Various – Musiques de l’O.N.F.

Various – Musiques de l'O.N.F. LP cover
Various – Musiques de l'O.N.F. LP spread
Various – Musiques de l'O.N.F. LP side 1

This extraordinary compilation gathers electroacoustic music soundtracks to some of the experimental films produced by the National Film Board of Canada, or Office National du Film in French, from 1955 to 1971. It features such classics as Norman McLaren‘s musique concrète, hand-scratched directly on the 35mm film strip, as well as Eldon Rathburn‘s electronic music for McLaren’s Canon. Many of McLaren’s films are available  to streaming and downloading on the NFB’s official website. Also included are French Canadian contemporary music composers Pierre Mercure and Gilles Tremblay, both very active in Montréal during the 1950s and 1960s as composers, theoricians and festival organizers. The former’s La Forme des Choses, or The Shape of Things, is a collage of field recordings and noises recorded during a sculpture festival held in Montréal in 1964. A classically-trained composer, Maurice Blackburn worked as a film music composer for the NFB from 1942 to 1978, first for documentary films, then for McLaren and other film directors. His monumental Jour Après Jour is a sound poem including environmental sounds, library music and machine noises, over which reader Anne Claire Poirier reads found texts.

01 Maurice Blackburn & Norman McLaren Blinkity Blank (5:00)
02 Norman McLaren Rythmetic (7:46)
03 Gabriel Charpentier La Courte Echelle (6:44)
04 Eldon Rathburn Canon (8:08)
05 Maurice Blackburn Christmas Cracker (4:46)
06 Pierre Mercure La Forme des Choses (9:56)
07 Maurice Blackburn Jour Après Jour (27:32)
08 Norman McLaren Neighbours (7:35)
09 Gilles Tremblay Dimension Soleils (4:25)
10 Alain Clavier Metadata (8:26)

Total time 1h 30mn
2xLP released by National Film Board of Canada, 1977

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16 Responses to “Various – Musiques de l’O.N.F.”


  1. 1 Janas July 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Much appreciated, thank you Continuo.

  2. 2 continuo July 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    You’re welcome, Janas.

  3. 3 Caitlyn July 18, 2012 at 3:41 am

    OMG thank you from Canada!

  4. 4 continuo July 18, 2012 at 6:18 am

    This compilation is such a classic it’s a shame it isn’t better known and available. Thanks for dropping by, Caitlyn.

  5. 5 Acousmata July 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Another first-class offering. Thank you, as always.

  6. 6 continuo July 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    As long as there are readers who can appreciate this kind of things… Thanks for your comment, Thomas.

  7. 7 el hombre invisible July 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Thanks very much for this. The Clavier track brings to mind the great Parmegiani’s work in a similar mode.

  8. 8 continuo July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

    How true. Even the title (“Metadata”) sounds INA-GRM. But the Canadian composers on this disc really have their own style and sound.

  9. 9 Brian July 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    This is going to be a completely unexpected trip back in time. As a Canadian teacher during the 70′s-90′s I saw most of these films many, many many times. The National Film Board offered a library service, loaning out 16mm copies to educational institutions and we made liberal use of their resources. I have always wondered whether any of the music from these innovative films was available in any form. I have my answer. Many thanks for the opportunity to discover what images the music will release.

    -Brian

  10. 10 continuo July 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for the nice memories, Brian. Apart from those of Malcolm McLaren, I’m not familiar with the films featured on this compilation, but the soundtracks are just fantastic.

  11. 11 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián July 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    a jewel!! =) a fantastic rip! thanks a lot my friend!

  12. 12 continuo July 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Glad these sound files found their way onto some computers, especially that of someone like you, Joaquín.

  13. 13 Adam July 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Hi, I really want to download this but when I click on the link I’m taken to a page which inundates me with links to the ilvid downloader. I assume ilvid is thinly disguised malware. Can you clarify?

  14. 14 continuo July 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    See bottom of the page.

  15. 16 continuo July 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    You’re welcome, Adam.


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