intents and purposes, an Exotica record; the cover is appropriately evocative and the mood here is distinctly Atomic Age and, for lack of a better word, exotic. However, its African themes set it apart (continents apart) from the Latin American and faux-Polynesian clich├ęs in the genre. Something else that sets this album apart is that it's essentially a classical composition with a fleshed-out concept. While "concept albums" are not unusual in Exotica (or Bachelor Pad music/Cocktail Lounge for that matter), rarely is it fully symphonic and questionably "popular" as a result. Therefore, you receive something distinguishable with Edmond De Luca's Safari, and it's all the better because of it.

The liner notes on the back of this release go into pretty good detail explaining the meaning behind this album and behind the individual "movements." They are available complete here --- that is, if you feel so inclined to read them for yourself. Basically, though, "Safari" is self-explanatory: a group arrives in Africa and treks through it, stopping in a Bantu Village and at Mt. Kilimanjaro and then end up hunting a beast. In actuality, the entire composition takes up only 20 minutes (or a full side). Side two includes two additional pieces, "Polovetsian Dances" and "Ritual Fire Dance," and the liner notes say they were selected because they "are as dynamic and exciting a twosome of compositions available for high fidelity recording and programming." Sure, I'll take it!

This music is truly beautiful, there's no doubt about it. De Luca did a great job with this composition, and the two other pieces are phenomenal. One thing I notice about the "look and feel" of these pieces is the fact that they carry an air of both sophisticated, professional orchestration and a conspicuous primitive quality. It's not barbaric or hedonistic, but it seems to evoke a "natural" or "prehistoric" kind of vibe --- and one that is generally very appealing.

Along with the sample below, I decided to make the entire rip available for download, the link will be in the comments, as usual. Also, as is always the case, feedback about the remastering job and general sound quality of my vinyl rips are much appreciated. I'm always trying to improve my work. :) Enjoy!

Track #1: Port Pangani


  1. Here is ...

  2. Great sounding record! Well done. This album sounds like a long-lost soundtrack to a never-seen "Jungle Adventure" movie. Perhaps there's a print of such a film in some lost, hidden city deep in the jungle?

    1. Actually, you know, you're right on the mark there. I didn't even think of it but this does have a very "ost" feel to it. Indeed, I would watch the film! :)

  3. Not a bad rip, but I would try experimenting with a noise gate as well as doing a little bit of EQ to try to take out the 15khz digital hiss. Not to complain, really.

    1. I appreciate the advice, man. Anything to improve the process. :) Thanks!

  4. Hey man, I really like this album a lot. Some of the parts in “The Chase and the Kill” kind of freak my wife out though. I still enjoy the record. It’s super cool and very evocative. Nice write up.


Whaddaya think?