London Studio Sound – Percussionarius

London Studio Sound - Percussionarius LP front cover
London Studio Sound - Percussionarius LP back cover
London Studio Sound - Percussionarius LP side A

What seduces in a solo percussion LP is the undiluted, uncompromising flavor. What bores is the ensuing monotonous, closed-circuit performance.  The Percussionarius LP is a little different: it is not a demonstration LP, it is varied and the drummers are not showing off their muscles. Rather, this is mood music for drums, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron, played by 2 or 3 percussionists at most, though often less than that. The musicians call themselves London Studio Sound, supposedly an off-shoot of the London Studio Group, also on De Wolfe. The composer is Walter Warren, aka James de Wolfe himself, who, among other things, composed music for the Monthy Pithon Flying Circus television series between 1969 and 1973.

Published as a mono LP in 1970, Percussionarius is a very peculiar disc of chasing film music with touches of film noir soundtrack. It starts with a handful of powerful percussion fireworks, yet the rest of the LP comprises shorter, unobtrusive tracks suitable for mystery films or radio plays. The addition of an upright bass and reeds on several, more laid-back, cool jazz numbers (#11 and 17 to 19), makes the music sound like Ken Nordine’s backing jazz combo on Colors, 1967, or some Tony Schwartz LP of the 1960s. On the other hand, there’s the pair of tracks titled Cymbalarius, based on cymbals and gongs exclusively, creating an atmosphere of expectation and menace.

01 Percussionarius I (2:48)
02 Percussionarius II (2:17)
03 Percussionarius III (2:09)
04 Percussionarius IV (2:06)
05 Cymbalarius I (2:10)
06 Cymbalarius II (2:20)
07 Percussionarius V (1:46)
08 Percussionarius VI (1:59)
09 Percussionarius VII (2:01)
10 Batterinarium I (1:54))
11 Batterinarium II (2:17)
12 Batterinarium III (2:29)
13 Batterinarium IV (2:39)
14 Batterinarium V (2:00)
15 Batterinarium VI (1:36)
16 Funeralius (1:35)
17 Low Danger I (2:02)
18 Low Danger II (2:19)
19 Low Danger III (3:01)

Total time 41:26
LP released by Music de Wolfe, ref. DW/LP 3156, London, UK, 1970


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3 Responses to “London Studio Sound – Percussionarius”

  1. 1 litlgrey April 12, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Oh my god! Just when I am working on a special of de Wolfe mono albums from 1966-1970!

  2. 2 continuo April 12, 2012 at 9:01 am

    There’s a huge choice in the de Wolfe catalogue of this period.
    Several hundred LPs, in fact.

  3. 3 litlgrey April 12, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Uh huh! I think that’s a solid assessment.

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