This amazing 1959 French drama not only involves some of the best French film noir and comedy films actors of the era, but also embarks sound effects prodigy Henri Gruel and electronic music guru Jean-Jacques Perrey. The latter doesn’t need any introduction, except for mentioning that, at the time, Perrey hadn’t met Robert Moog and was still playing on George Jenny’s Ondioline keyboard. He left France after the Cadmus project and had his first proper solo release as Mr. Ondioline in 1960 in the U.S. Henri Gruel (1923-2007) was both a successful film director and a much sought-after sound engineer and producer. In 1957, he directed his first film, La Joconde, with a script by Boris Vian. In 1958, he collaborated with Nicolas Schoffer on Mayola, a film on Schoffer’s cinetic sculptures with music by Tom Dissevelt and Dick Raajmakers. In 1961, Gruel filmed Schoffer’s Tour de Liège sculpture. In the 1970s, he produced several library music records for Unidisc, including the Imaginations… series launched in 1973 with Imaginations pour l’Expression Corporelle (posted before), and Imaginations #3 in 1978.
♫ Cadmus, subtitled The Robot from Outer Space, tells the story of an extraterrestrial artificial being secretly landing on Earth in the future – the story takes place in… 1983! – to use Terrestrial power engines to destroy an asteroid about to collide with his own planet, Aura 3 in the Betelgeuse constellation. When finally cornered by a group of international scientists, he tries to escape with a space rocket, but is finally destroyed by missiles fired from satellites in orbit around planet Earth. The drama involves multiple characters played by great actors, a lively, captivating realization by Henry Gruel, also serving as foley artist, and original incidental music with radically far out sounds by Jean-Jacques Perrey, who is credited with “Ondioline kaleidoscopique” on the cover – whatever that means, his instrument sounds deliciously futuristic. The record’s analog sound quality is so extraordinary as to make it an exciting experience even for non-French speakers.
01 Cadmus – side 1 (16:20)
02 Cadmus – side 2 (16:24)
Total time 32:44
10-inch released by Philips France, 1959
Cadmus – the cast: